(This article is written for guests who choose to self-collect tickets at railway station after booking online with China Highlights. If you want an even more hassle-free solution, just use our ticket delivery service at least 8 days ahead of departure. We can deliver the paper tickets to your hotel directly.)
After you book the tickets online with China Highlights, our travel advisor will issue train tickets and then send you a booking confirmation email covering your train number, departure/arrival time and station, seat class, and most importantly the pickup number. However, you can’t use the booking confirmation to board the train. You still need to collect your paper tickets at a railway station with your passport and the booking confirmation. Only the paper tickets are valid for boarding trains.
As China’s railway stations are often very busy and full of passengers, China Highlights would suggest you collect train tickets as soon as possible, or allow plenty of time for collecting tickets, maybe at least one day in advance.
If you have to collect your ticket on the day of departure, we suggest you get to the railway station 2 to 3 hours early, as there may be long queues at the ticket collection point. If you wait till right before your departure time you run the risk of missing your train.
In peak seasons such as Spring Festival (usually in January or February), summer holiday (July to August), National Day holiday, and weekends, there will be more people in the station and long queues waiting for ticket collecting. It’s best to collect your ticket as early as possible during the peak seasons.
You can collect all your booked tickets in any railway stations in mainland China. That is to say if you have booked train tickets departing from different railway stations, you can collect all the tickets at one time in one railway station. However, if you collect the tickets from somewhere other than the departing city, you will be charged by the railway station 5 Yuan per ticket as a service fee.
In some big cities, there are more train stations. China Highlights would suggest you collect tickets at the nearest station, or the one centrally located with easy access.
But if you choose to collect tickets on your departure day, go to your departure station for collecting tickets to avoid missing your train.
(For example, you booked two tickets: One from Beijing South to Shanghai Hongqiao, the other one from Shanghai Hongqiao to Guangzhou Station. You may collect both tickets in Beijing Railway Station as it is centrally located and easy to get to. But for the Shanghai Hongqiao to Guangzhou ticket, you have to pay 5 Yuan as a service fee because you are collecting it at Beijing and it departs from Shanghai.)
The following picture shows the ticket office (or booking hall, ticketing hall, Chinese:) of a railway station:
These are the ticketing windows:
In the ticketing hall, there are many ticket windows for different functions. Passengers can buy or collect train tickets for all routes, destination and train types at most of the ticket windows, except two or three exclusive ticket windows used for ticket refund, cancellation or endorsing.
In some big stations, exclusive ticket window are available for collecting online booked tickets only. It helps save your time as these exclusive windows don’t sell any tickets but only accept collecting service for online booked tickets.
The signpost or electricity screen on the windows shows their functions. Most of them are not in English. The easiest way to find the right window is to ask the station staff for help. Larger railway stations often have English speaking staff and volunteers, but some smaller stations cannot offer complete English service. In this case, you may print the sentence below and show it to the staff:
(I booked my ticket online, could you tell me which window I should queue to collect my ticket?)
There are self-service ticket machines in many train stations. But foreigners cannot use the self-service machines as the machines only accept Chinese ID cards not foreigner passports.
To pick up your train tickets at station, you need two things: your passport and the pickup number. The pickup number can be found on the email sent by China Highlights.
The pickup number is necessary for ticket collecting, so we recommend you to copy or print it.
1. Read our e-mail before you go to the railway station, copy the pickup number on a paper and make sure your handwriting is readable.
2. Keep your ticket safe!
3. You can collect your ticket from 8:00 to 22:00.
You can collect the online booked tickets at any ticket windows except the refund and cancellation windows. Just simply show your passport and the pickup number at a window, and the staff will hand you the tickets.
Some Useful Sentence
Here are some useful sentences, you may copy them in a notebook or learn the pronunciations. When you don’t know where to go, you can show your note to railway station staff or just ask them for help.
(Could you tell me where to collect my ticket? Sounds like ‘Ching Wnn chyoo Nar Choo Pyaoww’)
(Could you tell me where my waiting hall is? Sounds like ‘Ching Wnn hwor Cher Ting dzeye Nar Lee’)
(Could you tell me where to get on board? Sounds like ‘Ching Wnn dzeyei Nar Lee Shung Cher’)