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Best time to travel by train from shanghai to Beijing

by IconBelleza Online Now Nov 10, 2011 at 11:12 PM

My family will be on a trip to Shanghai next year and we plan to go to Beijing by train. What is the best time of the day (morning or evening) to take the train? Are there beautiful sceneries along the way worth seeing? or is it a better idea to take the evening trip and sleep on the train? Will appreciate any response. Thank you.

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6 Answers
  • Fjordline's Profile Photo

    Re: Best time to travel by train from shanghai to Beijing

    by Fjordline Online Now Nov 11, 2011 at 12:19 AM

    There are several points I'd like to make. First, there are no special sceneries along the way except several large river to cross. Just the ordinary view of countryside. Second, if you take the night train, be sure to buy the ticket as early as possible, because there are less night trains in this route now and at certain time of the year, there is more demand of the tickets than the supply.

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  • KakapoTheParrot's Profile Photo

    Re: Best time to travel by train from shanghai to Beijing

    by KakapoTheParrot Online Now Nov 11, 2011 at 12:26 AM

    I haven't done that particular route, but in case no one else offers any other comments (the high speed line opened this Summer) I'll say the following:

    Slow sleeper trains in China in my (limited) experience are great fun for a family. You want the "soft sleeper" compartment. Four people to a compartment - I don't know if you buy per compartment or per bunk. If your group isn't divisible by four this might be an issue. One person in our group got a rash from the bedding, no one else did. The bedding looked OK. My family were all carrying sleeping bag liners and we had no problems. Washing facilities were basic, shared but OK. I'd never been on a sleeper train. It was every bit as exciting as I'd hoped. I'm rubbish at sleeping sat up in recliner seats anywhere. Being 6 feet tall I thought I might struggle to stretch out, but I had no problem and I just loved it all.

    We did a 3 hour HS train journey as well. The Chinese HS trains have a pretty terrible reputation for poor reliability, although how much this is just the outside world enjoying making fun at there expense is probably hard to judge. (The Chinese authorities reaction to the accident in Zhejiang province this year does seem to have been a disgrace.) As for our experience, the HS train was, again, brilliant. Comfortable, fast and a joy to travel on. In the 800+ miles between Shanghai to Beijing I'd guess the scenery will change a lot, although much of China is remarkably flat and rather dull. Because of the speed you travel at and the width of the track area you really don't see much local detail as you go past. The trains had ample room for luggage, assuming you'll be carrying one bag per person.

    A final comment about train stations. The HS trains seem to use different stations, which are modern, big and fairly empty. The station at Beijing where we caught our overnight train was so crowded as to be quite claustrophobic. Certainly the HS option was a much more relaxing experience in terms of catching it. The air conditioning was much better too. If you're there in Summer the heat is stupifying.

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  • semper.max's Profile Photo

    Re: Best time to travel by train from shanghai to Beijing

    by semper.max Online Now Nov 11, 2011 at 12:36 AM

    Personally, I'd rather sleep on the train and make use of my waking hours at my destination to give me more time to explore. Besides, as the previous poster has indicated, there is not too much scenery along the route. If you take the overnight train, you'd be arriving in Beijing early morning, just in time to start your day. :)

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  • Re: Best time to travel by train from shanghai to Beijing

    by johnhatteras007 Online Now Nov 15, 2011 at 12:09 AM

    It depends on the season you come travel、、、take the evening trip always will be a good idea.You can take number
    D312 20:01PM-7:46AM;
    D322 20:07PM-7:52AM;
    D322 20:13PM-7:52AM;
    Sleeper 311RMB
    I can give you some proposal if I know more of you idea .Different like different travel.
    Enjoy your trip of china!

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  • Mellow49's Profile Photo

    Re: Best time to travel by train from shanghai to Beijing

    by Mellow49 Online Now Nov 18, 2011 at 7:14 PM

    For long distances I only use nighttrains in China. I several times used nighttrains between B and S. Convenient and cheap too. Also don't need a hotel for that night. Don't know about the scenery along that route (only used nighttrains). Four person cabin is more private, but sleeping without cabin gives more opportunity to meet locals. Washing (no privacy) and toilet is very basic.
    Used the HS line from Beijing to Shanghai 2 weeks ago. Only 8 hours (First Class 935Rmb/p.p.) with one stop in Nanjing. Much better and cheaper than a (first class) plane. Lots of (leg)space (also in 2nd class) and decent spacious toilet.

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  • MikeySoft's Profile Photo

    Re: Best time to travel by train from shanghai to Beijing

    by MikeySoft Online Now Dec 5, 2011 at 8:23 AM

    Sorry for a late response. I took an over night sleeper train and found if very good. They have train leaving all the time. Left in the evening and arrive very early in BJ. Metro in BJ are fix price no matter how far you go unless you are going to the airport.

    I got the tickets at the North Station because it was easier to get to from were I was staying. I assumed the train was leaving from the South Shanghai station because that is what my guide book said. However, they train left from a newer station near the older Hongqiao airport. Luckily we are early and able to get to the right station in time but I think the taxi broke some speed limits getting there. :)

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