Travel Tips

Buy train tickets in China

A foreigner wanting to buy a train ticket in China, who cannot speak or read Chinese, will find it very frustrating. It is hard, very hard. The common experience is, you take your chance to queue at one of the long lines, and when you finally get to the front, you are told it is wrong line, or “mei you mei you” (not available).

The tip is, you go to the five-star hotels, if any, and try your luck. In these luxury hotels, they usually have ticketing service and the staff can speak English. You can get your train or bus tickets for a handling fee of 5-20rmb.

You can also try four-star hotels where ticketing service can be available.

You don’t need to be a guest of the hotel to use the service.

By Anna

With a wanderlust and lusts of other sorts, I look to sth new, sth different, sth fulfilling, and find myself on a journey...

4 replies on “Buy train tickets in China”

I live in Taian, Shandong, which within the last two years developed a barrage of travel agency offices. The only problem is with traveling by train/long distance. Information flip flops from day to day and it gets frustrating.

A local contact helps me purchase tickets from two five star hotels. So far so good. The local train station is good for purchasing short distant train tickets. I do speak a little Chinese with experience purchasing airline or train tickets. Usually for long distant travel you are told to come back in ten days but have to compete with hordes of people wanting the same train.

Mdchina- I like the idea about special passes for foreigners but have not heard of any in my four years in China.

Man zou….

Does anyone know if there is a system available of a railway pass in China such as the ones they have in Europe-Eurail,, India(Indrail) or other countries like Japan ? It is a kind of special railway pass available to foreign nationals for unlimited travel without reservation of a ticket on the Chinese Railways network. A train pass avoids the hassle of buying multiple train tickets and saves you a lot of time.

Just wanna share my experience in train ticket: If you can, avoid the travel agents in universities. Sometimes the handling charge can be unbelievably high. A classmate of mine got her ticket to Tianjin via the agent in school. The ticket alone cost around RMB 70, but the handling charge alone was RMB 50. We got the same ticket from another agent with handling charge of only RMB 5 per ticket.

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