Written by Zoe Stephens
So, you’re moving away from the serene bliss that is the karstic mountain landscape of Yangshuo and heading North East to the big capital? Looking just at a map, this journey is quite the trek. Indeed, it’s going to take you a good day or two. Although you’re traversing half of the country, the journey is relatively straightforward. Follow these easy steps and you’ll be out of the tropical heat and into the smog in no time! Or, use these steps backwards to help you get back to Yangshuo when you need an escape from the hustle and bustle of big city life.
Yangshuo town center – North Bus Station
Journey Time: 15 mins
Journey Price: 10 RMB
Start off in the center and grab yourself any of the scooter taxis floating around. They’re extremely hard to miss. In fact, they’ll be after you more than you’ll be after them.
North Bus Station – Guilin North Station
Journey Time: 2.5-3.5hrs
Journey Price: Bus tickets to Guilin center 22 RMB, South to North 10RMB
Once you’re at North Bus station, you need to get a bus going straight through to Guilin NORTH station. Unfortunately, there isn’t a bus going directly to Guilin North. Instead, you have to take a bus to Guilin South. They leave every 20 minutes and take 1.5hrs approx. You can buy tickets from the bus ticket office and don’t need one in advance. Then, you will need to get a bus or taxi to Guilin North from here.
Journey Price: 220+ RMB
Journey Time: 1.5hrs
If you can’t be bothered with the fuss of changing lots of times or have lots of luggage – it might be worth getting a taxi. The price can range, and if you use DiDi (Chinese taxi booking app) it will be much cheaper. Do settle a price before you drive, and make sure you’re not ripped off!
Guilin North – Beijing West
Journey Price: 236 RMB +
Journey Time: 10 – 27 hrs
The journey and price vary so much depending on how you go. If you get the fast train (10 hrs approx.), the prices vary; 806/1,249.5/2,530. The cheapest is for a 2nd class ticket, then a 1st class ticket, then a business class ticket. You’ll be riding in luxury here, and enjoy a journey less than half of the length as on the slow train.
Taking the slow train will add on a good few hours to your journey, with most taking around 25 hours, but some take up to 27 hours (ugh!). Prices here vary; 236/438/656. The cheapest is a seat. You may want to think twice before getting this option, especially if it’s a 27-hour train. The second option is a hard sleeper, where you’ll share a carriage with around 50 people, and very little privacy. Beds are stacked three high and beside each other in sections, meaning 6 to one section. Check out our blog post here on surviving the 27 hours train on a hard sleeper. The most expensive one is for a soft sleeper, where you’ll get a room with 3 other beds. If you’re lucky, you may get the room to yourself!
Booking tickets in advance is an absolute must. Get your tickets here. This site is particularly good if you’re not in China and need to book in advance.
Arrival in Beijing West
Depending on which train you get, you may arrive out of subway times (10/11pm). If this is the case, make sure you’re not ripped off by taxi drivers on your way to your final destination! When you arrive go outside past the taxi rank and take over/underpass to the other side by KFC. Shout around for ‘da biao’ (meter taxi) and these should give you a much better deal!