Knowledge Base,Stories,Travels

China for beginners: High-speed train to Guangzhou

Since the high-speed train line opened late last year, taking the train from Hong Kong to Shenzhen and Guangzhou (and beyond) is a quick and inexpensive alternative to travel to mainland China. Going from Hong Kong International Airport to West Kowloon train station takes only about 20 minutes, and from there it is only a short walk to the train station. What’s interesting and adds time to the trip is the fact that you cross the border twice. First, you enter Hong Kong just for a short period of time before leaving it again and entering China. I found the border control at West Kowloon station no problem at all. And I actually chose to take the train because of my past experience with travelling domestically in China. I prefer not having too many stops on my flight path for reasons that I wrote in my previous article.

Keep calm and drink tea when travelling in China.

The train fare wasn’t that much, so I opted for a round-trip first-class ticket for RMB 90. It comes with an automatic seat reservation. With me in the carriage were, besides many Chinese, a couple from Spain, who started complaining almost as soon as they boarded the train. They had apparently bought the first-class tickets to have wifi on board as well and were now discovering that it didn’t work, since one needed a special app (in all Chinese) to make use of the wifi. When the hostess came to ask about something to drink or eat and offered them tea, they rebuked that and instead asked for a beer, which wasn’t on offer. And on it went with their complaints louder and louder. It ended up with them being escorted from the carriage to I don’t know where. I hadn’t seen them exiting the train in Guangzhou, and when I left the train, their bags were still there. Oh well, clearly they have to learn a lot about Chinese culture and that making a scene is not the thing to do. Some people don’t understand that when you travel to a foreign country, different rules apply and it is wise to follow them. And if you don’t know them, watch and observe. I, on the other hand, was enjoying the train ride quietly, accompanied by a hot noodle soup and some delicious black tea.