"China - the Middle Kingdom" China by mke1963
China Travel Guide: 29,456 reviews and 82,851 photos
UPDATE JULY 8TH 2006: Latest destination added is the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Zhangjiajie/Wulingyuan.
China is one of the most diverse countries in the world, but it is a huge land area.
One of the most interesting ways to see the countryside and meet Chinese people is to travel by rail.
I live in Beijing and travel a lot in the country, and my boss and staff are tolerant of my desire to travel everywhere by rail.
However, the tips and reviews in this China section are not just about travelling by railway in China, but also general advice!
China is criss-crossed by a network of railways. Other than on Hainan island and in Tibet, you can get to or near most places by train. You can usually also get a direct train from Beijing, Shanghai and/or Xuzhou to most other large towns in the country at least once a day.
Although Chinese railways carry huge numbers of passengers every day, if you travel soft class (i.e. first class) you can avoid many of the most crowded situations, and with care and planing you can avoid getting into the big crowds.
Most big stations have a separate booking window for soft class, and a separate waiting room. You don't have to use them - so getting closer to the real Chinese travel experience - but I can sssure you that joining the Friday night rush for hard class seats at Beijing Xi is a stressful experience that can be quite frightening. Imagine 2,000 people blindly running with all their luggage sacks to get the 500 setas for a 32 hour journey. People can and do get knocked over!
Soft class arrangements are more calm and a bit more civilised than the rampaging hard class herd.
Also at many stations, if you pay for a porter to carry a bag or two, you get access to the platform before the masses, so again reducing the risk of a crush.
On the train, the soft class sleeper compartments have four berths (two upper and two lower - the upper berths are slightly cheaper but are more cramped). The compartment is carpeted, there is a flask of boiling hot water for tea and coffee, a heater, a small table, curtains, individual reading lights, and music (which can be switched off if you want). remarkably it also has a normal power socket for your PC or Walkman!
Trolleys come through the train selling drinks, nuts, sweets, pot noodles, hot food, toys, newspapers.
Soft class is non-smoking (enforced strictly) but smokers can use the doorway at the end of each carriageway.
Each compartment has one or two carriage attendants who are absolutely invariably kind, helpful, and a mine of information about your train and your journey.
- Pros:See China! No seriously. See China for 28 hours at a time!
- Cons:Getting tickets is become a lot harder!
- In a nutshell:A changing landscape every minute
These three guide books are staggeringly good. In fact, for their content, they are in a complete league of their own.... more travel advice
Juliet Bredon's guide to Peking was first published in 1919, and republished several times. It is a fascinating... more travel advice
Written Nov 13, 2004
Bins of China
Written Oct 23, 2005
Georeferencing the Great Wall
mke1963's Related Pages
China Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "China is wonderful!"
- "China - My Roots"
- "Paul2001's 34 Days in China!"
- "China by yourself, incredibly easy!"
- "China - the Middle Kingdom"
- See All...
- Things to Do in China
- Hotels in China
- Transportation in China
- Nightlife in China
- Restaurants in China
- Shopping in China
- Warnings and Dangers in China
- See All...
Badges & Stats in China
- 928 Reviews
- 1,280 Photos
- 320 Forum posts
- 99 Cities
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (22)
Have you been to China?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in China
- Posted in Travel London Forum "Re: Using ATM machines in the UK"
- updated a China Travel Page "China - the Middle Kingdom"
- Wrote a Review Changing money to and from Chinese RMB in China Favorites
- Uploaded a Photo to "Guide books: The New Yangzi River Trilogy (2003)"
- Commented on one of phil1246's China travel pages
Top 10 Pages
- Top 5 Page for this destination Beijing Intro, 153 reviews, 126 photos, 2 travelogues
- Zhangjiajie Intro, 29 reviews, 107 photos, 1 travelogue
- Top 5 Page for this destination Harbin Intro, 49 reviews, 60 photos, 2 travelogues
- Seoul Intro, 57 reviews, 35 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Lanzhou Intro, 27 reviews, 62 photos, 2 travelogues
- Jiayuguan Intro, 36 reviews, 47 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Chengdu Intro, 19 reviews, 62 photos
- Graaff-Reinet Intro, 25 reviews, 49 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Dunhuang Intro, 21 reviews, 43 photos, 2 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Suwon Intro, 24 reviews, 37 photos
FriendsSee All Friends (10)
Top China hotels
- Shanghai Hotels
- 3044 Reviews - 8029 Photos
- Beijing Hotels
- 6188 Reviews - 15387 Photos
- Guangzhou Hotels
- 935 Reviews - 2101 Photos
- Shenzhen Hotels
- 464 Reviews - 1122 Photos
- Hangzhou Hotels
- 618 Reviews - 1822 Photos
- Zhuhai Hotels
- 119 Reviews - 285 Photos
- Sanya Hotels
- 95 Reviews - 324 Photos
- Qingdao Hotels
- 201 Reviews - 799 Photos
- Chengdu Hotels
- 601 Reviews - 1516 Photos
- Lijiang Hotels
- 567 Reviews - 1869 Photos
- Guilin Hotels
- 466 Reviews - 1224 Photos
- Jiuzhaigou Hotels
- 256 Reviews - 865 Photos
- Suzhou Hotels
- 346 Reviews - 1113 Photos
- Yangshuo Hotels
- 608 Reviews - 1706 Photos
- Xi'an Hotels
- 1074 Reviews - 2921 Photos