After spending 6 awesome days in Shanghai it was time to make my way to Beijing. Knowing that I was close to Beijing I wanted to check a few of their most popular tourist attractions such as: The Great Wall of China, Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven. The day before leaving Shanghai I met a few people who lived in Beijing and advised me to visit Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven aside my number one choice which was The Great Wall. My excitement kicked in and I was able to book the last departure out of Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station to Beijing at 5:00pm the following day, there was no early or afternoon departures avalaible for purchase. The journey by train to Beijing was 5 hours and 40 minutes, if you are wanting to go anywhere else around China by train I would highly recommend buying your ticket in advance because they tend to sell out very fast, they offer different classes such as Coach & First class, I ended up choosing coach class for a fare of 518Yuan (one way).
This important high-speed railway station in the city was built to serve the bullet trains between Shanghai and Hangzhou, Nanjing, Suzhou, Wuxi, Fuzhou, Wenzhou, Nanchang, Xiamen, Beijing and several other cities in China.
View of Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station from the second floor.
- Passport. If you are a United States Citizen, you are required a visa. So make sure is valid.
- Before entering you will be going through security, just like the airports. So be aware of the items you pack & willing to bring.
- You are welcome to bring your suitcase, carry on and any other belongings. The train is equipped to get those to fit with no problem.
- ATM’s are available inside the station so if you are in need to get cash, you will be able to with no problem. Some may charge you a fee but thats normal.
- When boarding the train you are assigned a seat, it is not a train that you are welcome to seat anywhere, each passenger has their own seat assigned.
- I would highly recommend getting to your departure gate at least 40 minutes before boarding, the lines get very big and boarding first gives you better chances of saving a good spot for your suitcases.
- You can use the following link to view times of departures & pricing. (Shanghai Hongqiao info).
Commercial shops & restaurants breakdown within the station.
After exploring the station for a little while the boarding time was approaching and I was heading to my departure gate which was #12. The passengers started to line up and I was one of the first ones to board the train. The process didn’t take longer than 20 minutes and they do not ask you for your passport when boarding. All you have to show is your ticket and keep it in hand. When boarding the train you will be greeted by the crew and directed to where your sitting is at – be sure to place your smaller items on the overhead bins and if your suitcase is rather large that it won’t fit on the overheads, the staff will be able to help you with that right away.
View going down the escalators to board the train.
Finally, I am inside the train.
The restrooms are located within every entrance of the train, they have one located on the right and left hand side. Very well equipped and clean. Within the same section where the restrooms you will find a hot water dispenser section where you can freely pour yourself a glass of tea or prepare your noodles on the go which a majority of the passengers were eating while being on board. The seats were comfortable and you are able to recline them as well. When everyone was on board, the crew started to walk through the isle asking to see your ticket and checking something off from a clipboard they had in hand, I believe thats a way for them to keep track of the passengers and seats.
Bottom line, the train ride was pleasant and the crew was friendly. Throughout the train ride the crews passes offering water, soda, wine, beer and snacks for purchase, hefty pricing of course. I was able to catch a few good hours of sleep and woke up with an hour to go until arrival in Beijing. i have zero complaints about the station and the service they provided and I plan to return to Shanghai and use the same train to visit other cities in China, if you are wanting to try something different rather than flying – be sure to use the train service.
Have you used this train before? If so, what cities did you visit and what cities do you all recommend me?