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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 Nov. 03, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on How to Buy Ticket Online
Asked by Andrew from UNITED KINGDOM | Nov. 30, 2019 06:05Reply
Name details to book train tickets
My wife's French passport contains her surname written as:
ROBERT ép. LYTLE
This is effectively saying her surname is ROBERT (& this is the way her flight ticket is booked), but ép. is short for épouse - married, therefore showing that her as married to someone with the surname LYTLE.

How do we handle that on booking Chinese train tickets? For the flights, we were advised to keep it simple and opt for the first recorded surname on the passport, namely ROBERT. Is that right?
Answers (1)
Answered by TraverChinaGuide | Dec. 02, 2019 18:12
00Reply


Thanks for your inquire, for most stations, you could use the name "ROBERT ép. LYTLE", while a few stations have discrepant polices. We suggest you upload the passport copy after you booked the tickets, we will deal with the names.
Asked by Teresa Garrido Contreras from ESPAÑA | Nov. 24, 2019 01:19Reply
Methods of payment of Shanghai Train Tickets
Can I pay with visa?
Answers (1)
Answered by Whitlock from DENMARK | Nov. 24, 2019 18:01
00Reply


You can pay by visa (through paypal though) for online booking here. At station, they only take cash, wechat, alipay and Chinese debit card.
Asked by Melanie van Niekerk from SOUTH AFRICA | Nov. 16, 2019 13:42Reply
High Speed train from Taipei to Kaohsiung
Love your website
But i cant see which station in Taipei for high speed train to Kaohsiung
Please include address
Estimate price for standard ticket? (Travelling on 23/12/2019 around 14:00) for 4 people
Thank you
Answers (1)
Answered by Carman | Nov. 22, 2019 02:52
00Reply


The address of high speed station is No.3, Beiping W. Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei City. The standard price should be $1490 Taiwan dollar per ticket to Zuoying Station (No.105, Gaotie Rd., Zuoying Dist., Kaohsiung City ).
Asked by WILBUR23 | Nov. 10, 2019 14:25Reply
booking trains close to new year
Hi, I'm hoping to book the fast train from Shanghai to Tianshui on the 24th Jan. I've heard it is incredibly busy prior to NY so was just wondering if I pre-book a ticket, is it a guarantee that I'd get one? Or is it still a bit of a lottery depending on how it goes when sales open 1 month beforehand? Thanks
Answers (2)
Answered by TravelChinaGuide | Nov. 11, 2019 03:37
00Reply


Thank you for your inquiry.

As tickets only begin for sale 30 days within departure date, ticket availability cannot be known and guaranteed in advance. If you are interested in booking with us in advance, we will keep your booking and try our best for tickets on the time for sale. If there is any news of your booking, we will let you know by email. Hope for your kind understanding.
Answered by WILBUR23 | Nov. 11, 2019 07:08
00Reply


Thank you
Asked by Allan from PHILIPPINES | Nov. 01, 2019 15:15Reply
Can we purchase the ticket on the day of travel?
We will be travelling from Beijing to Qingdao on November 4 through bullet train
Answers (1)
Answered by Glen from USA | Nov. 03, 2019 18:12
00Reply


There are tickets available for sale. Wish you got one there! :)
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