I have planned the whole trip to Zhiangjiajie, China for 7 people and got my friend in Hong Kong to book the advance tickets for the high speed train to Changsha and normal train to Zhiangjiajie. My friend have difficulties to book the ticket as they need a China Visa to get the tickets, she managed to get her friend’s visa to book for us and all we have to do is go to the train station to get our tickets from our e-ticketing.
We have arrived Shenzhen 2 hours ahead so we have enough time to queue for our tickets. we have never expect that 8 counters on each sides of the train station and all the locals and tourists were also confuse about which counters for buying or for exchanging tickets. My husband and daughter been waiting in the queue for about an hour but still at the same spot. My sisters started to worry as our train are going in an hour.
So I went to check and started to queue at another counter and my sisters came along to queue so that I can make inquiry where is the exact counter for collecting tickets . Finally we solved the problem but the locals they don’t heed the advice and queue in this row due to it was the shortest queue and wanted to buy tickets from this counter. Lot of locals they just went to the front of the counter and got their tickets there.
We were so mad and frustrated that only left half an hour before the train is going, finally it was our turn, thank to the lady in front of my sister who wanted to buy tickets and this was the wrong counter and we managed to get her place in queue to collect our tickets.
We only have left 15 minutes to go to the platform and the lady at the counter ask my sisters to get the other to the platform first so that we don’t miss our train. It was so bloody hard as there were so many locals and tourists especially the locals, they are expert in knowing how to-do. For a foreigner , we just learn a lesson that we need to push, force and speak louder and fiercer than the locals then we will able to get our tickets or places in queue for ticketing.
We managed to get to Changsha, 长沙，in one piece and from the train station got a taxi to our hotel. we managed to get a hotel nearer to the train station so that next morning we can walk or take a taxi to the train station easier.
My plan has gone astray as the next day, we managed to pay extra and got all our e-ticketing in advance but unfortunately the train been delay for 3 hours then it announced that if possible to arrange or try another method to go to Zhiangjiajie, we were advice to go and get the train tickets refund as the train had been delay another 2 or 3 hours. No explanation the reason why for the delay and all the locals and tourists seen to leaving the station.
I have no choice and got my husband to queue for the refund and I went to look for another mode of travel to take us to Zhiangjiajie. Thanks to God!!! I met a young tour guide and he said he will tried to get us to Zhiangjiajie and the coach ticket was only 40 rem which was cheaper than online or my train tickets to Zhiangjiajie. Arranged with this guide and seek for his help to guide to Zhiangjiajie and we will pay for his service and the coach he arranged for us.
My 2 days of nightmare seen to change to good luck as he managed to get a coach for us to go to Zhiangjiajie and his fee was only 150 rem to 200 rem. I have decided to give him 200 rem for per day which was 20 pound sterling which was a good value for money where he arrange our day trip and also coach and restaurants where we can taste the local dishes.
We been told by the guide that the train tracks were broken due to heavy rain in Zhiangjiajie for 2 weeks, we were so lucky that it was not raining when we were there.
My advice for those who want to travel by yourselves by trains please give yourself extra 1 day or 2 and don’t do as what we did by taking one train and then check in with another, there is a risk of delay in ticketing or train and all sort of unpredicted things can be happen.