Today I did my maiden eight and half hour from Shenzhen to Beijing in first class high speed train. As you would know, first class in China train is not the same as first class in Singapore Airlines. Still, it is better than second class. Business class train tickets is a different class though. It was sold out for this train trip more than one month ago.
As usual (like how I normally buy my Shanghai to Beijing tickets online), I also bought my Shenzhen to Beijing train ticket online using China Highlights. I had the tickets delivered to the hotel, the magnificent Marriott Shenzhen Nanshan. I was staying in. As usual it was there when I checked in. The company never let me down, thank god.
I arrived at the Shenzhen North Station (which was about 20 mins taxi ride from the Marriott Nanshan hotel).
Like all things in China, everything is big big big and bigger bigger bigger.
I needed breakfast and so I went to McDonald’s. The whole mass of restaurants are on the second floor while the waiting area is on the first floor.
The China McDonald’s set meal comes with You Tiao so I kept it for morning tea. And bought fried chicken for lunch. And cakes for snacks. Whatever to keep me going (and the fact that I don’t have WeChat pay for any food on the train).
The screen showed that boarding for train G80 is at A17 and B17.
The ticket showed B17 and so I went ahead. The mass of people ! Pro tip. As we are foreigners, find the gate which is manually manned. The rest of the gates are for China nationals with their identity cards.
Try to find the correct car (carriage) first as you wait for the train. You can see it from the ticket. Mine is car 15. It will be a nightmare to find your car if you are not near to it. Ask the train conductors at the platform or find your carriage using the guide on the ground.
This train G80 came from Hong Kong Kowloon West !!
So when I boarded the train there was already a guy sitting next to my seat. His bag was on my chair. He looked unhappy when I came.
As usual, this is the same class of train as the Shanghai – Beijing high speed train. The 复兴号train. So I am pretty familiar with it. Enough space at top even for my (larger than my relaxed traveling style) luggage.
Lots of leg room. I can even cross my legs ha ha.
Ok. Decided it is just too noisy. Kids and kids and kids. So I took out my Bose Quiet Comfort headphones. Hung my lunch on the hook. All ready. This is going to be a long journey.
We left the train station at 08:26am. Okay. My journey starts.
08:52am. We pulled into Guang Zhou Nan Railway Station. The nasty guy sitting next to me alighted. Another guy took his place. Who continually talked on his WeChat app with speaker on. Ass hole. We pulled out of the train station at 9am.
09:23am. Some snacks are served. Er. No thanks. I am getting grumpy.
10:15am. Time for my own food. My You Tiao from McDonald’s ! I need some coffee !!
11 am : Poor Mobile reception (Singtel – China Mobile) and a WiFi that needed local China number meant that I am now just staring blindly at the passing scenes (that begin to look like they are just repeating themselves) and looking at the speed of the train.
11:16am. We pulled into ChangSha South Railway Station. We left six mins later. I took my first toilet break. For you people who cares a lot about toilets, here’s how it looks. Ha
There is also a hot and cold water dispenser if you need them
12pm. Lunch. Paid 30RMB for a coffee. Most importantly I can do it with cash and no need for WeChat Pay !! I am much happier !!! My lunch was fried chicken which I had bought at the Shenzhen station.
12:37pm. We pulled into Wuhan Station. Wuhan looks very modern with lots of constructions. I fell asleep….
2pm. I woke up and decided I need another coffee. The price this time is now 45 RMB. NOT SURE WHY. But I still pay by cash. And I can eat the snacks that I bought at the Shenzhen station.
Looking at the temperature outside scares me. 40 degrees !!!
4pm : Arrived at the last station before Beijing. This is the Shijiazhuang station. Literally the Stone Family station. I wonder if Mr Stone and his family used to stay here 😉
5pm. We finally pulled into Beijing West station. I realised that this is the first time to Beijing West. My normal Shanghai to Beijing high speed train ends at Beijing South. Beijing West station looks majestic from the train as it arrived at the station.
It also looked great from outside.
I then find the proper taxi stand just outside the station. Long wait but it was pretty quick !!
That was my latest eight hours trip from Shenzhen to Beijing in a fantastic China high speed train. Would I do it again (if I have the chance or choice). Actually yes. It is still better than taking a plane if you don’t like the processes involved in air travel and also worry about the notorious China internal flying delays.