Train Travel in China during Holidays
During holidays, China railway system is busier than usual with more passengers. This can make the railway stations and train carriages rather crowded and may lead to your China train travel an unpleasant one. Thus, foreigners are not recommended to travel in China by train during its holidays. If have to, read the below tips to smooth your train travel in China during holidays as much as possible.
Holiday Calendar and Influences on Train Travel
|Festival||Date||2017 Days off||Influences|
|New Year’s Day||Jan.1||Dec. 31, 2016 - Jan. 2, 2017||More passengers for short-distance rail rides|
|Chinese New Year||Jan.1 of |
Jan. 28 in 2017
|Jan. 27 - Feb. 2||Crowded passengers for both long-distance and short-distance rail rides; |
The situation usually begins 25 days before the Chinese New Year and ends 15 days after, known as Spring Festival Rush.
|Qingming Festival||Apr. 4 or 5; |
Apr. 4 in 2017
|Apr. 2 - 4||More passengers for short-distance rail rides|
|May Day||May 1||Apr. 29 - May 1|
|Dragon Boat Festival||May. 5 of |
May 30 in 2017
|May 28 - 30|
|Summer Holiday||July-early Sep.||July-early Sep.||More passengers for long-distance rail rides; |
Increasing passengers are mainly university students going between hometowns and schools
|Mid-Autumn Festival||Aug. 15 of |
Oct. 4 in 2017
|Oct. 1 - 8||Crowded passengers for both long-distance and short-distance rail rides; |
the situation lasts from Sep.28 to Oct.8
|National Day||Oct. 1|
To smooth the trip in China, here below are some tips:
Try to Avoid Holidays
If it is inevitable, please purchase tickets as early as possible. Railway tickets are now available at most 60 days prior to departure date. If you want to book from a booking agency to save troubles, it’s better to make an order over 60 days ahead of your departure date.
Be Careful of Fake Tickets
During the holidays, some illegal traders will make profits by selling fake tickets on phishing sites and around railway stations. This will not only bring you loss in money, but also ruin your trip. So it is suggested to buy tickets from ticket offices at railway stations, official website, or more conveniently, a legal and reliable agency like TravelChinaGuide.com.
See details of How to Buy Train Tickets
Keep an Eye on Last Minute Ticket Availability
If failing to get a ticket, check the most up-to-date ticket availability every now and then. Some passengers will refund their extras a few days before departure, known as “refund tide” and the tickets will be on sale again. Also, some temporary trains may be in operation to relieve the transportation pressure, which provides more tickets, too.
Avoid Temporary Trains if Possible
Compared with others, they are worse equipped, run at lower speeds and need longer time to reach destinations.
High Speed Trains Advantage
In addition to the high speed and clean and spacious carriages, they usually depart from newly-built modern stations with better air and environment, and more importantly, less crowded.
|A Hard Seat Carriage Filled with Passengers|
Stay away from Hard Seat Carriages
It will be the worst if in a hard seat carriage as you may find passengers holding standing tickets are all squeezed in. Aisles, sometimes even the washrooms, are filled with passengers and luggage; it is so difficult to move around, let alone march to the toilet.
See details of Train Ticket Types
The Dining Car is a Good Place to Escape from the Noisy and Crowded Carriages.
Make an order and you can enjoy a meal quietly. You can also order a cup of drink and they should not drive you out until you finish it. However, the dining car sometimes may be used as a regular carriage and the staff there may charge you additionally.
Keep an Eye on the Real-time Schedule
It is very possible that the arrival time being postponed during the holidays because of the busy traffic flow along rail lines and foul weather in winter or summer such as heavy snow, rainstorm, landslide or typhoon. Prepare some food and water for the trips in advance.
Get to Railway Station Earlier than Usual
If one already has a ticket in hand, please arrive at the station at least 2 hours before departure. If one needs to pick up online bookings, it is suggested to get there over 3 hours before departure, for there is a great possibility of long queues waiting.
See details of How to Collect a Ticket
Travel Light and Keep an Eye on Your Luggage
Please try to simplify your luggage. And after getting onboard, please put the luggage in obvious places in case that it is mistaken by other passengers or stolen by thieves. If possible, travel with friends or families and ask them to take care of your luggage when you must leave. Bring valuables with you at any time and do not make a display of them to strangers.
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