Monday, July 12, 2010

Of trains and train station in China

I'm going to share with all of you about my horrible experience regarding trains and train station in China.

This is a picture of Hangzhou train station.
You may wonder why is it specifically Hangzhou but not other cities? The reason is because we slept in this station for a night. It wasn't intentionally. Our actual plan was take a train from Hz to Jiasan and the next day from Jiasan to Shanghai. We wanted to go to old of the water village at Xitang which is near Jiasan. But, unfortunately we missed the train to Jiasan as we remembered the wrong time. We were pretty sure that the cashier told us that the train was 330pm but it was actually 315pm and we arrived at 315pm sharp. FML. The next train was 1030pm which is impossible for us to get on as we had already paid for the hotel in Shanghai for the next day. FMLFML. We didn't give up! We went to the bus station as guided by the local and it took one hour for us to reach there. The people there told us that there were no bus anymore. We have no choice but to take another 1 hour bus ride back to the train station. We changed our train tickets from Jiasan-Shanghai to Hangzhou-Shanghai and it was already 9pm. We decided to stay in the train station as our train from Hz-Shanghai is very early in the morning and we dont want to miss it for sure.
We asked a few local if the train station operates for 24 hours and they said yes. The next thing we did was look for a nice seat, settle down and sleep. :) Apparently a lot of people sleep in the train station as there's train all night long and people will board on it.

By the way, if you really want to sleep at train station, go to the one at Shanghai South and Shanghai station. Shanghai South station looks exactly like their airport. The one at Suzhou is quite run down. I dont like the toilet at Suzhou as it is a drain connecting all the cubicles together. arrgghh..All train station provide hot water so you can have cup noodles for supper and tea too.

Moving on. The second picture shows the bed for hard sleepers.
I slept those bed when I was on my way from Dalian to Beijing and Beijing-Dalian. We consulted Grayson before we bought the ticket and he told us that there's no difference between hard sleeper and soft sleeper. The only difference is that soft sleeper is much more expensive and the bed was divided to upper berth and lower berth only. The hard sleeper was divided to upper, middle and lower berth. The higher the bed, the cheaper the ticket. (10 yuan difference between each berth)

The disadvantage about upper and middle berth is that you will never get to sit straight. NEVER! But, you are allow sit on the lower berth bed though. If the owner is awake of course.

They will exchange your train ticket with this card if you bought the sleeper ticket. Hence, they will know which station you will get off and they will wake you up from sleeping.

We took the hard seats for our Shanghai-Shenzhen train. We have no choice as they had sold all the sleeper tickets and most of the train left standing tickets. Another interesting fact about train in China is that they sell tickets for people to stand when all the seats were sold. And the worst thing is the price is the same as the seats. Still, people are willing to pay for it. As you can see from the picture below, people were sleeping along the aisle and there's no room for us to walk at all. The journey took 18 hours and I survived without going to the toilet at all.

Here's some tips for taking the train in China.
1. Always get your ticket in advanced. They will start selling their tickets 10 day in advanced.
2. Bring sufficient food and drinks. Those chinese people brought cup noodles, fruits, youghurt and etc. They will practically start munching when the train start to move. Unless you have iron tummy or else you will be salivating all way long.


ken said...

interesting.. traveling can be troublesome at times.. but the experiences are really cool..

i would freak out if i missed the train as well.. after all, it's a foreign country! =)

IuhniX said...

yeah. I agree with you. We sort of like got a phobia after we missed the first train and that's the reason why we chose to sleep at the railway station =)