China has an extensive high-speed rail network. But what is it like to travel by train in China? We tested Business Class on a short domestic route.
Traveling domestically in China by train can be affordable and a time-saving alternative to domestic flights, which are notoriously known for often being delayed. This 60-minute trip took us from Hangzhou to Shanghai. Before entering the train station, all foreigners must pick up their physical ticket at a dedicated counter for international passengers. Subsequently, go through a quick security check at the entrance.
Chinese train stations are huge, crowded, and at first glance feel chaotic. In this train station, the business class lounge was tucked away on the ground floor.
Upon arrival at the lounge, you are welcomed by a staff requesting your travel information. The lounge was spacious and divided into different zones, depending on whether you wanted to rest, eat, lounge, or work.
The lounge offered complimentary Wi-Fi and plenty of power outlets. However, the limited food offerings comprised of various small snacks and non-alcoholic drinks. The employees remind travelers when their platform gate has opened, which is 15 minutes before the train departure.
This high-speed train can travel up to 300 km/h. The Business Class carriage was located in the forepart of the train. A dedicated employee welcomes passengers and guides them to their seats. This is a quiet carriage, and there were five seats, which makes the whole carriage feel spacious and private.
The leather seat is comfortable and adjustable from sitting to flat angle. Blanket and pillow can be provided upon request. There is a power socket next to the seat, reading lamp, tray table, TV screen (which did not work), and complimentary Wi-Fi. Travelers are offered and non-alcoholic beverages and a package of various ‘exotic’ Chinese snacks. This included cookies, beef jerkey/dried tofu/dried duck neck.
Time flies quickly, and just before arrival, an employee reminds all passengers personally that the train will soon arrive.
We believe the train is a strong competitor to domestic flights and an ideal option for travellers. Tickets are generally three times the economy seats; this trip cost us 219 CNY (£24,50).
What We Love:
* Access to the lounge for relaxation before travelling.
* The spacious and silent carriage.
* Convenient seat with adjustable angles.