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Overnight Trains in China

Overnight trains are good choices for long-distance passengers to save daytime and hotel expense, especially those departing in the evening and arriving in the next morning. When taking an overnight train, sleepers are recommended to ensure a good rest, so one can work or go sightseeing energetically when getting off. Currently, 4 types of sleepers are offered on overnight trains in China: deluxe soft sleepers, soft sleepers, hard sleepers and new type soft sleepers.

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
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.

Soft Sleepers
Aisle in the Soft Sleeper Carriage
Soft Sleeper
A Soft Sleeper Cabin

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.

Hard Sleeper
Hard Sleeper Carriage
Hard Sleeper
6 Berths in a Hard Sleeper Cabin

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.

Deluxe Soft Sleepers
A Deluxe Soft Sleeper Cabin
Deluxe Soft Sleepers
Independent Washroom Inside

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.

Soft Sleepers on Chinese Overnight Train
Luggage Space Under Lower Berth
Washing Basins
Washing Basins between Two Carriages
- Last updated on Jul. 05, 2023 -
Questions & Answers on Overnight Trains in China
Asked by anthonyasael from BELGIUM | Jul. 05, 2023 18:05Reply
I am looking for a night train between Shanghai-Kunming, but i can only find day train (10-12h). Night train have a duration of 35h (!!). How can that be ?
Can someone help ?
Answers (1)
Answered by Kelly | Jul. 05, 2023 20:09

Day trains are high speed type with shorter travel time. The night trains are traditional type with lower speed, so taking much longer time on the way.

The high speed night trains are not available for this route yet. Sorry for that:(
Asked by Galina from ISRAEL | May. 29, 2023 09:11Reply
overnight train from Guilin to Zhangjaijie
Hello. I'm trying to find an overnight train, but I only see daytime trains on the internet. Are there overnight trains and how can I get tickets for them?
Answers (1)
Answered by Hailey | May. 29, 2023 19:42

There is no overnight train and only daytime trains are available. You can book them via TravelChinaGuide directly.
Asked by Daisy from SINGAPORE | May. 28, 2023 07:10Reply
Pls suggest how I should travel from Hong Kong to Zhangjaijei?
We are arriving in Hong Kong from Singapore on Nov 20 and from Hong Kong we will go to Zhangjaijei on Nov 21st. Then Return to Hong Kong from Zhangjaijei on 24th Nov. Pls advise. Thank you.
Answers (1)
Answered by Linda | May. 29, 2023 19:40

It is suggested to take bullet trains. Although no direct trains are operated, you can transfer at Guangzhou, Changsha or other cities and it takes about 7-8 hours in total. More time is needed if you choose an overnight train. Remember to book train tickets in advance.
Asked by Daisy from SINGAPORE | May. 28, 2023 07:05Reply
Is there an overnight train from Hong Kong to Zhangjiajie?
Answers (1)
Answered by Jenny | May. 29, 2023 19:36

There is no direct trains between HK and Zhangjiajie. Passengers can transfer at Changsha, Guangzhou or Shenzhen North by bullet train and the total travel time is about 7-8 hours.

You can take a bullet train G6538 from HK at 17:30 and to Guangzhou at 18:32 and then take an overnight train T8303 from GZ to Zhangjiajie, which is operated between 20:08 and 10:36 the next day.
Asked by Peter from U.K. | Apr. 22, 2023 10:05Reply
How limiting is sleeper accommodation?
One reason for taking a train is to see the scenery. Are you obliged to stay in your sleeper compartment during the day, or can you sit elsewhere to get a better view outside?
Answers (1)
Answered by Andy | Apr. 23, 2023 20:05

There are seats by the window just outside the sleeper cabines. You can sit down there to enjoy the scenery. You can also have a seat in the food carriage, having your meal while enjoying the scenery outside the window.
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