China’s train system is the largest train network in the world, connecting extensive parts of the country and cutting commute times for the millions using it. Trains can be “slow” type (K,Z and Y trains) but more and more of the tracks are being converted for the bullet trains, going sometimes at 300 kph (D and G trains).
The line between Shanghai and Xi’an that opened about a year ago, completed the “Golden Triangle” of Beijing – Shanghai – Xi’an, opening also more travel options in between these cities, some better known but others, not so much, and can provide an interesting look into China’s many faces.
Most of the first part of the tracks is shared with the Shanghai – Beijing line which we’ve wrote about before (click here to read about). Here are a few more places you can check out between Shanghai and Xi’an:
Suzhou (north station about 20-25 minutes from Shanghai)
Located in the Jiangsu province, Suzhou is connected to the historical Grand Canal and is mostly known for its beautiful gardens, 8 are even recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites! Among then The Garden of the Master of Nets and Lingering Garden. If you have time, pay a visit to Tiger Hill and experience the air of calm that resonates from the Pagoda and ancient temple. Shoppers are taken care of too and can browse the beautiful embroidery, silk fans, musical instruments, lanterns and jade carvings to their heart’s content.
As one of the five sacred mountains in China, Huashan has also the most dangerous hiking trail in the world! Monks, nuns and pilgrims carved a network of stairs and trails leading to the mountain’s peaks But don’t worry! you don’t have to take it – there are also cable cars running up and down the mountain. You can even stay on top of the mountain over-night, just don’t expect high-level hotels or a good breakfast. Food is still being delivered up the mountain on the backs of local porters and so eating options are very limited on the top.
The grottos of Longmen caves are of the wonders of China and if you have a chance to stop on the way and stay even for the night. The caves complex is filled with Buddhists statues and were built and carved along approximately 500 years. No surprise it is a UNESCO world heritage site today. Other than the caves, you can also visit the White Horse Temple or even take another day tour to visit the famous Shaolin Temple.
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