China is home to the world’s largest network of high-speed rails, which connects Beijing with other notable destinations in the country. Quiet, fast, and efficient, bullet trains reach a top speed of 220 miles (354 kilometers) per hour. The longest route covers more than 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers) from Beijing south to Guangzhou.
Riding the high-speed railway from Beijing allows you to see Chinese countryside rarely glimpsed by visitors who opt to fly. What was once a minimum 9-hour trip between Beijing and Shanghai now takes just over five hours on the bullet train. The 5.5-hour train ride to Xian from Beijing is more economical than flying and just as fast once you factor in check-in and security lines. Many multi-day tours from Beijing to destinations such as Shandong, Shanghai, Pingyao, and Datong include at least one journey by bullet train.
Things to Know Before You Go
The bullet train is a must for those who like to see some scenery while they travel.
Confirm which station your train is departing from, as Beijing has more than one railway station.
Choose business-class, first-class, or second-class seats.
Most bullet trains offer electrical sockets and Wi-Fi.
Most high-speed trains in China and the train stations where they stop are wheelchair accessible, including elevators to platform level.
How to Get There
Beijing bullet trains typically depart from Beijing South Railway Station. The easiest way to get there is to take Line 4 of the subway. There’s also an airport shuttle that connects Beijing Capital International Airport to the train station.
When to Get There
Bullet trains depart Beijing several times throughout the day to cities including Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xian, Kunming, and Chengdu. It’s a good idea to book ahead of time, particularly on weekends and Chinese national holidays, to ensure you get the departure you want.
Rail Line by the Numbers
China’s high-speed train network connects more than 200 cities in 32 of China’s 34 provinces. Tracks cover some 15,500 miles (25,000 kilometers), accounting for two-thirds of the world’s high-speed train tracks. The network is expected to reach 23,600 miles (38,000 kilometers) by 2025, linking all Chinese cities with a population over 500,000, including Hong Kong.