1. Plan and book in advance

Ticket rate: Train tickets cost the same all year around except few overnight D trains increase the rate during public holidays. Do not count on last minute discount. Time to issue: Most of the trains release tickets 30-60 days prior to departure date.

Ticket demand varies from travel time and popularity of the route. Example, train to Lhasa are always sold out ahead of time or even in a few minutes after the tickets released in July and August, due to its rare availability and popularity. Book early can largely increase the ratio of success.

ETripChina service: we accept reservation up to 6 months. 1-1 travel advisor can help to plan for a train travel over China.

2. Know how to purchase China train tickets?

There are several ways to purchase China train tickets including booking through ETripChina, going to train station or ticket offices in city on your own, telephone call etc. ETripChina is definitely your best choice to keep all the hassles and worries away. Find out how and start to purchase China train tickets.

3. Choose type of train and seat

Take into consideration of the availability, your travel interests, budget, travel time and comfort when planning your train travel.

Availability – dominate factor. ETripChina system offers real-time ticket data from China Rail. Check whether trains and tickets available between the destinations.

Travel interests – important. For business travel, business class and superior class is the best with reclining seats, exclusive and quiet area; Not picky but high-speed train experience only, second class and first class is the most valuable; Interests on scenery along the way, slow Z, T, K trains is good choice.

Budget – affects. On generally, Z, T, K, number trains cost less than G, D, C trains. Hard seat < soft seat < hard sleeper< soft sleeper< luxury soft sleeper. Second class seat< first class seat< superior class seat<business class

Your time – affects. If you have very limited time, trains are best choice for 30 minutes to several hours journey between neighboring cities, like Shanghai - Suzhou, Shanghai – Hangzhou, Shanghai - Beijing etc. However, it is not suitable for Shanghai – Guilin, Shanghai – Guangzhou etc. Fast train between these cities still take 10 hours also while flight takes only 2.5 hours only.

Comfort – affects. G, D, C trains cost more and more comfortable. Coaches are clean and non-smoking, seats are reclined and rotatable, washrooms and toilets are hygienic. If choosing Z, T, K trains, better to choose soft sleeper or luxury soft sleeper.

4. Prepare what to pack

The essential thing is to bring along your ticket and document you used to book train including passport, ID card for Mainland Chinese, or Mainland Travel Permit for passengers from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.

For others to increase the comfort of journey, packing strategy differs from the train you take, how long the distance is and type of seats you choose. Bear in mind some basic things like luggage allowance, size and type of your luggage, blanket, entertainment items and those for overnight journeys. Read more suggestions from ETripChina advisors.

5. Know how to board and disembark in China

Over 300 train stations are built or renovated in China to allow high-speed trains. Those train stations are better than the old ones with clear directions and some has boards written both in English and Chinese.

To guarantee a smooth journey, you are advised to get some simple preparation beforehand including how to get to train station, check in, get on and get off. Read more details on this topic.

6. Plan ground transfers

City transport is generally convenient whether the station is in the downtown area or outskirt of the city. Taxis are quite easy to find in front of the exit, however, almost drivers can't speak English, and neither read. Be sure you bring printed relevant phrases and your destination in Chinese to show them.

To secure a hassle-free ground transfer, please visit our transfer service center. Classic day trips and city packages are also carefully designed in all accessible China cities.

7. Hotel booking ideas

Hotel choices are many in almost of the cities train reaches. For long distance travel, you can consider overnight trains which offer sleepers onboard including hard sleeper (only Z, T, K trains), soft sleeper (Z, T, K and D trains) and luxury soft sleeper (on certain Z, T, K and D trains). Most of the routes provide 12 hours also journey starting from evening and arrive the next morning. It is a budget way to save one night hotel accommodation. Please note that there is no shower onboard even luxury sleepers. Arrange hotels in between if you cannot tolerant.

8. Follow the best train routes

Find it hard to complete a train travel plan? Pick it from the top 20 list. ETripChina travel advisors give you detailed train travel plan from their own experiences and ready to help whenever you need.

Useful sentences

请问火车站售票处在哪里? Please, where is the ticket office?
请问网络订票的取票窗口在哪里? Excuse me, I booked ticket online. Which ticket window should I go to?
请问在哪个窗口办理改签/退票? May I ask which window is for change and cancellation?
我的火车票弄丢了,请问我可以在哪个窗口补办?Excuse me, I have lost my paper ticket. Which ticket window should I go to?