The Spring Festival (Jan. 27– Feb. 2, 2017) travel rush season is a special period for the Chinese, when the Chinese transport system faces greatest pressure from high traffic loads, due to tens of millions people hurrying home, according to tradition, to spend the Spring Festival with their families. During this time of year, it’s very hard to book and purchase tickets, especially train tickets.
The Spring Festival season usually lasts for 40 days in China (15 days before Chinese New Year, plus 25 days after it). It’s estimated that about 47 million people will go home by plane and 295 million people by train during the 2017 Spring Festival. This makes it extremely hard to get tickets during this holiday.
Due to the reasons above, it’s highly recommended for passengers to book train tickets 90 days in advance, and we, at China Highlights, will try our best to get tickets for our customers, even at the last minute.
No matter how many days passengers book in advance, it’s still a bit of a lottery, as millions all to rush to buy online or by telephone when the tickets are first put on sale. As a company we have more of a chance to get tickets according to passenger requirements than passengers booking alone, because we work with over 100 professional ticket operators.
Because we at China Highlights have always dedicated ourselves to providing high-quality service to customers from all around the globe, please understand we will try very hard to get you what you want. However, unfortunately, we cannot 100% guarantee that we will be successful at the very busy Spring Festival period.
If you book train tickets online with China Highlights, you are recommended to tick two options on our train-ticketing web pages, if agreeable (i.e. you are willing to take any seat class available on the same train; and will take seats of the same class on other available trains), in case the train tickets chosen are not available. Please also write any special requirements you have in the special request column, so that we can fully understand your requirements and book the tickets accordingly, and as efficiently as possible.
Foreigners are highly advised to choose high-speed trains due to their comfortable soft seats and sleeper cars, and clean toilets. If you choose an ordinary train, you are highly advised to choose soft or hard sleepers rather than seats, during the crowded Spring Festival.
Some standing tickets (which can be bought through us) are available on high-speed trains and on ordinary ones during Spring Festival, however the number of standing tickets is limited to 7% of the total seated capacity in the high-speed trains. Passengers with standing tickets on these trains are only allowed to stand in the second-class areas, and are not allowed to go into the business class areas. The number of standing tickets is not strictly limited for the ordinary trains, where standing-ticket passengers can stand in the aisles and even in the toilets during Spring Festival season!
Passengers should be prepared to accept seats of different types, and trains at different times, during the Spring Festival travel rush season, especially for cities with both D-trains and G-trains. China is a country with a very large population, and, as a result, more people than you could imagine will choose to go home by train, resulting in great transportation problems for the railways.
You are highly recommended to collect your tickets by mail (e.g. to your hotel), due to its convenience. You will only have to show your passports to collect your tickets. If you don’t get your tickets mailed, you are advised to collect your tickets at the railway station ticket window hours before departure, as that is how long lines can be.
Passengers are highly recommended to go to the railway station two or three hours before departure during the Spring Festival season due to the huge crowds. Due to the cold weather, especially in northern China, please make sure to take some warm clothes.