My girlfriend and I are travelling from Beijing to Hong Kong at the end of September - has anyone had any experience in booking the 24 hour (i think it is the T97 or T98 train) from Beijing?
Is it best to book in advance or just rock on up to the train station in Beijing to book?
It's not complicated to get train tickets at the station, I think.
Just Remember - to buy your tickets 3 day or 1 day early before you departure at the train station is available. Your schedule is not during the Chinese New Year, you know!
Good Luck and a fun trip!
I took that train. Nice train - very comfortable as compared to most of the trains in China from my understanding. There are a few different options on carriage. I was in a hard sleeper, which was pretty comfortable. It had 6 berths, though only 4 of the berths were taken (this was in November, so probably more full during the summer). You can get a soft sleeper (4 berths) or a deluxe sleeper (2 berths).
For trains, the Man in Seat 61 always has the best advice. He has timetables and prices on his China page.
I would book in advance, but as Yingbent said, you can do that when you are in Beijing.
Yes, book in Beijing (easy), though do book a couple of days ahead just in case.
Hard sleeper, despite the name is perfectly fine (lower bunks are the most expensive, upper the cheapest), and even the food in both the restaurant cars and the trolleys that they bring along is perfectly fine, though i would take provisions as well. Every carriage has a hot water boiler which is constantly going, which allows you you eat instant noodles (they come in pots in china, and with chopsticks included) etc.
Just be aware that (a) you leave from Beijing West station (not Beijing main) AND that you need to have arrived AT LEAST 90mins before departure, in order to undergo the customs proceedures (the train is non stop, and you officially leave China when you get on the train). That is easy to be tripped up on, and if you are too late, they won't let you on.
Also, note that you can save money (and get a more authentic - though longer - Chinese experience) if you get either a Beijing to Guangzhou, or Beijing to Shenzhen train instead, and then change there for Hong Kong. Shenzhen is generally the cheapest, as you walk across the border at Lo Wu station, straight on to the HK metro
i went hong kong to beijing but i did buy my ticket for beijing to xian in beijing and it wasnt easy i kept getting sent from one window to the next did get it eventually. if you can spare the money get a 2 berth cabin. they were worth the money its a long journey. but they dont have private toilets (beijing to xian do) at each end of the carriage there was a toilet one a hole in the floor and the other a western toilet there is also a restuarant the food was good and not to pricey. personally i would get the train straight through to hong kong you still have to go through customs and it can take a while