Shenzhen, China, April 2019: This morning I shall be traveling to the town of Yangshuo near Guilin. My first ever ride on a bullet train, leaving Shenzhen North station at 0721 and hopefully arriving by about 10 o’clock into Yangshuo. The town is a tourist hotspot renowned for its breathtaking scenery. Well, lets keep an open mind about what the Chinese call breathtaking, but in any event it’s got to be better than hanging around Shenzhen! Yes, I shall be mighty glad to leave this place, especially after yesterdays debacle – searching for accommodation that didn’t exists!
Ghost Accommodation – its never happened to me before. Yesterday I spent 2 hours looking for accommodation that I had booked on Booking.com some weeks ago only to find the property non-existent. At this stage its fair to say I wasn’t at all pleased with the situation (understatement). A phone call to the number booking.com hand published for the host confirmed any visitor to a new city their worst scenario – no booking! The plan was to stay near the Shenzhen North railway station so that I wouldn’t miss the early departure to Yangshuo. Back to the station, find some Wifi and formulate another plan. As luck would have it, there’s a Hostel here on the West Square of Shenzhen Station. They have space and even luckier for me, its a private room, and luckier still, at the same price I would have paid if the original accommodation was in existence! with all this good luck coming in my direction, I feel a whole lot better – I really can’t wait to leave this town. Next, I need to head over to the ticket hall and collect all my rail tickets I had pre-booked several weeks ago, this I’ve read, will save tons of time later tomorrow and beyond,
Passengers can only enter the station with Identification and of course a train ticket. My passport and ticket are quickly glanced over and I’m soon joining the next queue – the security scan. Not quite as stringent as the airport security, no need to get undressed for the China trains – its just a quick frisk! Once inside the departure hall one can find a MacDonald’s for coffee and a host of food outlets serving breakfast. Its a busy station, being the starting point for high-Speed bullet trains connecting China’s south with the rest of the country. Today’s train, G2902 from Shenzhen to Yangshuo at 0721 is on schedule according to the giant display board.
The platform opens 10 minutes before the train departs and once there, marked on the floor is a direction towards ones carriage and seating, in English to! Its all a pretty easy process, although I will admit to having some concerns with language barriers before arriving into China. The second class carriage is pretty basic but the seats are wide, has a pull down table from the seat ahead, power for charging phones and great big windows. Unfortunately the weather is overcast, misty, nothing much to see on this 2 hours and 42 minute journey.