A World of Difference
July 20-21, 2009 – Day 207 – Shenzhen, China
Due to the impracticalities of crossing the border needlessly, we arrived in Shenzhen via metro to the train station (direct train to LuWu Station from Kowloon, very nice) to find that there are no open spots available on the train to Guilin for today.
Booked for tomorrow evening and then left the station to try and find lodging for the night. Luckily found a cheapish enough place right across the street (not the big black building, the Shangri-La Hotel but the smaller one next to it). The next day was a matter of waiting for our train and thus does not merit a full post to tell you how boring it was.
There are plenty of hotel touts across the street from the train station. Just walk over there and you should be able to find lodging within minutes. Our room was a huge double room with an incredibly nice bathroom, towels, A/C, a thousand Chinese TV channels (well, maybe not that many), and free wifi picked up from the Shangri-la Hotel next door! It was around $11pp (RMB150 for the room) and what we needed most was its location right by the train station.
When you cross the Hong Kong/China border, within seconds you will begin to see the massive difference between them. Don’t expect to find any English on road signs, train timetables, buildings, etc. In Hong Kong, English is widely spoken and it is rare to find someone who can not speak it. In China it is the opposite. Numbers will be your friends so always pay attention to the train number you want and prices. Sleeper beds vary from hard to soft, and prices vary between the top/middle/bottom bunks (guess which is cheapest, ha!). Always be sure to specify which kind of sleeper you want and be sure to confirm the price so you have a good idea of what you’re getting. The train station ticket sellers usually know a few (very few) words like “soft” or “seat” so just do your best and listen closely!