How to Buy Train Tickets in China
Passports are required when buying a train ticket (or ID cards if you’re Chinese) and boarding a train in China. Self-ticketing machines are widely used in Western countries, while they are only available in a few large cities in China.
You can buy train tickets at ticket windows at train stations. You may encounter some problems: long queues waiting in front of every window, language problems, and the risk that tickets are sold out, and so on. China Highlights provides train ticket on-line booking services to save you hassle and time. You only need make your online booking at the top of this page, and we will do the rest. See 7 Ways to Buy a Train Ticket in China.
How to Choose a Train in China
In China, trains are classified by speed and service. A train number is made up of a letter and a number. The letter indicates the type of train. See How to Choose Train Types And Seat Class in China.
How to choose a train
G trains (China High-Speed trains) are currently the fastest and most comfortable trains in China, and the price is the highest. See China High-Speed Trains for what they look like outside and inside.
The speed of a G train usually reaches 250 to 400 km/h. For example, the high-speed trains from Beijing to Xi’an have a speed of 250 to 300 km/h and the journey only takes four and a half hours.
(G trains normally are non-stop; others have around a couple of intermediate stops. The times above are for non-stop services.)
D trains (bullet trains) are next fastest and next most expensive after G trains. Cities with G train services also provide D trains. The journey time of a D train may be 30 minutes to 1 hour longer than that of a G train on the same route.
Cities in China are usually served by more than on one train station, especially metropolises like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Beijing is served by 5 well-used train stations (Beijing, Beijing West, Beijing South, Beijing North and Beijing East) and four less used stations. See High-Speed Rails in China.
G (CRH Trains) - High-speed EMU in High-speed lines
D (CRH Trains) - High-speed EMU in Conventional railways
T - Express Train in Conventional railways
Z - Express Overnight sleepers
K - Fast Train Fast train (travelling 120-140 km/h)
only numbers - Slow train (travelling 100km/h, calling at ALL stops).
Popular Route for Train Travel
How to Read a Train Ticket
When you read a ticket, please pay attention to the Chinese character and pinyin after a place name. Directions: north, south, east, and west are printed in pinyin on tickets instead of English, respectively Bei, Nan, Dong, and Xi. For example Beijing South Railway Station will be printed as Beijing Nan () on a ticket (see the second ticket below), Beijing East is showed as Beijing Dong (), Beijing West (Beijing Xi, ), and Beijing North (Beijing Bei, ). Please make sure you are going to the correct train station. How to Read Train Ticket?
How to Board a Train in China
China has the largest population in the world and train travel is the most favored method of travel in China. It’s almost unimaginable how many people take the train in China, especially around national holidays.
It is advised that you don’t show your valuables and keep an eye on your luggage in train stations and on trains. You should buy some food and beverages before you board a train, as many trains only provide simple Chinese food. There is no freight car as in Western countries, and you will get no help with your luggage if you travel by train in China. Read more on How to Board a Train in China.
Choosing a Sleeper Train for Overnight Journeys
If your train journey is overnight, sleepers are definitely the choice to make. There are three classes of sleepers: hard sleepers, soft sleepers, and deluxe soft sleepers.
A hard sleeper compartment is unenclosed with six bunks, three on each side. If you are tall (more than 1.8 m), or want more security and privacy, you should choose a soft sleeper car, an enclosed compartment with 4 bunks, two on each side. Deluxe soft sleeper compartments are perfect for traveling couples, as they have two bunks, and you don’t need to share it with other passengers. Click to see what you need to know about taking an overnight train.
After Disembarking From a Train
When arriving at an unknown city, how do you get to where you want to go from a train station? Subways (usually in first-tier and many second-tier cities), public buses, and taxis are available in or around a train station. It is very convenient. Read more about transfers from a train station. Long queues and non-English-speaking drivers may be the problems. Our 24/7 private transfer service is perfect for you if you want security and no hassle.
The Differences from Train Travel in Western Countries
In Western countries, train ticket inspectors check tickets on trains, while in China train tickets will be inspected three times: before you board a train, on a train, and after you disembark.
Facilities on a train depend on the newness of a train. G and D series trains are the most comfortable at same seat classes - everything is new and modern. Click here to learn about all the differences.
- We offer a real-time train data system (it is updated every minute).
- You can get all sorts of information like destinations, time tables, seat and price detail after doing a search.
- You can booking and pay on line.
- You can pick up paper tickets at the train station with a electronic collection code, or we send paper tickets to your hotel in China.
- We respond to you right away when you make the booking online.
- A real trip advisor will process your booking. For any questions by email contact us and our staff will reply to you typically in a few hours, ranging from 2-12 hours.