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Overnight Train to Yangshuo, China

Last week, I was lucky enough to be sent to China for a Dragonfly program. I got to visit Yangshuo, a place that has been on my list for quite a while. Yangshuo is in a valley surrounded by the stunning Karst mountains. Yangshuo is world famous for its beauty and also world class rock climbing. More on that later :)

To get there, we left Hong Kong via the MTR and crossed the border into China where we hopped on an overnight "hard sleeper" train. This was my first overnight train experience! I thought the train was very nice and clean and relatively quiet. There are six people sleeping per little doorless "room" so it is quite tight. The middle and top bunks are too low to properly sit up in. Often people snore, babies cry, people fart and smoking is allowed in the spaces between cars so much of the experience depends on who is around you. Lucky for us, we didn't experience too much of that and I had a good night's sleep.

Here is a photo of Tony's bed. Don't let the GoPro fool you, it is not as spacious as it looks. 


My bunk


In the above photos, the train is very empty. When we got on, there weren't many people at all. That all changed when we pulled into Guangzhou and our peaceful train filled to the brim with people. A family from the UK pilled into the compartment next to mine and we started chatting and sharing snacks. They even took a selfie with me. There is also a Chinese lady in the photo who I think realized what was going on and decided to smile too. 

We did experience some banging and bumping when the train started moving and came to a stop and a few other random times. I think it probably had something to do with the hydraulics between the cars but I'm not sure. The first time it happened, I was unnerved but I got used to it. On the way back we rode with the school kids. One of the teachers was a bit freaked out by it. She has been on many overnight trains in Europe and they are very smooth with no jolting. I guess the trains in China are safe. No one seemed upset or nervous and it happened both on the way there and on the way back, so I guess the bumping is normal.