Touring China By Rail

“Touring China By Rail,” published in BootsNAll on Oct. 18, 2012

I arrived in Guangzhou after midnight. I didn’t know of any hotels there or any tourist attractions, so I got into a taxi and told the driver, “Take me downtown. Take me to a hotel.”

This is the freedom of traveling in China in 2012. With railroad lines running over 91,000 kilometers–linking everywhere from Mohe County (population 83,465), at the northernmost tip of China, to Hainan, the island paradise south of China’s mainland; from Tonghua, 100 kilometers away from North Korea, to Kashgar in the far west, where the sun rises at 8 a.m. and sets at 10 p.m.–travel is cheap and easy.

Cities are densely populated and easily navigable by public transportation. Lodging is as cheap as $2 USD a night in some cities. The dynamic development of China in the past few decades makes right now an incredible time to witness the land and culture that 5,000 years of dynasties, uprisings, revolutions, and unprecedented cultural reforms and economic boom have created.

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Feature photo by Wu Cheng, used with her permission.