Overnight Trains in China
Why travel by overnight trains in China?
Passengers can save the cost of a night at hotel, and save the daytime to work or go sightseeing. If you are planning to have a long-distance trip in China, overnight trains can be a cost-effective and time-saving transportation method.
Sleepers are recommended when taking an overnight train.
|Passengers Getting on an Overnight Train|
However, sitting for a whole night on a seat can be really uncomfortable, and we recommend passengers to book a sleeper ticket, so they can lie down to have a good sleep and be energetic to deal with their business or travel around when getting off. Currently, 4 types of sleepers can be found on Chinese overnight trains: soft sleepers, hard sleepers, new type soft sleepers and deluxe soft sleepers.
4 Types of Sleepers on Chinese Overnight Trains
Soft Sleepers - 4 Berths in a Compartment with Lockable Door
Soft sleepers are very common on overnight trains. They are in the private compartment with lockable doors. There are 4 berths in each compartment. On high speed trains, each berth has a power socket and a reading light; while in normal speed trains, there is one power socket shared by the passengers in the compartment, but you can find other charging points in the corridor.
Soft sleepers are good choices for family trips with children or groups of friends.
Hard Sleepers - 6 Berths in an Open Compartment
Hard sleepers are the cheapest sleepers, usually half the price of a soft sleeper ticket. They are only available on normal speed trains. There are 6 berths in an open compartment. There are more passengers in hard sleeper carriage than other sleeper carriages, so the space for each passenger is smaller. And the environment is relatively noisy, because there is no door. Two power sockets are at the two ends of the carriage along the aisle.
If you have limited travel budget or failed to get other tickets, hard sleepers can be an option.
New Type Sleepers - Berths Parallel to Running Direction
They can only be seen on high speed trains D311 and D312 running for Beijing - Shanghai route. The ticket price of this type is higher than hard sleepers, but a little bit lower than traditional type soft sleepers. They are arranged parallel to the running direction; and each berth has a shade curtain for privacy. There is a small table and a charging socket on each berth. And there is a window for each passenger. Passengers can also read books or do some other work by the reading lamp on each berth when the lights of the carriage are out.
Deluxe Soft Sleepers - 2 Berths in a Cabin with Lockable Door
Deluxe soft sleepers are the most expensive and comfortable sleepers. The prices are normally twice the price of a soft sleeper. They are not so frequently seen. It is in a compartment with a lockable door. Each compartment has 2 berths, a table, a sofa and a private washroom with a western style toilet in it. And there is one power socket in the compartment.
This type of sleeper is recommended to businessmen, couples and 2 friends traveling together who have adequate travel budget and high demand of travel experience.
10 Tips on Taking Overnight Trains in China
1. Lower berths are more suitable for passengers who are aged or have knee problems or backache.
2. On some trains, the staff will switch your ticket into a plastic card after you get onboard and they will switch them back when you are about to get off.
3. A pillow, sheet and a quilt will be provided on each berth.
4. If you have a lot of luggage, get onboard earlier to settle down your luggage on the luggage rack or under the lower berth. If you found there is no enough room, ask help from the railway staff.
5. Washrooms are at the end of each carriage except in the deluxe soft sleeper carriages. It is better to bring your own toilet paper and wet wipes, because they may not be provided on some trains.
6. Water places are also located at the end of the carriage; you can fetch boiled water there with your own bottle. Water from other taps is undrinkable.
7. There are sinks for washing purpose at the connection part of each carriage. You also need to pack your washing supplies like towel and toothbrush.
8. 07:00 - 08:30 and 21:00 - 22:30 are the rush hours of using toilet and washroom. You’d better avoid these periods.
9. If you are a light sleeper, an eye mask and earplugs can help you sleep better.
10. Download some music and movies before the trip or bring a book with you to kill time.
I will be taking the Z19 overnight train from BJ to Xi'an and can anyone advise if the train is shaky and giddy as I have motion sickness.