You may feel confused what is the best way and the most efficient way to buy train tickets in China? You may encounter some difficulties to book train tickets on your own, right?
At present, www.12306.cn is the ONLY China Railway official website for China train tickets booking. No matter you want to book high speed train tickets (G train, D train or C train), or purchase normal train tickets (like T, Z or K train), travelers can check latest train routes & schedules, seat classes and prices and as well as buy tickets on this website.
It has only Chinese language version and the language barrier could be the huge challenge for foreigner travelers to use this site. Besides, to book train tickets successfully, you need to prepare a Chinese SIM card for registration and receiving message as well as a China bank card for payment. It could be difficult and a little complex for you. China Discovery is here giving you a handy guide to book train tickets on www.12306.cn as well as use other service provided by the official website. Go step by step with us!
● Homepage: It contains everything about the main service, ranging from registration, ticket booking, cancellation, remained ticket checking, latest news, frequent asked questions about train tickets, etc.
● Passenger Service (客运服务): Travelers can check the train routes and schedules directly. Just enter the departure city, arrival city, departure date and select the passenger type, and then “search”.
● Dining & Specialty (餐饮.特产): It offers food delivery service in many big railway stations. Travelers can order food at least two hours before your high speed train departs and food can be delivered directly on your train to your seat.
● Luggage Service (行包服务): Passengers who taking normal trains can enjoy luggage checking in service. While, passengers on high speed train cannot check in luggage at present. For more details about China train luggage, you can go ahead to our China Train Baggage Allowance, Policy & Consign Luggage Service.
● Customer Service (客户信箱): If you need any help from the China railway official website, you can call at 86+12306 (only Chinese language available at present). Or, email at email@example.com for passenger service.
Pre-sale period about train tickets refers to the days prior to the train departure. Since December 30, 2016, the train tickets pre-sale (including high speed train tickets) period in China has been gradually returned to 30 days when booking online. That’s to say, travelers can buy train tickets one month ahead. China Discovery suggests you buy your train tickets in advance to guarantee yourselves a booked ticket and a smooth trip along the way. Once you booked successfully online, you can collect the train tickets any time you like.
When booking train tickets on www.12306.cn, it can generally accept several kinds of documents for different passengers no matter in mainland China, in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, or from other countries.
● Chinese citizen 2nd-generation ID Card
● Valid Passport
● Permit of Inland Entry and Exit for Hong Kong and Macau Residents
● Mainland Travel Permit for Taiwan Residents
● Home-return Permit
● Permit for Mainland Residents to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan
● Other valid documents
Valid Documents to Buy China Train Tickets
For travelers who want to have a look at your favored train route and schedules to well suit for your travel date, you can click “Passenger Service” (客运服务) on the navigation and search. The search doesn’t require any of your personal info and you don’t need to log into your account.
After enter the info and begin to search, you can enter into the list shown the schedules. You can filter by train types, duration, railway stations and so on. Every schedule on the day will be shown on a page with detailed departure railway station and arrival railway station, departure time and arrival time, duration, classes of seats (availability or not). If you want to change your route for in-depth searching, just do as above procedures.
If you know some Chinese or can overcome the language barrier to go through, or can get help from a friend who know Chinese, you can buy tickets online. Booking tickets on China Railway official website is no service fee charged as well as offering seat choosing in advance. It has ten steps from opening the website to receive the successfully booked message. Learn with China Discovery and get an in-depth understanding about how to book train ticket on www.12306.cn.
To make sure you can buy tickets smoothly, you can first install the “root certificate”. Just click the link and download the “srca12306.zip” and install.
Find “Register (注册)” at the left sidebar of the page and click. Then fill a form based on the following instructions to sign up for a new account.
● Username (用户名): The entry must be in the range of six to thirty characters. Letter, numbers, hyphens and a few other special characters are permitted. You can use anything like email address as your username. It will remind you whether your username is ok or not.
● Password (登录密码): It is limited to six to twenty characters including letters, numbers or hyphens or other symbol.
● Confirm your Password (确认密码): Input the same passwords here again.
● Name (姓名): Input your name listed on the passport.
● Document Type (证件类型): Click the dropdown and choose “Passport (护照)”.
● Document Number (证件号码): Input your passport number.
● Gender (性别): Click “Male (男)” or “Female (女)”.
● Country/Region (国家/地区): Click the dropdown and select your nationality.
● Date of Birth (出生日期): Choose your date of birth on the calendar.
● Email Address (邮箱): Input your most-frequently used email.
● Mobile Phone (手机号码): Input your Chinese mobile phone number.
● Passenger Type: Click the dropdown and select the passenger type - Adult (成人), Students (学生), Children (儿童) or the disabled soldier/police (残疾军人和残疾警察).
After filling out all your personal info for registration, you should “click agree to China Railway Official Website Policy” and move to next step.
Then, you will be turned to another page where you need to verify your Chinese mobile phone number. The official website will send a text of verification code to your Chinese mobile phone, and fill the six code in the box next to the Chinese character (验证码). Then, the registration will completely be finished.
You should input “Username/Email Address” (登录名), enter your password and input the identifying code to log in.
You are now on your personal account center. Move to click “车票预订” to book your train tickets.
On this step, you can begin to search the train route and schedules after input the departure city/arrival city/departure date. When all the result coming out, filter base on your likes and choose your train type, and select your suitable schedule on the day. You can also check the classes of seat price and availability. Select your favored time with available seats and then click the button “book (预订)” and move to next step.
Learn More about China High Speed Train Seat Types:
The page will turn to the booking info page which is listed with your favored train schedules, train number, departure station/arrival station, departure time, classes of seats with detailed prices.
Fill out passengers’ personal info (name/document type/passport number/nationality) and confirm. And choose the seat type for you and your group (Please note one account are limited to buy five tickets in one time). Then, submit the order!!!
After submission, you can select your seat to be arranged close to window or aisle. Please note if your seat need cannot be satisfied, the system will arrange your seat automatically.
After choosing your seat and filling your personal info, you should confirm your info and make the payment within 30 minutes.
On this step, you can choose to buy the railway insurance or not as well as choose the way to collect your train tickets. You can collect the tickets on your own or choose to mail you (fill the consignee address). After confirmation, go on making the payment. (Please note: You are only permitted to change your selection three times in any 24-hour, if you exceed that, your account will be blocked for 24 hours.)
On the payment page, you can pay through Chinese Band Cards (Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank, etc.), UnionPay, Alipay and Wechat.
You are on the last step. After the payment, you will receive the booking number, like “E123456789” and train info on your mobile phone. The booking number is necessary for ticket collection. You will be required to take your original passport with you (a copy is not allowed).
Other Info about China Train Tickets:
Looking forward to try the new food delivery service offered by China Railway? If you know Chinese, you can use the food delivery service to book food online.
According to the China Railway official site, any passengers on train routes starting with the letter “G” or “D” can pre-order food either online (www.12306.cn) or through the official railway APP. This kind of service are available in many big railway stations (27 railway stations at present), like Shanghai Hongqiao, Xian North, Chengdu East, Guangzhou South, Changsha South, Tianjin West, Nanjing South and Chongqing North Railway Stations and more. This kind of service is available during 10:00-20:00. You have to order the food at least two hours before your train departs and pay through either Wechat or Alipay.
The procedure to order food is simple:
● Enter your trip information on the official China railway website to see what food options are available.
● Make your choice.
● Create an account and fill your trip details and meal preferences.
● Complete your payment.
Then, your meal will be delivered straightly to your seat at the meal time. (Please note the food delivery service is new and if you are interested, you can have a try. Besides, you can order food and drinks in the dining car/food trolley on the high speed train. >> Food & Drinks on China High Speed Train)
If you have more questions about booking train tickets on China Railway official website (www.12306.cn), you can feel free to ask our professional ticket booking team. Or, you can tell your favorite train routes, schedules and seat type, China Discovery can handle all the trouble and help you book the China train tickets! Wish you a nice, smooth and enjoyable train journey in China!!!
As high speed train travel are becoming much popular and recommended by large portion of visitors in China, here we also list some top high speed train routes chosen by most people during their China tour. See the routes at below and pick one to experience the great advantages of travelling by high speed train. Also, you could check all high speed train routes to select which section to experience.
Top 3 tours chosen by most customers to explore in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.
Shanghai / Tongli / Suzhou / Beijing
Beijing / Xian
Shanghai / Suzhou / Hangzhou / Mt.Huang
Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once enquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.Customize a Trip