11. PROs & CONs!!! Train from Beijing→Hong Kong

What are the PROs and CONs in taking a 25h train to Hong Kong?
PROs: 1) Cheapest Option. 2) Comfortable bed compartment 3) Huge Variety of people from all backgrounds and of all ages, who are very eager to talk to tourists. You will definitely not be bored!
CONs: 1) Linen is provided, but not changed so bring a towel to sleep on 2) Do not even think about eating at the restaurant. Bring your own food. 3) Not much in terms of sightseeing as the rails cross mostly open fields.

Complete Itinerary, Transports, Accommodation: Around the world in 50 days

About to miss the train? Then get some exercise!

On day 11, we were about to embark on a 25-hour train ride to Hong Kong, and we could not have been more excited. We got up very early and felt relaxed. We had several hours to get to the departing terminal. Plenty of time, or so we thought…
We hailed a taxi and asked him to take us directly to the station, which was only down the street. Admittedly a very long street, but still just a car ride along a straight road, with no turns or detours. What we had not taken into consideration was the insane traffic. This is Beijing, people!
We got stuck in a traffic jam and spent almost an hour in congestion. Our driver noticed that we were getting worried, and we could tell that he was doing his best to get us there faster. Finally, we decided that our best option would be to RUN the rest of the way, even though we were carrying three big backpacks (Vedran was carrying one in front). We jumped out of the stuck taxi and started our mini marathon, in the 40C heat. In an unrelated topic, travelling is an excellent way to get in shape☺.

About to cry? Make it a funny memory!

The railway station was huge. We ran up and down several stairs, back and forth through several gates, and pushed through crowds and crowds of people. We knew we were running out of time, our clothes completely drenched in sweat, we would probably miss the train, and one of us (no names) was reaching his/her tear-limit (tears forming in the eyes). We will let you speculate which one of your guides this is referring to.
It was one of those days, dear friend. Your young travellers had not yet experienced what it is like being stranded in a foreign country without any way out. The next time this would happen would be in 2016, when we were stranded in French Polynesia due to airline strikes. Only this time, it became one of our most treasured and romantic memories! Stayed tuned for that story.
We made it to the train 2 min before it departed, and literally fell into our compartment just as the train started moving. Oh the Joy!!! We made it! Now, let us tell you some of the PROs and CONs with travelling through China in a train.


The people you will meet, regardless of age, will be amazing. We shared our compartment with a middle aged Chinese man who was travelling to Hong Kong for work. Although he did not speak any English and we did not speak Mandarin, we managed somehow to communicate. He gave us a very friendly impression, especially in the way he handled a little girl who was also sharing the compartment. She kept jumping on his bed as he was trying to sleep. He played with her, even though he was exhausted, and grunted at her in a loving manner as if to tell her he would bite her if she continued.
The little girl was about 10 years old. Her mother was a French woman, married to a Chinese business man living in Hong Kong. Mother and daughter were on their way to join the father in Hong Kong. The French lady did not speak any English, only a bit of Mandarin. Dilek had studied French in school, and even attended summer language courses in the south of France, but language is a novelty and must be maintained in order to speak effortlessly. Since Dilek had not spoken the language in many years, communication with the lady was a bit strained at first, but after a 25-hour ride with this lady, it triggered Dilek’s memory and the words started returning. We ended up having quite a nice conversation.
On the train was also a young woman from Beijing who was travelling to Hong Kong to study English. She was super happy to talk to us (just like most English speakers in China). Her compartment buddy was a teenage boy, returning to Hong Kong after a weekend trip to Beijing. The two of them were very eager to tell us about all the Hong Kong sites, and we gladly took notes (even though we already had an itinerary for our Hong Kong visit). The young woman suggested that we should solicit the teenage boy as a guide during our stay in Hong Kong, and we could tell that the boy was interested in the idea. We had to politely decline, as we were on a tight schedule (like we usually are), and we sincerely hope that we didn’t hurt anybody’s feelings.


There are 2 major cons.
No 1) Do not even think about eating at the restaurant cart. The food is stored in a small closet on the floor, and not refreshed between trips. We did eat it, and were ok stomach wise, but it is still not recommended.
On a side note, we would like to recommend to always take a cholera capsule before any long trip, even if you are not going to visit cholera stricken areas. The reason is that cholera medication gives an overall stomach protection, and we believe that this is one of the reasons why we have NEVER had any stomach problems on our trips, weather we are in India, Africa, South America, camping sites, rural areas, farms…or anywhere else. We will post a separate blog on how to stay healthy during travel.
No 2) The beds, albeit comfortable, are not changed. They seemed clean when we entered, and that is why we enjoyed a good night’s sleep in them. But we discovered, as we were leaving the train the next day, that the conductors do not change the sheets for the next passengers. They simply make the beds and try to make them look as if they have not been slept in. It honestly felt really disgusting, and we could not wait to get to the nearest shower.
And thus begins the Hong Kong part of our journey...
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