Allen On Travel

A 30 year veteran of world travel (but knows nil about Orlando-area attractions), Will Allen III writes about his weekly odysseys by air on business and how the airlines rob him--and you--of time, the most precious commodity on earth. Time: It's all we have, and the airlines routinely take it from us. This blog challenges the airlines to keep their basic promises.

My Photo
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina, United States

Born 1948 in Kinston, NC and raised there in beautiful eastern North Carolina, I now live in Raleigh and commute around the country and the world.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

China Rail Travel: Advice Needed

Having traveled in China, I am familiar with getting around by air, but not by rail. My wife and I are planning a family trip to Beijing, Lhasa (Tibet), Guilin (Gangxi), and possibly Hong Kong in December, and we want to take several long legs by train.

However, we have discouraging information from native Chinese sources about travel by train in China, even on the supposedly posh "D" trains and "Z" trains. We have been warned that smoking is rampant on even the upscale trains in China, including in the most expensive private "soft" compartment cars.

We are told that even on the newest high speed trains passengers smoke everywhere and ignore non-smoking signs. Rampant smoking occurs, we've been advised, also on the trains to Lhasa, Tibet, from Beijing, a two-day trip which feature piped-in oxygen at the high altitudes en route.

We will be bringing our two kids, ages 12 and 7, with us, and none of us wants to be subjected to clouds of smoke from one end of a Chinese train to the other.

Is there anyone out there who has recent experience traveling by train in China and can give us some reliable, hard facts on this subject? If people smoke only in club cars and diners, we can tolerate it, but not if the smoke is pervasive and impossible to avoid.

We are especially (but not only) concerned about the Beijing-Lhasa trains.

Many thanks.


Blogger Jeremy said...

Hi Allen,

I spoke to my sister who lived in China for 6 months and traveled around quite a bit. She said what you've heard is basically correct in her experience. However she says most Chinese show a lot of respect for the needs of the foreign tourists, and will probably stop smoking if asked. She suggests just pointing at the apparently prominent No Smoking signs if you don't speak any Chinese. She couldn't comment on the Tibet train specifically.

9/13/2010 3:20 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

There are a lot of nationalities that compete most vigorously to be labelled the "most ignorant in the world" when it comes to ignoring "no smoking" signs. Unfortunately, the Chinese are one of the nationalities who compete for this title. Even if 90% of them stopped smoking when asked (which I seriously doubt) you're still going to be filled with smoke.

9/16/2010 11:44 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home