China Train Ticket Booking FAQ
How to Book
How many days in advance can I book train tickets in China?
Generally speaking, tickets are released 30 days before the departure date. At railway stations and booking offices, they go on sale 28 days before departure. Some special or temporary trains may have their pre-sale period less than 30 (28) days.
For passengers booking with us, the earlier, the better! Especially during peak times, confirm your reservation before the tickets are released to the public. That is to say 30 days or more before the departure date. To avoid disappointment, at least 3 days in advance is required.
Can I book by phone?
Sure you can! Just call us, and we will help you finish the booking procedures, or you can book directly through our online system with very clear instructions. Please note that if you book by phone, there is still some information that you need to submit online.
How to input my name for booking? Very important!
The real-name policy requires all passengers’ accurate full names, without omitting any single letter, abbreviating middle names, or changing the order. For example:
Given Names: Peter Christopher
Then you should offer the full name: Gates Peter Christopher
If your full name on the passport is in one line, please provide it exactly the same as it shows on the passport.
What documents are required for booking?
Every passenger’s passport copy is required for booking. You can go through our online system to submit your booking first. After receiving our confirmation, you can upload the passport copy online or email it to us later.
How to choose train types and seat/berth classes?
Click to see details about different types. For a long journey on high-speed trains, first class, second class or business class seats are all good choices. For an overnight journey on an ordinary fast trains, sleepers are suggested.
If I need to connect a train in a city, how do I book the tickets?
It should be note that many cities have more than one railway station. When booking, you’d better make the arrival and connecting departure station the same. If the schedule does not fit and you have to transit at two different stations, please do leave enough time for transfer between.
How do I pay?
At present, we accept payment by Paypal, Western Union, Alipay and WeChat, and also by bank transfer within China. Paypal accepts almost all kinds of credit cards and debit cards.
Do you accept credit card?
We do not accept credit card directly, but you can pay with your card through Paypal.
Can I book with you, but pay at the railway station?
No. According to the rules of China Rail, all the train tickets are issued directly without previous booking, and the payment is required when issuing the ticket. We need your payment to issue the ticket via China Rail.
How can I check my booking status after my reservation and payment?
Please refer to this page.
Enter your Tracking Number and email address to find your booking status.
How can I get my tickets after booking?
After booking, we will issue the tickets once they are officially released 30 days before departure.
For self-collected ticket, we will issue it online and send you the pickup No. by email. With this pickup No. and the passport used for booking, you can collect the ticket at any of the railway stations in Mainland China before departure.
For delivery tickets, we will deliver all of the tickets to your appointed address. If it is a hotel, we will deliver a few days before your check in to avoid any mix-up by the hotel. If it is a personal address, then we will deliver once the tickets are issued.
Can I change my order from self-collection to delivery, and how?
We can make this change before the ticket is issued. You only need to pay the delivery fee.
After the ticket is issued, we cannot make this change directly, but cancel the original online issued ticket and re-issue a paper one for delivery, because the online issued tickets and the delivered tickets use two different issuing systems. And the cancellation fee will be charged if we cancel the former issued self-collected tickets.
When can I collect my ticket?
After the ticket is issued, we will give you a Pick-Up Number. Then you can collect it any time before the departure. If time permits, we suggest you collect it as early as possible.
Can I collect my tickets from the vender machine?
No. The vender machine can only read Chinese ID card. Passengers who take other kind of ID certificates can only collect the tickets from the counters at the railway station.
Is the ‘Pick-Up Number’ and the ‘Tracking Number’ the same?
No. They are totally different. The Tracking Number is only used on TravelChinaGuide.com to track your order. The Pick-Up Number is required to collect the paper tickets at the railway stations.
I have booked several train journeys with you. Can I collect all the tickets at the first station?
Yes. You can collect them all at one station. Actually, we suggest you pick up all of them at the first station to save time for the rest of your journeys. Please make sure you keep them safe.
Can I pick up my tickets at the airport?
No. The tickets can only be collected at the railway stations within Mainland China with the pickup No. and your passport.
Do I need to pay any extra fee for collection?
No, no extra fee is required.
Do they have English-speaking counters for foreigners to pick up the tickets?
Only the railway stations in large cities may have English counters. But don’t worry! We will send you an email with the pick-up Number and also a confirmation link. The link shows all information for your booking in both Chinese and English. You just need to print the page or save it on your smart phone to show to the railway staff. The procedure is easy, and there is no need to say a single word in Chinese.
Is an E-ticket available?
No. Unlike air tickets, passengers must use paper tickets to get on board. If you choose the delivery service, we will deliver the paper tickets to your appointed address. If you choose to collect the tickets by yourself, we will book for you first and then offer you a Pick-Up Number. You need to take this number and your passport to collect the paper tickets from the windows at the railway stations.
Can I have the tickets delivered to my hotel in China?
Yes. We offer delivery to your hotel, but please make sure your hotel can receive express packets for their guests.
If your appointed address is a personal address, please offer us in Chinese to avoid any mistake, and make sure the receiver can be easily contacted in daytime and can speak Chinese. The postman will call the receiver when reaching the appointed address.
Can the tickets be delivered to my country, not China?
We do not suggest delivery to other counties; it costs much more and takes longer time. We can deliver to any of your hotels or a personal address in Mainland China, Hongkong and Macau.
Will all my tickets be delivered together?
Yes. If time allows, we will deliver all the tickets you have booked to your hotel in one packet.
Can I book first without a delivery address?
Sure. You can book as early as possible and tell us the delivery address later. Please provide the address at least 6 days before the departure date to allow sufficient time for delivery.
What should I do if I cannot get the tickets delivered to my appointed address?
This kind of situation happens in some hotels. Please ask the staff find them for you or call us directly and we will help you to settle this.
How to read the ticket?
Please refer to the following page for details.
After I make my reservation when will I know if my tickets are available?
Now the tickets are released 28-30 days before the departure date. We will confirm for you as soon as possible after the release.
Can I definitely get my tickets after making a successful payment to you?
We cannot guarantee availability because all the tickets are controlled by the China Railway Corporation. We will try our best to make the reservation for you.
Can I get a full refund if my required ticket is not available? Will you offer other options?
If your required ticket is not available, we will try out best to find more solutions for you. If all are not acceptable by you, we will fully refund your payment.
If I book several tickets, can I get seats next to each other?
Generally speaking, adjacent seats are available if you book early. We will try our best to reserve adjacent seats for our customers, but we can't guaranteed it due to the random distribution of available seats. For trains on some popular routes, we will try, but you may have to take what you can get.
Could three passengers occupy a whole compartment with four soft sleepers?
Due to the real-name system, one person can only buy one ticket. If three want to get a whole compartment, you can borrow an extra valid passport from a friend and buy four tickets. But first, please make sure a whole compartment is available. Sometimes tickets are limited and a whole compartment is not available. Then there is no need to waste money to occupy an extra sleeper.
Note: Whole compartment booking by less than four passengers is available on overnight high-speed sleeper carriages running between Beijing and Guangzhou, Beijing and Shenzhen, Shanghai and Guangzhou, and Shanghai and Shenzhen. The fare is the total of all sleepers inside the compartment. Due to the real-name system, we still need all of your passport copies for booking.
Can I change or cancel my order?
Before the ticket is issued, we can change and cancel the order requiring no extra charge. After issuing but before departure, we make change or cancellation based on the regulation of China Rail and our policy. After the journey, we do not accept any change or cancellation.
For the detailed change and cancellation policy, please check the following page:
For other questions regarding to taking train travels in China, please refer to the following page. Thank you!
Thank you, Martin Herbert.