In 2016, China will be crisscrossing the country with even more high-speed railways. This is good news for travelers because rail is a great way to see China. There are no delays and no tedious check-in lines. You get to see so much of the country as you travel, plus, with high-speed trains that zoom up to 300kph/180mph it’s faster than ever. We’re particularly excited about these three new lines scheduled to open in 2016:
A high-speed train or CRH (China Railway High-speed) train shoots past to its destination
Kunming – Shanghai: 10 hrs. The journey from the port mega-city Shanghai to the capital of Yunnan, China’s year-round hub for adventure travel and cultural immersion, was once an 18 hour ride by train. This new line, shaves off almost half the time and makes one of our favorite China destinations that much more accessible for travelers.
Local elders play a lively game of Mahjong in Lijiang Old Town, Yunnan
Kunming is the launchpad for all kinds of adventures in Yunnan province. Head northwest to the spectacular Tiger Leaping Gorge, or to the quaint old town of Dali to explore the local Bai architecture. See all the Yunnan highlights on our classic Yunnan tour.
Chengdu – Chongqing: 1.5hrs. Chengdu is the best place to see China’s pandas. It’s also a charming city with delicious, spicy food and elegant accommodation options like the Ritz-Carlton and the newly opened Temple House. Chongqing is the start of Yangtze river cruises. Now with this connection, it’s a lot easier for travelers to get from one city to the other. This train link also makes both cities just an easy flight away from the US with the United Airlines non-stop service between San Francisco and Chengdu.
Scrumptious home-style tofu in Chengdu
Discover Chengdu’s playful pandas, ancient archaeological sites and delicious food on a 5-day tour of Chengdu.
Hainan Island loop. 3hr 18min. This high-speed train will go around Hainan island, from Haikou, circle around the island to Sanya and back. Hainan Island is China’s premier beach location, with white sandy beaches and world-class resort hotels. Often referred to as the ‘Hawaii of China’, it is a playground for the rich and famous and host of high-profile international sailing and golfing events such as the Volvo Ocean Race and the World Celebrity ProAm.
There are many more railways under construction and we expect to see China ever more connected with each coming year. By 2020, China will be fully linked to Southeast Asia by rail, with Yunnan as the high-speed gateway into Laos, Thailand, and Malaysia.