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How to Buy China Train Ticket Online

4 Steps on How to Buy China Train Tickets Online

For more booking ways, see How to Buy China Train Tickets

Step 1: Set the Travel Date

Set your departure date. It should be at least one month later because the pre-sale time of 12306.cn is 30 days and agencies usually book tickets for their customers on 12306.cn.

If possible, try not to travel during the peak travelling periods like “Golden Week” of National Day Holiday usually from October 1st to October 7th and Spring Festival Travel Rush around Chinese New Year, because large amount of passengers make it difficult to order a ticket successfully, especially for popular routes.

The pre-sale time of different agencies are different. There is no time limit on TravelChinaGuide (abbr. TCG). Users of our websites can book Chinese train tickets whenever they want; but we recommend you to put an order as early as possible, so we can book it on your behalf at the first time once it is available, just in case the tickets sold out.

Step 2: Choose a Reliable Online Booking Channel

 12306.cn: This is the official online booking website of China Railway Corporation. However, it is mainly designed for Chinese users, so doesn’t have an English interface. What’s more, to purchase a China train ticket successfully on it, you need to register with a Chinese mobile phone number and pay by a bank account of China, Alipay or WeChat Pay.

 Online agencies: This is the easiest way and first choice for overseas passengers to reserve a China train ticket. But you need to carefully choose one from various.

How to choose an online agency?

Passengers can make their decisions by comparing the prices, services and the reviews from previous users.

 Price: Normally, the charges of online agencies consist of ticket prices and service fees, passengers can decide which agency to choose based on their quotation. The price of some well-known agencies is high due to the high service fee. However, price is not the only reference, some agencies offer low price, so do poor service which may ruin your travel.

For your information, the ticket prices of TCG are exactly the same with the 12306.cn and we only charge an additional small amount of service fee.

 Service: The services of online agencies are also different from each other. Some do not reply to their customers promptly; some offer poor or none after-sale service to help customers to travel smoothly; some have very strict ticket change and refund policies…

TCG offers top-notch services to help our customers get a ticket hassle-free, including instant confirmation, 24/7 one-on-one dedicated service, ticket delivery service direct to your hotel, free reschedule and select seats for free…

 Reviews from previous users: Comments left by previous users can reflect the user experiences and the real service quality. About 3,000+ 5-star reviews about TCG have been left on TripAdvisor from the past users to show and recommend our service.

Step 3: Make a Reservation

It's not difficult to do it step by step. But there are some notes to take:
1. The information of your ID certificate will be needed and the most frequently used is passport.

2. The name and ID certificate number input should be exactly the same with that on your ID certificate, otherwise you will not be able to collect it. For instance, family name first then middle name and finally given name, just as the order from top to bottom and left to right on your passport. The hyphen or apostrophe needs to be omitted. If the name column is not enough for your name, type in as many characters as you can.
Cases that Chinese Railway Tickets Cannot be Successfully Collected after Booking Online 

3. Besides choosing seat classes like first class seat, second class seat, and soft sleepers, 12306.cn now also allows passengers to select the seat location on some high speed trains, by aisle or by window, so does TCG. Do not omit this step when booking.
China train ticket types 

4. Choose the way of ticket collection, by yourself or have it delivered to you. 12306.cn only delivers tickets to a few Chinese cities like Beijing and Kunming. TCG can deliver tickets to any of your China address.

5. Make the payment within the required time frame and through accepted payment tools, otherwise the order will turn invalid. 12306.cn accepts Chinese bank cards, Alipay and WeChat Pay. TCG accepts Paypal, Western Union, Alipay and WeChat Pay.

Step 4: Collect the Ticket or Receive the Delivered Ticket

If your reservation is confirmed and you have received the pickup number, you can collect the ticket at any railway station in Mainland China.
How to collect ticket 

 Kind Reminder: After booking the tickets online, passengers can take trains at more and more railway stations only holding the passport used for the reservation. There are special manual channels for these passengers. There is no need to collect paper tickets anymore.

How to Refund or Change a Ticket Booked Online

 12306.cn: Passengers who have not collected the tickets yet can refund or change their tickets online. A certain amount of service fee is charged in different cases. However, if the passenger has already collected the ticket, then he/she need to go to the railway station to refund or reschedule the ticket.

 Online agencies: The refund and reschedule policies of different agencies are also different. Some do not accept refund or change at all and some requires very high service fee. You should contact the certain agency for details. The refund and reschedule policy of TCG is generally in accordance with 12306.cn. 

 See also:
China Train Travel - A Beginner’s Guide

- Last modified on Aug. 19, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on How to Buy Ticket Online
Asked by Gina Lim from SINGAPORE | Oct. 09, 2019 16:46Reply
Buying multiple tickets at different stations.
I'm taking a train from guangzhou to guilin. And but returning from yangshuo to guangzhuo. So can you deliver all the tickets to my guangzhuo address?
Answers (1)
Answered by TravelChinaGuide | Oct. 09, 2019 19:14

Thank you for your inquiry.

We can deliver paper tickets for both trips together to your address in Guangzhou. You can add both trains into your shopping cart and submit the booking in one go with same delivery address. Hope this information can help you.
Asked by poh eng lam from SINGAPORE | Oct. 01, 2019 06:46Reply
what is the train tickets cost for child?
what is train tickets cost for child under 13 years old?
Answers (1)
Answered by TravelChinaGuide | Oct. 08, 2019 20:45

Thank you for your inquiry.

For domestic train routes within China mainland, child tickets support child under 150cm instead of a certain age. For seats, there is a discount of 50% off for child ticket. For sleeper bed, the discount is not fixed, usually around 25% off. Hope this information can help you.
Asked by Mako from SG | Sep. 20, 2019 07:06Reply
reservation necessary?
Will arrive early in the morning at Pudong (around 8am) and need to get to Ningbo. Do I need to reserve a seat on the high speed train ? Since I don't know how long immigration will take, I don't know which train I might catch.
Answers (1)
Answered by Vadim from USA | Sep. 23, 2019 23:26

If you are not sure about the departure time, you can buy the ticket on spot directly. It is still possible to get tickets on the same day but if during holiday, that can be questionable.
Asked by Erica from MALAYSIA | Sep. 20, 2019 03:24Reply
Name Sequence on Passport

I would like to purchase train tickets to Xi'An from Beijing.
My surname is Chan and my given names are Erica Shearn Ean.
However the sequence in my passport is Erica Chan Shearn Ean.

How should i fill up the booking from?
Answers (1)
Answered by TravelChinaGuide | Sep. 23, 2019 23:30

Thank you for your inquiry.

Please follow the same sequence on your passport for passenger information. You may use "Erica" or "Erica Chan" as surname and others as given names. After you submit the booking request online, you can offer us your passport copy online. We will recheck the names for you. Thank you.
Asked by Roger S. from CANADA | Sep. 15, 2019 16:54Reply
Deluxe soft sleeper for one passenger

I'm interested in booking a deluxe soft sleeper from Xi'an to Beijing. As a single passenger would I be able to have one berth to myself or are these compartments only for parties of 2?

Answers (1)
Answered by Svannah | Sep. 16, 2019 04:12

Deluxe soft sleeper is shared by each two passengers, you cannot buy two tickets to hold a whole cabin.
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