Four Types of Train Seats in China

If you want a different China tours, you can try a train tour. The following give you the information about four types of seats in Chinese train.

Instead of having “first” or “second” class tickets, the Chinese has four classes: Hard Seat, Soft Seat, Hard Sleeper, and Soft Sleeper.

Note that “hard” and “soft” doesn’t literally describe the softness since these days all seats and bunks have padding. Also, not every class is available for every train (for instance, short distance trains won’t have sleeper classes while many super-long distance ones will have only sleeper classes).

HARD SEAT (硬座 = “ing zwoh”): Unless you’re (1) dirt poor, (2) going a very short distance, or (3) want to “keep it real” and experiencing life with the masses, I’d recommend avoiding Hard Seat class. As you can imagine in a country with a large, poor population, the cheapest classes are typically crowded and uncomfortable. With no assigned seating, you’ll start by being out-elbowed by hundreds of Chinese locals as everyone squeezes shoulder to shoulder on benches. On longer trips, the floor fills up with trash, watermelon rinds, cigarette butts, seeds, etc. Similarly, the toilets get gross quickly since there are a lot more people using them (Tip: you can also sneak over and use the cleaner soft sleeper toilets, which include western-style toilets).

SOFT SEAT (软座 = “rwon zuo”): A considerable improvement in comfort and elbow room, but only available on a limited number of trains (mostly shorter trains between major cities). In addition to having an actual assigned seat, you’ll usually find cleaner toilets (and a choice of Western or squat).

HARD SLEEPER (硬卧 = “ing woh”): The best value for what you get in China, Hard Sleeper is about 2/3 the price of the more expensive Soft Sleeper class. Each carriage is divided into open compartments with 6 sleeping berths (lower, middle, and upper bunk). Pricing is based on bunk position: For some reason, the bottom bunk is the most expensive (I suppose because you have under-bed storage and don’t need to climb up).

SOFT SLEEPER (软卧 = “rwon woh”): Is available as either a 2 or 4 bunk private compartment with a locking door (good for a small group traveling together). Considerably more comfortable and roomier than Hard Sleeper, newer trains even have individual TV screens and outlets for your laptop. Toilets are also cleaner with choice of Western or squat.

If you want last minute China travel deals and different travel experience, you can try to consider train travel in China.

  1. 2013/01/23(水) 17:51:06|
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