Just scored a really nice price on plane tickets from Chicago to China in July for my wife, daughter and me. Will try to throw Mongolia in to the mix as well. I've been to Taiwan before but not China. Anyone here who has done the trains there any pointers would be awesome. I've looked through a lot of the info on Seat61.com and know how to book high speed tickets but people who have been on the ground there often have some nice specific quirks to point out. I guess the big thing I'm wondering how easy/hard it is to traverse the system without being able to speak/read Mandarin. Plan to start in Beijing then go to Mongolia (want to take the Trans-Mongolian Railway I'm told they won't sell you tickets for Beijing-Ulaanbaatar in the summer peak season), then down to Xi'an, then to Xingpingzhen/ Yangshuo, and back to Beijing. With a few cushion days in there to hit maybe one more location.