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China Train Ticket Booking Policy

Please read the following Booking Procedures and Policies carefully. Placing a booking order implies that our procedure and policies have been read and accepted.

Many tourists would like to use China’s vast and cheap rail network, however obtaining train tickets is not an easy process (long queues, language problems, etc.). China Highlights makes train ticket on-line booking available to you to save you time, hassle and money.


  • Please make sure the passengers’ information you fill in the booking form are exactly the same as what they appear on the passports, no abbreviation of any part of passengers’ names, otherwise you can’t get tickets at the railway station. You will be responsible for any damages or losses occurred in the situation.
  • Due to differences in writing names in various countries, above 50% of passengers’ names we receive do not conform to China Railway Policy requirements. We always DOUBLE CHECK your name on your passport scanned copy before booking the ticket. This is to make sure you can pick up a usable ticket, without error in name transcription, at the railway station. Your passport copy will be deleted seven days after your last train trip booked with us is completed.

    • FAQ: “Can I correct the name on the ticket at collection if it has the wrong name (format) on it?”
    • China Rail doesn’t offer a “name change” service. If staff at the ticket window refuse to issue your ticket (due to submitted details being different to your passport), you have to buy a new one, then queue up at another window, the “Ticket Cancelation Window”, to get a refund. In this situation you run the risk of seat unavailability, and shortage of time, because queuing up for a refund can take an hour.

    If your passport scan is unsatisfactory (too dark, too light, too small… etc.), we’ll email you for a better one. You may refuse, but we highly recommend you read the “China Rail Ticket Name Requirements” policy and double check the information you give us is correct if you make this decision.

    • FAQ: China Rail Ticket Name Requirements
    • China Rail requires that names on rail tickets must be exactly the same as on your passport. Please submit your family name and given name(s) exactly as on your passport; no names or spaces omitted, no abbreviations, changes, or typos.

      On passport:

      Surname: Lake

      Given name(s): Emily Ava

      On China Rail ticket:

      Name: Lake Emily Ava

  • Clear passport scan copy for all passenger(s) is required when filling the order form online. The passports used for booking train tickets should be the same used for collecting train tickets and boarding the train, otherwise you can’t get tickets at the train station or board the train. You will be responsible for any damages or losses occurred in the situation.
  • Submit the booking order online. Our travel advisor will respond to you within 12 working hours. No contract between China Highlights and the purchaser shall come into existence until China Highlights issues a formal confirmation by email.
  • A payment form/link will be sent to the email address provided. Full payment for all tickets is required prior to the issue of the tickets.
  • According to the ministry of China Railways’ policy, the availability of tickets for collection will be advised 3-20 days before the travel date. (The selling period for train tickets often changes. The China Railways has total control of it. China Highlights will update the days in real time). If ticket is in 20 days later, we have to wait till the selling date to purchase the ticket.
  • Issuing of tickets is under the total control of China Rail. China Highlights will purchase tickets as soon as possible, but has no influence over the release of tickets. We will do our best to buy train tickets, but can’t 100% guarantee it.
  • It is advisable to avoid train travel during peak times, including Chinese New Year (2 weeks in January/February) New Year’s Day (January 1st-3rd), Labor Day (May 1st-3rd) and National Day (October 1st-7th), during which the tickets are often sold out.
  • The train info list on our website is for your reference only. Please refer to the ticket info issued by the railway authorities as the final confirmation. China Highlights is not responsible for schedule changes by China Rail.


  • The ticket price online is a net price, which is not including service fee (often from $5 to $15, train to and from Lhasa can be higher), credit card processing fee, delivery fee.
  • Our quotation is based on the updated exchange rate between US Dollar and CN Yuan.
  • There is no further fee if you collect your ticket at the DEPARTURE station shown on your ticket. RMB 5 will be charged at the ticket counter at other stations. RETURN TICKETS ARE TREATED SEPARATELY. E.g. if you have booked Beijing–Harbin and Harbin–Beijing tickets, and you collect them all at Beijing, you will be charged 5 yuan each for the Harbin–Beijing tickets, but if you pick up the return leg tickets separately in Harbin you will avoid the charge.


  • Payment is available via PayPal, credit card payment center or Visa/Master Card by fax authorization.
  • If the purchaser is not a passenger, a clear scan copy of the purchaser's passport is required at the time of payment.
  • If payment is made by credit card authorization way, China Highlights will draw Chinese currency (CNY) from your credit card. The credit card company or bank will convert this amount to the currency that is normally shown on your credit card. This procedure may result in a higher amount being charged than quoted by China Highlights. These additional fees are not the responsibility of China Highlights and are caused by additional fees charged by the credit card company/bank or exchange rate variation.
  • The transfer fee of 3% charged by PayPal will be added onto the total price.
  • Our sleeper train ticket price is quoted based on the lower berth, but tickets are issued stochastically in China. Due to the very slight price differences among upper, middle and lower berths, we will take the benefits no matter which berth we issue finally.
  • Payments are 100% refundable if we are unable to supply the required tickets.

Ticket Delivery

  • After the issue of the ticket, China Highlights will email you promptly the detail information of the ticket and other useful information, such as how to collect the ticket at the train station and so on.
  • If your booking(s) is less than 8 days before the travel date, we suggest that you collect your paper tickets at the railway station yourself. You can collect your paper ticket(s) at any ticket window of any railway station in any city in China with your passport(s) and the E-ticket number we sent you by email.
  • If you choose the delivery service, the tickets can be sent to your hotel within China.
  • If you appointed other address within China, please provide the address in Chinese as far as possible to make sure we send the tickets to the correct address. And postmen in China can’t speak English, please make sure the addressee can communicant in Chinese and he/she is easily contacted by the phone number your provided.
  • The tickets will be delivered by express courier at the nominated time (1-4 days processing time is required) to the nominated hotel provided. Please advise room number if possible. If a hotel name is not available, customer can get paper ticket at any ticket window of the railway station. Or tickets can be delivered to the office of our local agent for pick up by the customer. We’ll provide the address and phone number via email.
  • China Highlights is not responsible for non-receipt of tickets caused by a wrong delivery address, no/incorrect receiver's name, or unconfirmed check-in date, provided by purchasers/passengers and rejection from the receiver (some hotels might refused to receive and keep express for guests, especially for the guests with no reservation, or who are not check in).

Changes to the Booking Order

  • All changes must be sent by email (at least 48 hours before departure). If you apply changes by phone, an email of your changes will be required to send afterward.
  • Change request before payment, no change fee.
  • Change request before the issue of the ticket, no change fee.
  • Passengers who chose collecting tickets at train station want to choose the delivery service afterward, are required to tell us at least 8 days in advance before the departure date of the train and pay the delivery fee.
  • We’ll collect the tickets on behalf of the passenger who chose the delivery service. The passenger will not allowed to duplicated collect collect train tickets at railway station.
  • Change request after the issue of the ticket:
    (1) The change to the delivery address is not acceptable. You will be responsible for any damages or losses for non-receipt of tickets caused by the change of the delivery address.
    (2) Chose collecting tickets at train station: no further service fee for China Highlights. A change fee will be charged by China Rail (5%-20%).
    (3) Chose the delivery service (the tickets not delivered): further service fee (USD 10 per ticket) for China Highlights and change fee for China Rail (5%-20%) will be charged.
    (4) Chose the delivery service (the tickets delivered): The change request is not accepted by China Highlights. The ticket holder must go to any train station in person with ID (passport) to change the date of your ticket, at least 3 hours before the departure time. Change service is not available within one hour before the departure time of the train.

Cancellation Refunds

  • No Cancellation Fee – Refunding Policy for Cancellation
  • We understand your China travel plans may change. Getting your refund should be just as easy as booking; that is also a part of our hassle-free services. Regardless ticket-collecting options, here’s a quick look of cases with ABSOLUTE NO CANCELLATION FEE:
    1. Cancellation made before payment
    2. Cancellation made before ticket is issued
    3. Cancel 24 hours before ticket is collected (but 20% of the ticket price will be charged by China Rail)
  • A strong and prompt team behind us guarantees a confident and transparent no cancellation fee policy. No, we don’t scoop hidden charge out of your deserved refund and call it “cancellation fee”. We consider the cancellation fee as a necessary method to atone our resources used (time and money etc.). It is a universal certain thing that you deserve no cancellation fee as long as none of our resource is cost. An efficient working timeline has been built to cope with hundreds of train tickets bookings we receive every day. We thank you for granting us the decisional rights of when to issue (or deliver) your tickets, therefore your train travels can go on without any drama.
  • Before we go on and talk about how much money is running back to your bank account, we would like you to understand how it works to make a valid cancellation.

When to request a cancellation

If you wish to cancel, please send us a request at least 24 hours prior to the departure time that is printed on your train ticket. Refund amount will be depended on when you make the cancellation. We don’t process any cancellation after the train’s departed.

How to request a cancellation

You shall send an email to your own travel advisor requesting for a cancellation. Oral notification by phone is ok when you are nowhere near a computer. However, we won’t do anything until your email of confirmation for cancellation is in our mailbox later on.

Ok, now let’s talk money. Just as aforementioned, besides the time of requesting a cancellation, your choice of ticket-collecting will also decide how much cancellation fee applies.

If you are collecting ticket by yourself

  • Cancel 24 hours before you collect will cause no cancellation fee. Send us an email and the refund will be back in your bank account with 24 working hours. But, please note, China Rail will ask for a 20% of the ticket price as a return ticket fee. We will withhold this amount on China Rail’s behalf.
    Example: Train departs at 08:30pm 15th Dec, 2014; and cancellation is made before 08:00pm 14th Dec, 2014.
    Payment: ticket price USD100 + service fee USD10 = USD110
    China Rail’s return ticket fee: USD100 x 20% = USD20
    Cancellation fee: none
    Refund amount: ticket price x 80% + service fee = USD80 + USD10 = USD90
  • Cancel after you collect the ticket ; this will require some cooperation on your side. Get to any train station or ticket office, holding your paper tickets. Show your passport to the counter clerk (at a train station or ticket office) and ask for a cancellation. The clerk will return youa receipt, which shall be sent back to us. China Rail will charge return ticket fee based on different cancelation time biases, which will be showed on the receipt. We will refund you the exact same amount in accordance with the receipt. The refund will return to you within 24 working hours after we receive the receipt.

If you choose our ticket delivery service

  • When the parcel is not delivered yet, we will process your cancellation once we get the email. By choosing our ticket delivery service, you have given the right to your own travel advisor to issue and hold the paper ticket on your behalf. Once learned you have to cancel, he/she will have to cancel in person at a train station. Considering the online process and station queuing time, your cancellation shall be made at least 48 hours prior the departure time. The departure time is printed on the ticket.
    In this case, 20% of the ticket valuewill be transferred to China Rail. 25USD per ticket will be charged as our cancellation fee. Please understand that the delivery fee is refundable, but not the service fee. The rest of what you’ve paid will be seen back in your account within 24 hours.
    Example: Train departs at 08:30pm 15th Dec, 2014; and cancellation is made before 08:00pm 13th Dec, 2014.
    Payment: ticket price USD100 + service fee USD10 + delivery fee USD5 = USD115
    China Rail’s return ticket fee: USD100 x 20% = USD20
    Cancellation: cancellation fee USD25/ticket + service fee USD10 = USD35
    Refund amount: ticket price x 80% - USD25/ticket + delivery fee = USD100 x 80% - USD25 + USD5 = USD60
  • When the parcel is on the way to you or just got to you, this is almost the same case with “Cancel after you collect the ticket”. However, please understand the delivery fee and service fee are not refundable.

Keep loose at the minimum

It will be frustrating to have missed the train, any way to save the day? The train station will help you change to a later train of that day. This policy only applies to travelers who hold C, G, and D-train tickets. It is a one-time and free-of-charge action and note that it shall be done within 2 hours after the train which you were supposed to be on departed. If you are holding Z, T, K, L or no letter-train tickets, then, sorry, the tickets have gone void and you will have to repurchase.

Whatever your case maybe, if it is none of the above, please contact your travel advisor.

Checking In and Checking Out

  • Passengers should arrive at the train station 60 minutes before departure and check in with valid ID and the paper ticket together. If you need to collect your paper tickets, you’d better go to the railway station 2-3 hours before departure, especially during the public holidays and weekends, we suggest you get your paper ticket(s) one day before.
  • Ticket widows in most train stations open 7/24.
  • After the train departs, a train attendant will walk through the carriages to collect tickets. The attendant will give each passenger a plastic card. Please keep the card safe. Passengers are required to present the card about half an hour before reaching the destination, when the ticket will be returned.

  • Retain the ticket as tickets are checked before exiting the train station.
  • Read more on How to Board a Train in China.


Baggage space is limited and must be stored in the sitting/sleeping compartment along with the other passenger’s luggage. It is wise to travel with limited baggage, which should not be left unattended.

Most stations have a considerable number of stairs to climb to reach the platforms. Bags have to be carried up and down these stairs. Most stairs have a steep ramp so that wheeled bags can be dragged up as you walk up the stairs. The ramps are usually narrow and inconvenient to use.

Some stations have porters who will carry luggage for 5-10 yuan per piece of luggage. Follow them closely and keep your eyes on your luggage.

Free Carry-on Luggage

  • Ordinary passengers: 20 kg (44 pounds)
  • Children with a half-price ticket ( 1.2m-1.5m) and no ticket (under 1.2 m) : 10 kg (22 pounds)
  • The total length of each item cannot exceed 160 cm, unless rod-shaped.
  • Note: The above limitation is not applicable to wheelchairs, which can be brought onto the train for free.

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