First Day #SoloTravel in China, I took the wrong train for 10 hours ride

9:25:00 AM



“If I am being asked to describe 3 words to all of my journeys in China, I will definitely say : PAIN, BRAVE, INCREDIBLE”

My Solo Travel in China was started on 26 October 2016. I decided to move out of Xi’an (the city where I landed in China) heading to Jiuzhaigou National Park. I know this trip would be challenging as some of people said that I am a brave girl when choosing this route. If you haven’t know my route, it was started from Xi’an and then going south and ended up in Shangri-la. For this plan, I should pass 3 provinces and more than 10 cities in China. But it turned out to be 4 provinces.
To go to Jiuzhaigou national park where located in Sichuan Provinces, I have to take train heading to Guangyuan for 8 hours and then continue with the bus for another 7 hours. I read on some articles before that :

There are 3 ways to buy train ticket in China :
1.   Book online via official China Railway website (in chinese and no English), this one absolutely wasn’t my choice.
2.   Book in locket counter at the station, as I read on some articles, usually there will be so many people get in line to buy the ticket, and mostly it would take 2 hours.
3.   Book via online travel agents, there are 3 travel agents (www.chinatravelguide.com, www.china-train-ticket.com, www.etripchina.com), which you can book online train ticket in China. After trying all of those three, I chose www.etripchina.com as this one is easier to use, user friendly and has the cheapest price among the others. They will charge you around 10-20 rmb in every ticket. But you don’t have to get in line for 2 hours. You just need to show your booking number and change it into valid ticket in special ticket counter at the station.
Xi'an Railway Station
I got my booking number train ticket with route Xi’an to Guangyuan. When arrived in Xi’an station, you just can go to ticket office counter and show your booking number along with passport. Everything went okay after 

"the lady said that the passport number that I submitted on online booking didn’t match to my passport number"

That being said, I missed put 1 number of my actual passport number. The booking ticket was denied and I had to buy the new ticket. So, I went to the next locket counter and got my line for 30 minutes. To avoid the misunderstanding, I did screenshot the name of the destination that I wanna go on google maps. Google maps showed 2 languages, the English name at the first one and under the English name there was also the chinese version. 

I showed her that I wanted to buy the ticket from Xi’an to Guangyuan. And then the lady said “oh Guyuan !” I just said “Okay” because I thought that Guyuan was the chinese version of Guangyuan (I didn’t know there was another area name Guyuan which has almost similar pronounciation with Guangyuan).

I was so confident passed all the security things one by one and finally got my seat inside the train. I bought the hard seat class and that was totally okay. There wasn’t so many people and they didn’t look dirty as what people figure out of chinese.

05.00 AM – After 9 hours ride on train
It was already 9 hours ride on the train, I took a look at my google maps to check how long would it be to be arrived. Turned out something strange showed up, my location went away of the destination. The train’s route should be going south of Xi’an but it went north and kept going north. That time I realized that I took the wrong direction.  I was so clueless…

“There was only one thing that I really wanted to do that time “ask someone to make sure whether I am in the right train or not” But then I reminded myself that “Kadek, You are now in China, Nobody speak English and no one would understand what you say” i remained be quite"
It was 5 am in the morning, I decided to get off in Guyuan station, it was still dark and so cold with 4 celcius degree. I walked out of the station hoping that there was a warm space for me to just wait. But as I went out , there was the only indoor little locket counter that I can come in. Guyuan Station in Ningxia province is very small, it’s not the tourist area so everything wasn’t foreigner-friendly. It was so dead quite and there wasn’t anyone there. The light was off and there was a board said that locket will open at 08.00 am.
 
I put my backpack under my ass and sat above it to reduce the cold. I really didn’t have any idea what should I do that time. I was really shocked thus I couldn’t think clearly. It took 30 minutes to make me calm, do something and moved forward. Thank’s to internet that I could check the next train I should take, and again it’s only www.etripchina.com that I can understand. The next train from Guyuan to Guangyuan would be at 9.00 pm for 15 hours. I booked directly the ticket but since the sleeper seat was out and I just got the hard seat ticket.
It was just another Solo Travel challenge when I checked the weather forecast showed that day was going to be snowing with -4 celcius degree. It was getting colder and colder and I didn’t prepare much that clothes to hit the snow. I felt that my body stamina was getting lower and decided to look for place to stay to wait for my train. I saw in google maps that there were a couple of hostel located near the station. I decided to walk to that direction, but found nothing.

“They were just such old chinese buildings which look creepy and empty”

I walked away, and found another building that has kind of reception desk and 3 kind of worldwide clocks behind the reception desk with the lady stood in between. I went inside and asked “is this hotel?” She didn’t speak English and I used my gesture hoping that she would understand what I meant. I let my two hands meet together and put them beside my ear. She look understand that I need a place to sleep. And then she shook her head. 


"what the hell this building is ?? they have so many rooms with the number in front of the doors on the 2nd floor which i found when i was about going to toilet, and it just looks like an accommodation place, but she always said NO everytime i said i want to sleep ??"

Okay It wasn’t hotel then, without any oral communication. I asked her to just wait in the sofa because it was so cold outside of the room. And she nodded. Recently i just found out that some hotels in China will not accept any foreigner's guest in some particular reasons.
that moment when you took selfie with tripod, but people around you kept seeing you weird

Again I took a look at www.etripchina.com to check is there any cheap hotel nearby. And I found one 3 km away, I showed the picture of the hotel to the lady means that I wanted to go to this hotel to sleep and then she helped me to call the cab and told him that I wanted to go to that hotel. The hotel is so big and it was 3 stars hotel with good price (130 rmb/night).

“The moment I finally exhaled my breath, hoping there must be someone speak English in the 3 stars hotel, BUT........I found nothing”

No one speak English even the hotel’s manager. But they were so nice, instead of ignoring me, they used google translate to communicate with me. And finally I was safe in that hotel, took a nap for 4 hours and when I woke up, it was snowing until the night coming and I had to go back to the train station.

“As I arrived in train station, people look at me in very weird way that I was the only foreigner existed in that group of chinese people”
 
It was really weird sight of me when I took my seat in hard seat class. The train look so dirty and smell so bad, it was so crowded and noisy with some kids running here and there in the aisle. Most of people put their foots on the seat instead of under the seat, and it was so smelly…..I don't know why they always keep the trash bin in between their legs which absolutely smell so bad.

(heyyy guys those are trash bin where you throw all the rest foods, fruits. why the hell you guys always hugging them ???)
One hour later there was an officer coming and those local people who sat next to me told something to her, and couple minutes later there was another officer came and spoke to me

“do you need sleeper ?” that was the moment I finally exhale my breath again that it felt so safe to find someone speak English in China.
I said “yes” ! with her broken English she asked me to follow her and paid extra 88 rmb for the sleeper class. Then I was safe and slept so well until I arrived the day after in Guangyuan, THE RIGHT DESTINATION.

“The first day of my Solo travel in China has been started with pain, but there was still 2 weeks ahead that I have to face. I chose to go ahead and get through in instead of get back”

Continue to the next #SoloTravel Journey in China heading to Jiuzhaigou National Park

cheers,
kadekarini

You Might Also Like

1 comments