We had the same issue (websites quoting soft sleeper prices) but there is definitely only hard sleeper available for Kunming to Dali and Lijiang. The Kunming Lijiang train is a double decker with slightly newer carriages so there are 4 berths per compartment (no door as usual) and some six berth at the end of each carriage near the stairs but all still hard sleeper.Edited: 16 March 2011, 10:16
Hey thanks for clearing that up. Tony
is it possible to book the tickets from intrnet or in other city in china? is it possible to buy them the same day arriving in Kunming by plane?
If they are available you can buy them on the same day.
You may also buy them through an travel agency also from the internet.Edited: 11 August 2011, 02:21
No, you should buy them from a travel agency or hotel located in Kunming where the tickets are sold. These are not on a country-wide reservation system yet. You could try to buy day of departure, as there are several trains. Obviously, during the national holidays, that would be impossible.
The fast C, D and G trains are on an on-line, computerized reservation system, mostly available in Chinese only.
Not available online.
all train tickets are sold only locally. so if you arrive in kunming, thats where you will buy your ticket to dali/lijaing. when i took the train in april/11. it was older model with soft seat/sleeper. i was able to purchase it the same morning because it was low season. i was told by the hotel owner that high season has to be bought in advance. not sure when you will travel to kunming, if it is high season, you may have to spend a day or two in kunming before you travel to dali/lijiang. you can really spend 1-2 days in kunming.
beware of taxi scams. dont get into any car unless IT IS A REAL TAXI!!! when i was in kunming and dali, there were chinese signage all over the place warning chinese about taxi scams.
hope this helps.
All train tickets in China are NOT just sold locally only. All fast trains now, C, D and G are available on line in advance from anywhere in world as long as you understand Chinese and have a place in China to have them delivered. So your Kunming hotel could buy tickets for you to go from Shanghai to Beijing, if necessary. But your Guilin hotel could not buy tickets which depart from Kunming.
Lesser T, K, L and other trains still are only on sale in the city of departure.
thanks very much for the information. I see that arriving from Guilin to kunming, I´ll need to stay overnight as taking a train that night will be quite difficult task.