If your destination is not the terminus of a train, you need to listen to the stop announcements carefully. It is strongly advised that you show your ticket to a member of the train staff and ask her/him to remind you to get off, as you may miss (not understand) the call.
If staff can’t speak English, just point out the destination station on your ticket and show the staff member this Chinese: “请到达我票的终点站前十分钟提醒我准备下车。” (Qǐng dàodá wǒ piào de zhōngdiǎn zhàn qián shí fēnzhōng tíxǐng wǒ zhǔnbèi xià chē. ‘Please remind me to prepare to get off at my ticket’s destination station 10 minutes before arrival.’).
Station announcements usually come at least 10 minutes before each stop, to give passengers time to prepare to leave the train. Chinese passengers will tend to form lines in the aisles long before the stop to be the first to be off the train. This is unnecessary as there will be time for everyone to leave the train, and if you don’t want to stand for a long time in cramped conditions, don’t join the lines. However, don’t wait until the train stops to start getting your personal possessions together, as trains only stop for 3 minutes in some stations.
Remember to have your ticket readily accessible, as the ticket will be inspected again at exit gates either by human or machine. Sometimes if you can’t present your ticket, a fine of up to 150% of your ticket price will be charged.
Follow the crowd and you will get to the correct exit. You may need to carry your luggage to negotiate long staircases to reach to the exit. Stations vary, but, if you are very lucky, there will be an escalator. It is best to travel light on China’s trains.
Generally speaking, train stations are transportation hubs of cities, and it is very convenient to travel to somewhere else from a train station, especially in large cities. Usually many public buses have stops at train stations.
In large cities with subways, you always can find two or three subway stations around a train station. Subways usually work till around 23:00. For example, the last subway service from Beijing West Railway Station on Line 9 is at 23:29.
If you get off a train at midnight, and there are no subway and public bus services until 5:00 or 6:00 a.m., don’t worry: there are always official taxi lanes on the street in front of train stations. Some large train stations have underground taxi centers, such as Beijing West Railway Station.
As many taxi drivers in China can’t speak English, you’d better take a note with the Chinese name of your hotel or destination on it. (We at China Highlights would be glad to help you out).
If you want security and no hassle, the 24/7 private transfer service provided by China Highlights is your best choice.