It was the Dragon Boat Festival last weekend and our destination was Henan province (河南省) in Central China. Marco, Richard and I took the train to the provincial capital, Zheng Zhou (郑州). Zheng Zhou is a major train hub in China. Trains to HKG has a stopover in this place. There isn’t much to see here but it’s a great place to catch the next train to your destination.
From Beijing to Zheng Zhou, there are several types of train which you can enjoy. You can check train schedules and prices at http://www.huochepiao.com. The website is in Chinese so language skills is a must. You also need to have a computer which can write Chinese characters.
The fastest train at present in China are the “D” trains. It takes roughly 4-1/2 to 5 hours to reach Zhengzhou. The cost of a ticket is RMB213 for the regular class and RMB257 for the special class. You can purchase these tickets 20 days in advance at the train station, hotels, travel agencies or the small ticket stations which you can find around the city. Purchasing train tickets in other sites besides the train station will incur a surcharge from RMB10 and up.
Here’s a current daily schedule of the D train from Beijing to Zhengzhou and back to Beijing:
- D133 : 0654 – 1158 / D134 : 0722 – 1226
- D123 : 0947 – 1446 / D124 : 1107 – 1611
- D125 : 1232 – 1737 / D136 : 1219 – 1722
- D135 : 1246 – 1750 / D122 : 1441 – 1927
- D131 : 1756 – 2243 / D132 : 1806 – 2257
Should you wish to maximize your time, you can take the overnight train to Zhengzhou which is K179 (2238-0706+1) and the return to Beijing is K402 (2225-0604+1). A ticket on this train cost RMB 94 (soft seat), RMB 169 (hard sleeper), RMB 264 (soft sleeper). Hard sleepers are 6 beds in an open cabin, while soft sleeper are 4 beds in a closed cabin. Prices for upper, middle and lower bunks vary with the upper bunk as the cheapest.
Take note.. these trains depart from Beijing West Station and the nearest subway stop is Military Museum. Also, trains depart on time and usually don’t allow people to board 5 minutes before departure.
Next on my blog.. a 3-day itinerary to Henan province.