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China has the longest high speed rail in the world, serving an incredible number of people by its speed, efficiency, affordability and stunning achievement. As a more and more popular transportation in China, high speed train (also called “Gaotie”) still offers world-famous superior fast and comfortable train travel beyond your expectation. Before taking such a wonderful experience in China, there is a lot of essential tips and useful information you need to know about China high speed train, including train ticket, train station, checking, boarding facilities and services onboard and etc.
According to different running speed, high speed trains in China currently contain four kinds of trains: Fuxing trains (复兴号, speed: 300~400km/h), G trains (average speed: ≥300km/h), D trains (average speed: 200~250km/h) and C trains (average speed: 200~300km/h). Fuxing Train is the latest bullet train with an extremely high speed. Two types of Emu trains, CRH (Hexie Hao) and CR series trains are used for high speed rails. Besides, there are several normal trains (K/T/Z trains) running at 90 to 160km per hour.
Compared to a flight to next destinations, taking a high speed train offers you a completely different comfort, huge convenience and great opportunity to experience this China brand accomplishment. In China, Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Hangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing and more major cities have already been well-connected by high speed rails with each other. Apart from second class seat and first class seat, the most deluxe and comfortable carriage onboard is business class seat, which equipped with similar facilities and service on airplane but at a much cheaper price.
A fast and easy boarding without checking luggage and comply with lots of restrictions, different kinds of scenery along rails are extra highlights of high speed train tour. You can plan a high speed train travel based on your destinations, scenery you want to view, class of seat you prefer. What’s more, you are welcome to contact us to get more advice and inspirations.
Beijing Shanghai High Speed Train (CRH380A)
Picturesque Beijing Badaling Great Wall in Autumn
Once you decide to take which route to go, you’ve get over the hardest part. Then the foremost following step you should do is fixing your ticket. Chinese people are big fans of high speed trains, which results multiple ways to get tickets. In order to help you get train ticket quickly and easy, we list necessary steps and points that are vital for your high speed train travel.
At present, foreigners can book train ticket online through official website, mobile app and an agency, or straightly go to ticket office or agent site in person. Most important of all, after online train ticket booking, independent travelers can only collect tickets from ticket counters at railway stations or authorized agent sites with a few service charge.
If you can’t read Chinese, it’s quite difficult for you to register an account to book ticket online, so is checking the train times, fares and payment. And only booking ticket by phone only provide Chinese language service. Thus, the most convenient and worry-free way is travel with us, from which the train ticket booking will be settled as your requirement.
Passport Information is Required for Ticket Booking
Like we mentioned, most cities have opened high speed trains and a large number of Chinese people travel around in this way. So whenever you travel, whatever class of ticket you choose, you are highly recommended to book ticket in advance for there will be lots of passengers taking the same train. The railway bureau sells tickets on internet 30 days prior to the departure date and 28 days at the agent sites and automatic ticket machines. Once you work out schedule, you are highly suggested to book ticket as early as possible, to make sure your get the seat you required.
Before boarding, you can change the ticket at ticket office at train station to another before or on the departing day. If you miss the train, you are only allowed to change ticket at railway station which issues the ticket.
Buy Tickets from Ticket Counter
There are three kinds of seats on high speed trains: second class seat, first class seat and business class seat. Travelers on a budget can choose the second class seat coach, where three seats are set up closely at one side of aisle and two on another. For its cheapest price, this section is the most favorite among Chinese, so expect some noise from talking and phone calls here.
If you will have a long train trip, a first class and business seat is recommended. In first class coach, there are only two seats are lined on each side of aisle, giving you more space and softer seat. It is similar to the business class on the airplane. Business class seat is the most luxurious and comfortable section, a perfect choice for who wants a quiet, private space.
For foreigners, the only way to get ticket personally is go to the ticket office at train station with your valid original passport. Normally you need to queue up for your turn and then present your passport to the ticket vendor. After checking your train numbers and departure date, he/she will give you a light blue magnet ticket. Then you can carry your luggage to go through security check to enter the waiting hall.
Prohibited Items to Take on Train
The first thing you should do after obtaining your ticket is checking the train station and departure date and other details. Check the traffic route and available way to get there. Taxi is the most convenient way for large luggage carriers. And usually you can also take subway, bus to get there unless you have plenty of time. Please remember to arrive at the waiting hall at least 30 minutes ahead of departure and leave enough time to pass through security, check and locate the right ticket check gate.
Get to Train Station in Advance
Passenger who already bought a train ticket is allowed to carry personal luggage onboard without limitation of amount. Though there are official restrictions about the baggage allowance in China, usually tourists can bring large amount of luggage to take trains directly without checking the exact weight or volume if only your luggage is not in surprisingly size, amount or abnormally long.
The written policy for the free carry-on baggage you can refer to is weight within10kg (22Ib) for each child, 20kg (44Ib) for per adult and 35kg (77Ib) for diplomat, and size shall no exceed 51in on high speed train and 63in on normal trains. Passengers could actually take more luggage than prescribed.
Your passport is the foremost thing you need to carry with. Besides that, you should take clothes suitable for the current season and consistent with weather and climate at your next destination. Prepare some snacks to avoid hunger. If you don’t like what is served on train. Remember to carry plug to charging your phone. And you’d better prepare some wet wipes, toilet papers. Books are good choice for a long or overnight train travel. Entertainment is up to your taste.
Carry Moderate Suitcases for High Speed Train
Travel Light is Always a Good Idea
A train station often offers many facilities and services for passengers’ convenience. Except the ticket counters, there are many automatic ticket machines and E-ticket pick-up machines in and near the ticket office. For entertainment, you can find some small shops, restaurants, bank ATMs around the train station, nearby the entrance or inside the waiting hall and special facilities for disabled person, mother and infant, water boiler and etc. at train station. KFC, McDonald's and other western style snack bars can be found in lots of big train stations.
Want to pass through checking and boarding quickly and smoothly? There are three important points you shall bear in mind. The first one is to arrive at the train station as ear as possible, because you may face crowds at the ticket office, the entrance where you have to line up for a long time. It’s no exaggeration to say some that some train stations are same or even large like airport. You may walk over 10 minutes from one square to another. The second is make sure your pack well and bring carry-on baggage without prohibited items, thus you can go through security and check smoothly. The third is hold your ticket and wait in the seat next to the ticket gate, pay attention to the broadcast and when the train will starts to check.
After checking at the right ticket gate, you need to first walk to underground platforms via stairs, elevator or escalator, simple follow other passengers. Then you can check the right direction of different coaches from the big display screen. Each carriage has one digital screen signing the train and coach number by the door. And there is one attendant standing at the door of every coach, double check your seat and offer help and guide.
Restaurants, Shops and Facilities in Waiting Hall
The Queue for Checking and Boarding at Chongqing West Train Station
Congratulations! You’ve onboard for your high speed train travel. You may see the stunning outer appearance, but bet you know little about what will be provided to make sure you rest well and have a nice tip. Let’s see a rough guide about all facilities and service you can enjoy on train.
If you didn’t prepare snacks beforehand, you have two ways to fill your hungry stomach: the mobile snack trolley and the dining car. A train staff will push a stuffed cart from one carriage to another, selling different kinds of snacks, like biscuits, drinks, melon seeds, dried bean curd and etc. Or you can walk to the restaurant car, choose one Chinese style set meal and bring back to your seat to enjoy. The restaurant car is arranged in the 5th coach for a 8-coaches high speed train and 5th, 13th or 9th on a 16-coaches train. Disposable cups and boiled water are available at the two parts of each carriage.
High speed trains are equipped with both squatting toilets and western-style toilets at the junction of coaches. There is a sign on the washroom door showing the specific type and an upper screen will show if someone is occupying or available. Inside the small room, the train provides running water, soap, paper, disposable seat cover. And you can find specialized toilets for the disabled and changing area for baby. To avoid unpleasant occasion, you’d better bring your own toilet paper.
You don’t need to worry about where to place your luggage on train for there are plenty of rooms. If your luggage is super huge and heavy, you can put it in the large luggage area at the head or end of your coach. This area can contain suitcases exceeding 28 inch or even larger size. For convenient, you can also place your case and bags in the luggage rack overhead your seat. Small carry-ons and personal stuff can be arranged at the folding table or hang on the pothook in front of your seat. Considerately, there will be more extra space before the first row and behind the last row for public use.
All coaches on train are installed with many groups of fire extinguishers, emergency facilities between each carriage. Fire alarm system is installed at the end of each coach. Besides, an automatic fire alarm system is allocated on the roof. When you walk to the toilet and pass from one coach to another, you can easily see many emergency symbols on two sides. You may consult from the attendant for more details and guide onboard.
Restaurant Car on High Speed Train
Western Style Toilet on High Speed Train
Luggage Rack overhead Seat
The LED display screen in the front and back of each coach will notify the next destination. Before arriving, the train stuff will inform passengers about the arrival, both in Chinese Mandarin and English. Not sure where to get off? Check the destinations with your ticket, or ask help from people around you. Double check from the broadcast and confirm the station with the attendant who will be glad to help you.
"Bring Your Luggage When Getting Off
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
Shanghai / Suzhou / Hangzhou / Mt.Huang
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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >