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China to Pakistan by road – From a traveler's diary (Part I)

Updated on February 5, 2016

About the traveler

This whole journey has been extracted from a diary of a student from Lahore who travelled from China to Pakistan by road in Summer 2013. The whole story and the pictures are solely contributed by the traveller and hence they are all his property. I heartily thank him for his constant contribution towards creating an informative and an interesting hub.

10th July

My journey started from Shenyang as I have done my bachelors from there. It started as follows:

We left from university at 07:00 of July 10th. There was a car waiting for us at our dorm’s doorstep. All of our friends came out to see us off; we hugged each other and left for the train station. We took the train and reached Beijing.

BEIJING to TULUFAN

Now the main journey starts from Beijing and right now its 14:00 and it’s raining. All our bags have got wet. Now we’re going for the next train, from Beijing to Tulufan, and it is going to take 40 hours to reach there and guess what! I have got the standing ticket for this train. My fellows went to eat at McDonald’s while I am sitting here waiting for the train to start, it is almost time, and my friends are back, and yes! It started. I saw three vacant seats and we settled there, thinking if someone comes to claim their seats, we’ll give them, otherwise we’ll remain seated for as long as no one comes. And Oh! Here he is, a man came and claimed the seat I was sitting on. So I got up, and now I am sitting on one of my friend’s bags.

The train is heading at the speed of 60 km/h, very slow I know. I just asked the train conductor at what time we’re going to reach Tulufan, and he replied, “On 12th July at 17:30”. Yes, it is too long but our excitement is stronger.

One of my friends is begging me to find him a place to sit, he’s asking me how many days have passed, although its just two tours since we left Beijing, he seems like he’s going to die. I was already expecting that he is going to irritate me like a child and he is totally up to my expectations. My other friend is teasing him and is not letting him sleep.

The outside view is really beautiful; the tracks are covered with big green mountains, there are tunnels on the tracks. The sight is spectacular. Mountains are covered with clouds, there are green fields and between them are small beautiful and traditional style houses. These are the things that I wanted to see, which was never possible if I would have travelled by air. Not only in Beijing, but it is raining even at the farther places. My friend is amazing, he has put Punjabi songs on his tablet and has put his tablet in front of Chinese, and they actually seem to be enjoying them. Passing through the tunnels and surrounded by huge mountains, just saw a big farm of cows, some are black and some are white. Now I am going to have dinner, so see you after the break!

Now it’s night and a Chinese boy has started eating my brain, he thought I am from Urumqi (a Muslim populated city in China), but when I told him that I am from Pakistan, he seemed very surprised and said that he wanted to see my passport. I showed him and he is glad to see it. His name is ‘Li Xiao Ping’ and the chat with him continues. Now he asked me that he wants to see my currency, means Pakistani currency, I showed him Rs.1000, Rs.100, and Rs.20 notes. He likes Rs.2o note and wants to exchange it with 10 Yuan. I refused to exchange and gave him the 20 rupee note as a gift; he accepted it but then said that “this 10 Yuan is also a gift from my side”, but I refused by saying that “No, I will not take your 10 Yuan”. After a long discussion he finally agreed to take it back and asked me to write my name and my country’s name on that note, I wrote them down and he put it inside his bag.

I slept for some time and just got fresh now. My friends are playing some game with Chinese. We are passing by a beautiful city decorated with wonderful lights.

It is going to be 00:00, and it’s totally dark outside. My friends along with Chinese, whom they were playing with, came to me and asked me to sing a song for them. First I refused, but then they forced a lot and I finally sang a song for them. Later I asked them to sing a song as well, they sang together with me, and they asked a girl to sing as well and she agreed and sang a Taylor Swift’s song, then there is a guy with a cap, we forced him to sing as well, he sang a song in his native language. It was a real fun to spend time with my new friends; I have never experienced sharing music with other people before. One of my friends recorded everything in a video to keep it as a memory.

11th July

Ohhh! Strange thing just happened here, while I was sitting with Abdul Hameed (a Chinese Muslim guy), suddenly a girl sleeping next to me started screaming, ‘’aaaaaahhhhhh! Keep quiet everybody, I want to sleep”. I was a horrible situation. After that Abdul Hameed offered us a Naan (Asian style cooked bread) and it was really yummy. Thanks to him because I was also secretly feeling hungry!

12 hours have passed in this train; still have 26 hours to reach Tulufan. My friend is hungry so I told him I’ve placed an order for you for paratha (cooked bread), eggs and tea (of course I was joking).

Soon the sky started becoming colorful and it is about to get dawn. Both of my friends are sleeping, thank God they are, otherwise they would have said again and again that they’re feeling hungry (Don’t worry, most of their lives they’ve spend eating; they feel hungry anywhere and everywhere). One of them is sleeping under my seat!

Wow! I just woke up from a constant 7 hours sleep, I feel better now, and I have got no idea which stops did we crossed during these 7 hours, sorry folks! But what I know is that nearly 10 hours are left to reach Tulufan. These Chinese guys are really good, they always come to us and offer to share their stuffs with us, they honor us a lot, and may God bless them!

Now it is dark outside. It was a 38 hours train as we were told by the conductor, and the time passed like a wind, it’s just 6 hours left to reach Tulufan, thank God!

12th July

During this whole journey, from Shenyang to Beijing and then from Beijing to Tulufan I just had water, juice, half naan and an apple, and still I am going good. Both of my friends are having sound sleep, one is sleeping on a seat and one is sleeping under it. The person to whom the seat belongs to is standing, thanks to him, and its 01:40.

My friend was sleeping under the seat, and conductor came and announced that the train is going to reach ‘Shan Shan’, those who need to get off should wake up and get ready. I told conductor, pointing towards my friend that he is also going to Shan Shan, so ask him to get up and get ready. The conductor sat down and started shoving my friend and woke him and asked him to hurry up and get ready for the next station. Everybody started laughing as they knew that he was not supposed to get off on the next stop. My friend came out from under the seat and asked me, “Let’s go”. I told him that the next station is not Tulufan, so he asked me that why the conductor woke me up? I told him that I don’t know. It’s that conductor who is responsible for that.

And at last we reached Tulufan Station, I feel very glad, everybody came out to see us off, it was a lovely moment, they all said that they’re going to miss us, lovely folks they all are.

Have you ever travelled by road to other country?

See results
Date
Time
Sattion
Outside Temperature (degrees Celsius)
10th July
15:18
Beijing
22
 
18:00
Zhiang Jia Ko
22
 
21:10
Jining
17
 
22:50
Hu He Hao Te
18
11th July
00:45
Bao Tou
20
 
02:30
Lin He
21
 
04:50
Wu Hai
22
 
06:50
Yin Chun
21
 
18:50
Jia Yu Guan
31
 
21:55
Liu Yuan
25
12th July
01:05
Humi dong
25
 
05:40
Tulufan
-
The stations that we passed through during our journey from Beijing to Tulufan

TULUFAN to KASHI

Abdul Hameed stayed with us since he was going to ‘Kashi’ which is our next destination. We’re all sitting at the waiting area of Tulufan Train Station. When we were entering the waiting room, there was a guard who was checking tickets and passports. Upon my entry, he greeted me by saying Assalam-O-Alaikum (Muslims way of greeting) and asked me if I am from Pakistan, I nodded and he smiled and asked me to enter the room without even checking my tickets and passports, it was surely a happy moment for me.

Its 08:00 and we are sitting in the waiting room, I asked my friend to bring some naan and I have canned curry (Nehari) that my friend gave me when I was leaving from my university. We five ate naan and that curry; these Chinese people really enjoyed eating Pakistani food. The can was for two people, but we five happily managed to eat from it and it appeared to be more than enough.

At 11:20, we departed for ‘Kashi’. As a matter of fact is, this train is worst; there is no air conditioner, instead it has small fans hanging from the roof, and windows are open. The fast wing coming inside seems to be punching on our faces and we have to stay in this train for next 25 hours. It is very hot inside and a bright sunny day outside.

The weather is getting better at the evening. The outside view is amazing, there are big rocky mountains and a river is flowing along the track and light rain shower is making the view even more spectacular. It is late evening and outside its still not dark, we are heading towards Pakistani time.

The sky finally became dark at 10pm. We are all tired of playing cards. I went under the seat to sleep, but the train was so bumpy that I couldn’t get any; rather I was feeling like I am repairing a car.

13th July

And finally in the morning we reached ‘Kashi’, the feeling of travelling by road is amazing. I got to learn a lot and made so many new friends.

Date
Time
Station
12th July
11:20
Tulufan
 
13:30
Yu Er Gou
 
20:30
Korla
13th July
07:00
Bachu
 
10:10
Atux
The stations that we came across during our journey from Tulufan to Kashi

The 2nd part of the journey can be found here.

© 2015 Syeda Akhtar

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