You may encounters questions when buying China train tickets during your train travel in China. The frequently asked questions below regarding ticktet booking, ticket collection, change & cancelltion, and train travel may be helpful to you.
How many days in advance can I book China train tickets?
Answer: China train tickets released 30 days before departure online. At train stations and ticket agencies, tickets go on sale 28 days in advance.
But you can book tickets with China Highlights more than 30 days ahead. Actually, it is recommended that you book tickets with us as early as possible, especially during Chinese holidays and peak periods.
What can I do if tickets are sold out for my route?
Answer: Even tickets are sold out for a route, sometimes we can still find alternatives. Please call us or send us an email to find out the possibility.
If tickets are sold out after you place the order, we will provide alternatives and suggestions if your first choice is unavailable. Payments are 100% refundable if we are not able to obtain your tickets.
I cannot find a train for my route, what can I do?
Answer: Please call us or send us an email. Our experienced travel advisor may be able to help you find a solution.
Can you buy international train tickets?
Answer: Yes, we can buy international tickets on rail routes including Siberian rail routes (Beijing–Ulaabaatar, Beijing–Moscow and Ulaabaatar–Moscow, etc.), Beijing–Hanoi, Nanning–Hanoi, Beijing–Pyongyang and Urumqi to Almaty/Astana. Please search the train schedule and make a booking at China Highlights train ticket booking.
Can I use e-tickets to board the train?
Answer: Currently, e-tickets are only available for passengers with Chinese ID Cards. Passengers with passports and Mainland Travel Permits (for Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan residents) have to use paper tickets for boarding.
Is there 100% chance of getting my train tickets?
Answer: Issuing of tickets is under the total control of China Rail. We will do our best to buy your train tickets, but cannot make 100% guarantee of purchase. Train tickets for popular routes are sold out very fast, especially during peak season and holidays. It is advisable that you book tickets as early as possible.
I sent you an email but didn't get any reply.
Answer: Our working hours are from 09:00 to 17:00 from Monday to Friday. If you send us emails during our off-hours or weekends, we might not be able to reply you right away. We respond to all emails within 12 hours. But we standby 24/7. Please give us a call if it is emergent.
You were supposed to buy my tickets today, but I didn't receive any update.
Answer: Different departure cities, even different train stations have different time of releasing tickets during the day. For example, tickets will be released at 08:00 if your departure station is Beijing West; tickets released at 12:30 if your departure station is Beijing South. We will issue tickets for you as soon as reservations open.
I filled out the wrong name/passport number when making the booking, what should I do?
Answer: Before your tickets are issued, we can change the name/passport number in our system and use the correct passenger's information to issue tickets. After tickets are issued, we are not able to change the passengers' information. New tickets need to be issued with the correct name/passport number.
Is it difficult to pick up tickets at the station?
Answer: After you book train tickets with China Highlights, our travel advisor will send you detailed bilingual instructions regarding how to collect tickets at the station. It will not be a problem to collect tickets all by yourself, even if you don’t speak any Chinese. But please time your arrival at the station wisely, as stations can be very crowded.
What do I need to collect train tickets?
Answer: After you make the booking online, we will send a pick up number to you via email along with bilingual instructions. Just show the pick up number and all the passengers’ original ID documents like passports for ticket collection at a train station.
Do all the passengers need to show up when picking up paper tickets?
Answer: No. One person can pick up all the train tickets by presenting the pick up numbers and all passengers' original ID documents like passports. This person doesn't even need to be one of the passengers.
Please note that the ID documents for ticket collection need to be the same used for ticket booking. Original ID documents are required for ticket collection. Copies of ID documents are not accepted.
I booked tickets for several routes, can I pick up all tickets at one station?
Answer: Yes, you can pick up tickets for all routes at any train stations at any time after tickets have been issued online. There is no extra fee if you pick up tickets at train stations in mainland China. If you pick up tickets at Hong Kong West Kowloon Station, there will be an extra cost of about HKD10-30 per ticket.
There is one exception, if your tickets are issued on Hong Kong Railway website (usually refer to Hong Kong high-speed train tickets), tickets can only be collected at Hong Kong West Kowloon Station. In this case, you travel advisor will let you know via email.
Can I collect my ticket from an automatic ticket machine?
Answer: The automatic ticket machines can only accept Chinese citizens’ ID cards. Passengers who bought tickets using their passports can only collect the tickets at the ticket windows of any train station.
Can I pick up train tickets at the airport or subway station?
Answer: There are no counters for train tickets at airports/subway stations. Train tickets can only be collected at train stations.
Can I pick up international train tickets at the station?
Answer: International train tickets can only be bought off-line. Thus we can only deliver the original tickets to your hotel or personal address in China.
Are the ticket counters at the train station open 24 hours a day?
Answer: Most train stations’ ticket counters are open 24 hours a day. Ticket counters at high-speed railway stations, however, such as Beijing South (Beijing Nan), Shanghai Hongqiao and Xi’an North (Xi’an Bei), are open only from 5:30 to 22:00 hrs.
Do ticket counters accept credit card for payment?
Answer: No. Train Stations in China only accept cash in Chinese yuan for payment.
Can tickets be delivered to our country from China?
Answer: Tickets can be delivered to your hotel or personal address in China (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan). But currently we are unable to deliver tickets outside of China.
The hotel cannot find my tickets that you delivered, what should I do?
Answer: Usually, you will get your train tickets at front desk upon arrival. If your hotel cannot find your tickets, please email or us immediately. Your travel advisor will help you to settle this.
We are a couple. Can we get a whole soft-sleeper compartment?
Answer: If you’d like to get a whole private soft-sleeper compartment, you can buy 4 soft-sleeper tickets, but this will cost twice as much as 2 tickets! If you wish to arrange this, please contact your travel advisor.
Can we get seats/berths next to each other?
Answer: When there are enough tickets available, we will try our best to book your seats/berths next to each other. But we cannot guaranteed it since China Rail allocates seats/berths randomly. When there are only a few tickets left, sometimes you will be allocated to separated seats/berths, sometimes even in different carriages. Sometimes seats/berths will even be distributed in two carriages. In this case, you can change seats/berths with other passengers on the train. The train conductor can help you with that.
You can use the bilingial phrases below to ask for the conductor's help.
Chinese: 你好， 请问你可以帮我们把座位换到一起吗？
English: Excuse me, can you help us to change our seats together, please?
What if I lose my ticket?
Answer: If you lose your domestic train ticket, the same ticket can be reissued. Please click the link for the steps to follow in order to have your ticket reissued: lost ticket tips. You can also call your travel advisor for help.
Can I change or cancel my train tickets?
Answer: If you need to change or cancel your tickets, please contact your travel advisor. We will help you make change or cancellation based on the regulation of China Rail and our policy.
Tickets can be changed or cancelled without any fee before tickets are issued. After tickets issued, there will be a change/cancellation fee charged by China Rail. The amount charged depends on the time you make the change/cancellation. After the train departs, tickets cannot be cancelled, but can be changed to a later train on the same day.
Click to read detailed change/cancellation policies.
Can I get off before the destination station on the ticket?
Answer: Yes, you can get off at any station before the destination on your ticket. In fact, sometimes the China Railways only releases tickets to terminal stations or main stations. Thus when tickets to an intermediate station sold out, we need to buy ticket to a further station or terminal station if you need to be on the same train.
For example, when tickets sold out for Datong – Pingyao section, there are always availabilities for Datong – Linfen section (Linfen is the next stop on the same train). You can still get off at Pingyao Station. Of course the ticket price of Datong – Linfen section is more expensive than Datong – Pingyao section.
What’s the luggage allowance?
Answer: The luggage allowance is 20kg for each adult, 10kg for each child. More information about luggage allowance, please click here.
How long should I leave for a connecting train?
Answer: Please leave at least 1.5 hours if you need to transfer to another train at the same train station, 4 hours if you need to take a connection train at a different station.
Please note, add 1 more hour to the transfer time above if your arrival train is an ordinary one. Since ordinary trains always delay.
What should I do if I miss my train?
Answer: If there are other trains with vacant seats available on the same day, you can go to the station’s change-tickets counter to change for a later train. If there are no such trains, then unfortunately, your ticket will be void. You’ll have to buy a new ticket for another day.
You can only change your ticket on the same day, at the departure city specified on the ticket. The ticket for the missed train cannot be refunded.
International train tickets, however, cannot be reissued. So if you lose those, you’ll need to buy new tickets, resulting in extra expense.
English: Hello! I missed my train. Can I change my ticket for a later train?
Is WIFI available on a train?
Answer: WIFI is not available on most of the Chinese trains. But it is available on China’s newest type of High-speed trains: “Fuxinghao”. And Wi-Fi is available on all the high-speed trains to and from Hong Kong.
Can I smoke on Chinese trains?
Answer: Smoking is not allowed anywhere on high-speed trains. If you really need to smoke, you can get off to the platform to have a cigarette when the train stops at a station. But be aware that high-speed trains stop at each station for a very short time (averagely 2-3 minutes). Please get back on the train in time.
On normal trains, smoking is allowed at the connection area of two carriages.
Is English spoken at ticket counters in a train station?
Answer: Currently, staff at ticket counters/on the train can only speak Chinese, even in large stations like Beijing South and Shanghai Hongqiao. It is a good idea to prepare a few bilingual phrases in advance.
Can you tell me some useful Chinese phrases for train travel?
Answer: We have a page that collects commonly used Chinese phrases that may be helpful to your train travel. Please click here to find out.