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China is a big country in terms of size and population, obtaining a proper train ticket may be tricky for foreigners. A few points are recommended before planning a train journey across China.
Plan which train you are boarding:
Always plan where you are going to before approaching to the station, always have a Plan B, or even Plan C for selecting the Train. Some major routes & Trains are extremely popular. Especially Beijing - Zhengzhou - Wuhan - Guangzhou - Shenzhen - Hong Kong rail corridor [Both Highspeed and conventional rail]. Sleepers and best-travelling-and-connection time highspeed rail tickets are sold out within minutes.
AVOID travelling by Trains (except CRH & Hong Kong - Guangdong Through trains) within 20 days before or after Chinese New Year Holidays, 3 days before or after Labour Holidays and 7 days before or after National Day Holidays at all costs. Trains are extremely overcrowded.
Most rain tickets can be purchased 60 days in advance.
You can check ticket availability, price and schedule using official website (Chinese only) or on the website of a ticket agent (in English).
Tickets may be purchased via
Train Types: (Train Number prefix)
Please note the fare structure of T, Z, K and numbered trains are the same. Use the Guangzhou and Wuhan route as an example, G trains required 4.5 hours, D train for 6 hours, T train for 12 hours, K train for 14 hours, numbered train may required up to 18-20 hours. Of course fare structure are based in hard seat only. Better seats and sleepers will have additional charge on it and included in the ticket price.
Boarding your train:
Always bear in mind
Alighting your train:
Remember to keep your ticket properly, tickets will be inspected again at exit gates either by human or automatic gates. When you pass through the human exit gates, your ticket will be torn on a corner. If you cannot present your ticket, up to 150% of highest fare of the route will be charged.
Have a pleasant journery!