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Home Jiangnan Travel Tips How to Book Train Tickets in China

How to Book Train Tickets in China


China train ticket booking and buying is not as simple as imagined, so it is quite necessary to give some detailed introductions for how to buy China train tickets in railway stations and how to book China train tickets online. Both of them are quite useful for readers and travelers when they plan to get a train ticket in China.

How to Buy China Train Tickets in Station

Traveling in China, taking train is the most convenient, economical and safest way. Traditionally, passengers or travelers need to get their train ticket via buying directly in relevant railway stations. Something has been changed compared with before. Currently, you had to show your ID card or passport to the station ticket sellers if you want to buy a ticket. It is the must. Hence, never forget this! Furthermore, after the commencement of china high-speed train service, the ticket train buying service in many big stations is generally divided into two parts, and the first is for selling the traditional tickets, and the second is for selling the high-speed train tickets. Also, the traditional site is always crowded, because of the lower prices of the common train tickets; on the contrary, the high-speed train ticket service site is relatively free for the price is obviously higher than the common tickets. So it is totally different. Foreign buyers had better inquire the train station service man where the site you want. By the way, In many big stations, there are the self-service machines for taking train tickets, and the whole procedure is also quite easy and can be handled in English.

The scene of passengers buying tickets in the ticket-purchasing hall of railway station

Since 1978, taking a train ticket has become a harder job, due to the huge population migration for getting a better job and higher payment. At present, it is not so easy as it in western countries. In particular, during some special periods like the Spring Festival or some national holidays, it is quite hard to take a train ticket via buying in stations. The advisable solutions are buying them in advance of a week or ten days (the earliest time of taking a train ticket generally is 10 days before the train departure, apart from someday special that buying or booking day can be 15 days before the train departure), or let an agent or travel agency get the train for you, but you have to pay them extra commission fees. Two ways are the effective, especially the latter one, paying less, saving more, it is a good deal for your travel in China

How to Book China Train Tickets Online

Due to some reasons, booking China train ticket used to be a tough job, especially during the Chinese Spring Festival eve. This has gone since official China train ticket booking website was launched in the late of 2011.People are able to book most of the China train ticket online, such as the train between Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Xian etc. Not only China citizen can book the China train ticket online directly, but foreigners providing passport information can book the train ticket online as well. The advantage of booking train ticket online is that it allows you to buy the tickets 12 Days in advance of your departure date which is longer that buying from train ticket agent which is only 10 days before the departure date. That is why people, especial the young people prefer to buy train ticket online. However, as there is not English version Train ticket booking website, few foreigners book the ticket online by themselves. After reading this article, I believe you will be able to book China train tickets online by yourselves. Just follow this instruction step by step.

1. First, register you account on official China train ticket booking website:

■install CA
■click “Buy Ticket”
■agree the policy

buy train ticket
buy train ticket
buy train ticket

2. Fill out your personal information

buy train ticket
buy train ticket

After you submit your information, check your email. You will receive an “activate account” email from 12306. Then activate your account by clicking the link.

3. Return to the homepage, click “Buy Ticket” again, login your account, you will see “Book Ticket” as below, then Search for the train you like

buy train ticket
buy train ticket

4. Search result (take Beijing–Shanghai for example), then book

buy train ticket

5. Show ticket price and fill in your personal information and submit

buy train ticket
buy train ticket

6. Check the ticket information and confirm

buy train ticket

7. Make the Payment online

buy train ticket
buy train ticket

Currently, they only support China Bank’s card, like ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China), CMB (China Merchants Bank), BOC (Bank of China). If anyone have problem of making the payment, please feel free to contact me, I am pleased to help you for the payment.

After you make the payment successfully, you will receive an email about your train ticket’s information. You will find an e-ticket number in the email, such E7879xxxx. Keep this number.

8. Get your train ticket at ticket agent or railway station

You can get the ticket the day your departure from railway station ticket office. For guarantee, I suggest you get the ticket from the train ticket agent nearby in advance. 10RMB per ticket will be charged if taking ticket from ticket agent.

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Editor: Julius from Mildchina
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