There are some who say that one cannot truly experience life as a local without traveling by train through China. Indeed, it is a sometimes harrowing, but often entertaining, experience that provides a unique and intimate perspective on the Middle Kingdom.
While there are plenty of cheap and convenient domestic train routes that can take you from one destination to the next, there are a few noteworthy routes to consider for your next land-based travel excursion in China:
1. Chengdu to Kunming: This route, which stretches from the capitals of Sichuan and Yunnan, respectively, is marked by impressive terrain and architecture. As you pass over mountains, you can admire the astounding engineering that makes this route possible. The impressive views made the trip all the more enjoyable.
2. Guilin to Guiyang: Hailed as one of the most scenic train routes, the train from Guilin province to Guiyang, capital of Guizhou province, is marked by quaint minority villages that line the route.
3. Beijing to Lhasa: A classic route and perennial favorite, the train route from Beijing to Tibet’s capital Lhasa was not built without sacrifice – many died in the process of constructing the route. However, their work was not in vain. This route soars at 5,200 meters above sea level, and is an amazing experience in itself for sightseeing.
Regardless of which route and destination you choose, a trip by train will almost certainly lead to interesting interactions, new friendships and a perspective on China’s landscapes and people that you can’t get from other domestic travel experiences.
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