Tag Archives: Beijing Travel guide

Beijing to Xian: Train Experience Part 1: Buying the Tickets

For our 2nd night in Beijing, instead of sleeping in a hotel, we opted to ride the sleeper train going to Xian, China. Anyway, I wasn’t able to get pictures of the Beijing west station, so I grabbed some of them from the net–so, forgive me once again! ūüė¶

BUYING THE TICKETS

Anyway, after a whole day touring the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace, our tour guide drop-us off the Beijing West train station. But before that I asked her to write the Chinese words “Please let us buy ticket going to Xian, a soft-sleeper for 4 persons”. If you are going to D-I-Y in buying train tickets, I really suggest you to put those words in Chinese…

We were dropped off in the 2nd level of the train station, which I later realized is the departure area. And take note, we still don’t have tickets since all the netizens out there says that the tickets can easily be bought in the train station, and reserving it online will cost much more money.

Beijing West Railway Station (photo from Baycrest Photos in Panoramio)

So, I don’t have the freaking idea where to buy tickets! I was so stressed because my family looks very tired already and I want them to rest. And since I was the coordinator of this trip, I should be held responsible. So, I tried asking the counters, which seems to be the ones where a lot of Chinese are lining up and buying tickets (take note, I’m still in the 2nd floor, I don’t know that there was a ground floor yet!); so, I also lined up and then I showed them the piece of paper and they waved their hands and said “Mei-yo” (forgive how I spell it) which I learned from some Taiwanese movies… that it means “No” or “None”. I was so shocked that I frowned out them and said “Wei Shi Ma” which means Why?.. Then they talked to me in Chinese and I don’t understand it anymore… the other one pointed her hands to her right which signaled that I should go there… and I’m like “where?” instead of going where she pointed me at, ¬†I just went to my family, and I just tried to figure out the situation.

I also asked the policeman or security guard or whatever that is wearing blue there, but he also can’t speak English! For God’s sake, I was really appalled and just can’t believe what is happening.

My Phone which is searching for “How to Buy Tickets in Beijing west train station” was taking too long to load… and I know I’m already spending a lot of money for that. There is no wifi there, only my phone and my postpaid subscription in the Philippines. Anyway, since the internet is my friend when it comes to travel, I searched for an internet shop nearby and thank God I saw one! The internet shop is located near the stairs, and then I realized that there is somehow a “ground floor”. When I’m almost got inside the internet cafe, a Chinese man who looks so curious, made me think maybe he can help (although it can be dangerous at times); I then showed him what is written in the note, and he said “Ah! Ticket?!” and I said “Yes! Yes!” then he pointed me to go downstairs and I’m like hesitant to do so…. So, he escorted me down…. and pointing to the “Vast Ticket Station” and he also assisted me to go to the right line. I was really happy and thankful to him.

For the random man, who helped me… I’m really thankful for you! Whoever you are.. God Bless you!

Well, now I learned that the ticket buying counters of the train station is downstairs; so if ever the taxi dropped you off at the second floor or like a “departure hall” already, just go down, you can use the stairs at either side of the building (it is outside the building, no need to go in, and you will also not be able to go inside if you don’t have tickets). You will notice it is the ticket-buying counters if you see a large sign (just like in the airport where flights are written), and you can go inside without anyone asking for your ticket ūüôā

Remember, no one speak clear english there, so foreigners like me, it will really be hard… but hope this few tips above will help you. Just let me repeat it:

  1.  The ticket counters are on the ground floor of the train station
  2. The departure halls are in the second floor of the station

Anyway, if you wanna reserve your tickets weeks before your trip, you can reserve in this website, but it will be much costlier than buying it on the station itself:

How to Get to the Railway Station *from Beijing-Travels
  • By subway: the under construction of subway line 9 will be connected with the station by 2012.
  • By Bus: No.9, 21, 40, 47, 50, 52, 54, 65, 67, 205, 209, 212, 301, 319, 320, 373, 374, 387, 414, 437, 609, 616, 661, 663, 673, 694, 695, 741, 802, 823, 937 (branch), 937 (expert), Te 2 to Beijing West Railway Station.
  • By taxi: The cost from midtown Beijing to Beijing west Railway Station is normally around 40CNY P280.00 or $7 USD depending on the type of taxis

Here are the train Schedule and Fares from (Beijing Travel), I also converted the price, so the price you see is in this following order CNY, PHP, USD)

Train No. Departs Arrives Seat Fares Hard Sleeper Fares Soft Sleeper
T151 1:59pm 3:42am
  • Y150,
  • P1050,
  • $24.50
  • Y256/265/274
  • P1792/1855/1918
  • $41.67/43.13/44.6
  • Y400/417
  • P2800/2919
  • $65.11/$67.88
T41* 3:52pm 5:37am
  • Y158
  • P1106
  • $25.72
  • Y270/281/290
  • P1890/1967/2030
  • ¬†$44/46/47
  • Y 424/442
  • P2968/3094
  • $69/ $72
T55 4:43pm 6:12am
  • Y150
  • P1050
  • $25
  • ¬†Y 256/265/274
  • P1792/1855/1918
  • $42/43.13/44.6
  • Y400/417
  • P2800/2919
  • $65.11/$67.88
T231 4:59pm 6:47am
  • ¬†Y150
  • P1050
  • $25
  • ¬† ¬†Y ¬†256/265/274
  • P1792/1855/1918
  • ¬† ¬†$42/43.13/44.6
  • Y400/417
  • P2800/2919
  • $65.11/$67.88
T75* 5:50pm 7:14am
  • Y150
  • P1050
  • $25
  • Y256/265/274
  • P1792/1855/1918
  • ¬†$42/43.13/44.6
  • Y400/417
  • P2800/2919
  • $65.11/$67.88
T7 6:29pm 7:44am
  • Y158
  • P1106
  • $25.72
  • Y270/281/290
  • P1890/1967/2030
  • $44/46/47
  • Y 424/442
  • P2968/3094
  • $69/ $72
Z19* 7:57pm 7:58am -/-
  • Y270/281/290
  • P1890/1967/2030
  • $44/46/47
  • ¬†Y 424/442
  • P2968/3094
  • $69/ $72
Z53* 8:03pm 8:12am
  • Y158
  • P1106
  • $25.72
  • ¬†Y270/281/290
  • P1890/1967/2030
  • $44/46/47
  • Y 424/442
  • P2968/3094
  • $69/ $72
T43/T46* 8:30pm 9:00am
  • Y158
  • P1106
  • $25.72
  • ¬†Y270/281/290
  • P1890/1967/2030
  • $44/46/47
  • Y 424/442
  • P2968/3094
  • $69/ $72
K1363 9:52pm Xi’an South

12:43pm

  • Y150
  • P1050
  • $25
  • Y256/265/274
  • P1792/1855/1918
  • ¬†$42/43.13/44.6
  • Y400/417
  • P2800/2919
  • $65.11/$67.88
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May 2011: Beijing and Xian: MY ITINERARY AND BUDGET!

There are a lot of people who buy tour packages for Beijing in a very expensive price ($1000 USD) When in truth and in fact you can go here and tour the city for less than Php 10,000 or ($232 USD) airfare included.

Click links to see my review/posts about that place. ūüôā

For our Beijing and Xian trip, we spent PhP 31,000. This includes everything, from airfare, land accommodations to visas. But the reason which made this a bit expensive is that we opted to choose to travel to Xian and sleep on Soft-berth (4-bed) sleepers on the train (Beijing-Xian) and that our air ticket was more on the expensive side.

We didn’t avail the sale, since during that time I still don’t know the mechanisms of “seat sales”.

However, I always knew that If you will book to travel operators in the Philippines, they always give you the price of ($1000 USD or higher), so somehow I still made some savings.

Also take note that I arranged my tours directly to travel operators in China. All I did was booked my trip with them using the Internet!! And Chada! I saved at least 300USD! It is just like communicating with your travel agent here in the Philippines!

Anyway here is my itinerary for my Beijing and Xian Trip last May.

May 12, 2011‚ÄĒManila

–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Flightgoing to Beijing (we had a red eye flight)

May 13, 2011 Beijing-  Overall Costs (Php 2520.00 or $58.60 USD including transfers, day and night tours)

PLACES WE VISITED: Ming Tombs, Great Wall (Mutianyu), Birds Nest, Watercube, Wangfujing Street, Drive to the Central Business district.

  • arrive Beijing by 3 am and transfer and check in hotel (I arranged a transfer from airport to hotel which costs 250CNY or P1750.00 or $41USD, I arranged this because it is so early in the morning and we are scared to hire a taxi due to the bad comments of hiring taxis in Beijing. The costs is not per person, it is for the four of us. So, to know the costs per person, I divided the costs into 4, so each person will pay, P437.50 or $11 USD each. We used¬†www.gowithzz.com, they are the cheapest that I found in the net.
  • tour MING TOMBS (underground tomb), GREAT WALL (Mutianyu) –> for this tour we used Sinohotelguide and paid (P1,208.00) or ($28USD)¬†per person for a group tour. Don’t worry the tour group is just small, there will only be about 10 persons per group. We used http://www.sinohotelguide.com for this particular trip. The tour includes a lunch meal, which is really yummy!
  • For Night tour, we visited the Bird Nest, Water Cube, Tiananmen Square, Wanfujing (Yum!) and the Central Business District in Beijing, we booked a private tour, with Shane which costs 500CNY or P3500 or $81 USD for a 5 hour tour. The price is per group not per person. Since we are only four persons traveling, I divided the cost to 4, so each person costs P875.00 each or $20USD. If you will book to a group night tour, it will cost 50USD each, which is really expensive. So if you wanna tour the city by night, I suggest you email Shane. His website is¬†http://www.yangshane.weebly.com¬†or use Vivie (Unfortunately, I did not use her since I already booked my tour with Shane. Her rate is much cheaper, only 350CNY or P2450 or $57USD, you can contact her by email: vivietour@yahoo.com.cn

We opted Mutianyu because it is less crowded than the more famous Badaling. If you choose the Badaling side of the wall, the tour only costs ($18 USD) or P774.00

May 14, 2011 BEIJING  (total costs- P3908.00 or $90 USD)

  • tour TEMPLE OF HEAVEN, SUMMER PALACE, FORBIDDEN CITY, TIANAMEN SQUARE. We also used http://www.sinohotelguide.com. After the tour, the tour guide dropped us off the train station. Tour Costs $28 USD each or P1208.00
  • Evening- train going to Xian. We chose the soft sleeper. It is a cabin for 4 persons. The cost is 430CNY or P2700.00 (62 USD) for the higher bunk beds. I forgot the price for the lower bunk beds because the lower beds are more expensive than the higher bunk beds.

May 15, 2011 XIAN (P6235 OR 145 USD)

For our trip to Xian, we hired a private tour guide. They are the cheapest among the tour guides in Xian. The total costs for a 2 day 1 night tour package was $145 USD or P6235.00 each). This include 2 lunch and 1 dinner.

I recommend Xian Travel Service since they gave me the cheapest quotation for a private tour. If you will research in the net, the costs is almost the same if you choose a group tour.

Click here to see my experience in buying train tickets and my overnight train ride in China (Beijing to Xian) 

  • Transfer from Train Station to Hotel
  • tour XIAN CITY (Big Wild Goose Pagoda, City Wall, Shaanxi Provincial Museum, Great Mosque)
  • Evening: TANG DYNASTY AND DINNER SHOW (Dumpling banquet).. After this night, I don’t wanna eat dumplings for another year or two!

May 16, 2011 XIAN (P2700.00 or 62USD)

  • TERRA COTTA WARRIORS (8th¬†wonder of the world), EMPEROR QIN‚Äôs TOMB (1s¬†emperor of Qin Dynasty), HUAQING‚ÄôS POOL, ¬†HANYANG TOMB, BANPO MUSEUM
  • Evening- train going to Beijing (with cabin/ beds) same price as before:¬†430CNY or P2700.00 (62 USD).

 May 17, 2011 BEIJIING tour and Departure (P1208.00)

  • 8:00- Hutong and Shopping Tour, I opted again Sinohotelguide for this tour it costs $28USD each or¬†¬†(P1,208.00)
  • 6:30 pm- transfer going to airport, we used the taxi
  • 10:30- take flight going to Manila

May 18, 2011- HOME SWEET HOME

  • Arrive Manila
HOTEL ACCOMMODATION (P2237 each or $52 USD_)

TOTAL COSTS:

  • Airfare –> ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†PHP 11,000.00 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† $255.81
  • Land Tours ¬†and train tickets–> PHP 16,571.00 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† $385.38
  • Hotel Accommodation ¬† ¬† —-> ¬† ¬†PHP ¬† 2237.00 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† $ ¬† 52.02
  • Food (dinner etc. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†—-> ¬† ¬† PHP ¬† 1000.00 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† $ ¬† 23.25
  • Chinese Visa ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†—-> ¬† ¬† PHP ¬† 1400.00 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† $ ¬†32.56
  • ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† TOTAL ¬† ¬†PHP 32 208.00 ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† $ 749 USD
IF NO XIAN: ONLY BEIJING –> LAND ACCOMMODATION WITH A ¬†LOT OF TOURS –> 7,000.00PHP and if you chanced upon an airfare –> which is only 3000PhP then you only need to pay P10,000 for your beijing trip! this quotation is for a 4 days 3 nights stay in beijing.