train class from Beijing to Ulan Bator
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Nov 15, 2012 11:29 PM Last Post By: SofieKS
Nov 12, 2012 1:48 AM
train class from Beijing to Ulan BatorHello,
I've seen some conflicting information on different classes on the #23 train from Bejing to UB. I usually trust seat 61 on this (and all other matters!) but I just wanted to double check as I've seen agency websites with different information. Is 3rd class a 4-berth cabin with a door, or an open 6 berth cabin with bunks in the corridor as well as in the cabin?
Thanks very much
Nov 12, 2012 2:57 AM
Nov 15, 2012 12:49 AM
there are generally four classes; soft sleeper, hard sleeper, hard seat or standing. Some trains have a luxury class, but a guess is that this is not the case on the Mongolia trains.
Don't take the seat or standing unless you're on an extremely tight budget! It will be crowded and you won't get much sleep.
Hard sleeper is 6 beds, sometimes with more walls, sometimes open. They never have a door. Beds are fine, no problem to sleep on and these cars aren't crowded. Most foreigners don't get these tickets but if you're a backpacker they're absolutely fine and a lot cheaper. I always go on hard sleepers.
Soft sleeper is 4-bed cabins and I suppose a bit more comfortable. This is the cars all foreigners head for, so you might run in to other tourists here (can be both good and bad i suppose)
And for buying tickets, they will be cheaper if you go to one of the train stations (about 60 rmb for a return ticket) and they have english-speaking staff. But if you don't have the time a ticket office is also good. The travel agency is your most expensive option.
Hope this helps!
Nov 15, 2012 8:16 AM
3The above is a good summary of a Chinese train.
However, the train from Beijing to Ulaanbaatar is NOT a Chinese train, it is a Mongolian one. Yes, the carriages were obviously built in the same yard (In Changchun) as all those used in China but it is opperated by Mongolian railways and only contains 2 classes: Hard Sleeper (4 bed room with door. Equivalent to Soft Sleeper in China) and Soft Sleeper (2 bed room with private toilet. Equivalent to Luxury Sleeper in China). No standing, no seats and no 6 bed open hard sleeper.
Apropos buying the tickets; this is not possible at the station and certainly not possible at any ticket agents. It appears that they HAVE to be purchased through CITS (In the International Hotel). Whether this is true for everyone or just foreigners; I couldn't say. I tried to get a ticket at the station, but got nowhere. And because one HAS to use a travel agent to get a ticket, the return leg of the journey is considerably cheaper that the outward bound one as tickets can be bought directly at Ulaanbaatar station.
Nov 15, 2012 6:15 PM
Nov 15, 2012 7:20 PM
Nov 15, 2012 7:51 PM
Nov 15, 2012 9:18 PM
Inner Mongolia is very different to Mongolia. Inner Mongolia is a part of China; Mongolia is an independent country. Inner Mongolia can be got to by using numerous different trains; Mongolia cannot (They use a different gauge of track, to start with. If you get the train from Beijing to Ulaanbaatar you have to get off in Erlian whilst they change all the wheels - You stay on when you come back). Ulaanbaatar is the capital city of the independent country Mongolia and it is Mongolian Railways that run this train. As I said above, the carriages (At least) were obviously built in the CRE railyard in Changchun as they are exactly the same (Well... Not exactly. They have different powerpoints/plug-sockets) as those used in China but there are only the 2 classes available.
I don't doubt that you have taken a 6 bed open-bearth train to Inner Mongolia (I, myself, have done this too). But Inner Mongolia is part of China, NOT part of the independent country Mongolia.
Nov 15, 2012 11:29 PM
8Just me reading too quickly, haha! I do know that Inner Mongolia is part of China and Mongolia is a country of its own, just didn't read the thread carefully. My bad!
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