Taking A Train in China

Taking a train in China is a bit different than other countries. You can only buy a train ticket 3 to 5 days before the departure date. You can only buy a ticket from where you are departing from to your first destination. When you get to your first destination, the same rule applies for on going destinations. You can not buy train tickets at one place for your entire tour by train. Many trains are over night. Take only First class Sleepers as second class is very noisy and the car is all open only separated by metal mesh and are three bunks high. First class has two uppers and two lowers and closed compartments. If you are less than four people you may share the compartment with others of mixed sex. The people who have the upper bunks have the right to sit on the lower bunks until it is time to sleep. The toilet facilities can be both western and Chinese depending on the age of the train cars. Some only have the hole in the floor in the more remote areas. Dining cars usually have poor food so plan on taking food or snacks with you. Vendors come through the cars on a regular basis with snacks, noodles etc. too. If you are being met by a guide, they will know which car you are in and will usually be waiting outside your car on the platform. Sometimes because of Security, guides are not allowed on the platforms so you must exit with the crowd and the guide will be at the exit holding up a sign with your name on it. For more information on train travel in China, please contact us at interlak@eskimo.com    Today  there are also the special  fast trains between many cities that are ultra modern and take less time going 184 miles per hour….but of course cost more too.

Arriving At Airports in China

Before you arrive on your international air flight to China, your airline will hand out an Arrival card and a Health card. The health card asks simple questions wanting to know if you have a fever, where you came from and where you will be staying. You will drop this card off at a collection station as you arrive. The Arrival Card will ask your Airline, fight number, date of arrival and where you will be staying the first night. Keep this card with your passport. Upon your arrival follow the crowd which will take you to the Security counters. There you will present your passport and the Arrival Card. You then go to the luggage area where you will see your flight listed on a board in English and the luggage carrier number. After you pick up your luggage you may exit the luggage area (there is no customs check) through double doors (once you exit you can not return to the luggage area) There you will find a crowd of people with many of them holding up signs with names on them. If you have a guide meeting you, your name will be held up by your guide. If you need a taxi to take you to your hotel, DO NOT PAY ANY ATTENTION to anyone asking you if you would like a taxi. (they are rip off artists) Exit out the doors and watch for the sign that directs you to taxis which will be written in English. Taxi drivers never speak English, but there is a “Starter” at the head of the line who does speak English and he will advise the taxi driver where you want to go. They run the meter although if a toll way is used, you must pay the toll fee in addition to the taxi fare. No tip is required but just round off the fare to the next highest yuan. For more questions answered, contact us at interlak@eskimo.com