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Monday, January 12, 2015

NANJING to BEIJING via Sleeper Train #CRH

Another long overdue post but here it is finally ---the start of my Beijing Series, which is the third an final leg of our China 2014 9-day trip which took us to Shanghai, Nanjing and finally Beijing.

Before I continue, please read all my blog posts here on
Shanghai >>>http://www.pusangkalye.net/search/label/Shanghai
Nanjing >>http://www.pusangkalye.net/search/label/Nanjing%20China

China's vast railway network

First, the train ride. China has a very efficient train network. I first noticed that in Shanghai. They have massive train stations to start with. Shanghai for example have five train stations and Nanjing got two.

Back in the Philippines, I thought about staying safe and travel straight to Bejing from Shanghai. Good thing I mustered enough courage to drop by Nanjing first.
China travel Guide was very helpful in my research: http://www.chinatrainguide.com/nanjing-railway-station/shanghai.html

There are two (2) train stations in Nanjing. Nanjing Railway Station and South Railway Station. The Nanjing Railway Station (The Old One) is the main passenger station and all trains on transit stop here for connecting passengers to board. Both train stations are accessible by subway so if you come during the day, going to and from downtown is easy.

Nanjing Railway Station
Established in September 1968, it is located in the north of the old city. The station building has one floor below ground and three floors above ground. Line 1 takes you to Nanjing Railway Station directly. From the metro’s Exit 4, passengers can walk into the railway station directly. When you arrive in the city by train, you can go directly into the subway from the train station.
Nanjing Railway Station (Old)

Nanjing South Railway Station
This station is one of the five major stops on Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway. It is one of the largest railway hub in Asia, some 5 times larger than that of Nanjing Railway Station. There are trains going to Shanghai, Nanchang, Huangshan and Hangzhou from Nanjing South Railway Station everyday. Nanyan Line of Subway Line 1 can take passengers from downtown area to the railway station conveniently. source

TIP: If you wanna take the High Speed Train , go to Nanjing South Station. Look for G Trains.
Nanjing South Railway Station (new)


We used the old station on two occasions--Shanghai-Nanjing and Nanjing-Beijing. We thought of taking the high speed train to Beijing ( Believe it or not, high speed trains take only 5 hours to Beijing from Nanjing which is almost the entire lenght of Ilocos Norte to Davao) but we finished our tour late and didn't catch the last trip. We took the taxi from our accommodation near Fuzimiao to Nanjing South Railway Station only to find out that we were late so we had to transfer to the old station which is fortunately connected by subway (Line 1) from the new station.

Ticket Cost 
But even if there were no more trains departing from South Nanjing Train Station, we were able to purchase tickets there for an overnight trip. Sleeper train was the best option which costs around 980RMB or roughly 7,000 pesos per person. That's 14,000 pesos for me and my wife!

China trains are really long. I noticed that not just for Inter-city trains but even in their in-city subways.

(9 hours)
We left Nanjing at around 11pm. The trip took nine hours. We stayed in a couch with one room having two double deck beds. When we boarded, two passengers were already occupying both lower decks so me and my wife were separated on two upper decks. The two (locals) were already asleep and lights were already off so we had to be quiet. The bed was really soft as well as the pillows so I was sound asleep most of the ride. Except for a few cases that I noticed the trains brakes due to passing through bends, the ride was smooth and quiet.

We woke up six am the next day fully charged. Me and my wife went to the hallway where there are portable seats and ate the snacks we bought at the station in Nanjing. The old guy who was in the same room with us was kind enough to help my wife with hot water for her cup noodles.

I was seated next to the windows and looking at the view. By that time, we were still passing through the countryside and there was nothing much but farms and a few houses scattered in a vast area of flat land. I also noticed the haste at that time so the horizon was not clear and it is not easy to see the view afar.

We arrived at Beijing South Railway Station in time for breakfast. It is a modern and massive station located in Fengtai District of Beijing mainly serving high speed trains. Fengtai District is about 7.5 km south of central Beijing and Tiananmen Square where our hotel is nearnby. The station in its present form opened in August 2008 and replaced the old Beijing South station, originally known as the Majiapu Railway Station.

We had a quick breakfast at a McDonalds branch inside the station then found our way to the subway station (inter-city) and eventually to our accommodation.

This was my longest train ride to date and I am very glad it was a comfortable one. I am convinced at the efficiency of China's train system now, something we can only envy in the Philippines. Long train rides doesn't have to be inconvenient naman pala. 

This article is the first of a series of blogs that I will be writing in the coming days regarding our Beijing trip. I promise to link each post here as come online. Please look for them. Happy travels!


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