Beijing Bullet Train
What was once a minimum 9-hour journey between Beijing and Shanghai now takes just over five hours on the bullet train. It takes about 5.5 hours to get to Xian from Beijing, making the bullet train a more economical -- and just as fast once you factor in check-in and security lines -- alternative to flying.
The trains are quiet, fast and efficient, and riding the bullet train from Beijing gives you an opportunity to see a bit of Chinese countryside rarely seen by tourists who opt to fly. You can purchase tickets for the bullet train up to 10 days before your trip. Remember to check which station your train is departing from, as Beijing has several stations.