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Dear Ms. Mary Ma,
I am back from China now and would like to take a moment out of my busy schedule to let you know that your company and your guide Rogin Lee are fantastic. Rogine made my tour of China, his depth of knowledge is incredible and his presentations and introductions were indepth and interesting. Rogin presented China's past and present in a new light. This China tour with Rogin surpassed what I was expecting from any China tour company. I would like to extend my thanks to yourself, Rogin Lee and Mr. Wong, the driver.
Lee A. Gravesen
[email protected]
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We had an absolutely perfect day with our tour guide - Rogin Luo - who took us for a hike along The Great Wall! Didn't know what to expect and were thrilled to have him as our guide. Very imformative, knowledgable and fun! We go to experience a part of The Great Wall that was unrestored and see all its natural beauty. Got a long history lesson along the way! After the hike, we all went to lunch at a small place at the bottom of the hill. Located in a house, we ate lunch in the proprietors bedroom! What a hoot! Rogin is the Best of the Best! This tour company delivered for us and we are extremely grateful.

Westborough, Massachusetts
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Home  »  China Train Tour  »  China Train Timetable & Ticket Booking  »  China Train Travel Tips
China Train Travel Tips

Choose the Right Train
In the course of planning your train travel in China, you should first choose a proper train - daytime train or overnight train; Z tain, T train, or bullet train ( C or G). For a long-distance train trip, overnight trains are highly recommended. Most of the overnight trains leave your city in the evening and arriving at your destination city in the early morning.

There are five major classes of long-distance overnight trains - Bullet Trains ( C or G train ), Z Train, T Train and "4 Numbers" trains. The bullet trains are most expensive followed by Z Trains, T Trains and "4 Number" Trains.

Generally speaking, there are four kinds of train tickets - Soft Sleeper, Hard Sleeper, Soft Seat and Hard. Some trains like Bullet Trains and Z Trains have no seat tickets. All the trains are air -conditioned except "4 Numebr" Trains.

Buy Train Tickets
Buying a train ticket is still a headache for most foreign travellers in China. At the time of writing, there is no official railway website which offers online train ticket booking service in English. In some countries, like Canada ( and USA (, online train ticket booking is just as easy as online flight booking.

In China, train travel is the main transportation mode for the local people. Though China's railway has made a huge progress and attracted worldwide attention: railway operating mileage 8.6 million kilometers, ranking second in the world; high-speed rail operation mileage of up to 2319 kilometers, ranking first in the world; Wuhan-Guangzhou passenger line an average speed of 341 kilometers, ranking first in the world, there is still a shortage of passenger trains running, specially during Chinese public holidays.

China's railways are the busiest in the world, handling a quarter of the world's cargo and passenger travel. Its development has not kept pace with the nation's runaway economic growth. At root, there stll exists the problem of a lack of rail capacity to handle the large population.

So, how to buy a train ticket? You have two ways to book a ticket - going to the train station on your own queuing up or turning to a local ticket agent for the train tickets. Usually the tickets go on sale 10 days in advance of the departure ( 10 days during Chinese public holidays ). So you are requested to reserve your tickets at 10 days in advance.

The train tickets are hard to get during the following Chinese public holidays:
New Year'Day ( 1st Jan, three-day holiday )
Chinese New Year ( later Jan and early Feb )
Tomb Sweeping Day ( Early April, 3-day holiday )
Mid-Autumn festival (Aug-Sept, 3-day holiday)
May Day ( 1st May, three-day holiday)
National Day (1st Oct, week-long holiday)

Remark: We kindly suggest you buy air-tickets on these special day.

Caution: Watch out for the hawkers outside the railway stations who may approach you with much sought-after train tickets. Beware that some of them are counterfeit and others are stolen.

Find the Right Station
In some big cities, like Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Nanjing, Hangzhou and many more, there are 2 or more than 2 railway station. Very often the different train stations are a little far from each other. So before you start, please make sure that you have the right train station. Take Beijing for example, there are 4 train stations in Beijing:

Beijing Railway Station
Add: Beijing Zhan Jie, Dongcheng District ( centrally located just south of Beijing International Hotel) Tel: 51019999 The trains departing from Beijing Railway Station: Harbin, Shenyang, Dalian, Qingdao, Jinan, Shanghai, Nanjing Hangzhou and other cities as well as for Inner and Outer Mongolia departing from this station. The remainder depart from Beijing West Station and Beijing South Station. Some international lines ( namely the railway line linking Beijing to Pyongyang, North Korea (DPRK), amongst others), also depart from this station.
Beijing West Railway Station
Add: Lianhuachi Donglu, Fengtai District
Tel: 51826253
The trains departing from Beijing West Railway Station: Xian, Chongqing, Chengdu, Lhasa, Urumqi, Guangzhou and Kowloon...
Beijing West Railway Station ( Beijing West )
Add: Lianhuachi Donglu, Fengtai District
Tel: 51826253
The trains departing from Beijing West Railway Station: Xian, Chongqing, Chengdu, Lhasa, Urumqi, Guangzhou and Kowloon
Beijing South Railway Station
Add: Yongdingmenwai Dajie, Chongwen District (The new Beijing South Station, reportedly the largest in Asia)
Tel: 51867999
The trains departing from Beijing South Railway Station: serving as the terminus for high-speed trains to the city - Tianjin, Jinan, Shanghai, Qingdao and other cities, which which can reach speeds above 350 km/h
Beijing North Railway Station
Add: Xizhimen, Xicheng District
Tel: 51866223
The trains departing from Beijing North Railway Station: offering regular intercity train services to the north and northwest, including the Huhhot-Manzhouli Grasslands Express (K274/K275/K277). It is also the southern terminus for the S2 Line of from the down Beijing to Badaling Great Wall and to Yanqing.

Kind reminder:
1.You are kindly requested to get to the train station at least one hour before your train departure time.
2.You are also requested to go through the security check (luggage check) when you enter the main hall of the train station.
3.Passengers will be allowed on board the train 30 minutes before departure time. The train will be closed 5 minutes before departure. 4.If you miss the train or lose your tickets, you cannot have your tickets refunded and you have to buy another one.
4.If you lose your tickets on the train, you are supposed to buy another one when pass the arrival station. So do not lose your tickets on the train.

Waiting Hall
When you get to your train station, the first thing you are requested to do is to line up to have your personal stuff go through the X-ray machine just like in an airport and carry them on to the other side. Animals, knives, flammable, toxic and explosive goods are forbidden on the train.

Once in the hall, in your front above your head, you see a huge electronic train schedule board providing timely information on the trains in and out. Though all the city names are all in Chinese, you till can find your waiting room (waiting lounge) land from which plateform your train leaves by recognizing your train number and arabic number ( platform number ) on the right of that train number.

So, once inside the waiting hall, it is very important to find your right waiting lounge. A clerk from the waiting lounge will check your train ticket before you go on to the platform of the station directly from the lounge room. Usually your waiting room is packed with passengers. Very often you have to line up for the ticket checking and follow the throng on to the platform.

About 30 minutes before the train starts, the announcements of check-in will be broadcast. The staff on duty will guide passengers to check in and go to the platform.

More information about the waiting hall: Most waiting halls are teamed with shops. If you need anything for your travel, you can easily find it here - soda, beer, biscuits, cakes, fruit, toilet paper, matches, soap, phone cards for your mobile or public phones, a bag... Some stations have a left luggage office: You may leave your luggage here for some 5 to 10 RMB varying with the deposit time.

Carry-on Baggage
Each passenger is allowed to carry a limited amount of carry-on baggage for free of charge.
1.Children (with free tickets as well): 10 kg (22 pounds)
2.Normal passengers: 20 kg (44 pounds)
3.Diplomat: 35 kg (77 pounds)
4The total length of each baggage cannot exceed 160 cm.

Note: The carry-on baggage policy above is not inclusive of wheelchair, which can be taken onto the train for free.

Items not allowed:

The items below are forbidden to be on board the train:
1. Items are prohibited or limited by the government.
2. Dangerous and inflammable goods, ammunition.
3. Animals and goods which will damage public hygiene.
4. Items which may harm other passengers in the train, like knives (fruit knife included).
5. Baggage that exceeds the limitation of the regulation.

At the Platform
Have the right train station, the right waiting lounge, then the right platform! Just follow the throng to the platform. Very often there are two trains on the both sides of the platform. Then you are suggested to look at the destination plates on the train. They are fixed in the middle of every car below the windows, and in most cases show the start and end station not only in Chinese, but also in Pinyin. The cars are numbered. Conductors will stand by every door and check your ticket. Figure out which car you have.

If you take a bullet train ( high-speed ) D train, you will experience quite different train ride from traditiona trains. No train conductors standing by the door to welcome passengers while in the past there used to be an elegantly dressed train steward who would stand by each door to assist passengers aboard the train. YOu couldn't find any train steward! How open the door and aboard the train? These are self-service doors automatically controled by two buttons - open and close both outside and inside the door!

There are two kinds of seats for most of the D Trains - first class and second class. The biggest difference between First Class and Second Class is the number of seats abreast in the carriage car. In the first class seat car, there are 4 soft seats abreast while 5 seats abreast in a second class car. So the first class seat is bigger and a little comfortable.

Unlike a traditional green train, no D train steward will remind you that the train is leaving. So please watch your time if you are smoking outside the train. The door will be automatically closed and the train will leave without any notice!!!

In the Train
After you board the train, find your seat or bunk, and put your luggage on rack. Please keep an eye to your belongings, and always keep your valuables securely close to you. Criminality in China is low, but it exists. Best is not to show your most expensive equipment.

In the sleeping cars the conductor will collect your ticket and give you a voucher. Next morning half an hour before your journey ends, he or she will wake you up and hand back your ticket. Sometimes they want to see and register you passport in overnight trains. It seems to be just a formality. They register everyone then.

Smoking is prohibited on all the trains. Especially high-speed trains ( bullet or D trains ) are definitely forbidden to smoke. But for the green or white-red trains, heavy smokers, don't be dissappointed. On each linked area between two rail cars, you can smoke! One ashtray is hung on the wall of the linked area.

The train is well equipped with some useful facilities on both ends of the car - a three-basin wanshing room, two clean toilets, one free hot water cooker. If you have your own glass and tea, you can use the hot water to make the tea.

Soft-bunk travelers:
The soft sea bunk people have the privilege of coming to the train a litte bit earlier to avoid possible crowd. At the entrance to the train, people must give the tickets to the conductoress of the rail car to exchange for a boarding card. The card shows your seat number same with the ticket. Once you are on the train and the train is moving, the conductress will walk to you again to check your passport or ID card for security reason.. When the train is about to arrive, the conductress will approach you to exchange the card back for the ticket.

Four people in one compartment - two upper berths and two lower berths. Most people prefer lower berth to avoid the clumsiness of climbing. So lower bunks are harder to get than upper bunks. The sheets, one pillow and quilt are very clean and tidy. High up there is a big luggage rack. Well, you will find some portable window seats.

All the bullet trains or Z trains are equipped with TV. You have your own Illumination Control and Vent Air Regulating TV, Channel and Light Control. You have your own read lamp. Usually all the lights are turned off at 11:00pm. So your read lamp is quite useful if you are a good reader.

If you need something to eat or drink. No worry. There is a trolley service. They sell drinks like bottled water, beer, and soda. There is food like biscuits, cakes, sausages, and instant noodles. If you are willing to pay more, to eat in a dining car (usually bar no.09) is a good choice.

If you have trash. You can easily put your trash in the trash bin under the table in your cabin.

Get off the Train
Usually your train conductor will wake you up or remind you that you are arriving at your destination. But it's better that you remember the time by yourself. Check your personal belongings and follow the people on to the platform. If you have transfer service, ask your travel agent to come to the platform to meet you. It is not easy to walk through the crowd from the train to the exit.

At the exit gate, first experiencing a a typical Chinese queue, and then having your ticket checked. Once outside the exit, take an easy and deep breath. Don't be scared by the crowd of people. Taking some patience in finding your right taxi or shuttle bus to your destination. Just forget any people approaching you for taxi business.

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