China Train Travel - A Beginner’s Guide
What are China trains like?
Generally, there are two kinds of trains running in China:
2. Traditional style trains are numbered as Z/T/K/Y/L or just digits. The fastest Z trains only have a top speed of 160 km/h (99 mph), so they are not as popular as the high speed ones. But those running overnight are popular among budget travelers. Most are equipped with sleepers.
Guides on How to Choose China Train Ticket Types
What China trains are available for my trip?
You can easily check the train schedule by entering the departure city, destination and date even if you are a beginner. The search results are in English; carefully pick one meeting your China train travel demands.
- Select seats for free
- Reschedule for Free
- Delivery service to your hotel
- One-to-one service in English
- 24/7 customer support
- 2,500+ 5-star reviews on TripAdvisor
There are several ways to buy a China train ticket: book on the official website of China Railway Corporation, buy from the railway stations or ticket outlets, or call the hotline… However, considering the language barrier, the most convenient way for a beginner is to purchase it from a reliable agency like TravelChinaGuide.
3 Tips on Buying China Train Tickets as A Beginner
1. If booking China train tickets online, one will get an e-ticket and there is no need to collect the paper ticket. Passengers can enter the station and get onboard with the passport used for booking.
2. If purchasing at railway stations or ticket outlets on your own, learn some Chinese phrases for train travel. Not all railway staff speak English.
Preparation Work before Boarding
1. Pack the Luggage
a. Do not forget your passport and paper ticket if it is already in hand.
b. Take some food and drinks; or buy them onboard at a higher price. See Food on China Trains
d. If traveling with kids, bring their favorite toys.
2. Learn the Hotel – Railway Station Transportation
Including that from your hotel to the departure station and from arrival station to the next hotel. Calculate the time needed on the way, especially that from your hotel to the departure station.
3. Get Some Basic Guides on China Train Stations
This will help you find the entrance, waiting hall, platform and exit more easily.
1. Passport and ticket check, and security check at the entrance;
2. Go to the right waiting room and wait for boarding;
4. Follow fellow passengers to your platform;
6. Find your seat/ sleeper and store your luggage; See Luggage Space
8. Upon arrival, follow the signs to the exit.
What if I cannot make the trip after buying the ticket?
You can still take the train with your passport used for purchasing the ticket. However, the paper ticket cannot be reclaimed for reimbursement or other purposes.