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How to Buy China Train Tickets

How to buy train tickets in China - 2 Ways

1. Book tickets online - hassle free if on TravelChinaGuide

2. Buy tickets at railway stations or ticket outlets in Mainland China - language barrier

 Valid ID is required for booking the train tickets in China, which include:
Foreign Passengers: Passport; China Permanent Residence Permit
Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan Passengers: Mainland Travel Permit

Here are details of the 2 ways showing you how to book train tickets in China:


Book with An Online Agency - Hassle Free if with TravelChinaGuide

  • Select seats for free
  • Reschedule for Free
  • One-to-one service in English
  • 24/7 customer support
  • 3,000+ 5-star reviews on TripAdvisor
This is the most practical and convenient way for those who speak little Chinese. TravelChinaGuide (TCG) offers excellent train ticket booking service in English:

Unbeatable service fee per ticket as low as USD6, and no extra hidden charge;

No limitation on pre-sale time and you can put an order anytime when your travel plan is set;

Easy and convenient booking web pages and app;

Well-trained operators are standing by 24/7;

Secure online booking and payment environment (TCG accepts Paypal, Credit Card through Paypal, Wire Transfer, Alipay and WeChat pay);

Last but not least, we do our best to book adjacent seats for groups traveling together!

Seat selection has become possible on China high speed trains and we will book the adjacent tickets for passengers traveling in a group. However, this is not always possible if adjacent seats have been sold out. Also, seat selection on normal speed trains are not allowed by China railway ticketing system, either.

Most railway stations allow passengers to get in and get onboard holding the passport used for booking the e-ticket only if they have done the identity verification earlier. The e-tickets booked with TCG also meet the situation.  

 See details of How to Buy Tickets Online


Buy at Railway Stations and Ticket Outlets - Language Problems

Tickets Selling Office
You can also go in person to purchase tickets at any railway station or ticket outlet in Mainland China. Both of their pre-sale periods are 15 days before departure. There might be an additional charge of CNY 5 per ticket at ticket outlets as service fee. There are several preparations you need to make before going:

Search on our website or via our app to know the real-time schedule and choose your favorite train. There are LED boards at stations showing the schedule, but they are in Chinese.

Have  second, third or more choices of train, class, or even alternative departure date, in case that the ones you choose are sold out, especially during peak travel season and for popular routes.

Print out or write down the train number, class, departure station, departure date, arrival station, and all other necessary information and show them to the staff, as only selected staff in metropolises like Beijing and Shanghai may speak English.

Bring your valid ID, such as a passport. If you are going to buy for others, bring theirs, too.

Expect a long queue at the station.

Do not queue for automatic ticket vending machines at the station, as they only recognize Chinese issued ID cards.

 Railway Stations in China
 Useful Chinese Phrases for Train Travel

5 Tips on How to Get Train Tickets in China

  The pre-sale time of China railway tickets is now 15 days before departure. But TravelChinaGuide accepts customers' bookings without time limitation, so you can book with us whenever you finalize your travel plan. 

 China train tickets do sell out, especially for distant locations and popular routes. During peak travel seasons, such as Chinese New Year and the National Day holiday from Oct. 1 to 7, they can sell out within minutes. You are advised to book as early as possible. 

 Most Chinese railway stations have applied E-tickets, where passengers can get in and get onboard the train holding only passport. So you need to bear the ticket information in mind or wrtie it down or print it out on a piece of paper.

  The ticket price does not include insurance and you need to buy travel insurance separately.

  Children aged 6 to 14 years old need to buy children's tickets while those under 6 years old ride for free. Please note that children as a rule should be accompanied by adults. See detailed Train Travel in China with Kids

  If you are unable to leave on schedule, you can refund or change the ticket.  

 See also:
How to Buy High Speed Train Tickets in Hong Kong
China Train Travel - A Beginner’s Guide

- Last updated on Nov. 29, 2023 by Catherine He -
Questions & Answers on How to Buy Tickets
Asked by Nicolas from CANADA | Feb. 11, 2024 18:31Reply
Hong Kong to Guilin, Guilin to Xi'an and Xi'an to Beijing: are these routes opened?
Planning on visiting the country in mid may 2024. Will these routes be in operation?
And if I were to book all tickets through you, is the fee per ticket or for all of the order?
Answers (1)
Answered by TravelChinaGuide | Feb. 18, 2024 23:07

Hi Nicolas,

These trains are all in operation and the fee is charged by per ticket.
Asked by Leonard from NIGERIA | Feb. 09, 2024 23:21Reply
Beijing airport to Jinzhou
I wish to know how I can book a train from Beijing international airport to Liaoning university of technology in jinzhou
Answers (1)
Answered by Jesse | Feb. 18, 2024 22:18

You can take a bullet train from Beijing Railway Station or Beijing Chaoyang Station to Jinzhou. It takes about 2-3 hours and a second class seat costs CNY 190-260 according different bullet trains.
Asked by Mal from AUSTRALIA | Nov. 28, 2023 16:34Reply
Seat for a toddler
Can we buy a child ticket for a 4 year old if we want to have a separate seat for him on a D/G train?
Answers (1)
Answered by Harry | Nov. 29, 2023 18:56

Yes, you can.
Asked by Alan Zhu from AUSTRALIA | Nov. 22, 2023 14:49Reply
Bullet train reservation
I can see in your description section that through this site you are able to reserve tickets 60 days in advance but tickets are not released til 15 days prior the desired date. So how does booking through this site guarantee a ticket especially during busy Chinese New Year periods where getting tickets is extremely difficult to secure?
Answers (1)
Answered by Mandy | Nov. 23, 2023 01:36

Generally, you can book from the train tickets from TravelChinaGuide at any time, but the tickets can only be issued after China Rail releases them, that is, 14-15 days in advance.

Ticket booking is not successful 100%, especially on busy holidays. However, once it was failed, they will always offer some other train options. If you cannot accept other options, they will refund.
Asked by Boris Mok from SINGAPORE | Oct. 31, 2023 07:48Reply
Beijing to Ulaanbaatar on K23 train
Planning to make this trip in mid June 2023.
How do I purchase tickets for 4 adults from you?
Answers (1)
Answered by Jesse | Oct. 31, 2023 19:01

I guess you mean in mid June 2024. Until now, the train has not resumed yet. However, once it is opened again, you can contact TravelChinaGuide directly to book train tickets.
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