Sleeper train from Shanghai to Kunming, China, October 2015


We took a 40-hour train ride on a K train in China! The train system is categorized by letters and K is an older, slower class but popular and affordable. If you want to learn more, seat61.com could tell you all about it but I’m here to say it worked well for us.  It felt to us like a Hogwart’s train and just as adventurous.

 Truly making friends on the train. Notice the baby’s split pants for potty training. This little guy has a diaper on, but far more frequently we saw bare bottoms for ease of toileting.

We paid about $400 for the six of us, which included two nights accommodation, such as it was.  We left from the Shanghai train station,though not the one we went to at first. There are four train stations in Shanghai, and we left from the South Shanghai Train Station. Luckily, we had given ourselves plenty of time. So though we were bummed to schlep our gear back 12 stops on the subway in the direction we had just come from, at least we wouldn’t miss the train. Here is the station:

 We went halfway across China in an 18-car train full of people- families, kids, single people. They were all traveling for the holiday. We didn’t see any other foreigners. Here are Really and Cleverly on top bunks:


 View from the ladder to my top bunk. You can see luggage storage to the top left and fold-out seats with table to lower left:

 Each passenger car had 66 bunks, eleven sections with 2 triple bunks each.  Somehow we managed to get all middle and top bunks for the six of us- not one of the desireable bottom bunks! The bottom bunks cost more and sell out first, we later learned. It was fine, we just reclined or sat at one of the fold-out window seats, of which there were two per section. I slept on a top bunk. They were narrow but comfortable enough; the kids loved it of course! This is Fiercely’s comic “bedtime” showing the twins on their bunk bed jungle gym as they annoy other passengers!

 We brought food (peanuts, apples, vacuum packed tofu)with us and bought some from sellers at stops on the way- lots of noodle bowls made with boiling water available from spigots at every car. We listened to music and what sounded like bedtime stories at night, broadcast over he train intercom, all in Chinese of course. There was the odd American song- “you are my sunshine” and something from a Disney movie- in English. The train trundled westward, stopping occasionally and shaking disturbingly at times. We amused ourselves with books, a DVD until the computer battery ran out, and looking out the window. 

  A view out the window.

The bathrooms were amusing; they emptied directly onto the tracks! Yes, they stank. Also, there was a lot of cigarette smoking, and the smoke was unavoidable due to the close quarters. But we made it to Kunming. Next post on Kunming, China!

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