I'm going to make a video about this with a lot more detail, but I wanted to post here with some pictures too.
We took a sleeper train from Beijing to Xi'an. The trip took about 11 hours. We left at a little before 9pm and arrived in Xi'an around 8am this morning.
Beijing West was a confusing madhouse. There were so many people sitting around in what we thought was our waiting room. Announcements were made in Chinese, it seemed like platforms were being switched, and we started just looking for other tourists to follow. But nobody really knew what was going on. In the end, we were in the right place all along, and we came down the stairs to our waiting train.
We boarded the train and found our room. We booked a z-class train soft sleeper. Z-class trains are direct, with no stops in between. This is nice because there are no interruptions or announcements that wake you up in the middle of the night.
A soft sleeper room has four beds and a lockable door. It's semi private, perfect for a group traveling together. We shared our room with two nice ladies that gave us some fruit to try. It was yummy once I knew you're supposed to take the skin off it before you eat it.
The train car has a long hallway down one side and the rooms line up down the other side.
The room is decent sized. Isa and I paid a little more for the bottom bunks, but when we got to the room, we switched with the ladies because we're younger and could get up top easier, and we liked the top bunks better anyways. There's enough room to sit up, and there's a platform over the door for your bags.
There's a lady that went around with a cart full of food Hogwarts Express style but mostly packaged foods with no pictures on them so we had no clue what they were. Most people brought ramen or fruit for dinner. There's a faucet with boiling hot water which I'm pretty sure is specifically for ramen because I didn't see anybody use it for drinks or anything else. We just ate Pringles and other snacks we picked up at 7-11 earlier tonight.
The beds are comfy and they give you pillows and a nice thick blanket that kept us nice and toasty. The ride was fine. Mostly smooth with very few noises or bumps. Isa slept well, but I didn't. I'm a little paranoid about overnight trains after some people in our Europe group had some bad experiences. But the trip was completely uneventful and there were no issues at all.
I woke up around sunrise and watched the foggy countryside blur by the window.
Around 7:15/7:30 everyone started waking up and getting their stuff together, brushing teeth and whatnot. We rolled into Xi'an early a little after 8am and walked to our hotel, which is a story in itself.