China Travel Answer

Q: How easy is it to get from the airport in Beijing to the train station to travel to Chengdu? Thanks.

It seems that trains bound for Chengdu depart from Beijing West Railway Station (Beijing Xi Zhan). This is different from Beijing Railway Station. If you take a taxi at Beijing International Airport, you should give it at least one hour to get to Beijing West Railway Station, which, as the name indicates, is located in the western part of Beijing. Beijing International Airport, on the other hand, is located east of Beijing. There should also be shuttle buses from the airport, but the buses make stops on the way, so if you're short of time, this may not be a good option for you. It is cheaper to go that way though. Either way, traffic conditions are always a factor. Both Beijing Railway Station and Beijing West Railway Station are located in the busy parts of Beijing (actually it is difficult to find a part of Beijing that is not crowded). So give it some time to catch your train.

Another issue is train tickets. Do not assume that you can arrive at the railway station, buy your ticket, and be on your way. There is a good chance you won't be able to find tickets you need for the day. This is particular true for tickets for sleepers. Train travel time between Beijing and Chengdu is long, ranging from 25 to 40 hours, depending on the particular train one travels on. It is necessary, therefore, to get a sleeping berth for yourself, ideally a "soft" sleeping berth (ruan wo). The tickets should be purchased beforehand and be waiting for you when you arrive in Beijing if you plan to leave for Chengdu on the same day. You need to make arrangements to have it done for you.