Home / Train /

How to Buy China Train Ticket Online

3 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.

 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. 26, 2020 -
Questions & Answers on How to Buy Ticket Online
Asked by Elizabeth Steck from CHINA | Jan. 18, 2020 02:05Reply
How do I buy a ticket for my free child?
We are a group of 5 (3 adults, 1 child and 1 free child). I would like to book a soft sleeper for our trip from Beijing to Xi'an, but it has 4 beds and there are 5 of us. If my free child shares a bunk. How can I buy tickets to ensure that we have all the right tickets for our trip?
Answers (1)
Answered by Simon from NETHERLANDS | Jan. 18, 2020 18:17

If the child is under 120cm and will share bunk with adult, the child do not need a ticket. The child can board for free without ticket together with adult.
Asked by Virginia Fernlund from AUSTRALIA | Jan. 16, 2020 01:56Reply
Booking ticket for bullet train
Do I have to prebook high speed train tickets in advance or can I buy seats 2nd class on the day?
Answers (1)
Answered by Micake | Jan. 16, 2020 17:57

Both are fine. In fact it depends on ticket availability. If many tickets available on the train you want, both options works. If only limited tickets left, you'd better to book online to secure a ticket in advance.
Asked by Jane from SINGAPORE | Dec. 28, 2019 02:46Reply
Nanning to Guilin
1. Family of 3 going from Nanning to Guilin on 15 Jan 2020 by train. lodging already booked.
2. I would like to pre-book 1st class High Speed Train tickets on line for 15 Jan to arrive Guilin at latest 3pm.
Please advise.
3. On 19 Jan, we need to travel back from Guilin to Wuxu international airport to return to Singapore, flight is 10pm. What is best way to get from Guilin or Yangshou on 19 Jan.2020
Answers (1)
Answered by Finley | Dec. 29, 2019 17:11

There are still some first class seats and many second class seats available on trains from Nanning to Guilin on Jan 15. You can just choose one of them. As for return, there is a morning train from Yangshuo to Nanning directly and also some trains from Guilin to Nanning. As you will need to catch a flight to Singapore, it would be better if you choose a train reaching Nanning at least 5 hours before flight.
Asked by Niko from FINLAND | Dec. 23, 2019 23:57Reply
Account verification on 12306.cn
Hello! I'm planning a trip through China with multiple train journeys. I have already booked 4 tickets through 12306.cn which seems to be the maximum amount without any verification. Do you know how can I verify my account and buy more train tickets?

Answers (1)
Answered by Oliver from MALAYSIA | Dec. 24, 2019 18:10

I think you need to show up at station and present your passport for the verification.
Ask a Question
Question Summary (100 characters)
Details (optional) (2,000 characters)