Whether you opt for a plane or train, travelers can conveniently travel the 1,200 miles (1,900 km) between Chengdu and Shanghai. Taking a flight is the most convenient option, and there are dozens of daily departures to choose from. You can also go by train, which makes for a significantly longer journey, at around eight hours on a high-speed train.
This 13-Day Best of China Tour offers an overview of China's rich history and exciting nightlife, from a stroll on Shanghai's iconic The Bund to a visit to Chengdu's Leshan Giant Buddha and Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Base to Beijing's 9,999-room Forbidden City.
Duration: 3 hours
Flying affords the quickest travel time between Chengdu and Beijing. There are more than two dozen daily flights from Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport to Beijing Capital International Airport (18 miles/30 km northeast of Tian'anmen Square) and the new starfish-shaped Beijing Daxing International Airport (30 miles/50 km south of Tian'anmen Square).
Duration: 8 hours (high-speed train) to 34 hours (slow overnight train)
Both high-speed and regular trains make the journey daily from Chengdu East Railway Station to Beijing West Railway Station. Second-class, first-class seats, and Business Class seats are options on the high-speed route.
Most trains have a food counter with simple fare like xīhóngshì chǎo jīdàn (scrambled eggs with tomatoes) and there are hot water dispensers to use for making instant noodles, coffee, and tea. Most of the local trains have snack carts that are pushed through each train car. The carts have similar items that can be found at convenience stores in and around the train stations: instant noodles, potato chips, crackers, cookies, bottled soft drinks, beer, and water.
If you decide to take the night train and book a hard bed option, don't be surprised if you wander off to the restroom or dining car and return to your door-less cabin to find other passengers sitting on the foot of your bed or even curled up in your lower berth bed Booking a soft sleeper (there are four beds in each cabin) is more comfortable and secure as there is a door that locks. In the morning, music is played to wake travelers up and welcome them to Beijing.