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China Train Travel FAQs

Written by FabioUpdated Jan. 19, 2024

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, if you have been verified by China Railway, you only need to present your passport at a manual check-in gate. It is advisable to keep a screenshot of your e-ticket number, along with the coach and seat numbers, as paper tickets are not issued. Having this information readily available will ensure a smooth and convenient boarding process.

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

Answer: China train tickets are typically released 15 days before departure dates. However, when booking tickets through China Highlights, there are no restrictions on pre-sale time, allowing you to place an order at any time once your travel plans are finalized. It is highly recommended to book tickets as early as possible, particularly during Chinese holidays and peak periods, to secure your preferred travel arrangements.

Waiting Hall of Beijing West during Public HolidaysWaiting Hall of Beijing West during Public Holidays

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 your intended route, alternatives may still be available. For example, if Beijing to Nanjing train tickets are sold out, an alternative route like Beijing to Shanghai to Nanjing could be explored. To inquire about such possibilities, please contact us by phone +86 18877331805 or email If a satisfactory solution cannot be reached, rest assured that payments are 100% refundable.

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

Answer: If there are no direct trains to your desired destination, consider searching for alternative train routes that are in proximity to your target location. Given China's extensive railway network, there might be other trains connecting nearby cities or towns.

In the event that there are no trains available, we may also be able to help you book flights, buses, or ships for your journey. Feel free to reach out to us via phone or email. Our experienced travel advisors can assist in finding a suitable solution.

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


  • China Rail typically prioritizes ticket bookings for the maximum journey length, from one terminal station to another. At times, tickets for intermediate journeys may not be released initially. If tickets between intermediate stations are unavailable, it is recommended to purchase tickets for a longer journey to secure your booking.
  • For popular rail routes, like trains to Lhasa, ticket scalpers often hoard large numbers of tickets and sell them later at inflated prices. In such cases, it is advisable to wait for a while, as tickets may become available a few days before the departure date.

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

Answer: The issuance of tickets is entirely controlled by China Rail. While we strive to do our best to purchase your train tickets, we cannot provide a 100% guarantee of acquisition. Train tickets for popular routes tend to sell out rapidly, especially during peak seasons and holidays. It is strongly recommended to book tickets as early as possible to secure your travel plans.

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

Answer: Before your tickets are issued, we have the flexibility to change the name/passport number in our system and use the correct passenger information to issue the tickets. However, once the tickets are issued, we are unable to modify the passenger information. In such cases, the only option available is to cancel the original tickets and book new ones with the correct information, incurring a cancellation fee.

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 prefer to have an entire private soft-sleeper compartment, you can purchase four soft-sleeper tickets, although this will cost twice as much as buying two tickets. If you wish to arrange this, please contact our travel advisor for assistance. Additionally, check if there are deluxe soft sleeper options for your train route. A deluxe soft sleeper compartment typically has only two bunks, providing complete privacy, making it a suitable choice for couples.

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

Answer: When there are sufficient tickets available, we will make every effort to book your seats/berths next to each other. However, we cannot guarantee it as China Rail allocates seats/berths randomly. In instances where only a few tickets are left, you may be assigned separated seats/berths, possibly even in different carriages. In such cases, you can consider changing seats/berths with other passengers on the train, and the train conductor can assist you with this arrangement. See Train types and seat classes 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: Tickets for different departure cities, and even different train stations, are released at different times of the day. For instance, tickets may be released at 08:00 if your departure station is Beijing West, while they are released at 12:30 if your departure station is Beijing South. Rest assured that we will promptly 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. So far, only the China-Laos inernational high-speed train is operational.

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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