Last updated: 08:00 AM ET, Wed July 29 2015

Alexander+Roberts Includes China's High Speed Rail in Itinerary

Car Rental & Rail | James Ruggia | July 29, 2015

Alexander+Roberts Includes China's High Speed Rail in Itinerary

PHOTO: The comforts of  Executive Class on China’s high speed rail network. (courtesy Alexander+Roberts)

It seems every month we are hearing of new connections in China’s high speed rail network but we rarely hear about Americans taking advantage of the system.

This month a new high-speed route opened, connecting Hefei and Fuzhou, making such attractions as Anhui’s Yellow Mountain, the Sanqing Mountain of Jiangxi and Fujian’s Wuyi Mountain more accessible because Fuzhou is now connected to Beijing by a train ride of some eight hours. That sort of progress is normal for China, what is unusual is that one of America’s most prominent tour operators, Alexander+Roberts has introduced a new itinerary using China’s high speed rail network.

The 12-day escorted China by High-Speed Rail travels in executive class to visit such UNESCO World Heritage Sites as Xian’s Terra Cotta Army and the Great Wall. Three high speed rail journeys connect Beijing, Shanghai, Xian and Hangzhou from city center to city center on such cutting edge trains as the MagLev. The arrival transfer by MagLev Train goes from the airport to downtown Shanghai in eight minutes on a train that can reach 268 mph.

From Shanghai to Hangzhou, the Huhang High-Speed Railway reaches 217 mph, reducing a 126-mile journey to about an hour. Participants will go from China’s ancient capital Xian to the modern capital Beijing, a journey of 711 miles, in just over five hours — about half the time it took before the rail line's inauguration in 2012. On China’s trains, executive class is defined by wide leather seats that recline completely as well as beverage service and a dining car.

The avoidance of airports makes for an ease in Chinese travel that is accentuated by plenty of chances to try Chinese food in different contexts. A manageable group size never exceeding 16 people allows for a more intimate contact with the people over meals.

In Shanghai, the group will explore a market with a local chef and sample the city’s famous soup dumplings. In Hangzhou they’ll have a home-cooked lunch with farmers and explore local tea-growing traditions. In Beijing, travelers will get to know a resident family, joining them for a meal and conversation in the courtyard home where they’ve lived for three generations.

The hotels will include the Fairmont Beijing; the Hilton Hotel in Xian; Hangzhou’s JW Marriott; and the Fairmont Peace Hotel, a historic Art Deco landmark on the waterfront Bund in Shanghai. Priced from $4,799, China by High-Speed Rail includes sightseeing, hotels, 21 meals, transfers, and all on-tour transportation including one internal flight and reserved Executive Class seating for the high-speed rail journeys. Travelers can save $600 per couple ($300 solo) when they pay in full at time of booking. 

In addition, travel agents earn a $100 per couple bonus every time their clients take advantage of these savings.

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