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What is the train travel like in China?
What extremely important is that you need to avoid the busy period including Chinese New Year, April 30th to May 7th, September 30th to October 7th, and the beginning & the end of summer or winter vacation, since it will be very crowded at the railway station and on the train, plus, it is not so easy to get a ticket. Usually, four classes of accommodation are provided in most of trains, named as soft-sleeper, soft-seat, hard-sleeper and hard-seat (the more important inter-city trains just provide soft class seats). The facilities on the train: Soft sleepers have comfortable 4-berth (2 upper & 2 lower) compartments with full bedding provided. Hard sleepers provide bunks in open-plan dormitory cars, usually arranged in bays of 6 (2 upper, 2 middle and 2 lower) on one side of the aisle, with pairs of seats on the other side of the aisle for daytime use. Each compartment has two washrooms at both ends of it, which is about 1 square meter large, with a separate room beside it for you to clean your hands and face. Free hot water will be provided from water boilers at both ends of compartment. Meals and drinks can be purchased in the train's restaurant carriage which is in the middle of the train, and the staff may sell things like drinks, books, meal boxes etc. with flowing pushcart to and from each compartment. You need to pay attention to the following facts: 1) The railway stations and trains will be crowded; they will be very crowded during the special periods we mention above. 2) Almost all broadcasts of each stop along the way will be only in Chinese. 3) Please give yourself enough time to prepare for getting on and off. 4) Toilets on the train are not that clean and not big, which will be locked before the train pulls in a station and reopened after the start-up.