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Public transportation in China is very developed and affordable. Going all around the country is quite easy, and trains are one of the best ways to move from one city to another. Yes, I just said very easy, even when one does not speak Chinese. English is the bridge language in China and it is always possible in the main hotels to find someone around with an understanding of English, but once one leaves the hotels, chances are that it will be very difficult to communicate with other people and here is why preparation is so important.
1- Plan your journey.
The first step is to know from where one has to go. In the biggest cities it is normal to have several train stations, some have more departures than others. Start by getting the right direction of the place you want to go and which one is the best arrival train station. Then contact the concierge of the hotel where you are staying he may be very helpful in the planning process, in high season it will be a must to buy your ticket days ahead, the concierge will write your details on a note, the first part for the cab to take you to the train station and the second is the date, times and class of train ticket which you can hand to the ticket agent.
2: Catch a cab:
Show him the paper with the train Station where you want to go and be sure he runs the taxi meter.
3: Familiarize yourself with the Station:
It is frequent to have bus and train stations together, so once you reach the station just follow the right signs.
4- Find the ticket office:
5- Buy the ticket:
Even when there are automatic machines tourists only can buy at the window. So show your piece of paper with the instructions of what train ticket you want, hand the money and your passport. The good thing is that they can sell you train tickets from any city of China to any other city in the country. So this may be a good moment to buy other tickets you may need.
6- Locate the main entrance to the station and go through security.
7- Once in the station check the screens to find the information of your train and from which gate is departing.
8- 20 minutes before your departure go to your gate.
Once the gate open pass the ticket trough the electronic machine to get access to the platform.
9- Find the right car number:
It is in the top right under the destination, next to it is your seat number. Once in the car find your seat and enjoy the journey.
10- the train may stop at different stations before reaching your destination, but no worries the stops will be announced in English as well
11- Save your ticket:
You will need it to leave the arrival station since you have to put it once again in the electronic machines.
12- Once one is in the arrival train station chose your mean of transportation; If is a cab just get in the line and await for your turn to board the taxi.
You see, it is not difficult at all to ride a train in China. You just need a little of patience like almost anything in China, but it is really an affordable and exiting way to get from one city to another.