My experience of using a ‘standing ticket’ on China’s long distance trains. Holy cow….

In my article How to use the long distance trains in China. I promised to provide an update following my experience of travelling a Chinese train using a standing ticket, well let me tell you, it is not pretty! I try to find a positive in many situations but admittedly my experiences travelling with a standing ticket long distance has been simply awful but then again what did I expect? I left the purchase of our tickets to the last minute…twice.

One journey was a sixteen hour journey to Shanghai and another, a twenty two hour journey to Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. I’d read on forums that you may be able to upgrade your ticket when on-board but unfortunately that was not an option for as the trains were SO busy. There were literally people everywhere in the carriages, (standing tickets are mixed in with the hard seats so you can watch people be comfortable while you are miserable), sitting in aisles on plastic stools or buckets some folk brought with them, sitting on luggage, bags of rice, on each other or maintaining the squat position for hours on end. I saw one man fall into a deep sleep, upright with his head against the door. I sat on my backpack on the first journey with my head resting against the sink and sat on a plastic bag on the next. On both occasions I slept outside a toilet which was horrific with all the normal activity and the constant spitting. I have to say the local people, who were in the same boat as us were so refreshing as they didn’t seem to mind the situation. They thought it was very funny that westeners were sleeping on the floor with them and we often got our picture taken. No one spoke English so we all smiled and chuckled together when an event occurred, such as when someone got caught smoking by the train guard or when someone woke themselves up snoring.

However in the middle of the night exhausted and cold, nothing could make me smile. The constant smoking, spitting into the loo, overflowing bins and people stepping on me caused me to be major grumpy.

After the first trip I became really poorly for a week, like the weakling I am, likely from germs and cold floors. Don’t do it to yourself, you deserve better… book ahead for a seat or a sleeper ticket.

2 thoughts on “My experience of using a ‘standing ticket’ on China’s long distance trains. Holy cow….

  1. Pingback: How to use the long distance trains in China.  | Travel in your thirties

  2. Pingback: Backpacking China. (22/09/17 to 20/10/17) | Travel in your thirties

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