My Trip to Pingyao22 July, 2008, I make use of the weekend to have a side trip to Pingyao. Actually I have been to Pingyao before. My solo trip this time is to refresh my knowledge of Pingyao as well recharge myself. From Beijing, you can either take an overnight train or flight to Pingyao (via Taiyuan).
It would be better to take the train from Beijing to Taiyuan rather than to Pingyao since it is very difficult to get the train tickets from Beijing to Pingyao due to the fact that there are no direct trains between Beijing and Pingyao.
Taiyuan is 80km north of Pingyao, the capital city of Shanxi Province. So Taiyuan becomes the most important port city connecting Pignyao with other cities or places by train, by road or by flight. I decide to take an overnight train to Taiyuan and take flight back Beijing.
There are over 10 direct trains linking Beijing and Taiyuan. I choose Train No.K601, the only train starting from Beijing Railway Station while all other trains start from Beijing West Railway Station. I live next to Beijing Railway Station, the main reason I decide to take this train - Train K601 ( 22:20 - next day 7:58am ), the timetable of the train as below:
Beijing - Taiyuan Train K601 Timetable
Beijing Railway Station
K601 1 Beijing 22:20
K601 2 Fengtai 22:40
K601 3 Baijian 00:41
K601 5 Wutaishan 04:43
K601 8 Yuanping 06:03
K601 9 Xinzhou 06:36
K601 10 Taiyuan 7:58 ( 80km north of Pingyao )
Now there are 9 bullet trains linking Beijing and Taiyuan shortening the train ride to only 3 and half hours. All the high speed trains start from Beijing West Station.
Beijing Railway Station
Beijing Railway Station is one of the four railway stations in Beijing - Beijing Railway Station, Beijing West Railway Station, Beijing South Railway Station and Beijing North Railway Station. Beijing Railway Station is centrally located, the oldest of the four, within the 2nd ring road, just south of Beijing International Hotel. It is a busy railway station, handling trains to and from northern and coastal southern China. Some international lines also depart from this station. I go to Beijing Railway Station directly from my office. I get there at 7:00pm and happen to see the outdoor musical spouting fountain starting to dance with the music in front of Beijing Railway Station.
At the main gate to the station, there is a huge screen showing the changing timetable for the trains in and out.
Too early for the train, I watch the huge TV on the east of the square for a while.
A little hungry, I go to a noodle restaurant on the east side of the main building - Master Kong's Chef Table. They offer very delicious noodls. I order a bowl of beef noodle.
There are several drinks stalls dotting the square. They offer many kinds of drinks, newspaper.
Beijing Railway Station is a busy station.
On the east of the main building is the exit gate where a huge crowd of people waiting; on the west side of the main building is the ticekting office where a great number of people lining up for buying tickets.
A police stand is found in the middle of the square, a timely measure to tighten the security control during the 2008 Olympic Games.
Inside the main hall of Beijing Railway Station, you can find a huge board showing the changing train timetable. I have to go up to the second floor for the waiting for Train K601.
As I expect, there is a huge crowd of people waiting in the hall.
I have failed to get the soft sleeper ticket. Not a picky man, I'm happy with my hard sleeper. At 3:00am I'm waken up by the dazing light turned on for some travelers getting off the train at the stop - Wutaishan, one of the four famous buddhist mountains in China.
Pingyao ( Taiyuan ) Shanxi is located on the loess plateau, also known as the Huangtu Plateau. The Loess Plateau and its dusty soil cover almost all of Shanxi. In the early morning, from the train window, I see the most highly erodible soil without much green trees.
Taiyuan Railway Station
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