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Sleeper Trains in China

Travel Forums Asia Sleeper Trains in China

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1. Posted by gwelty (Full Member 83 posts) 9y

This thread is marked as being about China

I'm traveling for about 2-3 weeks in China in May. I'd like to economize by traveling overnight in sleeper trains. But I want to make sure I can feel just as rested as I would if I stayed at a hotel/hostel. Any thoughts/experiences?

2. Posted by China1 (Budding Member 17 posts) 9y

They are fine, The hard sleepers are also fine. I would suggest trying both the hard sleeper and soft sleeper. For short journeys try the seats so that you can experience all aspects.

The only problems may be snoring. Make sure that you get REALLY GOOD ear plugs and an eye mask.

Save time and money


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3. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru 823 posts) 9y

There's never a gaurantee that you'll sleep on a train, and its rarely as good as sleeping in a hostel in any country in the world. But as far as trains go, China is as good as any other. I slept perfectly fine in the hard sleeper beds.

4. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 9y

The other thing to bear in mind that most distances are long enough that if you travel by train, you WILL go overnight anyway, whether you want to or not. If you want to travel during the day, you will basically have to fly, except on short journeys.

Shanghai to Beijing for example, is 12hours, but there are NO day trains at all - However, there are something like 10night trains each night.

5. Posted by danube (Full Member 63 posts) 9y

Night trains are the best options, You gain time while You're having a rest. I found the sleepers convinient, and even in spite of the crowd, the coach wasn't noisy at all at night.
The higher the beds are, the smaller the spaces are. And if You can get the lowest bed, You can toss your stuff under your bed, thus it will be closer to You than in any other place in the coach.

6. Posted by gwelty (Full Member 83 posts) 9y

Now what about how rested you feel after sleeping on a sleeper train versus a hotel bed?

If a sleeper train is less restful than a hotel bed, do you still get a good night's sleep?

7. Posted by daphnemaia (Full Member 155 posts) 9y

hotel beds don't shake and bounce you around. that's all i have to say. hahaha!

8. Posted by mdancy (Full Member 104 posts) 9y

Last year we did some traveling in China and mainly by train. Like the other posters said, most trains will be night trains. They are efficient and on time, clean and comfortable. Though they don't yet quite get the usefulness of toilet paper, so bring some along. By morning, the toilets are a bit scruffy.

We had a different experience on each train. Some were jerky and rough and woke me up all night long - yet my husband slept like a babe. Then others were a dream. I think it depends on the route and whether they've been thru with new tracks. Ear plugs and a night mask will help. The Chinese people are generally a noisy lot - they talk at high volume, and if one has a cell phone - watch out!

If you want privacy and quite, then book the 4 berth soft sleepers - otherwise if you are in the hard sleeper car you'll be putting up with kids, lots of coughing and hacking, and endless chatter.

You'll be rested enough I'm sure - just the excitement of traveling in China will adrenilize (new word?) you in the morning!


9. Posted by rover9495 (Budding Member 35 posts) 9y

the best thing me and my two mates did on our sleeper train from Xi'an to Shanghai was to go to the buffet car (which was empty except for us) and we proceeded to drink about 8 bottles of Tiger beer each at about 50p a bottle. that meant that we had a cracking nights sleep on the train!

one piece of advice is make sure you get to the station with plenty of time. we arrived at beijing train station only to find that they have airport style security with a long long qeue. as a result we missed our train and took about an hour and a half to find someone who could speak enough english to tell us that we couldnt get a train for another 5 days. had to fork out £80 for a flight instead.....

10. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 9y

and we proceeded to drink about 8 bottles of Tiger beer each at about 50p a bottle

Damned! They have Tiger on the trains now?? We always had to make do with Tsingtao which is fine, but not a patch on Tiger.

Agree with the restaurant tip though (in general). It's rarely that busy, and they love seeing foreigners normally - With just a few words of Chinese, you can suddenly make lots of friends (after all, you can watch the countyryside pass as easily from the restaurant as from your berth) and on more than once we had special food made for us and free tea and once free beer, just because we spent a chunk of time in there and got to know them a bit. [Having an MP3 player with speakers and some Chinese and other songs on it also went down a treat]