You have to love train travel in China – it’s so exciting and wonderful. Endless countryside mixed with random towns and cities and it’s fast. The new Chinese trains are so fast and incredible you will just have a great ride on them. You don’t even have to break the bank either as they are just so cheap compared with high speed trains in other countries. A quick guide to travelling on Chinese trains.
On my first high speed train in China I was on the Shenzhen North to Shaoguan route. Not a common route I must add, but in 2012 this gave me my first experience of the new high speed trains in China. We were heading to Shaoguan in order to see the mountains and rock formations at Danxiashan.
How to book your train in China
It’s best not to book anything in advance – remember this is China! Head to the train station on the day and book your ticket for that day when you’re there. If you do have to wait a few hours that’s no problem. Or there might be another route you can take. Make sure you have cash – it’s payment in cash at these stations in China.
Communication might be the biggest barrier you have to cross. So have the name of the destination written down in Chinese, a good knowledge of Chinese or at least know how to say the name of the place you are heading correctly. I’d write it down from a guidebook and be ready. Tickets have allocated seats.
My Journey from Shenzhen North to Shaoguan
11.50 – In Shenzhen North Station. Head through the barrier and find your allocated seat. It will leave within a few minutes and Shenzhen will be gone in a blink of the eye.
12.26 pm – Stop at Guangzhou South for a few minutes. I’ve opened a can of Guinness and we leave Guangzhou trailing in our wake. A tough ask, given that it’s a massive city. We reach a speed of 308 kilometres per hour at 12.44pm – this turns out to be the maximum speed we reach on the trip.
1.45 pm – Arrive at Shaoguan Station and we get off. Shaoguan is not the last station on this high speed train which heads much further north.
What can you do onboard a High Speed train in China?
– Keep your travel blog up to date
– Admire the views
– Enjoy a relaxing beer
– Stare in awe at the pure speed of the train
– Eat (there will be a food trolley on board or bring your own)
– Read a travel book
You will love the high speed train in China.