Travelling China by train? how to get China train ticket? Here are some of my suggestions for this.
Travelling China by train has some advantages. It is cheaper than flight, the condition of high-class sleeper train is good, and overnight express can save your day time. (Here you can see my
post of taking sleeper train in China).
In the European countries and the USA, booking train ticket online is not a problem. But in China getting train ticket is not that straightforward as in those countries.
In China only till
2011, the official China train ticket online booking system was launched
by China Railway Customer Service Centre. (http://www.12306. cn).
People can buy train ticket online but each ticket is linked with your
personal ID. So before buying ticket online, online users need to have
their IDs validated at the train station. So far (2016) this online
service website has only Chinese version.
If it is for
business, there will be someone in the company do this task through the
contact between the company and local railway stations.
personal case, if you join a tour, it can be done by the agent. Or, if
you have contact with the railway station, then things are easy too.
Otherwise, you may buy ticket online or go to station buy ticket
If you are a foreigner who does not understand Chinese, here are my suggestions.
This is always my first option whenever I visited back China for a business
trip. It is easy and convenient. In China most hotels above three stars
provide this service. Some small hotels do this too. Just ask them.
The handling fee is about 30~50 RMB. But it is better to check with hotel as early as possible because it may take few days to get the ticket.
Normally they are Chinese travel companies who can get China train ticket for you. Some of them have websites in English, not only provide lots useful information but also online train ticket booking system. You can book online first then they deliver ticket to your hotel.
One good travel China booking system is www.ctrip.com, I use it for all my China inland booking. It now also has openned booking for train, but limited to certain types of trains.
There are many train ticket offices being set up in each city, in different areas, which makes buying train tickets more convenient for locals. These office is linked with the online ticket network, so it is the same as buying the ticket at the station.
My parents do not know how to use online ticket service, so they normally just go to their local train ticket office to buy one. This is quick and no need to queue up at train station.
But if you are not familiar with the city, it might be hard to find such ticket office. So, other options might be better than this.
As a Chinese myself, I haven’t been to railways station to buy ticket for years, just try to avoid the long queues and crowds. But with the development of Chinese economic, the condition of train station has been much improved now.
If you need to buy ticket at station, some suggestions here.
Good luck with the China train ticket! :-)