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Top 10 Scenic Train Rides in China

In a modern society like this, people are obsessed with speed and efficiency. The journey to a travel destination can be endlessly boring unless you take one of the top ten scenic train rides listed below. Over the past decades, China has built 124,000 km of railways, including 250,00km of high-speed rails. Therefore, the train can take you anywhere in China. Let’s buckle up and enjoy the top ten most beautiful train rides!

No. 1: Qinghai - Tibet Railway

The Qinghai - Tibet Railway has been eye-catching since its construction. It must pass the areas with the highest elevation and the longest frozen route in the world. With a journey of nearly 2,000km, the Qinghai - Tibet railway passes the depopulated zone, snow-capped Kunlun Mountain, clear and picturesque Qinghai Lake, and endless grasslands with Tibetan antelopes and yaks grazing leisurely. Not to mention the vast clear and blue skies. It’s a pure enjoyment riding the train.
Major cities on the way: Xining, Golmud, Naqu, Dangxiong, Yangpachen, Lhasa
Major sights on the way: Qinghai Lake, Kunlun Mountain, Potala Palace, Namtso Lake, Hoh Xil, Ta’er Temple

Recommended Trains: Z323 (Chengdu - Lhasa); Z6801 (Xining - Lhasa); Z21 (Beijing - Lhasa), Z265(Guangzhou - Lhasa); Z165 (Shanghai - Lhasa).

Qing - Tibet Railway

Check out some of the Tibet tours for inspiration:

8 Days Tibet Discovery Tour from Xining - Visit the Qinghai Lake, Potala Palace and Barkhor Street

6 Days Lhasa Namtso Lake Tour - Enjoy the Lhasa Sights and the Namtso Lake

No.2: Yuehai Railway

Yuehai Railway, starting from Zhenjiang, Guangdong, passing the Leizhou Peninsula, and ending in Sanya, is the first cross-sea railroad line. Riding the trains is like floating on the sea, but on a train, not a ship. The vast sea is expanding before your eyes. It’s quite impressive.
Major cities on the way: Zhenjiang, Sanya, Haikou
Recommended Trains: Z385 (Changchun - Sanya); Z201 (Beijing West - Sanya); K511 (Shanghai South - Sanya); Z111 (Harbin West - Haikou)

Yuehai Cruise

No.3: Sichuan Jiayang Railway

Sichuan Jiayang Train is the only narrow-gauge steam passenger train still in operation nowadays. It has antique train tickets, platforms, and train sets. Outside the train windows, you are presented with layers of rice paddies and the rape flower field (if you visit in late spring). As the railway was built along the mountains, it always puts on a show of natural landscape for you.
Major city: Leshan city

Sichuan Jiayang Railway

No.4: Juyongguan S2 Line

Juyongguan Tunnel, with a length of 365m, is a railway tunnel on the Beijing - Zhangjiakou railway designed and built by Zhan Tianyou. Taking the train, you will pass by the sea of cherry blossoms. It’s like a train to the spring. If you take the train, make sure your camera is fully charged, because you will take a lot of pictures.
Major city: Beijing (Juyongguan Great Wall)

Juyongguan S2 Line

Get Inspired by the Following Itinerary:

2 Days Hiking Tour from Jiankou Section to Simatai West Section - Admire the Magnificence of the Great Wall

No.5: Beijing - Guangzhou Railway

With a total length of 2,294km, Beijing - Guangzhou Railway is one of the world's longest high-speed rail routes. It starts from the North China Plain, passes the Yellow River and Yangtze River, and reaches south China. The different landscapes of northern China and southern China are fully expanded before your eyes. If you take the train in winter, you will enjoy the world being covered with snow first, then desolate middle China, and finally the nice and warm south China. A journey of 8 hours will reward you with the four seasons’ view.
Major cities: Beijing, Shijiazhuang, Zhengzhou, Wuhan, Changsha, Guangzhou
Recommended Trains: many high-speed trains are running between Beijing and Guangzhou, including the G71, G79, G65, G67, G69, D901, D903, D909, D927. D921 and D923.

Beijing - Guangzhou Railway

Recommended Itinerary: 8-day Beijing - Kaifeng -Dengfeng - Luoyang Tour

No.6: Lanzhou - Alataw Pass Railway

Lanzhou - Alataw Pass Railway is another long rail route in China, with a length of 2,423km. It passes many areas with different landscapes, including the lush Hexi Corridor, desolate Gobi, new industrial cities, historical passes, and the vast weald.
Major cities: Lanzhou, Wuwei, Zhangye, Jiayuguan, Hami, Turpan, Urumqi
Recommended Trains: T295 (Lanzhou - Urumqi); Z230 (Shenzhen - Urumqi); Z40 (Shanghai - Urumqi); Z105 (Jinan - Urumqi); Z594 (Hangzhou - Urumqi); K1502 (Kunming - Urumqi).

Lanzhou - Urumqi Railway

Get Inspired by 15-day Silk Road and Xinjiang Tour - Track the Silk Road and Admire the Splendid Western China Landscape

No.7: Chengdu - Kunming Railway

Chengdu- Kunming Railway starts from the Sichuan basin, passes the Hengduan Mountains, and reaches the Yunnan-Guizhou plateau. The scenery along the way is magnificent. You will see the most primitive forests and most authentic minority villages.
Major cities: Chengdu, Emei, Panzhihua, Guiyang, Kunming
Recommended trains: G2803, G2887, G2829, G2821, G2827, and G2825

Chengdu - Kunming Railway

No.8: Dali - Lijiang Railway

With a length of 164km, Dali -Lijiang Railway starts from the Dali Eastern Railway Station, passes Erhai Lake, Cangshan Mountain, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, and reaches the Lijiang old town.
Major cities: Dali, Heqing, Lijiang
Recommended trains: K9621, K9623, K9625, and K9627

Dali - Lijiang Railway

Recommended Itinerary: 8-day Yunnan Classic Tour - Dive Deep in the Landscape of Yunnan and Minority Cultures

No.9: Lhasa - Shigatse Railway

Lhasa - Shigatse Railway is a highland rail route that connects Lhasa and Shigatse. It’s a road to the Tibetan landscape. The unusual plateau landscapes, cloudless sky, and the towering snow mountains are unfolded to you along the way.
Major cities: Lhasa, Shigatse
Recommended trains: Z8803 and Z8801

Lhasa - Shigatse Railway

Check out the itinerary: 8 Days Mt.Everest Base Camp Tour from Lhasa

No. 10: Shanghai - Kunming Railway

Shanghai - Kunming Railway covers six provincial capitals, like Hangzhou, Changsha, Guiyang, and Kunming, and many attractions, including the Dianchi Lake, Huangguoshu Waterfall, Dongting Lake, Poyang Lake, West Lake, etc.. The whole journey only takes about 10 hours. You can have Shanghai Xiaolongbao in the morning and Yunnan Flower Cake in the evening.
Major cities: Shanghai, Jiaxing, Hangzhou, Shaoxing, Nanchang, Tongren, Guiyang, Kunming

Recommended Trains: G1371, G1373, G1377, and G1375

Shanghai - Kunming Railway

Check out 6 days Shanghai -Suzhou - Hangzhou Trip - Enjoy a Hassel-free Tour to Watertowns

With the scenic railways, the train ride will never be boring. Instead, it will be as worth-expecting as the destination. Are you ready to take the scenic train ride? Check out the itineraries perfect for your train travel.