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China has one of the biggest and busiest rail networks in the world, and trains link almost every town and city. Chinese trains are a safe, comfortable, and cheap way to travel around China, and a Chinese train journey is an experience in itself.
How do you plan your first train trip successfully? This page will help you understand and plan your train trip in China, and how to board your train.
Trains are classified by their speed and service in China, represented by a train code. A train code is comprised of a letter (G, D, C, Z, T, or K) or no letter (number only), which indicates a train's type.
There are business class seats, first class seats, hard seats, and soft and hard sleepers on different trains. A business class seat is the most expensive but the most comfortable, while soft sleepers will save your time and a night's hotel bill.
Which train type and which seat class will fit your timetable and budget? You will find the answers through http://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/transportation/choose-china-train-types-and-seat.htm.
You may find there are two or three stations in one city. A lot of foreigners get confused with the stations. Many people go to the wrong station then, unfortunately, miss their trains. For example, in Beijing there are stations called Beijing South, Beijing West, and Beijing.
Most of the bullet trains will depart from Beijing South station; some will depart from Beijing West station, while most of the ordinary overnight sleeper trains will depart from Beijing train station. If you want to take the high-speed trains, you need to go to Beijing South station.
High-speed trains and ordinary trains are located at different stations. You need to select and go to the correct train station.
Trains in China can take you to many popular destinations, and it would be a fantastic experience to take a bullet train during your China tour. However, it could be a problem for you to buy a ticket in China. For China's domestic trains, there are six ways to purchase the tickets: http://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/transportation/how-to-buy-train-ticket.htm.
For international train tickets, including to and from Hong Kong, China Railway doesn’t sell them online so you need to purchase them through agents in China. China Highlights can help you to purchase train tickets to Mexico, Vietnam, and Ulaanbaatar, as well as other destinations.
It may be very convenient for you to board/get off a train in your country, but there are some extra things to do to get on and off a train in China. You need to get to the right station, go through the security check to enter the station, and so on. Read the information at: http://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/transportation/how-to-board-train.htm.
Generally speaking, train stations are transportation hubs of cities, and it is very convenient to travel to another location from a train station, especially in large cities. Usually, many public buses have stops at train stations.
In large cities with subways, you can always find two or three subway stations around a train station. Subways usually operate until about 11pm. For example, the last subway service from Beijing West Railway Station on Line 9 is at 11:29pm.
If you get off a train at midnight and there are no subway or public bus services until 5am or 6am, don't worry — there are always official taxi lanes in the street directly in front of the 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 printed on it (we, at China Highlights, would be glad to help you out).