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China Train Travel FAQs

China Train Travel FAQs

Written by AppleUpdated Nov. 23, 2023

The frequently asked questions below regarding ticktet booking, ticket collection, change & cancelltion, and train travel may be helpful to you. These frequently asked questions are categorized as FAQs on China Train Tickets Booking and Boarding on a China Train.

FAQs on China Train Tickets Booking

1. Do I still need to collect paper tickets?

Answer: No, you simply need to present your passport at a manual check-in gate. It is recommended to keep a screenshot of your e-ticket number, as well as the coach and seat numbers, as paper tickets are not issued. This will facilitate a smooth and convenient boarding process.

2. How many days in advance can I book China train tickets?

Answer: China train tickets are released 15 days before departure online. At train stations and ticket agencies, tickets go on sale 15 days in advance.

But if you book tickets with China Highlights, there are no restrictions on pre-sale time, so you can place an order anytime once your travel plans are finalized. Actually, it is recommended that you book tickets with us as early as possible, especially during Chinese holidays and peak periods.

More information about buying China train tickets.

3. What can I do if tickets are sold out for my route?

Answer: Even if tickets are sold out for a route, sometimes we can still find alternatives. Please call us or send us an email to find out about the possibility.

If tickets are sold out after you place the order, we will provide alternatives and suggestions if your first choice is unavailable. Payments are 100% refundable if we are not able to obtain your tickets.

4. I cannot find a train for my route, what can I do?

Answer: Maybe there are no direct trains You can try searching for alternative train routes that are close to your desired destination. China has an extensive railway network, so there might be other trains that connect nearby cities or towns. You can also call us or send us an email. Our experienced travel advisor may be able to help you find a solution.

5. Why was my ticket not bookable when the selling period began?

Answer: 1. China Rail usually gives priority to ticket bookings for the maximum journey length (from one terminal station to another). Sometimes, tickets for intermediate journeys are not released at first. If your tickets between intermediate stations are not available, it is suggested that you buy tickets for a longer journey to ensure a booking.

2. For some popular rail routes, such as trains to Lhasa, when ticket reservations open, ticket scalpers hoard large numbers of tickets and sell them later at a higher price. In this case, it is suggested that you wait a while (sometimes tickets will be available a few days before departure).

6. Is there a 100% chance of getting my train tickets?

Answer: Issuing of tickets is under the total control of China Rail. We will do our best to buy your train tickets, but cannot make a 100% guarantee of purchase. Train tickets for popular routes are sold out very fast, especially during peak season and holidays. It is advisable that you book tickets as early as possible.

7. I filled out the wrong name/passport number when submitting my inquiry, what should I do?

Answer: Before your tickets are issued, we can change the name/passport number in our system and use the correct passenger's information to issue tickets. After tickets are issued, we are not able to change the passengers' information. New tickets have to be issued with the correct name/passport number.

8. Do ticket counters accept credit cards for payment?

Answer: No, they only accept Chinese bank cards, WeChat, and Alipay.

9. We are a couple. Can we get a whole soft-sleeper compartment?

Answer: If you'd like to get a whole private soft-sleeper compartment, you can buy 4 soft-sleeper tickets, but this will cost twice as much as 2 tickets! If you wish to arrange this, please contact our travel advisor.

10. Can we get seats/berths next to each other?

Answer: When there are enough tickets available, we will try our best to book your seats/berths next to each other. But we cannot guarantee it since China Rail allocates seats/berths randomly. When there are only a few tickets left, sometimes you will be allocated to separated seats/berths, sometimes even in different carriages. Sometimes seats/berths will even be distributed in two carriages. In this case, you can change seats/berths with other passengers on the train. The train conductor can help you with that. Train types and seat class in China.

11. Can I change or cancel my train tickets?

Answer: If you need to change or cancel your tickets, Please contact your travel advisor. We will help you make changes or cancellations based on the regulation of China Rail and our policy.

Tickets can be changed or cancelled without any fee before tickets are issued. After tickets are issued, there will be a change/cancellation fee charged by China Rail. The amount charged depends on the time you make the change/cancellation. After the train departs, tickets cannot be cancelled, but can be changed to a later train on the same day. Click to read detailed change/cancellation policies

12. I sent you an email but didn't get any reply. Why?

Answer: Our working hours are from 09:00 to 17:00 from Monday to Friday. If you send us emails during our off-hours or on weekends, we might not be able to reply to you right away. We respond to all emails within 12 hours. But we stand by 24/7. Please give us a call if it is emergent.

13. You were supposed to buy my tickets today, but I didn't receive any update. Why?

Answer: Different departure cities, even different train stations have different times of releasing tickets during the day. For example, tickets will be released at 08:00 if your departure station is Beijing West; tickets released at 12:30 if your departure station is Beijing South. We will issue tickets for you as soon as reservations open.

14. Is English spoken at ticket counters in a train station?

Answer: Currently, staff at ticket counters/on the train can only speak Chinese, even in large stations like Beijing South and Shanghai Hongqiao. It is a good idea to prepare a few bilingual phrases in advance.

15. Can you buy international train tickets?

Answer: Yes, we can buy international tickets on rail routes including Siberian rail routes (Beijing–Ulaabaatar, Beijing–Moscow and Ulaabaatar–Moscow, etc.), Beijing–Hanoi, Nanning–Hanoi, Beijing–Pyongyang, and Urumqi to Almaty/Astana. However, these trains have not been resumed yet. As the global Covid-19 situation is becoming better, international trains are expected to be resumed soon. We will let you know here as soon as they are resumed.

16. Can I pick up international train tickets at the station?

Answer: International train tickets can only be bought at the designated ticket office offline. Thus we can only deliver the original tickets to your hotel or personal address in China.

FAQs on Boarding on a China Train

17. What's the luggage allowance?

Answer: The luggage allowance is 20kg for each adult, 10kg for each child. For more information about luggage allowance, please click here.

18. Can I get off before the destination station on the ticket?

Answer: Yes, you can get off at any station before the destination on your ticket. In fact, sometimes the China Railways only releases tickets to terminal stations or main stations. Thus when tickets to an intermediate station are sold out, we need to buy tickets to a further station or terminal station if you need to be on the same train.

For example, when tickets are sold out for Datong – Pingyao section, there are always availabilities for Datong – Linfen section (Linfen is the next stop on the same train). You can still get off at Pingyao Station. Of course, the ticket price of Datong – Linfen section is more expensive than Datong – Pingyao section.

19. How long should I leave for a connecting train?

Answer: Please leave at least 1 hour if you need to transfer to another train at the same train station, 4 hours if you need to take a connection train at a different station.

20. What should I do if I miss my train?

Answer: If there are other trains with vacant seats available on the same day, you can go to the station's change-tickets counter to change for a later train. If there are no such trains, then, unfortunately, your ticket will be void. You'll have to buy a new ticket for another day. You can only change your ticket on the same day, at the departure city specified on the ticket. The ticket for the missed train cannot be refunded.

International train tickets, however, cannot be reissued. So if you lose those, you'll need to buy new tickets, resulting in extra expenses.

21. Is WIFI available on a train?

Answer: WIFI is only available on China's newest type of High-speed train: "Fuxinghao" and all the high-speed trains to and from Hong Kong.

22. Can I smoke on Chinese trains?

Answer: Smoking is not allowed anywhere on high-speed trains. If you really need to smoke, you can get off the platform to have a cigarette when the train stops at a station. But be aware that high-speed trains stop at each station for a very short time (average 2-3 minutes). Please get back on the train in time.

23. How can I find the VIP lounge?

Answer: Most train stations have VIP Lounges for passengers who hold business class tickets. VIP lounges are quieter, less crowded and provide comfortable sofas for rest. You can show your business class tickets to the staff at the train station to help you find the VIP Lounge. If you have an e-ticket, present this note to the staff to help you find the direction: Chinese: 你好,请问商务候车室怎么走? English: Excuse me, can you tell me where the VIP Lounge is?

24. Can you tell me some useful Chinese phrases for train travel?

Answer: We have a page that collects commonly used Chinese phrases that may be helpful to your train travel. Please click here to find out.

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