I woke, finished packing and checked out of the New World Beijing Hotel. Sad to leave such a fantastic room, but satisfied enough with my time and experience in Beijing and ready for the next experience.
Today I'd head about three hours west by Bullet Train to Taiyuan (initially). Getting there was about a 20 minute walk with pack and daybag to Ciqikuo metro station. From there, about a 30 minute metro ride on line 7 to Beijing West station.
A bit about Beijing metro - In short, its fantastic. Colour coded, numbered, well laid out, regular trains, easy to navigate and understand, no different to the Tokyo or London systems. The trains run every few minutes and have that designated automatic door docking spot behind glass so you know where to wait. There are just seats along the carriage walls so most of the time you'll be standing!
A unique feature of the train network was advertising screens outside the train, on the inside of the tunnel wall, visible through the windows as the train speeds by. The major annoying part of the metro was every entry to a station required a full security check with scanners for bags.
Once I arrived at Beijing West my challenge was to find the place to pick up tickets I had prebookee for my bullet train. With previous advice, I exited at B South, went outside and guessed where the ticket hall was near a blocked off/ closed down ticket area.
After a brief wait in a "business class lounge" (free orange drink and cookies) I headed to carriage 8, seat 1a for my business class (highest class) train ride. This ticket cost me around $100aud. It was pretty deluxe! 5 seats to the cabin, set apart that recline into beds. The trip came with lunch which was OK.
The train whizzed us off to Taiyuan mostly travelling around 300km/p/hr.Read more