Kunming – Guilin Train Routes

Kunming-western-hills

Kunming and Guilin are two of the most important tourist destinations in the south of China. With the recent introduction of high-speed trains along this route, the trains are now a good alternative to the unreliable flights and the delays due to bad weather in Kunming. The train is also a good alternative to flying because the scenery along this route is very good.

There are two ways to do this route. The simplest is the most obvious route, taking a high-speed trains direct between the two cities. However, we recommend an alternative route: Guilin-Guiyang-Kunming. Even leaving 45 minutes to change trains in Guiyang, you save 2 hours over the non-stop route. There are also more choices and some trains even depart/arrive in Yangshuo. If you have time, you also can visit Guiyang (and surrounding cities) as they are very interesting.

Kunming – Guilin trains

There are two pairs of bullet trains between these two cities for a total travel time of about 8 hours.

Fares are as follows:
First class seats: ¥553.5 to ¥556.5
Second class seats: ¥373.5 to ¥376

Kunming to Guilin to Kunming timetable

Kunming to Guilin trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
D3942 7:34 15:33 7 h 59 min
D3944 10:59 19:00 8 h 01 min
Guilin to Kunming trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
D3943 9:47 18:02 8 h 15 min
D3945 14:48 22:20 7 h 32 min

Kunming – Guiyang – Guilin trains

Following a different route can save you quite a bit of time and save on the cost of the tickets. While you can transfer trans quite smoothly in Guiyang, we suggest that you leave 30 to 45 minutes between trains just in case. We also suggest that you pick-up all your tickets at the first station. By doing so, you do not need to exit the station in Guiyang and pass security again and can do an internal transit at Guiyang.

Watch this video that explains the easy in-station transit:

In Kunming, trains depart or arrive at the Kunming south station. In Guiyang, the transfer takes places at the Guiyang north station. In Guilin trains depart or arrive at three stations: the Guilin railway station (center of town) or Guilin west or Guilin north. In our opinion, transportation to or from Guilin west is somewhat more complicated. Some, not all of these trains also go to or depart from Yangshuo.

Note that if you are on a tight schedule you can combine a Kunming-Guiyang overnight train with a Guiyang-Guilin bullet train.

Fares are as follows (KM-GY + GY-GL):
Business class: ¥671.5 (KM-GY only)
First class seats: ¥358 + ¥156.5 = ¥514.5
Second class seats: ¥212.5 + 130.5 = ¥343

Kunming to Guiyang to Guilin timetable

Kunming – Guiyang trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G286 7:17 9:39 2 h 22 min
G1380 7:33 9:46 2 h 21 min
G1378 7:33 9:54 2 h 21 min
G2112 7:47 10:12 2 h 25 min
G2924 7:53 10:06 2 h 13 min
G404 8:00 9:59 1 h 59 min
G1372 8:14 10:43 2 h 29 min
G2964 8:21 10:56 2 h 35 min
G1682 8:51 11:12 2 h 21 min
G1538 8:57 11:18 2 h 21 min
G2966 9:09 11:59 2 h 50 min
G2114 9:25 11:53 2 h 28 min
G1398 9:44 12:05 2 h 21 min
G1374 10:01 12:29 2 h 28 min
G2968 10:13 12:59 2 h 46 min
G2115 10:30 12:54 2 h 24 min
G1376 10:37 13:05 2 h 28 min
G406 10:58 13:19 2 h 21 min
G2970 11:04 13:25 2 h 21 min
G1696 11:11 13:32 2 h 21 min
G1536 11:33 14:01 2 h 28 min
G1422 11:52 14:27 2 h 35 min
G2118 13:59 16:34 2 h 35 min
G2976 14:25 16:58 2 h 33 min
G2120 14:36 17:21 2 h 45 min
G2934 14:45 16:45 2 h 00 min
G2122 15:09 17:42 2 h 33 min
G2928 15:23 17:30 2 h 07 min
G2978 15:29 17:52 2 h 23 min
G1526 15:40 17:47 2 h 07 min
G2124 15:53 18:34 2 h 41 min
G1514 16:00 18:14 2 h 14 min
G2980 18:30 19:06 2 h 36 min
G2986 20:28 22:57 2 h 29 min
G2988 20:55 23:10 2 h 15 min
Guiyang – Guilin trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
D3591 6:25 8:56 2 h 31 min
D3561 7:16 10:05 2 h 49 min
D2803 8:08 10:34 2 h 26 min
D3563 8:16 10:54 2 h 38 min
D2807 8:37 11:17 2 h 40 min
D2809 9:03 11:36 2 h 33 min
D2811 9:13 11:45 2 h 32 min
D2813 9:40 12:12 2 h 32 min
D2815 9:59 12:52 2 h 53 min
D2817 10:44 13:31 2 h 47 min
D2819 11:24 13:57 2 h 33 min
D2821 12:07 14:33 2 h 26 min
D2823 12:20 14:59 2 h 39 min
D2879 13:08 15:47 2 h 39 min
D3565 13:54 16:25 2 h 31 min
D2825 14:23 16:55 2 h 32 min
D2827 14:55 17:27 2 h 32 min
D2831 15:42 18:01 2 h 19 min
D3567 16:00 18:47 2 h 47 min
D3569 16:17 19:12 2 h 55 min
D2833 16:36 19:16 2 h 40 min
D2835 16:55 19:34 2 h 39 min
D2837 17:20 20:07 2 h 47 min
D2841 17:47 20:26 2 h 39 min
D2843 18:03 20:44 2 h 41 min

Guilin – Guiyang – Kunming timetable

Guilin – Guiyang trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
D3592 9:22 11:51 2 h 29 min
D2804 9:53 12:44 2 h 51 min
D3562 10:33 13:25 2 h 52 min
D2806 11:25 13;58 2 h 33 min
D2808 11:44 14:35 2 h 51 min
D2812 12:44 15:22 3 h 05 min
D3566 12:48 15:53 3 h 05 min
D3564 12:54 15:37 2 h 43 min
D2814 13:26 16:11 2 h 45 min
D2816 13:36 16:30 2 h 54 min
D2818 13:47 16:40 2 h 53 min
D2880 14:13 17:05 2 h 52 min
D2820 14:30 17:17 2 h 47 min
D2822 15:33 18:04 2 h 31 min
D2828 17:25 20:17 2 h 52 min
D2830 17:52 20:40 2 h 48 min
D2832 18:02 20:50 2 h 48 min
D2834 18:37 21:07 2 h 30 min
D2836 18:59 21:51 2 h 52 min
D2838 19:35 22:09 2 h 34 min
D3568 19:42 22:24 2 h 42 min
D2840 20:00 22:37 2 h 37 min
D3570 20:15 22:49 2 h 24 min
D2842 20:34 22:58 2 h 24 min
D2844 20:58 23:24 2 h 26 min
Guiyang – Kunming trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G2961 7:10 9:45 2 h 35 min
G2963 7:47 10:08 2 h 21 min
G2965 7:57 10:37 2 h 40 min
G2969 8:30 11:05 2 h 35 min
G2911 11:07 13:29 2 h 22 min
G2973 11:20 13:55 2 h 35 min
G2115 12:05 14:39 2 h 34 min
G2933 12:19 14:19 2 h 00 min
G2117 12:27 14:56 2 h 29 min
G2119 12:49 15:28 2 h 39 min
G2927 13:02 15:02 2 h 00 min
G1525 13:07 15:15 2 h 08 min
G1511 13:21 15:36 2 h 15 min
G2975 13:27 16:09 2 h 42 min
G1421 15:54 18:30 2 h 36 min
G1535 16:25 19:03 2 h 38 min
G403 16:44 18:43 1 h 59 min
G1371 16:49 19:18 2 h 29 min
G1695 16:59 19:28 2 h 29 min
G2981 17:20 20:00 2 h 40 min
G1373 17:26 19:41 2 h 15 min
G1379 18:05 20:19 2 h 14 min
G2983 18:13 20:34 2 h 21 min
G1397 18:18 20:41 2 h 23 min
G1537 18:27 20:56 2 h 29 min
G2121 18:39 21:08 2 h 29 min
G1377 18:52 21:20 2 h 28 min
G2985 19:26 21:54 2 h 28 min
G2123 19:31 22:00 2 h 29 min
G285 19:52 22:13 2 h 21 min
G1681 20:05 22:20 2 h 15 min
G405 20:20 22:34 2 h 14 min
G2923 20:32 22:46 2 h 14 min
G1375 20:58 23:06 2 h 08 min

Learn more about:
High-Speed China trains
Normal China trains
Classes of travel on China trains
China train stations

China train travel Tips
How to buy train tickets
How to pick up your train tickets
Peak travel times to avoid
How to read a train ticket
Luggage on China trains
Child discounts

POPULAR TRAIN ROUTES IN CHINA

Beijing – Guilin Train Routes

Fisherman-in-Yangshuo

The Beijing-Guilin train line is a very popular train route in China as you travel across China from north to south and can see the scenery change along the road. It is served by both high-speed trains as well as some overnight trains. All trains depart or arrive at the Beijing West railway station while in Guilin trains connect at the Guilin North railway station or the Guilin railway station.

Beijing-Guilin high-speed train

There are 2 bullet (G) trains in each direction along this line. The first train departs in early morning and arrives in early evening. Read more about high-speed trains here.

These Beijing-Guilin high-speed trains offer classes of travel for the following fares:
Business class – ¥2530
First class – ¥1249.5
Second class – ¥806

Watch this video about high-speed trains

Beijing to Guilin to Beijing high-speed trains timetable

Beijing to Guilin trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G529 7:08 18:25 11 h 17 min
G421 9:05 19:46 10 h 41 min
Guilin to Beijing trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G422 10:37 21:09 10 h 32 min
G530 12:09 22:55 10 h 46 min

Beijing-Guilin overnight conventional trains

On this route, it is also possible to take the cheaper but slower overnight trains. The K trains are better as they are shorter. Although the scenery can be interesting, it is still a long trip. A good option if you are on a budget.

These Beijing-Guilin overnightd trains offer 3 classes of travel for the following fares:
Soft sleepers – ¥629 (upper) – ¥656 (lower)
Hard sleepers – ¥399 (upper) – ¥414 (middle) – ¥428 (lower)
Hard seats – ¥236

Beijing to Guilin to Beijing normal trains timetable

Beijing to Guilin trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
K21 8:06 12:53 28 h 47 min
Z5 16:09 11:23 19 h 25 min
K157 18:12 21:37 27 h 25 min
Z285 21:10 16:27 19 h 17 min
Guilin to Beijing trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
K158 4:30 5:52 25 h 22 min
Z6 14:22 9:48 19 h 26 min
K22 19:50 22:48 26 h 58 min
Z286 21:34 17:03 19 h 29 min

Learn more about:
High-Speed China trains
Normal China trains
Classes of travel on China trains
China train stations

China train travel Tips
How to buy train tickets
How to pick up your train tickets
Peak travel times to avoid
How to read a train ticket
Luggage on China trains
Child discounts

POPULAR TRAIN ROUTES IN CHINA

Chengdu – Chongqing Train Routes

leshan

Chongqing and Chengdu are both popular tourist destinations. Chengdu is the capital of the panda and Chongqing is the departure point of the famous Yangtze cruise. The two cities are connected by 45 pairs of high-speed trains running all day long. While there are plenty of options, not all trains are the same as there are two different routes, so you need to carefully pick your trains. Here is some advice to keep in mind.

Chengdu to Chongqing trains

Virtually all bullet trains depart from the Chengdu East station and they all arrive at the Chongqing north station. As there are several stations in each city, you need to make sure that your taxi takes you to the right place.

Generally G trains are faster than D trains but also more expensive. G trains can cover the distance in as little as 1h30 while D trains will do so in 2h15 on average. Also G trains offer Business class while D trains do not. Here are the comparative fares:

G Trains
First departure: 07h18
Last departure: 21h40
Duration: mostly about between 1h30 and 1h40
Departure station: Chengdu East station
Arrival station: Chongqing North
Class of service and fare:
Business class: ¥462.5
First class: ¥246.5
Second class : ¥154

D Trains
First departure: 06h44
Last departure: 18h36
Duration: mostly about 2 to 2.5 hours
Departure station: Chengdu east
Arrival station: Chongqing north
Class of service and fare:
First class: ¥116
Second class : ¥96.5

Chongqing to Chengdu trains

As in the other direction, there are many trains every day. The decision again is to choose between faster G trains and cheaper D trains. Actually if you are on a tight budget, you can ride the normal trains that cost as little as ¥46.5 for a hard seat. But expect to ride the train 4 to 5 hours on such trains.

G Trains
First departure: 07h05
Last departure: 22h05
Duration: mostly about between 1h30 and 1h40
Departure station: Chongqing north
Arrival station: Chengdu East
Class of service and fare:
Business class: ¥462.5
First class: ¥246.5
Second class : ¥154

D Trains
First departure: 7h58
Last departure: 20h56
Duration: mostly about 2 to 2.5 hours
Departure station: Chongqing north
Arrival station: Chengdu east
Class of service and fare:
First class: ¥116

Watch this video about high-speed trains

Learn more about:
- High-Speed China trains
- Normal China trains
- Classes of travel on China trains
- China train stations

China train travel Tips
- How to buy train tickets
- How to pick up your train tickets
- Peak travel times to avoid
- How to read a train ticket
- Luggage on China trains
- Child discounts

POPULAR TRAIN ROUTES IN CHINA

Kunming – Lijiang Train Routes

lijiang

The Kunming-Lijiang train line is a very popular train route in China as Lijiang is one of the top destinations. There are no high-speed trains for this route. As the capital of the Yunnan province, Kunming is the transportation hub for the province.

Kunming to Lijiang trains

The best trains from Kunming leave late at night and arrive early in the morning. Some daytime trains are faster but it means wasting a whole day sitting in a train rather than visiting. It is more convenient to travel while you sleep and have more time to visit. Also note that most trains also stop at Dali, another interesting place to visit in Yunnan. If going to Dali, it is better to take K9626 as the other overnight trains stop in Dali in the middle of the night. K9626 stops in Dali at 6h42, just on time to visit the local market.

For this route, train K9682 and K9686 have a special VIP compartment, a compartment for up to 3 people. Two people can book the whole cabin; even if you are a single traveler and wish to have your own private room. You just pay for the whole compartment. If you are a group of 3 people, it is perfect as the cost is about the same as taking soft sleepers. We don’t show VIP option in our website schedule, but if you put VIP in the special request, we will check for you.

VIP compartment – ¥669 (for up to 3 passengers)
Soft sleepers – ¥217 (upper) – ¥226 (lower)
Hard sleepers – ¥141.5 (upper) – ¥147 (middle) – ¥152 (lower)
Hard seats – ¥89

Kunming to Lijiang timetable

Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
K9612 9:39 17:47 8 h 08 min
K9682 11:44 19:07 7 h 23 min
K9606 21:04 6:05 9 h 01 min
K9686 21:20 6:43 9 h 23 min
K9616 21:45 7:10 9 h 25 min
K9602 22:23 8:35 10 h 12 min
K9626 23:31 9:55 10 h 24 min

Lijiang to Kunming trains

Traveling back from Lijiang to Kunming, you face similar choices. We find that many people like to take a day train to return to Kunming to enjoy the scenery. For Lijiang to Kunming, trains K9688 and K9684 offer the VIP cabin.

The fares for these trains are as follows:
VIP compartment – ¥669 (for up to 3 passengers)
Soft sleepers – ¥217 (upper) – ¥226 (lower)
Hard sleepers – ¥141.5 (upper) – ¥147 (middle) – ¥152 (lower)
Hard seats – ¥89

Lijiang to Kunming timetable

Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
K9608 8:00 15:50 7 h 50 min
K9688 9:20 16:18 6 h 58 min
K9618 20:00 5:02 9 h 02 min
K9614 21:10 5:31 8 h 21 min
K9684 21:50 6:41 8 h 51 min
K9604 22:50 9:03 10 h 13 min
K9628 23:50 9:41 9 h 51 min

Watch this video about normal trains

Learn more about:
High-Speed China trains
Normal China trains
Classes of travel on China trains
China train stations

China train travel Tips
How to buy train tickets
How to pick up your train tickets
Peak travel times to avoid
How to read a train ticket
Luggage on China trains
Child discounts

POPULAR TRAIN ROUTES IN CHINA

Beijing – Harbin Train Routes

harbin

The Beijing-Harbin train line is a very popular train route in China particularly in winter months when Harbin hosts the famous Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. There are both high-speed trains and normal trains for this route, some of which are more convenient than others. Most trains depart or arrive in Beijing at the Beijing railway station except G bullet trains that are at the Beijing south station. These trains arrive and depart in Harbin at three stations, Harbin railway station, Harbin north and Harbin west. All these stations are fine and equally convenient.

Beijing – Harbin high-speed trains

There are 6 high-speed trains (G and D train) in each direction along this route. Trains depart from early morning to late afternoon. G trains are faster than D trains hence the shorter duration of travel but D trains are fairly cheap compared to G trains. From Beijing to Harbin, we recommend G381 as it is the fastest train. From Harbin to Beijing we recommend D26 as it is only a few minutes slower than the G train but much cheaper and the schedule is very convenient. Read more about high-speed trains here (link to page 1.1).

These Beijing-Harbin high-speed trains offer 3 classes of travel for the following fares:
Business class – ¥1691.5 (G trains)
VIP class – ¥1019 (G trains)
First class – ¥834 (G trains) – ¥420.5 (D trains)
Second class – ¥541.5 (G trains) – ¥306.5 (D trains)

Watch this video about high speed trains

Beijing to Harbin to Beijing high-speed trains timetable

Beijing to Harbin trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
D29 6:58 14:43 7 h 45 min
G381 7:53 14:59 7 h 05 min
D25 9:58 18:37 8 h 39 min
D101 13:49 21:39 7 h 50 min
G383 15:05 22:20 7 h 15 min
D27 15:15 23:00 7 h 45 min
Harbin to Beijing trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
D28 6:57 14:51 7 h 54 min
G394 7:08 14:44 7 h 36 min
D26 9:30 17:28 7 h 58 min
D102 10:37 18:31 7 h 54 min
D30 14:18 22:22 8 h 04 min
G382 16:22 23:33 7 h 11 min

Beijing – Harbin overnight normal trains

On this route, it is also possible to take the cheaper but slower overnight trains. From Beijing to Harbin, we recommend T47, Z203, Z15 and Z17 as they are faster and have the most convenient times. T47 and Z15 has deluxe soft sleeper. Z203 and Z17 only has soft sleeper. Z203 has soft seats.
From Harbin to Beijing we recommend Z16 and Z18 for the same reasons. Trains Z15/16 are popular due to the relative good speed for an overnight train, the convenient departure and arrival times, and also the fact that they offer the luxury soft sleeper class (compartments for 2 people with a private toilet). Also, because this train makes no intermediate stops, you can get a very good night of sleep without interruptions. Ticket prices are as follows (prices vary depending on the train):
Deluxe sleepers – ¥828.5 (upper) – ¥865.5 (lower)
Soft sleepers – ¥409.5 (upper) – ¥427 (lower)
Soft seat – ¥281.5
Hard sleepers – ¥261.5 (upper) – ¥270.5 (middle) – ¥279.5 (lower)
Hard seats – ¥152.5

Beijing to Harbin to Beijing normal trains timetable

Beijing to Harbin trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
Z157 5:58 16:55 10 h 57 min
K339 11:07 3:33 16 h 26 min
T297 12:00 1:57 13 h 57 min
K265 13:55 8:41 18 h 45 min
T17 16:55 6:04 13 h 09 min
T47 18:57 6:12 11 h 15 min
Z203 20:31 6:47 10 h 16 min
Z17 21:15 7:18 10 h 03 min
Z15 21:21 7:26 10 h 05 min
K39 23:00 15:26 16 h 26 min
Harbin to Beijing trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
K40 1:28 21:25 19 h 57 min
Z158 10:43 21:08 10 h 25 min
K340 17:26 9:58 16 h 22 min
K266 19:27 12:53 17 h 26 min
Z204 19:44 6:28 10 h 44 min
T298 21:10 10:50 13 h 40 min
Z16 21:20 7:24 10 h 04 min
Z18 21:28 7:30 10 h 02 min
T48 22:07 9:14 11 h 07 min
T18 22:08 9:48 11 h 40 min

Watch this video about normal trains

Learn more about:
High-Speed China trains
Normal China trains
Classes of travel on China trains
China train stations

China train travel Tips
How to buy train tickets
How to pick up your train tickets
Peak travel times to avoid
How to read a train ticket
Luggage on China trains
Child discounts

POPULAR TRAIN ROUTES IN CHINA

Shanghai – Suzhou Train Routes

Suzhou-bridge

Suzhou is a popular day-trip from Shanghai with some train taking less than 30 minutes. It is also an easy day trip as there are almost 300 pairs of trains between the two cities. While there are plenty of options, in order to maximize your sightseeing time, you need to carefully pick your trains. Here is some advice to keep in mind.

Shanghai to Suzhou trains

Trains can depart Shanghai from different stations. You can choose the Shanghai railway station or the Shanghai Hongqiao station depending on which is closer to your hotel. To visit the usual attractions in Suzhou, you can arrive at either the Suzhou railway station or the Suzhou north station. There are high-speed trains (G and D trains) as well as normal trains (K, T and Z trains). The normal trains take nearly two hours while high-speed trains will cover this route in as little as 30 minutes or less. So, bullet trains are definitively better. Make sure not to take the train to Suzhouyuanqu. This location is not convenient at all. And among the bullet trains the D trains are the cheapest option for the equivalent travel duration. Note that prices can vary quite a bit depending on the train. Not that the difference is huge in dollar terms, but percentage-wise, it is a big difference.

While there are many trains each day, trains do fill up so just showing up at the station to buy a tickets may result in a 2-hour wait for the next available train. So, booking even slightly ahead is a big plus especially if you are doing a day trip as every hour counts.

G Trains
First departure: 05h59
Last departure: 22h25
Frequency: every 5 to 15 minutes
Duration: mostly about 30 minutes
Departure station: Shanghai station or Shanghai Hongqiao
Arrival station: Mostly Suzhou station or Suzhou North
Class of service and fare:
Business class: ¥119.5 – 121.5
First class: ¥59.5 – 64.5
Second class : ¥34.5 – 39.5

D Trains
First departure: 06h12
Last departure: 21h26
Frequency: every 10 to 60 minutes
Duration: mostly about 30 minutes
Departure station: Shanghai Hongqiao
Arrival station: Suzhou station or Suzhou north
Class of service and fare:
First class: ¥30.5
Second class : ¥25.5

Suzhou to Shanghai trains

Trains can depart Suzhou from different stations, tourists should use the Suzhou station or Suzhou north station, both which are connected to the subway network. As in the other direction, high-speed trains (G and D trains) are the best choice as normal trains take two hours. Again we recommend the D trains as they are the cheapest option for the equivalent travel duration although G trains are more frequent.

G Trains
First departure: 06h37
Last departure: 22h52
Frequency: every 5 to 15 minutes
Duration: mostly 30 minutes
Departure station: Suzhou station or Suzhou north
Arrival station: Shanghai Hongqiao and Shanghai station
Class of service and fare:
Business class: ¥119.5 – 121.5
First class: ¥59.5 – 64.5
Second class : ¥34.5 – 39.5

D Trains
First departure: 8h03
Last departure: 22h29
Frequency: every 10 to 60 minutes
Duration: mostly 30 minutes
Departure station: Suzhou east
Arrival station: Shanghai Hongqiao
Class of service and fare:
First class: ¥30.5
Second class : ¥25.5

Watch this video about high-speed trains

Learn more about:
High-Speed China trains
Normal China trains
Classes of travel on China trains
China train stations

China train travel Tips
How to buy train tickets
How to pick up your train tickets
Peak travel times to avoid
How to read a train ticket
Luggage on China trains
Child discounts

POPULAR TRAIN ROUTES IN CHINA

Shanghai – Hangzhou Train Routes

Hangzhou-West-lake

Hangzhou is a popular day-trip from Shanghai. It is also an easy trip as there are over 100 pairs of trains between the two cities. While there are plenty of options, in order to maximize your sightseeing time, you need to carefully pick your trains. Here is some advice to keep in mind.

However understand that, while there are many trains, in the last couple of days prior to departure, ticket sales increase. While you can still find tickets at the station for same-day departures, you may have to wait 2-3 hours for the next available train.

Shanghai to Hangzhou trains

Trains can depart Shanghai from three different stations. All three stations are connected to the subway system and easy to get to. So the choice of the departing station is not a factor. To visit the usual attractions in Hangzhou, you can arrive at either the Hangzhou railway station or the Hangzhou east station. There are high-speed trains (G and D trains) as well as normal trains (K, T and Z trains). The normal trains take two hours or more while most high-speed trains will cover this route in one hour or less. Bullet trains are definitively better. And among the bullet trains, the D trains are the cheapest option for the equivalent travel duration however, these tickets are more difficult to get.

G Trains
First departure: 06h05
Last departure: 21h30
Frequency: every 5 to 15 minutes
Duration: mostly about 1hour but as quick as 45 minutes
Departure station: Mostly Shanghai Hongqiao
Arrival station: Mostly Hangzhou East
Class of service and fare:
Business class: ¥219.5
First class: ¥117
Second class : ¥73

D Trains
First departure: 06h40
Last departure: 19h19
Frequency: every 20 to 30 minutes
Duration: mostly 1 hour
Departure station: Shanghai Hongqiao
Arrival station: Hangzhou East
Class of service and fare:
First class: ¥59
Second class : ¥49

Hangzhou to Shanghai trains

Trains can depart Hangzhou from two different stations, both which are connected to the subway network. Generally the faster trains depart from Hangzhou east railway station. As in the other direction, high-speed trains (G and D trains) are the best choice as normal trains take two hours.

G Trains
First departure: 06h10
Last departure: 22h31
Frequency: every 5 to 15 minutes
Duration: mostly about 1h but as quick as 45 min.
Departure station: Hangzhou east
Arrival station: mostly Shanghai Hongqiao
Class of service and fare:
Business class: ¥219.5
First class: ¥117
Second class : ¥73

D Trains
First departure: 10h14
Last departure: 21h40
Frequency: every 20 to 30 minutes
Duration: mostly 1 hour
Departure station: Hangzhou east
Arrival station: Shanghai Hongqiao
Class of service and fare:
First class: ¥59
Second class : ¥49

Watch this video about high-speed trains

Learn more about:
High-Speed China trains
Normal China trains
Classes of travel on China trains
China train stations

China train travel Tips
How to buy train tickets
How to pick up your train tickets
Peak travel times to avoid
How to read a train ticket
Luggage on China trains
Child discounts

POPULAR TRAIN ROUTES IN CHINA

Beijing – Datong Train Routes

Datong-hanging-temple

The Beijing-Datong train line is a very popular train route in China as Datong is a very interesting destination. There are no high-speed trains for this route. Also, most trains depart at rather inconvenient times.

Beijing to Datong trains

The best trains from Beijing leave late at night and arrive early in the morning. Train 1133 is not a good choice as it is very hard to get tickets. K695 is the best choice to travel from Beijing to Datong. If this one is not available, train number 2603 is just as good. Note that, when booking train number 2603, the train leaves after midnight so the date is actually one day later. These two trains that we recommend both depart from the Beijing railway station.If you wish to travel during day time, K615 is a good option

Train number 2603 is slightly cheaper than train K695. Here are the prices for K695:

Soft sleepers – ¥152.5 (upper) – ¥158.5 (lower)
Hard sleepers – ¥99.5 (upper) – ¥104.5 (middle) – ¥107.5 (lower)
Hard seats – ¥53.5

Beijing to Datong timetable

Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
2603 0:18 6:31 6 h 13 min
K217 0:33 6:47 6 h 14 min
K961 2:49 9:06 6 h 17 min
1458 6:43 14:17 7 h 34 min
K615 15:33 22:11 6 h 38 min
K1595 19:50 3:17 7 h 27 min
K573 20:35 2:48 6 h 13 min
K597 21:26 3:30 6 h 04 min
K41 21:40 4:40 7 h 00 min
1133 23:02 5:21 6 h 19 min
K695 23:32 6:05 6 h 33 min

Datong to Beijing trains

Getting from Datong to Beijing is not simple. Most trains travel at inconvenient times. Also because the train ride is rather short, one cannot have a very good sleep. However, we recommend two trains that are better than others. K598 is the best overnight train. In daytime K616 is the most convenient. The fares for these two trains are as follows:
Soft sleepers – ¥152.5 (upper) – ¥158.5 (lower)
Hard sleepers – ¥99.5 (upper) – ¥104.5 (middle) – ¥107.5 (lower)
Hard seats – ¥53.5

Datong to Beijing timetable

Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
1134 2:49 9:12 6 h 23 min
K574 3:07 8H58 5 h 51 min
K1596 3:15 11:50 8 h 35 min
K616 8:06 14:14 6 h 10 min
1456 12:43 20:13 7 h 30 min
K42 13:40 19:42 6 h 02 min
K696 16:38 22:35 5 h 57 min
K218 20:53 4:05 7 h 12 min
2504 21:59 4:13 6 h 14 min
K962 22:12 4:37 6 h 24 min
K598 23:04 4:54 5 h 50 min

Watch this video about normal trains

Learn more about:
High-Speed China trains
Normal China trains
Classes of travel on China trains
China train stations

China train travel Tips
How to buy train tickets
How to pick up your train tickets
Peak travel times to avoid
How to read a train ticket
Luggage on China trains
Child discounts

POPULAR TRAIN ROUTES IN CHINA

Xi’An – Chengdu Train Routes

panda

The Xi’An-Chengdu train line is a rather popular train route in China as Xi’an is the best departure city to reach Chengdu by train. These trains are also a very cheap way to travel between these cities. There are no high-speed trains between these to cities, only normal trains.

While there are a dozen pairs of trains between these cities, some trains are more recommended than others. From Xi’An to Chengdu, the best trains are K5 and K165, and for Chengdu to Xi’An we suggest K870 and K6. The reason why we recommend these trains is because the schedule is convenient but mostly because it is easier to get tickets. Much fewer tickets are available for other trains.

Some other trains appear faster than these but don’t be fooled by the travel time. Those other trains (K385/386, K1615/1616 and K195/998) depart or arrive at the Xi’An south railway station. The Xi’an south station is far out of town (about a 2-hour drive) and it is hard to find a taxi to get you there. The taxi will also be expensive. We strongly recommend avoiding the trains to or from the Xi’An south station.

Ticket prices for the trains that we recommend are as folllow:

Soft sleepers – ¥301 (upper) – ¥315 (lower)
Hard sleepers – ¥194 (upper) – ¥200 (middle) – ¥208 (lower)
Hard seats – ¥112

Watch this video about normal trains:

Xi’An to Chengdu to Xi’An trains timetable

Xi’An to Chengdu trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
1485 1:30 18:18 16 h 48 min
K291 4:49 21:35 16 h 46 min
K545 6:23 22:32 16 h 09 min
T7 6:41 20:36 13 h 55 min
K245 7:01 23:16 16 h 15 min
K1615 7:27 19:14 11 h 47 min
K1363 13:10 5:06 15 h 56 min
K5 13:20 5:27 16 h 07 min
K385 21:02 8:52 11 h 50 min
K869 21:19 13:37 16 h 18 min
K165 22:10 14:26 16 h 16 min
K195 22:26 12:11 13 h 45 min
Chengdu to Xi’An trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
K546 7:36 23:23 15 h 47 min
T8 9:00 22:27 13 h 27 min
K386 12:52 0:01 11 h 09 min
K166 13:26 6:30 17 h 04 min
K196 14:12 0:54 10 h 42 min
K870 14:38 8:35 17 h 57 min
K292 17:47 9:17 15 h 30 min
1486 19:25 11:45 16 h 20 min
K6 21:05 12:20 15 h 15 min
K1616 21:12 7:55 10 h 43 min
K246 21:20 12:42 15 h 22 min
K1364 21:38 13:51 16 h 13 min
K998 22:16 8:12 09 h 56 min

Learn more about:
High-Speed China trains
Normal China trains
Classes of travel on China trains
China train stations

China train travel Tips
How to buy train tickets
How to pick up your train tickets
Peak travel times to avoid
How to read a train ticket
Luggage on China trains
Child discounts

POPULAR TRAIN ROUTES IN CHINA

Shanghai – Xi’An Train Routes

Shanghai-yuyuan

The Shanghai-Xi’An train line is a very popular train route in China as both cities are usually on the itinerary of first time visitors to China. It is serviced by several high-speed trains all day long as well as one very good overnight fast train. Bullet trains depart or arrive at the Shanghai Hongqiao railway station while in Xi’An high-speed trains connect at the Xi’An north railway station. The D306/308 overnight trains depart or arrive at the old Shanghai railway station.

Shanghai-Xi’An high-speed trains

There are 9 bullet (G) trains in each direction along this line. The first train departs very early in the morning while the last high-speed train departs in late afternoon. Depending on the train, the journey is between 6 and 7 hours. Read more about high-speed trains here.

These Shanghai-Xi’An high-speed trains offer 3 classes of travel for the following fares:
Business class – ¥2114
First class – ¥1095
Second class – ¥669.5

Watch this video about high-speed trains

Shanghai to Xi’An to Shanghai high-speed train timetable

Shanghai to Xi’An trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G1912 6:17 13:35 7 h 18 min
G1916 7:15 14:23 7 h 08 min
G360 8:45 14:42 5 h 57 min
G1920 9:18 16:56 7 h 38 min
G1924 11:43 19:01 7 h 18 min
G1928 12:56 20:31 7 h 35 min
G1932 14:22 20:34 6 h 12 min
G1936 16:13 23:06 6 h 53 min
G1940 17:05 23:36 6 h 31 min
Xi’an to Shanghai trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G1914 6:23 13:20 6 h 57 min
G362 8:45 14:43 5 h 58 min
G1918 9:29 16:32 7 h 03 min
G1922 10:20 17:33 7 h 13 min
G1926 12:23 19:27 7 h 04 min
G1930 14:02 21:09 7 h 07 min
G1934 14:53 22:26 7 h 33 min
G1938 15:11 21:26 6 h 15 min
G1942 15:49 23:16 7 h 27 min

Shanghai – Xi’An overnight trains

On this route, it is also possible to take the cheaper but slower overnight trains. Most trains are very slow as they make many stops. The most interesting one is the overnight high-speed train D306/308. The reasons for its popularity are the relative good speed for an overnight train and the fact that D trains are more recent and of better quality. It also runs at convenient times and offers the luxury soft sleeper class (compartments for 2 people with a private toilet). For travelers on a budget Z92/94 and Z252/Z254 are the best choice.

Ticket prices are as follows for D306/308:
Deluxe sleepers – ¥1606 (upper) – ¥1807 (lower)
Soft sleepers – ¥803.5 (upper) – ¥903.5 (lower)
2nd class seats – ¥459
And for Z92/94:
Deluxe sleepers – ¥902.5 (upper) – ¥941.5 (lower)
Soft sleepers – ¥4885 (upper) – ¥509.5 (lower)
Hard sleepers – ¥310.5 (upper) – ¥321.5 (middle) – ¥331.5 (lower)
Hard seats – ¥180.5

We strongly advise against booking train Z164/166 for the following reasons:

– They usually do not release soft sleepers on these trains.
– These trains go to or come from Tibet so that they are subject to special rules regarding changing or cancelling tickets. We cannot cancel or change online. Only the ticker holder can do it in person at the train station. For this reason we also require prepayment in full for these tickets.
– Z166 originates in Lhasa and the Lhasa-Shanghai route is one of the longest in China. It means that by the time that you get on in Xi’An, the train is very dirty and the beds sheets have not been changed since departure in Lhasa. Because of its duration, it is also very often delayed.

Watch this video about normal overnight trains:

Shanghai to Xi’An to Shanghai overnight trains timetable

Shanghai to Xi’An trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
K290 8:50 4:29 19 h 39 min
K376 8:56 4:42 19 h 46 min
K360 9:23 6:15 20 h 52 min
K2186 11:03 8:57 21 h 54 min
T204 12:05 5:23 17 h 18 min
K560 14:49 11:36 20 h 47 min
T116 15:32 8:12 16 h 40 min
Z252 15:52 7:57 16 h 05 min
Z216 18:37 9:49 15 h 12 min
Z92 18:44 9:29 14 h 45 min
Z40 19:40 11:00 15 h 20 min
Z164 20:10 11:14 15 h 04 min
D306 22:55 9:53 10 h 58 min
Xi’an to Shanghai trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
T206 0:49 17:48 16 h 59 min
K292 9:37 5:34 19 h 57 min
K378 9:52 5:45 19 h 53 min
K362 10:54 6:08 19 h 14 min
Z94 16:46 7:53 15 h 07 min
K558 17:14 13:48 20 h 34 min
D308 19:50 6:35 10 h 45 min
T118 20:15 13:30 17 h 15 min
Z166 20:44 11:51 15 h 07 min
Z42 20:50 12:03 15 h 13 min
Z254 21:35 12:56 15 h 21 min
K2188 22:09 18:01 19 h 52 min
Z218 23:27 15:43 15 h 27 min

Learn more about:
High-Speed China trains
Normal China trains
Classes of travel on China trains
China train stations

China train travel Tips
How to buy train tickets
How to pick up your train tickets
Peak travel times to avoid
How to read a train ticket
Luggage on China trains
Child discounts

POPULAR TRAIN ROUTES IN CHINA

Xi’An – Pingyao Train Routes

Pingyao

The Xi’An-Pingyao train line is a very popular train route in China as Pingyao is a interesting short stop between Beijing and Xi’An. It is served by high-speed trains as well as some normal trains. In both cities there are two train stations. High-speed trains depart or arrive at the Xi’An north railway station and Pingyao Old Town railway station (not near the old town despite its name, about 9km away).

Normal trains connect at the Xi’An railway station and the Pingyao railway (the older station and within walking distance of the old town). Train tickets in and out of Pingyao are in limited number. This route absolutely requires advance booking, especially for the trains departing from Pingyao.

Xi’An-Pingyao high-speed trains

There are 8 high-speed trains from Xi’An to Pingyao and 6 from Pingyao to Xi’An. The trains depart at various times during the day. Some trains are faster than others with a travel time of about 3 hours. Read more about high-speed trains here.

These Xi’An-Pingyao high-speed trains offer 3 classes of travel (only one train has business class) for the following fares:
Business class – ¥450
First class – ¥187.5
Second class – ¥150

For some reason, the train company never makes any business class tickets and 1st class tickets available for the Pingyao departure. From Xi’An, 1st class is rarely available.
Watch this video about high-speed trains

Xi’An to Pingyao to Xi’An high-speed trains timetable

Xian to Pingyao trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
D2506 9:07 11:31 2 h 24 min
D2508 9:39 12:23 2 h 44 min
D2512 11:08 14:14 3 h 06 min
D2516 12:10 15:10 3 h 00 min
D2520 13:40 16H47 3 h 07 min
D2526 15:52 18:58 3 h 06 min
D2562 16:12 19:26 3 h 14 min
D2534 19:05 22:04 2 h 59 min
Pingyao to Xi’An trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
D2505 8:40 11:47 3 h 07 min
D2561 10:03 13:03 3 h 00 min
D2509 10:55 13:49 2 h 54 min
D2517 13:58 16:58 3 h 00 min
D2525 16:58 19:45 2 h 47 min
D2533 20:00 22:40 2 h 40 min

Xi’An-Pingyao normal trains

On this route, it is also possible to take the cheaper but slower normal trains. Some run in daytime while some others are overnight trains. The daytime normal trains are not very convenient. Trains 2672 (Xi’An-Pingyao) and 2095 (Pingyao-Xi’An) are good alternatives if you are on a budget. However, as the tickets for Pingyao to Xi’An normal trains are so difficult to get, we strongly suggest that you take bullet trains.
Soft sleepers – ¥196 (upper) – ¥ 205 (lower)
Hard sleepers – ¥124 (upper) – ¥129 (middle) – ¥133 (lower)
Hard seats – ¥66

Watch this video about normal overnight trains:

Xi’An to Pingyao to Xi’an normal trains timetable

Xi’An to Pingyao trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
1486 12:06 20:55 8 h 49 min
K690 17:18 3:38 10 h 20 min
2096 19:00 5:06 10 h 09 min
2672 22:53 7:24 8 h 31 min
Pingyao to Xi’an trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
2671 0:14 8:51 8 h 37 min
K689 10:14 20:21 10 h 07 min
1485 16:29 1:14 8 h 45 min
2095 20:48 7:03 10 h 15 min

Learn more about:
Tips on placing your order
When to order
How to pick-up train tickets
Frequently asked questions
Cancelling or exchanging your tickets

China train travel Tips
How to buy train tickets
How to pick up your train tickets
Peak travel times to avoid
How to read a train ticket
Luggage on China trains
Child discounts

POPULAR TRAIN ROUTES IN CHINA

Beijing – Pingyao Train Routes

Pingyao-street

The Beijing-Pingyao train line is a very popular train route in China as Pingyao is an interesting short stop between Beijing and Xi’An, two popular destinations. It is served by both high-speed trains as well as some overnight trains. All trains depart or arrive at the Beijing West railway station while in Pingyao, high-speed trains connect at the Pingyao Old Town railway station and overnight trains are at the Pingyao railway station. Note that, despite its name, the Pingyao Old Town railway station is not near the Pingyao old town. Train tickets in and out of Pingyao are in limited number. This route absolutely requires advance booking.

Beijing-Pingyao high-speed trains

There are 3 bullet (G and D) trains in each direction along this line. The G train is more expensive than the D trains but do not offer any real advantage. The first train departs in early morning while the last high-speed train departs in the afternoon. Some trains are faster than others with a travel time of about 4 hours. Tickets for those faster trains sell out more quickly. Read more about high-speed trains here.
These Beijing-Pingyao high-speed trains offer 3 classes of travel for the following fares:
Business class – (G train only) ¥698
First class – ¥254.5 (G train ¥322.5)
Second class – ¥183 (G train ¥225.5)

Watch this video about high-speed trains

Beijing to Pingyao to Beijing high-speed trains timetable

Beijing to Pingyao train
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
D2001 7:46 12:08 4 h 22 min
G605 10:28 14:32 4 h 04 min
G2005 15:29 19:42 4 h 13 min
Pingyao to Beijing train
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
D2002 8:42 12:55 4 h 13 min
G616 13:40 17:28 3 h 48 min
D2006 16:16 20:39 4 h 23 min

Beijing-Pingyao overnight normal trains

On this route, it is also possible to take the cheaper but slower overnight trains. While there are three overnight trains, most people take the later one as the other two run mostly during the day, which is not convenient. Train K609/610 is a good alternative if you are on a budget.
Soft sleepers – ¥274 (upper) – ¥285 (lower)
Hard sleepers – ¥178 (upper) – ¥184 (middle) – ¥190 (lower)
Hard seats – ¥102

Watch this video about normal overnight trains:

Beijing to Pingyao to Beijing overnight trains timetable

Beijing to Pingyao train
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
K961 2:49 15:24 12 h 35 min
K603 17:12 4:52 11 h 40 min
K609 23:53 9:29 9 h 36 min
Pingyao to Beijing train
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
K962 15:19 4:37 13 h 18 min
K604 17:43 5:33 11 h 50 min
K610 20:02 5:13 9 h 11 min

Learn more about:
Tips on placing your order
When to order
How to pick-up train tickets
Frequently asked questions
Cancelling or exchanging your tickets

China train travel Tips
How to buy train tickets
How to pick up your train tickets
Peak travel times to avoid
How to read a train ticket
Luggage on China trains
Child discounts

POPULAR TRAIN ROUTES IN CHINA

Beijing – Xi’An Train Routes

Xian-terracotta-army

The Beijing-Xi’An train line is a very popular train route in China as both cities have some of the most important tourist attractions in China. It is served by many high-speed trains all day long as well as some very good overnight trains. All trains depart or arrive at the Beijing West railway station while in Xi’An high-speed trains connect at the Xi’An north railway station and overnight trains are at the Xi’An railway station.

Beijing-Xi’An high-speed trains

There are 12 bullet (G) trains in each direction along this line. The first train departs in early morning while the last high-speed train departs at 18h55 from Beijing and 18h03 from Xi’An. Some trains are faster than others with a travel time of about 4.5 hours. Tickets for those faster trains sell out more quickly. Read more about high-speed trains here.

These Beijing-Xi’An high-speed trains offer 3 classes of travel for the following fares:
Business class – ¥1627.5
First class – ¥824.5
Second class – ¥515.5

Watch this video about high-speed trains

Beijing to Xi’An to Beijing high-speed trains timetable

Beijing to Xi’an trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G651 6:58 12:52 5 h 54 min
G653 7:57 14:01 6 h 4 min
G671 8:15 14:31 6 h 16 min
G655 9:43 15:31 5 h 48 min
G659 12:07 17:43 5 h 36 min
G87 14:00 18:25 4 h 25 min
G673 14:43 20:36 5 h 53 min
G661 14:48 20:45 5 h 57 min
G663 15:45 21:24 5 h 39 min
G665 16:00 21:51 5 h 51 min
G669 17:36 22:54 5 h 18 min
Xi’An to Beijing trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G652 7:52 13:26 5 h 34 min
G26 9:12 13:49 4 h 37 min
G672 9:19 15:11 5 h 52 min
G656 10:07 15:33 5 h 26 min
G660 11:00 17:11 6 h 11 min
G662 11:38 17:16 5 h 38 min
G88 13:18 17:55 4 h 37 min
G664 14:34 20:25 5 h 51 min
G666 16:00 21:31 5 h 31 min
G674 17:18 23:00 5 h 42 min
G670 18:05 23:29 5 h 24 min

Beijing-Xi’An overnight normal trains

On this route, it is also possible to take the cheaper but slower overnight trains. Overnight trains between Beijing and Xi’An are very popular with travelers, especially Z19/20. The reason for its popularity is the relative good speed for an overnight train, the convenient departure and arrival times, the fact that it offers the luxury soft sleeper class (compartments for 2 people with a private toilet). Also, because this train makes no intermediate stops, you can get a very good night of sleep without interruptions. Ticket prices are as follows (prices vary depending on the train):
Deluxe sleepers – ¥735.5 (upper) – ¥765 (lower)
Soft sleepers – ¥398.5 (upper) – ¥415 (lower)
Hard sleepers – ¥254.5 (upper) – ¥263.5 (middle) – ¥272.5 (lower)
Hard seats – ¥148.5

Watch this video about normal overnight trains:

Beijing to Xi’An to Beijing overnight trains timetable

Beijing to Xi’an trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
T41 14:22 5:35 15 h 13 min
T55 15:50 5:29 13 h 39 min
Z75 15:57 3:39 11 h 42 min
Z151 16:03 3:45 11 h 42 min
T7 16:40 6:21 13 h 41 min
K629 18:22 11:50 17 h 28 min
T231 18:50 7:43 12 h 53 min
Z43 20:12 9:55 13 h 43 min
Z19 20:40 8:31 11 h 51 min
K1363 22:15 13:00 14 h 45 min
Xi’An to Beijing trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
K630 1:01 17:11 16 h 10 min
Z152 2:17 14:26 12 h 09 min
Z76 2:23 14:32 12 h 09 min
K1364 14:10 5:42 15 h 32 min
T232 17:38 6:08 12 h 30 min
Z20 19:21 6:58 11 h 37 min
Z44 19:27 8:22 12 h 55 min
T42 19:39 9:29 13 h 50 min
t56 21:15 10:45 13 h 30 min
T8 22:47 12:31 14 h 44 min

Learn more about:
Tips on placing your order
When to order
How to pick-up train tickets
Frequently asked questions
Cancelling or exchanging your tickets

China train travel Tips
How to buy train tickets
How to pick up your train tickets
Peak travel times to avoid
How to read a train ticket
Luggage on China trains
Child discounts

POPULAR TRAIN ROUTES IN CHINA

Beijing – Shanghai Train Routes

The Beijing-Shanghai train line is the most popular train route in China. It is served by many high-speed trains all day long as well as some very good overnight trains.

Beijing-Forbidden-City

Beijing-Shanghai high-speed trains

Bullet (G) trains run from very early morning until 19h00 with about 3 trains per hour. Some trains are faster than other with a travel time of less than 5 hours while others take nearly 6 hours as they stop more frequently. Tickets for those faster trains sell out more quickly. Read more about high-speed trains here. While there are many trains on this route, ticket sales accelerate in the last 3 to 5 days prior to travel. While it is sometimes possible to buy tickets on the same day at the station, you may have to wait a few hours for the next available train.

These Beijing-Shanghai high-speed trains offer 3 classes of travel for the following fares:
Business class – ¥1748
First class – ¥933
Second class – ¥553

Watch this video about high-speed trains

Beijing to Shanghai to Beijing high-speed trains timetable

Beijing to Shanghai trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G101 6:44 12:38 5 h 54 min
G5 7:00 11:55 4 h 55 min
G103 7:05 12:42 5 h 37 min
G105 7:35 13:15 5 h 40 min
G11 8:00 13:10 5 h 10 min
G107 8:05 13:38 5 h 33 min
G109 8:15 14:07 5 h 52 min
G111 8:35 14:25 5 h 50 min
G113 8:53 14:30 5 h 37 min
G1 9:00 13:48 4 h 48 min
G41 9:16 14:46 5 h 30 min
G115 9:22 15:07 5 h 45 min
G117 9:40 15:31 5 h 51 min
G13 10:00 14:55 4 h 55 min
G119 10:05 15:45 5 h 40 min
G121 10:28 16:28 6 h 00 min
G15 11:00 15:55 4 h 55 min
G123 11:05 16:50 5 h 45 min
G125 11:10 16:59 5 h 49 min
G411 11:20 17:07 5 h 47 min
G127 11:35 17:16 5 h 41 min
G129 12:10 17:49 5 h 39 min
G131 12:25 18:14 5 h 49 min
G133 12:40 18:37 5 h 57 min
G135 12:55 18:57 6 h 2 min
G137 13:07 19:01 5 h 54 min
G139 13:40 19:52 6 h 12 min
G3 14:00 18:48 4 h 48 min
G43 14:05 19:38 5 h 33 min
G141 14:10 20:13 6 h 3 min
G143 14:31 20:26 5 h 55 min
G145 14:36 20:43 6 h 7 min
G17 15:00 19:56 4 h 56 min
G147 15:41 21:50 6 h 9 min
G19 16:00 21:15 5 h 15 min
G149 16:25 22:24 5 h 59 min
G151 16:35 22:35 6 h 00 min
G21 17:00 22:39 5 h 39 min
G153 17:15 22:52 5 h 37 min
G155 17:20 23:08 5 h 48 min
G157 17:43 23:23 5 h 40 min
G159 17:48 23:28 5 h 40 min
G7 19:00 23:55 4 h 55 min
Shanghai to Beijing trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G102 6:39 12:18 5 h 39 min
G104 6:53 12:23 5 h 30 min
G6 7:00 11:55 4 h 55 min
G106 7:10 12:42 5 h 32 min
G108 7:20 13:11 5 h 51 min
G110 7:30 13:33 6 h 3 min
G12 8:00 13:16 5 h 16 min
G112 8:05 14:08 6 h 3 min
G114 8:16 14:12 5 h 56 min
G2 9:00 13:48 4 h 48 min
G116 9:34 15:23 5 h 49 min
G118 9:54 15:44 5 h 50 min
G14 10:00 14:58 4 h 58 min
G120 10:05 15:59 5 h 54 min
G42 10:28 16:06 5 h 38 min
G122 10:46 16:33 5 h 47 min
G16 11:00 15:55 4 h 55 min
G124 11:05 16:55 5 h 50 min
G126 11:10 17:00 5 h 50 min
G128 11:15 17:13 5 h 58 min
G130 11:26 17:23 5 h 57 min
G132 12:12 18:08 5 h 56 min
G412 12:23 18:31 6 h 8 min
G134 13:02 18:52 5 h 50 min
G136 13:17 19:08 5 h 51 min
G138 13:30 19:23 5 h 53 min
G140 13:41 19:31 5 h 50 min
G4 14:00 18:48 4 h 48 min
G142 14:21 20:18 5 h 57 min
G144 14:35 20:29 5 h 54 min
G18 15:00 19:55 4 h 55 min
G146 15:05 20:50 5 h 45 min
G148 15:32 21:12 5 h 40 min
G20 16:00 21:17 5 h 17 min
G150 16:05 21:47 5 h 42 min
G152 16:19 21:52 5 h 33 min
G22 17:00 22:24 5 h 24 min
G154 17:14 22:40 5 h 26 min
G156 17:19 22:52 5 h 33 min
G44 17:24 23:01 5 h 37 min
G158 17:34 23:18 5 h 44 min
G160 17:39 23:28 5 h 49 min
G8 19:00 23:48 4 h 48 min

Beijing-Shanghai overnight high-speed trains

This route is also served by some very comfortable overnight D trains. These trains make very few stops and offer soft sleepers and 2nd class seats. These modern trains are very comfortable, quiet and offer excellent value with these fares:
2nd class seats – ¥309
Soft sleepers – ¥615 upper / ¥696 lower

Note that unlike for other trains, tickets for overnight D trains are sold only 20 days prior to departure. There is no child discount for sleepers on overnight D trains and a 25% discount on seats (read our article on Child discounts)

Watch this video based on train D322

Beijing to Shanghai to Beijing high-speed overnight trains timetable

Beijing to Shanghai trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
D313 19:34 7:41 12 h 7 min
D311 21:16 9:08 11 h 52 min
D321 21:23 9:13 11 h 50 min
Shanghai to Beijing trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
D312 19:10 7:07 11 h 57 min
D322 19:53 7:45 11 h 52 min
D314 21:08 8:55 11 h 47 min

Beijing to Shanghai overnight normal trains

On this route, it is also possible to take the cheaper but slower T109 / T110 trains. This trains takes over 15 hours to cover the distance but the tickets are cheaper than high-speed trains. These trains also offer the most luxurious deluxe soft sleepers that consist of compartments for 2 people with a private toilet. Ticket prices are as follows:
Deluxe sleepers – ¥879.5
Soft sleepers – ¥476.5
Hard sleepers – ¥304.5
Hard seats – ¥177.5

Learn more about:
Tips on placing your order
When to order
How to pick-up train tickets
Frequently asked questions
Cancelling or exchanging your tickets

China train travel Tips
How to buy train tickets
How to pick up your train tickets
Peak travel times to avoid
How to read a train ticket
Luggage on China trains
Child discounts

POPULAR TRAIN ROUTES IN CHINA

How to read a Chinese train ticket

China-train-tickets

Types of tickets for China trains

If you travel by train in China, you are likely to encounter two types of tickets.

The “pink” tickets are usually issued by older train stations and used for normal trains. The green tickets are issued at modern stations or older stations with modern equipment and are mostly used for bullet trains. There are also other types but they are very rare and will not be covered here.

The magnetic tickets are inserted in a reader to give you access to the platform.

China-train-ticket-validation

The pink tickets are validated manually at the gate by a railway employee when your train is called.
Manual-validation-of-China-train-tickets

In the event where you picked-up your ticket for a high-speed train at an older station and were given a pink ticket, this ticket will not work in the magnetic reader. In this instance, you need to show your ticket to the railway employees to access the platform.

China-train-ticket-validation-incorrect

Exiting a station

You need to have your ticket to exit the station. In modern stations, you will insert your ticket into a reader similar to the one used to access the platform. Pink tickets will be manually checked.

Reading a China train ticket

Some of the text on a ticket consists of various codes and information that don’t really matter to you. You need to pay special attention to the departure and arrival cities, the carriage and seat numbers and train number. Using the train number, you will train find your gate / platform number on various boards in the station. Some tickets for high-speed trains already indicate the gate number in the top right-hand corner

China-train-ticket-platform-number

Translation of China train tickets

Here are the key terms of the train tickets translated from Chinese to English.
China-train-ticket-overnight-trainChina-train-ticket-bullet-train

Enjoy your trip in China!

May 2017

Travel to Tibet by train

train to tibet

Why visit Tibet?

Visiting Tibet is one of those “once in a lifetime” trip.

Tibet is the highest region on Earth, with an average elevation of 4,900 m (16,000 ft.). The highest elevation in Tibet is Mount Everest, Earth’s highest mountain, rising 8,848 m (29,029 ft.) above sea level. Tibet is located on the northern side of the Himalayas. It’s nicknamed the “Roof of the World” for its towering peaks. It shares Mount Everest with Nepal

Travel restrictions

In addition to your travel visa, you need a special permit issued by the Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) to visit Tibet. The permit must be in your hands in order to board your flight or train to Tibet (but we don’t need it to book your tickets). In order to travel to Tibet, you MUST join a tour and stay with this tour at all times. You cannot travel independently in Tibet. The tour operator that you choose will secure your Tibet permit. We cannot secure your Tibet permit. The tour operator will arrange to have your permit delivered to your hotel somewhere in China.

Note that the area is often totally closed to tourists. Since an uprising in March 2008, the area is usually closed to foreign tourist for the whole month of March every year.

Trains to Tibet

The Qinghai-Tibet Railway that is known as the highest railway on earth and the first railway to Tibet. At present, there are several trains to and out of Tibet each day. The train has become the major way to get to Tibet for travellers. Since the railway was built in an area with an altitude over 4,000m, low oxygen content and harsh climate, the trains to Tibet were custom-made, in order to make passengers travel comfortably. The train is equipped with air-conditioning, oxygen supply system and anti-radiation sightseeing windows.

Tibet trains timetable

Departure Train # Dep. time Arr. time Arr. day Duration Frequency
Beijing Z21 20:00 12:10 3rd day 40 h 10 min Every day
Shanghai Z164 Z164 20:10 3rd day 47 h 10 min Every day
Chengdu Z322 14:48 9:55 3rd day 43 h 07 min Every 2 days
Chongqing Z223 Z223 15:42 3rd day 42 h 13 min Every 2 days
Guangzhou Z264 Z264 11:45 3rd day 53 h 20 min Every day
Lanzhou Z917 11:16 11:10 2nd day 23 h 54 min Every 2 days
Xining Z6801 14:01 11:10 2nd day 21 h 09 min Every 2 days

All the trains above, except the train from Xining, also stop in Lanzhou. All the trains above, including the train from Lanzhou, stop in Xining. So it is possible to board all these trains in Xining. We strongly recommend joining any of these trains in Xining for 2 reasons. Firstly, it is easier to get tickets for trains departing from Xining. Secondly, spending time in Xining help you to adjust to the high elevation. We expand on these two factors below.

Fares for Tibet trains

Departure Soft sleeper Hard sleeper Hard seat
Beijing ¥1144.0 ¥720.0 ¥360.0
Shanghai ¥1262.5 ¥793.5 ¥402.5
Chengdu ¥1062.0 ¥668.0 ¥328.0
Chongqing ¥1079.0 ¥680.0 ¥335.0
Guangzhou ¥1468.0 ¥865.0 ¥447.0
Lanzhou ¥823.0 ¥522.0 ¥240.0
Xining ¥781.0 ¥495.0 ¥224.0

Due to the difficulty in securing tickets for the trains to Tibet, our fee is US$25 per ticket or $35 in Australian or Canadian currency.

Tickets for Tibet trains are very difficult to secure

Many of the tickets never make it to the market as they are set aside by the railway company. Based on our experience, we can rate the level of difficulty in obtaining tickets according to the departure city as follow:
Beijing Impossible
Shanghai Very difficult
Guangzhou Very difficult
Chengdu Quite difficult
Chongqing Quite difficult
Lanzhou Difficult
Xining Difficult
We strongly suggest to travelers to plan to start their trip from Xining as the chances to get tickets are much better. It is also extremely important to plan ahead and place your order early (30 days + ahead of travel).

Altitude sickness

Some people believe that since the train from Beijing takes two days to reach Lhasa at an altitude of 3650 meter / 11, 975 feet, that taking this train from Beijing is a good way to acclimate to the high elevation. This is a misconception. Over two-thirds of the trip is actually spent at low altitude. Spending one day (two is better) in Xining is a safer strategy. We strongly suggest that you read this article.

Important: change and cancellation of Tibet train tickets

The railway company has a totally different policy when it comes to cancelling or changing Tibet train tickets. Essentially, we cannot cancel or change these tickets online after they have been purchased. The owner of the tickets must present himself in person at a train station in China with his passport to have the tickets cancelled or changed. This policy was put in place to address an issue with ticket scalpers. Also, as we cannot cancel these tickets, we ask for full payment prior to purchasing.

May 2017

Trains between Huangshan and major cities in China

Trains-to-Huangshan

Why visit Huangshan?

Huangshan, known as the Yellow Mountains, is one of the most important natural attractions in China. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it attracts a large number of tourists every year. Getting there is now easier with the construction of a high-speed train line that stops in Huangshan.
Huangshan is a granite massif consisting of 36 separate peaks, rising above 1,800 meters. Famous throughout Chinese artistic history, Huangshan represents the typical mountain in Chinese paintings. Frequently shrouded in mist, the many peaks appear to float on clouds. Huangshan is a frequent subject of traditional Chinese paintings and literature, as well as modern photography.

High-speed trains to Huangshan

With the recent construction of the high-speed line to Huangshan, visiting the area is now easier. High-speed trains arrive at the Huangshan north railway station. Next to the train station is a transportation center that can take you to the mountain or to nearby historic villages such as Hongcun. Watch this video to better understand the Huangshan north railway station:

You can easily travel to Huangshan from a number of major tourist destinations or alternatively, visit a key destination after Huangshan by taking on of these bullet trains:

Shanghai-Huangshan-Shanghai train timetables
Note that there are also normal overnight trains

Shanghai to Huangshan trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G1509 8:42 13:13 4 h 31 min
G1519 18:07 22:13 4 h 06 min
Huangshan to Shanghai trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G1517 8:11 12:22 4 h 11 min
G1507 13:50 17:56 4 h 06 min

Fares:
Business class: ¥948
1st class: ¥505.5
2nd class: ¥304

Hangzhou-Huangshan-Hangzhou train timetables

Hangzhou to Huangshan trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G1509 9:49 13:13 3 h 24 min
G1519 19:13 22:13 3 h 00 min
Huangshan to Hangzhou trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G1517 8:11 11:15 3 h 04 min
G1507 13:50 16:59 3 h 09 min

Fares:
Business class: ¥729
1st class: ¥388.5
2nd class: ¥231

Beijing-Huangshan-Beijing train timetables

Beijing to Huangshan trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G265 7:48 14:13 6 h 25 min
G355 8:40 15:31 6 h 51 min
G27 9:45 15:14 5 h 29 min
G323 10:10 16:54 6 h 44 min
G301 10:40 17:12 6 h 32 min
G325 12:05 18:18 6 h 13 min
G303 12:30 19:04 6 h 34 min
G351 15:31 22:02 6 h 31 min
Huangshan to Beijing trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G352 8:00 14:29 6 h 29 min
G302 9:38 16:18 6 h 40 min
G322 11:49 18:26 6 h 37 min
G28 12:10 17:35 5 h 25 min
G324 13:27 20:13 6 h 46 min
G270 14:38 21:06 6 h 28 min
G304 14:55 21:42 6 h 47 min
G356 15:23 22:19 6 h 56 min

Fares:
Business class: ¥1732.5
1st class: ¥924
2nd class: ¥548.5

Xiamen-Huangshan-Xiamen train timetables

Xiamen to Huangshan trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G322 7:19 11:45 4 h 26 min
G242 7:47 11:58 4 h 11 min
G324 8:39 13:24 4 h 45 min
G356 10:59 15:18 4 h 19 min
G1602 12:42 16:53 4 h 11 min
G1676 14:52 19:23 4 h 31 min
G1612 15:00 19:37 4 h 37 min
Huangshan to Xiamen trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G1611 9:20 13:43 4 h 23 min
G1673 10:32 14:59 4 h 27 min
G1601 11:26 15:50 4 h 24 min
G355 15:35 20:07 4 h 32 min
G241 16:20 20:57 4 h 37 min
G323 16:58 21:47 4 h 49 min
G325 18:22 22:44 4 h 22 min

Fares:
Business class: ¥943
1st class: ¥474
2nd class: ¥302

Guangzhou-Huangshan-Guangzhou train timetables

Guangzhou to Huangshan trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G636 9:12 16:11 6 h 59 min
Huangshan to Guangzhou trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G635 16:03 23:20 7 h 17 min

Fares:
Business class: ¥2039
1st class: ¥1061
2nd class: ¥646

Hong Kong-Huangshan-Hong Kong train timetables
Huangshan can be reached by bullet train from Hong Kong by simply crossing over the border to Shenzhen. The train departs from the Shenzhen north station.

Shenzhen to Huangshan trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G1602 8:52 16:53 8 h 01 min
Huangshan to Shenzhen trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G1601 11:26 19:39 8 h 13 min

Fares:
Business class: ¥1522
1st class: ¥809
2nd class: ¥495

Xi’An-Huangshan-Xi’An train timetables

Xi’An to Huangshan
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G1904 10:31 18:51 8 h 20 min
Huangshan to Xi’An
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G1902 10:48 18:45 7 h 57 min

Fares:
Business class: ¥2098
1st class: ¥1086.5
2nd class: ¥664.5

The popular overnight trains to Huangshan

Travellers on a budget often prefer overnight trains as they are cheaper and eliminate the need to pay for a hotel room. The most popular overnight route is between Shanghai and Huangshan. The best trains are, for Shanghai-Huangshan K8418 and for Huangshan-Shanghai K8420 or K784.

May 2017

Trains between Zhangjiajie and major cities in China

Trains-to-Zhangjiajie

Why visit Zhangjiajie?

Zhangjiajie offers some of China’s most beautiful natural sites. Located in the northwest part of the province of Hunan, the town of Zhangjiajie has two key attractions: the Wulingyuan area that includes the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park and the Tianzishan mountains.

The Zhangjiajie National Forest Park has a concentration of quartzite-sandstone formations found nowhere else in the world. Some 243 peaks and more than 3000 karst pinnacles and spires dominate the scenery in this Unesco-protected park. The area is sometimes referred to as the “Avatar mountains” due to the resemblance with the scenery of that Avatar movie which it inspired.

Tianmen mountain is located near the city center and features the longest cablecar in the world with a total length of 7,455 metres (24,459 ft.) and ascent of 1,279 metres (4,196 ft.) The highest gradient is an unusual 37 degrees. It also features a cliff path along the top of the mountain as well as a glass bridge.

Once considered a remote area, Zhangjiajie is surrounded by mountains, making access difficult. The area is not served by high-speed trains (other than to Changsha) and many of the direct trains from major cities will take a long time. This article tries to list the best alternatives to get to or from Zhangjiajie from other important tourist destinations.

Guilin – Zhangjiaje

Many travelers choose to visit Guilin just before or after Zhangjiajie. However there are no direct trains between Guilin and Zhangjiajie. There are two ways to do this route, by transiting trough Changsha or through Liuzhou.

There are a few options through Changsha.

– You can take the bullet train (G1504 or G1506) to the Changsha south station, get on the subway to the Changsha railway station then take train T8322 to arrive on the same day at Zhangjiajie, just before 23h.
– You can take the overnight train (K9031) to Zhangjiajie. As this train departs at 20h36, you can leave Guilin later such as Z336 or Z6. These Z trains also arrive at the Changsha station so no transfer is necessary.

The second alternative is though Liuzhou, which is cheaper and faster. You can leave Guilin late in the day and take the bullet train to Liuzhou (a little over one hour). In Liuzhou you take a taxi (20 minutes) to transfer to the Liujiang station to take one of the overnight trains. Unlike the Changsha option, you get a full day in Guilin.

Xi’An – Zhangjiajie ( or suggest to take flight)

There is one T train per day connecting these two cities in 16 to 18 hours and the times are very inconvenient. Instead, we suggest an indirect route via Luoyang. There are many trains from Xi’An to Luoyang. Between Luoyang and Zhangjiajie, there is one good overnight train leaving from the Guanlin station at 21h03. So you can leave Xi’an at the end of the day to make this connection or take a train in early afternoon and take some time to visit the Luoyang Longmen caves which are not very far from the train stations. There is a short taxi ride between the Luoyang Longmen station and the Guanlin station. The Xi’An-Luoyang Longmen train is about 1.5 hours.

Chengdu – Zhangjiajie

There is no direct train between Chengdu and Zhangjiajie. The best route is to take an overnight train from Chengdu to Huaihua, followed by a short train from Huaihua to Zhangjiajie so that one can arrive in Zhangjiajie by lunchtime.

In the other direction the same strategy applies. The best trains from Huaihua to Chendgu leave late in the evening (after 22h) so it is possible to take a train from Zhangjiajie in late afternoon and have a full day to visit the Tianmen mountain area which is close to the Zhangjiajie train station.

Many travelers choose this route and stop for a day or two in Huaihua in order to visit Fenghuang (short bus ride).

Huangshan – Zhangjiajie

Many travelers who are hikers and enjoy scenery wish to visit these two national parks. While there is no direct train between these cities, there are two good indirect itineraries.

The first alternative is to travel through Changsha. Train G1397 departs from Huangshan north at 10h22 and arrives at the Changsha south station four hours later. You then take the subway for 30 minute to the Changsha station to ride T8322 that arrives in Zhangjiajie late in the evening. In the other direction, you do the same by taking the first train from Zhangjiajie to Changsha where you have plenty of time to explore around Changsha before taking the train to Huangshan in late afternoon.

The second alternative is to transit through Shangrao to get to Changsha. The advantage of this route is that there are many more trains. There are many G trains all day long between Huangshan and Shangrao. This train is just 45 minutes to one hour. Then the train between Shangrao and Changsha is just 2h45 to 3 hours. There are also a lot of trains between Shangrao and Changsha. So this route is more flexible than going directly from Huangshan to Changsha with only 2 trains per day.

Traveling from big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai or Hangzhou

Generally most direct trains to Zhangjiajie from cities such as Beijing or Shanghai take a very long time. But most of these cities have a bullet train to Changsha where it is possible to catch a 4.5 to 5.5-hour train to Zhangjiajie. You need to take a subway to change station in Changsha as bullet trains arrive at the Changsha north railway station while the trains to Zhangjiajie depart from the Changsha railway station.

There are bullet trains to Changsha from Beijing (5.5 to 6.5 hours), Shanghai (4.5 to 5.5 hours) and Hangzhou (3.5 to 5.5 hours).

May 2017

Trains between Hong Kong and Shanghai

Trains-to-Shanghai---Shanghai-Pudong-at-night

Any direct trains between Hong Kong and Shanghai?

There is one train between Hong Kong and Shanghai. It is a slow train that takes over 24 hours and it only runs every other day. These trains use older equipment. This is not a very convenient way to complete this route and tickets are difficult to get.

Instead we recommend taking a modern Chinese bullet train departing from Shenzhen or Guangzhou. There are multiple bullet train departures each day and they cover this route in less than half the time. On weekends, more trains are added. The additional weekend trains are the modern D overnight sleepers.
Shenzhen is just over the border from Hong Kong and can be reached easily by subway or by bus. Watch these videos about commuting between Hong Kong and the Shenzhen north railway station.

Trains between Shenzhen and Shanghai

There are six pairs of daytime high-speed (D) trains daily between Shenzhen and Shanghai with a travel time of about 11 to 12 hours. The trains depart in the morning and arrive in the evening. These trains depart from the Shenzhen north station in Shenzhen and from the Shanghai Hongqiao station in Shanghai. However, for daytime travel, we suggest a quicker route. It is preferable to take the train from Guangzhou. More about this below.

On weekends (Friday-Saturday-Sunday-Monday) additional trains are added. These are four pairs of overnight D trains. These are modern and comfortable trains. The trains depart in early evening and arrive in early morning. These trains are quite convenient as you do not waste daylight to travel and you save on the cost of a hotel room for that night. Watch this video and see what D overnight trains are like:

Shenzhen – Shanghai train timetable (overnight trains)

Shenzhen to Shanghai trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
D905 19:35 6:53 11 h 18 min
D941 19:55 6:28 10 h 33 min
D931 20:00 6:35 10 h 35 min
D935 20:05 6:41 10 h 36 min
Shanghai to Shenzhen trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
D906 20:00 7:12 11 h 12 min
D932 20:10 6:50 10 h 40 min
D936 20:15 6:55 10 h 40 min
D942 20:20 7:00 10 h 40 min

Ticket prices
D overnight trains (prices are not fixed)
Soft sleeper: ¥590
Deluxe soft sleeper: ¥1000
Second class seat: ¥478.5

A quicker option: Guangzhou

In addition to Shenzhen, there are faster daytime bullet trains between Shanghai and Guangzhou south station. To travel between Guangzhou and Hong Kong, it is better to go through the Shenzhen north station as there are many bullet trains between Shenzhen north and Guangzhou south.
These trains take about 30 minutes. Even adding the time required to transfer, it is much faster to transit through Guangzhou than take the Shenzhen-Shanghai trains as one can do the Guangzhou-Shanghai route is just about 7 to 8 hours.

Guangzhou – Shanghai train timetable (bullet trains)

Shanghai to Guangzhou trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G85 8:00 14:51 6 h 51 min
G1301 10:23 19:03 8 h 40 min
G1303 14:10 22:40 8 h 30 min
G1305 15:25 22:55 7 h 30 min
Guangzhou to Shanghai trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G86 8:00 14:50 6 h 50 min
G1302 11:23 19:51 8 h 28 min
G1304 13:24 21:51 8 h 27 min
G1306 15:39 23:05 7 h 26 min

Ticket prices
G bullet trains

Business class: ¥2492.5
First class: ¥1302.5
Second class: ¥793

May 2017

Trains between Hong Kong and Beijing

Beijing-Qianmen-street

Any direct trains between Hong Kong and Beijing?

There is one train between Hong Kong and Beijing. It is a slow train that takes over 24 hours and it only runs every other day. This train uses older equipment. This is not a very convenient way to complete this route and tickets are difficult to get.

Instead we recommend taking a modern Chinese bullet train departing from Shenzhen or Guangzhou. There are multiple bullet train departures each day and they cover this route in less than half the time. On weekends, more trains are added. The additional weekend trains are the modern D overnight sleepers.
Shenzhen is just over the border from Hong Kong and can be reached easily by subway or by bus. Watch these videos about commuting between Hong Kong and the Shenzhen north railway station.



Trains between Shenzhen and Beijing

There are two pairs of daytime bullet trains daily between Shenzhen and Beijing with a travel time of about 10 hours or less. The trains depart in the morning and arrive in early to mid-evening. These trains depart from the Futian station in Shenzhen and from the Beijing West station in Beijing. Coming from Hong Kong, it is difficult to make the first train departing from Shenzhen at 7h27. However, since hotels are cheaper in Shenzhen than Hong Kong, it makes sense to spend the previous night in Shenzhen if you wish to take the first train.

Shenzhen – Beijing train timetable (bullet trains)

Shenzhen (Futian) to Beijing trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G71 7:27 18:03 10 h 36 min
G79 10:00 18:45 8 h 45 min
Beijing to Shenzhen (Futian) trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G72 7:43 18:21 10 h 38 min
G80 11:20 21:49 10 h 29 min

On weekends (Friday-Saturday-Sunday-Monday) additional trains are added. These are four pairs of overnight D trains. These are modern and comfortable trains. The trains depart in early evening and arrive in early morning. A very practical schedule. These trains are quite convenient as you do not waste daylight to travel and you save on the cost of a hotel room for that night. Unlike the G trains, these depart and arrive at the Shenzhen north station. Watch this video and see what D overnight trains are like:

Shenzhen – Beijing train timetable (overnight trains)

Shenzhen to Beijing trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
D901 20:10 7:06 10 h 56 min
D903 20:15 7:11 10 h 56 min
D909 20:20 7:16 10 h 56 min
D927 20:25 7:26 11 h 00 min
Beijing to Shenzhen trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
D902 19:40 6:56 11 h 16 min
D904 19:45 7:01 11 h 16 min
D910 19:50 7:13 11 h 23 min
D928 19:55 7:18 11 h 23 min

Ticket prices
G trains
Business class: ¥2939
1st class: ¥1488
2nd class: ¥944.5
D overnight trains
Soft sleeper: ¥999
2nc class seat: ¥756
Note that the railway company is currently experimenting with flexible pricing on these overnight D trains based on supply and demand. Therefore the prices are not always fixed. There is also a substantial difference between upper and lower beds. Also note that there is no child discount for sleepers on overnight D trains.

Another option: Guangzhou

In addition to Shenzhen, there are even more trains to Beijing from the Guangzhou south station, both G and D trains. However, getting to Guangzhou from Hong Kong is not as easy as getting to Shenzhen that is just across the border. We believe that there are enough good options from Shenzhen that going through Guangzhou is not necessary unless the Shenzhen trains are sold out.

May 2017

Trains between Hong Kong and Guilin (Yangshuo)

Train-Hong-Kong-to-Guilin

Any direct trains between Hong Kong and Guilin?

There are no direct trains between Hong Kong and the Guilin area. However there are some very good high-speed trains just over the border in Shenzhen. Bullet trains depart / arrive at the Shenzhen north station. The Shenzhen north station is easy to reach from Hong Kong by taking the bus or the subway. Watch these two videos that explain how easy it is to commute between Hong Kong and the Shenzhen north railway station.

Trains between Shenzhen and Guilin

There are four pairs of high-speed trains between Shenzhen and Guilin with a very quick travel time of about 3 hours. Departures are at various convenient times during the day. Coming from Hong Kong, it is difficult to make the first train departing from Shenzhen at 7h21. However, since hotels are cheaper in Shenzhen than Hong Kong, it makes sense to spend the previous night in Shenzhen if you wish to catch the first train to Guilin.

Shenzhen – Guilin train timetable

Shenzhen to Guilin trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G2902 7:21 10:33 3 h 12 min
G2904 11:47 14:45 2 h 58 min
G2908 13:05 16:02 2 h 57 min
G2906 14:26 17:26 3 h 00 min
Guilin to Shenzhen trains
Train # Dep. Arr. Duration
G2907 9:30 12:30 3 h 00 min
G2901 10:58 14:03 3 h 05 min
G2903 15:22 18:30 3 h 08 min
G2905 17:55 21:00 3 h 05 min

Note that there is also a popular overnight train that allows you to save on the cost of a hotel room for one night.

How to go from Hong Kong to Yangshuo?

The trains departing from Shenzhen do not stop in Yangshuo. However there are 10 pairs of trains each day between Guangzhou and Yangshuo. These bullet trains cover the distance in 2h10 to 2h30 only. If you do not plan to visit Guilin and prefer Yangshuo, this is an excellent alternative.

Commuting between Guangzhou and Hong Kong

There are several train stations in Guangzhou. High-speed trains to or from Guilin and Yangshuo are at the Guangzhou south station. There are trains between Hong Kong and Guangzhou but these trains are at the Guangzhou east station. These two stations in Guangzhou are over 25km away from each other and, considering the terrible traffic in Guangzhou, a taxi may take 1.5 hours between stations. So, we believe that it is simpler to take the bus or train from Hong Kong to the Shenzhen north station and then take a train from Shenzhen to Guangzhou south station. This train takes about 30 minutes only and cost ¥99.5 for 1st class seats and ¥74.5 for 2nd class seats. There are over 100 trains daily in each direction.

The Guangzhou south railway station is very large. So we recommend picking up all your tickets at your point of origin so that you can do a transit in the station without exiting th train station and passing security again.

See how it is done in this video that was filmed at Guangzhou south:

Note that very few tickets are allocated for the Yangshuo station. If you wish to book tickets to or from Yangshuo and tickets appear as sold out, please contact us and we may find a way to secure some tickets.

How does the train compare to flying?

Direct flights between Hong Kong and Guilin take 1.5 hours (not including immigration procedures). However such flights are pretty rare. Direct flights are only available in peak travel season. Otherwise, flying from HK to Guilin requires a transit, usually in Shanghai or Xiamen which means 7 to 12 hours of travel time.

A direct flight in economy is over ¥2000. A flight with a stopover will run between ¥1400 and ¥1800, in economy. One can take the train even in business class for a fraction of this. Even when flights are discounted, trains are much cheaper. A second class seat on the Shenzhen-Guilin train is just ¥212. Guangzhou to Yangshuo is 2nd class is just ¥117 while the train from Shenzhen to Guangzhou is ¥74.5. With such a price differential, it pays even to ride the train in 1st class.

May 2017

Luggage on China trains

China-train-porter-service

How much luggage is allowed on China trains?

According to the official regulations, each passenger is allowed 20kg (about 45 pounds) of luggage and 10kg in the case of children (about 22 pounds). In practice luggage is never weighted and never measured. Essentially, you can bring as much as you can carry. In fact, even this is not a limitation. If you have too much luggage, you can find porters (“red hat service”) in most stations. We have often taken trains with 2 suitcases of 23kg per person and it was never an issue.

You only need to make sure that you do not carry any prohibited items such as bicycles, animals, explosives, compressed gases, flammable liquids or other dangerous items such as knives or other sharp objects. Your luggage will need to pass through an x-ray machine when entering the station.

Where to store luggage on China trains?

– On high-speed trains

Luggage can be placed on racks above the seats. Most suitcases can fit except the very large ones. The large and heavy suitcases can be placed behind the last row of seats or in a luggage closet at the end of the car. Do not put valuables in suitcases that you cannot keep an eye on.

luggage-on-racks-2nd-class-on-China-trains
luggage-space-behind-last-row-on-China-trainsluggage-storage-in-China-train

– On normal trains seating areas

There are also racks above the seats. Some passengers will also leave the heaviest suitcases in the corridor between the two rows of seats or in front of their seat. In the hard seat area, rows of seats are often facing each other with a table in between and some passengers put a suitcase under that table but this is very uncomfortable.

– In the hard sleeper area

Space is limited in the hard sleeper class. There is a luggage rack on the wall opposite to the beds. Some suitcases can be put under the table between the two rows of beds as well as under the lower bed.
China-train-luggage-rack-in-hard-sleeperscompartments

There is a reasonably large luggage area inside the compartment just above the door. This is usually enough for four passengers. You can also place a large suitcase under the table between the two lower beds. There is often some mechanical equipment under the lower bunk, so this may not always be an option.

– In deluxe soft sleeper compartments

There is a luggage area just above the door inside the compartment. This is plenty of space for two passengers. As there are only two beds, there is also plenty of space to leave luggage anywhere in the compartment. There is a closet to hang some clothes.

Luggage consignment

If you have too much luggage or oversize luggage such as a bicycle, these can be placed in consignment. However few trains have freight carriages. High-speed trains do not have freight carriages and not all normal trains have them either.

If your train does not offer the service, your luggage will be placed on another train. If you are taking a bullet train, then this probably means that you need to go to another station. Checked luggage may arrive later than your train and at a different station. This is not very practical.

May 2017

Tips for overnight China trains

Hard-sleepers-on-China-train

Overnight trains are a great way to travel in China. Firstly, traveling at night means that you save that night’s hotel accommodation. Secondly, you use valuable daylight to visit attractions rather than for travel.

Types of sleepers on China trains

There are three sleeper classes on China trains. The best one is the deluxe soft sleeper. You get a private compartment for two people (one upper and one lower sleeper) with your private toilet. You can close and lock the door ensuring privacy and a good night’s sleep. Only a few trains have deluxe soft sleepers.

The next best, and the most popular with international tourists, is the soft sleeper class. This type of compartment has four beds (two upper and two lower sleepers) and you can lock the door. If you are a family of four, you can get your own compartment and have a quiet night and privacy. If not, you are likely sharing with strangers. This is not a problem unless the other guest is snoring loudly. In addition, your compartment companions may be getting on or getting off at intermediate stations in the middle of the night. This will disrupt your sleep. Note that a group of two or three passengers can book a whole compartment by buying all four tickets. (please send us the special request, we will explain how to do it)

Overnight-China-train

The cheapest class of sleeper is the hard sleeper. They are open compartments consisting of six beds, three on each side (one lower, one middle and one upper sleeper). The beds are narrower than those in soft sleepers and the compartment have no door and so they open on the corridor. These are obviously more noisy on top of being less comfortable. Visit this page for more details on the various classes on China trains.

Lower sleepers are more practical and cost more than upper sleepers. We find that the middle berths in the hard sleeper class to be the most inconvenient.

Safety on China sleeper trains

While China is a very safe country, you need to be prudent with your valuables when on a night train. Do not leave any valuables in your suitcase. Even though it may be close to you, you can’t monitor it in your sleep. Pay special attention to your wallet and cellphone. Keep them on you and keep in bed any other valuable such as a camera.

Soft-sleeper-on-China-overnight-train

Should we mention toilet? Chinese toilet, bring your own toilet paper

Improve your sleep on China overnight trains

Some people can sleep like a rock, anywhere anytime. If it is not your case, bring some earplugs. Also wear comfortable pants, possibly sweatpants. You can change before going to bed. Sometimes the air conditioning can be too strong, so keep a sweater close by. Many hotels in China give free cheap slippers. Keep a pair for your train ride. You can take off your shoes to be more comfortable and will be able to walk around without needing to put your shoes back.

Finally, you may want to bring some snacks on the train. Some food is available from the dining car, but the selection may not be to your taste. For a longer train rides, better to bring your own food. For drinks, beer and soft drinks are usually available on the train. Boiled water is available in every car, which is why instant noodles are so popular with train travelers. And keep your toothbrush and toothpaste easily accessible and possibly a hand towel so that you can freshen up in the morning. There are usually sinks at the end of each car.

Enjoy your trip!

May 2017

Children Discounts on China Trains

Child-discount-on-China-trains

Children can sometimes travel for free or at a discount. The eligibility for discounts is not based on their age; it depends on how tall they are.

Children under 120cm can travel for free. However they do not get a seat or a bed. They must share with a parent. As a result there can only be one free child per parent. For example, two parents traveling with two children under 120cm can bring two kids on board for free. One parent traveling with two children under 120cm can only get one child to travel for free. But in this last case, the parent can purchase a discounted child ticket for the second child. Note that in the case of kids travelling for free, no ticket is issued.

Children under 150cm can purchase tickets at a discount and get their own seat or sleeper. There is not limit to the number of child tickets that a family is allowed to purchase. For seats, the discount is 50%. For sleepers, the ticket price can be broken down between the cost of a seat plus an addition for the bed. The discount applies to the “seat portion” of the fare. The result is usually a discount of about 25%. There is an exception for overnight D trains for which the discount on seats is 25% and there is no discount on sleepers.

When placing your order for China train tickets, please specify if the passenger is under 150cm by clicking the “child ticket” box. If the child is under 120cm and you intend to have the child share a seat or sleeper with a parent, you do not order any ticket for this child.

Sharing a sleeper with a child can be somewhat uncomfortable in the case of a hard sleeper as these are quite narrow. Soft sleepers are a bit more spacious. Visit our page about classes of travel to understand the size of seats and beds for various classes.

On some modern trains, like D overnight sleeper trains, there is one bathroom per train with a baby changing table. It is generally located around the middle of the train. We are not aware of such facilities on normal trains. Train stations in China rarely have pre-boarding privileges for families with children although you may miss the announcement that will be made in Mandarin only. There are no student discounts available for tourists.

May 2017

Booking hotel rooms in China

Before you arrive in China, you should know what to expect and understand some aspects of your hotel stay that are specific to China.

Residence registration

When you first land in China, you need to fill a landing card that you give to the immigration officer along with your passport. In the back of the form, you are reminded of your obligation to register your residence with the local police station within 24 hours. The process needs to be repeated every time that you move to a different city.

The good news is that you do not really have to go to the local police station. Your hotel takes care of your registration. When you check in, the hotel staff will make a copy of your passport and visa and will possibly ask you to sign a form.

Some hotels do not have what it takes to register foreigners and tourists cannot stay there. There are fewer such places in China these days. It is unlikely that this will cause you a problem unless you are travelling to a very remote area.

Safety

China is very safe. You should still pay attention to your valuables. The above average hotels often have a safe in the room.

Getting to your hotel

Taxi drivers do not speak English. The English name of your hotel will not be recognized by a taxi driver. Find the hotel website and copy the name and address of the hotel in Chinese. Sometimes you need to change the language of the page to Chinese (中文). Note the phone number as well. All drivers have a mobile and they can the hotel to ask about the exact location. Never use a translation tool such as Google Translate to translate a hotel name or an address.

door

Deposit

It is common for hotels in China to ask for a safety deposit. Larger hotel will reserve an amount on your credit card. Smaller hotels will ask for a cash deposit. Make sure to keep your receipt for cash deposit to recover the deposit at the time of checkout.

Get help from the hotel staff

All hotels, big or small, will gladly help you for your travel. Taxis can be difficult to get. They will call one using a local app. They will also write down your destination in Chinese or tell the taxi driver where to take you. If you plan to visit several tourist attractions, have them write them down for you in Chinese. Make sure to always keep a copy of the hotel business card with you. This will make sure that a taxi can take you back home.

Hotel internet access

Every hotel will have wifi internet access. Some cheaper hotels may only have access in the reception area. Speed will vary depending on the hotel quality and location. Note that several website are blocked in China. To have a full access, you need a VPN. Particularly problematic is access to Google products such as gmail. If the access to certain websites is essential to you, check their availability with this tool: https://www.comparitech.com/privacy-security-tools/blockedinchina/

How about AirBnB?

While it is available in China, most landlords are operating illegally. The issues are that they will generally not do the police registration for you or help you do it. They will not help you get a taxi or with other language issues. The apartment may also be difficult to find. It is not the best choice of accommodation for a first trip to China.

Learn more about:

High-Speed China trains
Normal China trains
Classes of travel on China trains
China train stations

China train travel Tips

How to buy train tickets
How to pick up your train tickets
Peak travel times to avoid
How to read a train ticket
Luggage on China trains
Child discounts

POPULAR TRAIN ROUTES IN CHINA

Discounted China domestic flights

Train or flight in China?

For train rides longer than 6 or 7 hours, flying is often a better alternative. Considering that airports in China rank among the worst in the world for their on-time record, the train remains a better alternative for trip of 7 hours or less.

If you are on a budget, for longer distances, overnight sleeper trains can make sense. Besides the fact that you save on the cost of a hotel room, traveling at night means that you save daytime for visiting tourist sites.

roof-decoration-dragon

Pricing of domestic flights in China

While train ticket prices are fixed, airfares fluctuate and are often discounted. The discount is often in excess of 50%. The amount of discount varies based on several factors such as: how competitive the route is; time of the year and how far in advance of the travel date the booking is made.

Our expertise

While it is nearly impossible to get the very lowest price for a particular flight, our experts can secure your tickets at a good discount due to their extensive experience in buying flight tickets for many clients.

Booking flights with us

If you already placed an order for train tickets, we still need additional information and some of the information needs to be in a different format.
Please complete this order form and we will respond back with a proposal after searching for the best deals. Once you agree with specific flights, we will send you an invoice and purchase immediately after receiving payment.

Make a button “Booking flights” again

Important information about domestic flights in China
– For passenger flying economy, the luggage allowance is 20kg per person.
– You must present your passport at check-in and when entering security
– For “Low Cost Carriers” the luggage allowance is usually less but additional luggage allowance can be purchased
– Deadline for check-in is usually 45 minutes before departure
– Security lines can sometimes be long

Learn more about:

High-Speed China trains
Normal China trains
Classes of travel on China trains
China train stations

China train travel Tips

How to buy train tickets
How to pick up your train tickets
Peak travel times to avoid
How to read a train ticket
Luggage on China trains
Child discounts

POPULAR TRAIN ROUTES IN CHINA

Trains from China to Vietnam

Download order form

There is one train each day that crosses from China to Vietnam and one in the opposite direction.

Vietnam-tea-plantation

Train T8701 departs daily from Nanning at 18h05 and arrives in Hanoi at 05h30 for a total travel time of 11 hours and 25 minutes. However the arrival time is only approximate and the train is often late depending on how long the immigration procedures take. At the Chinese border you will change to the Vietnamese train number MR2.

Train MR1 departs daily from Hanoi Gia Lam station at 21h20 and arrives in Nanning at 10h07 for a total travel time of 12 hours and 47 minutes (subject to delays). At the Chinese border you will change for train T8702.

Only the soft sleeper class is available.

Total ticket price is US$65 per ticket plus a fixed delivery fee of US$5 (for any number of ticket).

Tickets are released 18 days ahead but we can receive your confirmation at any time.

Special notes on the Nanning-Hanoi train:
– Your tickets can be delivered to you anywhere in China, not necessarily in Nanning.
– We need a copy of the passport of every passenger to purchase the tickets.
– If a Vietnam visa is required for your nationality, we need a copy of your visa along with the order form to purchase the tickets.
– The train may encounter delays due to the China and Vietnam immigration and custom clearing of passengers. These are two separate procedures.

The Beijing to Hanoi train
There is also a train from Beijing to Hanoi. However the price is ridiculously high. Instead we recommend that travelers take the high-speed train or normal train from Beijing to Nanning and then switch to T8701. It is faster and cheaper.

Learn more about China train tickets:

High-Speed China trains
Normal China trains
Classes of travel on China trains
China train stations

China train travel Tips

How to buy train tickets
How to pick up your train tickets
Peak travel times to avoid
How to read a train ticket
Luggage on China trains
Child discounts

POPULAR TRAIN ROUTES IN CHINA

How to book China train tickets online?

1- Search timetables. Our timetables are connected in real-time with the official Chinese railway website. All the information is up-to-date. Use the search box to access live schedules. (pick a date and the numbers of passengers)

2- Choose a train and class of service. If your preferred train is shown as sold out and the button shows “try”, we may be able to work things out. Repeat the process until you have completed your itinerary.

3- Next, enter your contact information (we suggest that you provide whatsapp/imessage/viber so that we can contact you quickly if emergency situations) as well as the passenger information ( you can add more passenger by clicking on the button below the field) Pay special attention to the passport number. If the number is wrong, you will not be able to pick-up the tickets. Names should be exactly as they appear in the passport, generally with surname first.

4- Before submitting your order, you have another chance to review it. Double check the passenger information and add any special request or questions in the comment boxes. This page also gives you a total price per ticket estimate based on the payment currency that you chose.

5- Submit your order.

Watch our video on how to purchase online (embedded video – video to come)

What happens next?

– You will immediately receive an automated email so that you have a copy of your order.
– We do not purchase your tickets right away. Someone will verify your order within few hours (if it is China night time, it may take a bit longer although we try to work 24*7). Our expert will promptly send you an email with comments on your plan, if any. Sometimes we may suggest a better alternative to get you from A to B. We may also note that the names appear wrong or spot an obvious mistake in a passport number.
– Once the order appears finalized and all correct, we ask you to confirm. This additional step protects us all against problem down the road. You don’t want to be stranded in a Chinese station unable to get your tickets because of a mistake in the name or passport number if you do not speak the language.
– Once we receive the confirmation, the tickets are purchased.
– Next we send you an invoice based on our real cost with a copy of our receipt.
– After you make the payment, we send you bilingual instructions for the taxi driver to take you to the station as well as instructions for ticket pickup.

Our methodology has proven over time to result in a high level of satisfaction from our clients as we provide personalize service, clarity and a trouble-free experience. Read our reviews and see what our clients have to say about their experience.

China-trains-in-station

Note that unlike all our competitors, we buy the tickets and ask you to pay later, no advance payment. There are some exceptions where we will ask for a deposit. The exceptions are as follows:

– If your train departure is within 18 days, we will ask for a deposit of 20 to 100% depending on how close your travel date is. The reason is that if you fail to pay and we need to cancel the tickets, the railway company charges us a cancellation fee.
– For any trains to/from Lhasa, we request payment of the full amount. After we purchase the tickets, we can’t change/cancel them online. These can only be changed or cancelled by the traveler in person at the station.
– For large group (10+) purchase, we request 20% deposit before we purchase your tickets.
– Some clients also prefer to prepay for all tickets because they will be traveling when we purchase the tickets and they may have limited access to their email at that time.

Learn more about:

Tips on placing your order
When to order
How to pick-up train tickets
Frequently asked questions
Cancelling or exchanging your tickets

China train travel Tips

How to buy train tickets
How to pick up your train tickets
Peak travel times to avoid
How to read a train ticket
Luggage on China trains
Child discounts

POPULAR TRAIN ROUTES IN CHINA

How to pick up China train tickets

Picking up China train tickets that were purchased online is very easy. After we receive your payment for the tickets, we will send you instructions in both English and Chinese. The instructions have two parts:

The first part of the instructions is for the taxi driver. As many cities have several train stations, we provide clear instructions so to that you go to the right place. It will say “please take me to the xyz train station” in both languages.

The second part of our instructions is for the station ticket clerk and will say “I would like to pick up x tickets to abc”, and will have your confirmation number, also in both languages. You do not need to speak any Mandarin. You just give the confirmation number and the passports of the passengers to the clerk. This is very easy. Watch this video and see how simple it is:

Here are the usual questions about picking up tickets:

When can I pick-up my tickets?

Once your tickets are purchased, you can pick them up at any time. You can pick them up just before your departure once you arrive at the station or you may pick them up on a previous day. If you are traveling during a very busy period, it is a good idea to pick them up ahead of time. If you are traveling on multiple trains, it is also a good idea to pick them up when you arrive at your destination so as to save time on departure day. You must pick-up the tickets before the departure time otherwise the tickets are void.

Where can I pick-up the ticket? Can I pick-up all tickets at the first station?

Tickets can only be picked up at train stations in China. They can be picked from ANY train station in China. If you purchased tickets for several trains, you can pick-up all the tickets in your first city. However, when you pick-up tickets for trains departing from other cities, there is service charge of 5RMB per ticket payable at the station. For example, you can pick-up train tickets for Xi’An to Shanghai at a train station in Beijing. The 5RMB fee will apply in this case.

Do all passengers need to be present to pick-up the ticket?

No. Any member of your group can pick-up the tickets for the whole group. The person picking them up does not even need to be one of the passengers. HOWEVER, the person retrieving the tickets must have the passports of all passengers. Sometimes, photocopies of passports will be ok but not always (depends on the mood of the ticket clerk).

What to do if you don’t have access to a printer to print confirmations?

There is no need to print anything. Just write the confirmation number of a piece of paper and hand it to the ticket clerk along with the passports. They know exactly what you want, no need to say or ask anything. You can also show the confirmation number from your smartphone.

China-train-ticket-pickup

I can’t speak or read Chinese, how to find the ticket office?

Signage to help you find tickets offices is usually clear and in English. We have also prepared videos about the most popular train stations in China to help you find your way around. Just visit our YouTube channel. When we send you the ticket confirmation, we also include the link to the video for your departing station.

In the ticket office, there are many counters, which one should I use?

In big cities, there may be an English speaking counter. Look if there is one although it does not matter since you won’t need to speak a word. Some counters are for refunds, ticket exchange or reserved for military personnel but as you can’t read Chinese, you can’t tell. Our strategy is always to go to the shortest line. It may be the line for refunds and the clerk may send you away but very often they will print your tickets in any case. So it is worth taking a chance.

Can I use the copy of the passport to pick up other people’s train ticket in China?

Theoretically you have to pick up the paper tickets with their original passports. However, we had many cases like this where our clients successfully picked up the tickets with the copy of the passports and the Chinese note we prepared. Two tips,
1: Please don’t send a Chinese person (like your guide) to pick up the tickets, as they may be turned down. The station staff tend to be more demanding towards other Chinese. Foreigners will get away with more things even if it is not 100% according to the official policy.
2: If one counter does not work, you can go to another counter to try again or even another train station (if there are several train stations in a city)

China-train-tickets-English-counter

Can I pick up the train tickets if the passengers information is wrong?

If the passenger passport number is wrong, it is impossible to pick up the tickets. Contact us as soon as possible. The tickets will need to be cancelled and bought again.
If the passengers name is completely wrong, it is impossible to pick up the tickets.
If the passengers name has one or two letters missing or wrong, it depends on the station staff attitude/mood on that day. Some may not check carefully or not even look at the name at all and will issue you the tickets. Some are very strict and they won’t issue you the tickets. In this case, we suggest that you can try different counters or even different train stations and it will eventually work.

China-train-ticket-pickup-with-phone

What should I do if I can’t pick up the tickets at all (information is wrong)

This is bad news. The tickets need to be cancelled and rebooked immediately. Ask to have the tickets cancelled. There will be a cancellation fee charged by the train company of 5%-20% depending on how close you are to your departure day. The refund will be credited our bank card that we used to purchase the tickets. Keep and send us a copy of the receipt and we will refund you. You need to pay cash at the counter to buy the new tickets. And the new tickets most likely will not be the same as the ones that you cancelled, which means that you will not sit/sleep with your travel companions. If all fails, contacts us and we’ll try to help you sort it out.
We ask our clients to check the passengers information many times before/after we book the tickets. We only copy and paste the clients information rather than retype it when booking so as to avoid mistakes. If we make mistakes, it is our responsibility to pay the cancellation fee. But if it is your mistake, we will not be responsible for this.

Learn more about China train tickets:

Tips on placing your order
When to order
How to pick-up train tickets
Frequently asked questions
Cancelling or exchanging your tickets

China train travel Tips

How to buy train tickets
How to pick up your train tickets
Peak travel times to avoid
How to read a train ticket
Luggage on China trains
Child discounts

POPULAR TRAIN ROUTES IN CHINA

When to buy train tickets in China?

Unlike what happens with airline tickets, the price of train tickets in China is fixed Whether you buy very early or at the last minute, the price is always the same (however they are experimenting with flex pricing on Beijing to Guangzhou/Shenzhen and Shanghai to Guangzhou/Shenzhen overnight D train

The importance of ordering tickets early is to ensure availability. Generally China train tickets are released 30 days prior to the travel date (20 days for overnight D3xx trains). However, your order can be placed with us as early as your plans are finalized. Placing your order more than 30 days ahead of the travel date increases your chances to get difficult tickets as we purchase them as soon as they are released. Booking ahead also ensure that your group will sit together or same the same sleeper compartment.

Busy-train-station-at-Chinese-New-Year

When are China train tickets difficult to get?

1- Chinese holidays.

Train ticket demand increases during the following 2018 statutory holidays:

– Chinese New Year and Student winter holiday: February 16, 2018, holidays are from February 15 to 21 (busiest period February 1 to Feb 28, 2018)
– QingMing Festival: April 5-7, 2018 (busy period April 3 to 8, 2018)
– Labor Day: April 29 to May 1, 2018 (busy period April 27 to May 3, 2018)
– Dragon Boat Festival: June 16-18, 2018 (busy period June 15 to 19, 2018)
– Mid-Autumn Festival: September 22-24, 2018 (busy period September 21 to 25, 2018)
– National holiday: October 1 to October 7, 2018 (busy period September 26 to October 9, 2018)

For 2019, the holidays are expected to be on these dates:

New Year: December 30, 2018 to January 1, 2019 (busy period December 28 to January 2)
Chinese New Year and student winter holiday: (exact dates vary from year to year)February 5 to 12, 2019 (busy period January 20 to February 19, 2019) Extremely busy, it is better to avoid this period.
QingMing Festival: April 5 to 7, 2019 (busy period April 3 to 8, 2019)
Labor Day: May 1 to 3, 2019 (busy period April 30 to May 4)
Dragon Boat Festival: June 7-9, 2019 (busy period June 5 to 10, 2019)
– Mid-Autumn Festival: September 13-15 (busy period September 12 to 17)
– National holiday: October 1 to October 7 (busy period September 27 to October 9)

 

Great-Wall-during-the-National-holidays

2- Chinese parliament general assembly: no fixed dates (government puts tickets aside)

3- Student summer holidays, most of July and August. There is also a very busy period at the beginning and end of each term in college as student travel between home and their university.

When are China train tickets impossible to get?

The Chinese New Year period is referred to as the largest human migration in the world. Most Chinese celebrate the New Year by returning to their family in their hometown. Some trains sell out in seconds! The big rush starts about 2 weeks before the actual New Year’s day and is worst in the days just preceding it. You should avoid traveling in China during this holiday period.

The National holidays week (week of October 1st) is also an extremely busy period in a different way. Most people have a week off and travel to tourist spots. Transportation is difficult but worst of all, tourist attractions are swamped with people. This is also a period to avoid.

If you must travel during these two periods because you already booked your flights, get in touch with us early and let us review you itinerary so that we can suggest a way to shuffle things around to make your trip possible despite these problems.

Chinese-New-Year-train-station

What routes are difficult to get?

No matter the date, some specific trains can be difficult to get. Trains to and from intermediate stations have a lower allocation and often sell out more quickly. For example, there are several trains from Beijing to Xi’An but very few tickets for Beijing to the Pingyao destination of the same trains, even fewer from Pingyao to Xi’An.

How to get the hard to purchase train tickets?

Place your order with us early. By having your order early, we make sure that our staff is trying to secure your tickets at the minute when they are released. We will also work with you in trying to develop a plan B and plan C to design an itinerary that can work and that won’t let you stranded.

Learn more about China train tickets:

Tips on placing your order
When to order
How to pick-up train tickets
Frequently asked questions
Cancelling or exchanging your tickets

China train travel Tips

How to buy train tickets
How to pick up your train tickets
Peak travel times to avoid
How to read a train ticket
Luggage on China trains
Child discounts

POPULAR TRAIN ROUTES IN CHINA

How to buy China train tickets online?

China-train-tickets-and-passport

Prepare your itinerary

Before placing a formal order, do some research and have a plan. You can consult the online search tool to see your options and travel time. You can submit your general China plan on popular travel forums such as TripAdvisor and get the views of other travelers.

When you place your order, we will review it and give you our views if we feel that your plan is not optimal. We do not automatically buy the tickets after you submit your order. If you need our advice in making some choices, you can also send us an email to get our views (orders@china-diy-travel.com).

Do your homework before you start your session on our website to place your order. If you take too long to complete the process, the session will “time out” and you’ll need to start over again.

Can’t find trains for your itinerary?

Sometimes there are no direct trains between two cities. Search your desired route with our search box. When the result shows no such train, click on the button “Add this route”. It will be added to your order and we will get back to you with the train combination to reach your destination.

What if your trains are sold out?

If you need to go from A to B and all trains along this route are sold out, do contact us. We may be able to propose an alternative way to get you there and you may even be able to get your tickets on the train that you are looking for. Over time, we have developed some tricks to get our clients what they want, especially on busy routes or busy times.

Passenger information must be exact

Getting this right is essential. When you pick up your tickets, the station clerk enters the confirmation number and passport numbers in his computer. If the information is not the same as the one used for the booking, the tickets will not be printed. So please triple check the passport number of passengers in your order. If you make a mistake, it is 100% sure that you will not be able to pick up the tickets. It is very difficult to change after the fact and will require to cancel the wrong booking and book new tickets. At best, cancellation charges may be incurred, at worst, no tickets are available at that time.
Getting the names right is also important. Write the names as they appear in the passport, exactly the same. For most nationalities, this means surname first. Do not use special characters or accented characters as they do not have these on their computers at the train station.

When and how to pay?

Unlike all our competitors, we do not ask you to pay before we buy the tickets. After we purchase them, we will send you an invoice with a copy of our purchase so that you can see the exact price that we paid.
There are exceptions. If your travel date is within 18 days, we ask for full payment or a deposit because, in the case of non-payment, we will have to pay a penalty to cancel the tickets. We also require for prepayment of train tickets to Tibet as we are unable to cancel these online. We also usually require a deposit for large groups.

When to place the order?

Tickets are released 30 days ahead of the travel date. However we accept order as early as you wish. As soon as your itinerary is final, you can send us your order. By getting your order ahead of the release date, it means that our staff will be able to purchase them as soon as they are released. This is particularly important in busy periods when tickets can be sold out in minutes. You can always change your plans later on.

Watch this video that walks you through the process of booking on our website:
(Video link to come)

Learn more about China train tickets:

Tips on placing your order
When to order
How to pick-up train tickets
Frequently asked questions
Cancelling or exchanging your tickets

China train travel Tips

How to buy train tickets
How to pick up your train tickets
Peak travel times to avoid
How to read a train ticket
Luggage on China trains
Child discounts

POPULAR TRAIN ROUTES IN CHINA

How to buy train tickets in China?

Tickets can be purchased online while in China or outside of China or they can be purchased in person while in China. Here is how the three options work.

1- How to buy China train tickets online from the official website?

• Go to the official website www.12306.cn (in Chinese only);
• Create an account (you need a Chinese phone number to receive the verification code);
• Once your account is “verified” with your phone number, the account is created;
• Search the schedules;
• Choose a train number, class of service and date;
• Enter the passenger information (max. of 5 passengers per account);
• If the tickets are released, you purchase and pay. Payment can only be made with a card issued by a Chinese bank;
• The purchase is confirmed and you get a confirmation number;
• Repeat the steps for more trains. No more than 4 trains can be purchased for each account (foreigners need to be verified at a station with their passport);
• You pick up the tickets at a train station using the confirmation number and passports.

China-train-ticket-with-passport

2- How to buy China train tickets online from China DIY Travel?

• Go to the home page and search your itinerary;
• Examine the schedule and choose your preferred train and class;
• Continue to search for more trains until your itinerary is complete;
• Enter your contact and passengers’ information;
• Verify your order;
• Submit your order;
• A ticket expert will examine your plan and make recommendations if needed and ensure that your information conforms to the railway company requirements;
• Confirm your final order;
• We purchase your tickets;
• We send you the invoice;
• You pay the invoice;
• We send you the ticket confirmation number, pick-up instructions in English and Chinese, guides to navigate the railway stations plus instructions in both languages for the taxi driver.

While we usually not require payment before buying your tickets, the exceptions are tickets with a travel date in less than 20 days, larger groups and tickets for Tibet. In these cases a deposit of 20% to 100% may be required.

3- How to buy China train tickets at the station?

• Go to our home page and search timetables for your itinerary;
• Examine the schedule and choose your preferred train and class;
• Write it down;
• Select a 2nd and 3rd choice (tickets may be sold out when you get to the station);
• Get some local currency, payment in cash only;
• Go to the train station closest to your hotel;
• Find the ticket office;
• Find the ticket counter that sells tickets (some counters are for refunds or exchanges, some are reserved for military, etc.). The longest queue is usually where they sell tickets;
• Give the ticket clerk the paper with your first choice of train, class and date of travel along with the passports of the travelers;
• If the tickets are available, make payment and tickets are printed;
• If tickets are not available, ask for your second choice, etc.

Ticket-office-sign

4- How to buy China train tickets at ticket offices?

• Ask your hotel for the nearest train ticket office;
• Get clear directions as often these offices do not have very obvious signs and are often the ‘hole-in-the-wall” kind of operations;
• Examine the schedule and choose your preferred train and class;
• Write it down;
• Select a 2nd and 3rd choice (tickets may be sold out when you get to the ticket office);
• Get some local currency, payment in cash only;
• Go to the ticket office closest to your hotel;
• Give the ticket clerk the paper with your first choice of train, class and date of travel along with the passports of the travelers;
• If the tickets are available, make payment and tickets are printed;
• If tickets are not available, ask for your second choice, etc.
• There will be a charge of 5RMB per ticket.

Ticket-office

Pros and cons

1- Buying online from the official website:

Pros
It is the cheapest option
You can buy ahead of time as soon as tickets are released

Cons
Most tourists cannot use the site unless they have a Chinese phone number, can read Chinese and have a Chinese bank account for payment;
Changing or cancelling tickets is complicated if you are not familiar with the system;
If you have several trains or a large group, you need additional Chinese phone numbers to create more accounts;
It is not a viable option for most tourists.

2- Buying online China DIY Travel:

Pros
Buying ahead of time increases the probability of getting tickets for the train that you prefer;
You can place your order far ahead of time and we buy as soon as tickets are released;
We ensure that all members of the group sit together or share the same sleeper compartment;
No stress: you can plan your trip quietly at home without the stress of the crowds at the station and not knowing which counter to use;
No language issue: it is nearly impossible to find a clerk speaking English at most stations. Our staff will communicate in English;
You get an expert to review your plan and make sure that you made the best choice;
Our ticket experts have tricks and can find you tickets even though they appear sold out;
Payment can be made by credit card via PayPal;
You will get bilingual instructions to get to the stations, to pick up the tickets as well as advice about the train stations;
If you have not picked up the paper tickets, we can change or cancel the tickets online up to 24 hours before the departure time.

Cons
You have to pay a transaction fee
You need to plan ahead although you can change your booking or cancel it

Ticket-counter-waiting-line

3- Buying at the train station:

Pros
You keep your plans flexible until the last minute
You save the transaction costs

Cons
You may not get the tickets that you want;
You may not get any tickets at all and be required to fly, take a bus or change your plans;
If the train is not sold out but rather full, you may not sit together or sleep in the same compartment;
It is extremely rare that the staff will speak any English, so it is difficult to communicate especially if they start asking you questions;
You need to pay cash;
Even if tickets are sold out, there may be a way to get at your destination but the staff will not provide any help;
You waste valuable time by going to the station one time to buy the tickets and a second time to take the train;
If you change your plans, you need to return to the train station to cancel or change your tickets.

4- Buying at ticket office:

Pros
You keep your plans flexible until the last minute;
The transaction cost is small at 5RMB per ticket;
The ticket office may be closer to your hotel than the train station.

Cons
Some of these offices can be hard to find;
There will be no English whatsoever spoken there;
You may not get the tickets that you want at the last minute;
You may not get any tickets at all and be required to fly, take a bus or change your plans;
If the train is not sold out but rather full, you may not sit together or sleep in the same compartment;
It will be difficult to communicate especially if they start asking questions;
You need to pay cash;
Even if tickets are sold out, there may be a way to get at your destination but the staff will not provide any help;
If you change your plans, you need to go to a train station to cancel or change your tickets.

Learn more about China train tickets:

Tips on placing your order
When to order
How to pick-up train tickets
Frequently asked questions
Cancelling or exchanging your tickets

China train travel Tips

How to buy train tickets
How to pick up your train tickets
Peak travel times to avoid
How to read a train ticket
Luggage on China trains
Child discounts

POPULAR TRAIN ROUTES IN CHINA

Trains in China – What are they like?

Extensive network

China’s rail network is very extensive with 124,000 km of rail covering every part of the country.
It is he largest high-speed train network in the world.
China has made colossal investments in its train network in recent years and offers speeds up to 300km/h.

Why travel by train in China?

Unlike air travel, China train travel is very reliable.

It is also less stressful, does not involve intrusive security checks and is more comfortable.
While riding the train, you can walk around, use your phone or laptop and surf the web (if you have a data connection) at all times.

It is convenient, safe and cheap, also allowing you to save on the cost of a hotel room when using overnight trains.

This is definitely the way to go to see China.

China-bullet-trains

Types of trains in China

China trains can be broadly categorized as two types. Train numbers have a prefix based on the type of train:

– High-speed trains (also known as “bullet trains”). The G, D and C trains are high-speed trains. More information here
– Normal or conventional trains. K, T and Z trains and trains with no letters are normal trains. More information here

China-conventional-train-in-station

All trains can also be divided as day trains or overnight trains.

For very long routes, some trains will travel during the day and night as the travel time may exceed 24 hours.
The trains will have several classes of seats offering different level of comfort See our page about classes of travel for more details.

Normal trains are cheaper than high-speed trains but they take longer to cover the equivalent distance.
The high-speed trains run over recently built tracks and are serviced by new and modern trains stations that look like airports. Learn more about China train stations here.

Learn more about:

High-Speed China trains
Normal China trains
Classes of travel on China trains
China train stations

China train travel Tips

How to buy train tickets
How to pick up your train tickets
Peak travel times to avoid
How to read a train ticket
Luggage on China trains
Child discounts

POPULAR TRAIN ROUTES IN CHINA

How to navigate train stations in China

Railway stations in China can vary a great deal depending when it was built and whether it is in a large city or smaller town.

China-bullet-train-arriving-from-above

If you are travelling by high-speed train, you will be using a modern station. Most of these modern stations are built on the same model.

On the other hand, older stations differ a great deal although it is possible to generally break them down into two categories: large stations in important cities and smaller stations in smaller towns and villages.

China-older-train-station

Pay attention to the station name

Many cities will have several railway stations, sometimes as many as three or four. Often the name will include a geographical location such as “Beijing West”, or a specific name such as “Shanghai Hongqiao”.

Some stations only have the city name such as the Beijing station or the Shanghai station. These are sometimes also referred to as the old station or the main station such as Beijing Main station. But the real name is just Beijing station and this refers to a specific station, not just any station.

When searching for a train in our schedules, you do not need to know from which station the train departs. For example, if you enter “Beijing” as the departing city and “Xi’An” as the arrival city, the search result will return all trains from all stations between these two cities.

China-modern-train-station

Pay close attention to your tickets. Sometimes you will arrive in a city in a railway station then depart a few days later from a different station. Our instructions are very clear and will warn you of such a situation.

Pingyao is one place where people are often confused so it is important to pay close attention to the station name. The old station for overnight trains is called “Pingyao station” and is walking distance from the old town and the city walls, the main tourist attraction. The newer station for bullet trains is called “Pingyao Old Town station” but it is actually very far from the old town (9km).

Modern stations for China high-speed trains

Generally high-speed trains depart and arrive at modern stations that were built recently especially for these new bullet trains. Most stations are built on very similar templates. In larger cities, the rail station will be similar to an airport: large, modern and clean. Signage will be in both Chinese and English and so will the announcements.

China-train-station-with-employees-walking

Because they were built recently, these stations are usually not in the center of the city and; in large cities, they are attached to the subway network so they are easy to get to. Be aware of the travel time between your hotel and the station. In all cases, when you arrive, there will be a taxi line and a selection of buses in case you prefer public transportation.

Chine-modern-train-station-from-above

Ticket offices are usually located outside of the station but in the same building. Larger stations will have several ticket offices. To enter the station, you need to show your ticket and your passport (there are a few exceptions to this) and pass your luggage through an x-ray machine. A large board indicates your platform (gate) number. It is also often shown in the top right-hand corner of your ticket. You need to insert your ticket in an electronic reading machine to access your platform. The platform can be accessed by stairs, escalators and, sometimes, even elevators.

There are usually some restaurants in the station but very few outside if it is in an isolated area. Larger stations will have more choice including some western chains like McDonalds, KFC, Starbucks, etc. Larger stations will also have a number of shops and all stations have at least a convenience store. The selection of meals on trains is limited and may not be to your liking. So you may want to eat at the station before departing or buy some food to bring on the train.

For more information and to visualize what the typical modern station looks like, watch this video:

Older China train stations for normal trains

These older stations can be broken down in two broad categories: big train stations in large cities (such as Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’An, Guangzhou, Kunming, etc.) and small train stations in cities such as Pingyao, Dali or Huangshan plus everything in-between. The larger stations are very busy and can be quite intimidating. While no two stations are alike, here are some things that you can expect.

There will be stairs to enter that station and to access the platform. No escalators except for a few very large stations. On the other hand, you will most probably see some porters (red cap) to help you with luggage. Some stations will not check your ticket and passport when you enter the station, but they will check and validate your ticket before you access the platform.

China-train-station-conductor-shade

These old train stations are usually in the center of town and are surrounded by a large number of restaurants and several luggage consignment options. While there will be minimal or no English at some of the stations, you can figure out your platform and gate number by looking for your train number on a large LED board. When it is time to access the platform, there is often no announcement or the announcement is only made in Chinese, so you need to be vigilant: keep an eye on your gate and follow the crowd. It can be useful to check the train number of the person sitting next to you in the waiting room and to follow him if he is on the same train. Alternatively, when you see the crowd heading for the gate, you can just show your ticket to someone and ask “OK?”. Most Chinese will assume that you have no idea what you are doing and will gladly help despite the language barrier.

The trains at these stations are often overnight trains that offer the cheaper hard sleepers. So the crowd is generally not as “sophisticated” as what you’ll come across in the modern stations. You will encounter a lot of peasants and laborers that you are unlikely to see at the modern station with more expensive trains. This is not just because these are cheaper trains but also because the normal trains stop at smaller villages.

Watch this video to see clips from various stations so that you can have a good idea of what to expect in such stations:

Arriving at your destination

When you arrive at your destination, you need to show your ticket in order to exit the station. In the case of modern stations, you just insert it in the electronic reader.

When you exit the station, you will probably be approached by a number of touts that you should ignore. Your transportation options will vary depending on the place and can include the subway, taxis, shuttle buses to specific tourists attractions or regular buses. We have produced videos about most of the key train stations in China. All the videos cover the departure procedure while some also provide advice about arriving at the station with some advice about transportation options.
Go to our YouTube channel and explore our long list of train station videos youtube

Learn more about:

High-Speed China trains
Normal China trains
Classes of travel on China trains

China train travel Tips

How to buy train tickets
How to pick up your train tickets
Peak travel times to avoid
How to read a train ticket
Luggage on China trains
Child discounts

POPULAR TRAIN ROUTES IN CHINA

Trains in China – What are the classes of travel?

Every train offers a variety of seats or beds that differ in terms of comfort, space, privacy and cost. Not all classes are available on every train.

Types of seats on high-speed trains

Second class seats are the most popular and are quite comfortable and the cheapest option. First class seats are also quite popular while business class seats offer the ultimate comfort but at a high price.

Second class seats

The second class section has a 3+2 configuration (A-B-C-aisle-D-F).
These seats are always facing forward as they are turned around at the end of every journey.
There is more leg space than the typical economy seat on a plane.
The padded seats are about 42cm wide and leg room is about 40cm.
The seatback can be lowered and there are armrests.
There is a foldable tray attached to the back of the seat and, usually, there is a power outlet under the seat (less frequent on D trains).

China-bullet-trains-second-class-seats
China-bullet-train-second-class-leg-space

First class seats

The first class section has a 2+2 configuration (A-C-aisle-D-F).
The seats always face forward.
These seats are more comfortable and larger than in second class.
The seats are 47cm wide and legroom is 40 to 50cm.
Compared to second class seats, these seats have more padding, a footrest and a foldable table in the armrest.
There is usually a power outlet.

China-bullet-trains-first-class-seats China-bullet-train-first-class-seat

Business class seats

Business class is the ultimate in luxury.
There are two or three seats per row which seats are comparable to first class seats on certain flights.
The seat configuration is A-aisle-F for the first row and A-C-aisle-F for other rows.
The seats face forward.
The very comfortable leather seats can be completely flat so that you can lie completely.
There is a LED screen in one armrest and a folded table in the other plus a power outlet under the seat.
Sometimes you will be served a snack and a drink.
Not all high-speed trains have a business class section.

China-bullet-train-business-class-seat
China-bullet-trains-business-class

VIP seats

A few trains have a VIP section.
The exact configuration is variable from one train to another.
The seats are sometimes similar to those of first class but with three seats per row and sometimes similar to those in business class.

To see what these classes in China high-speed trains look like and understand the various facilities on board, watch this video that gives an overview of this type of train and classes of travel.

Types of seats or beds on normal trains

Normal trains can have both seats and beds. Getting a seat on an overnight train is the cheapest way to travel but is not comfortable. The exact type of seat as well as their comfort and design can vary quite a bit from train to train.

Hard seats

Hard seats are the cheapest option when traveling by train in China.
The seats are hard and the backs do not lean back making it a poor option for longer distances.
The seats are “back to back” meaning that half of the seats are facing the back of the train.
It also means that you are facing other passengers in the opposite row with a small table in between.
The hard seat area if often crowded and noisy with passengers without a seat filling the alleys.
The seats are about 40cm wide with no armrest. The seat configuration is typically 3+2.

China-normal-trains-hard-seats

Soft seats

Soft seats are not available on all trains and can vary in quality.
While better cushioned than hard seats, they often have no armrest and may not always lean back.
With a 2+2 configuration, the seats are about 45cm wide and often arranged “back-to-back” so that they are facing each other.

China-normal-trains-soft-seats

Hard Sleepers

This is the choice of travelers on a budget.
Hard sleeper compartments consist of 6 beds, 3 on each side.
Beds are shorter and narrower than in more expensive classes.
Your ticket will specify the row number and whether it is the lower sleeper, middle sleeper or upper sleeper.
The lower sleepers are most expensive while the less convenient upper sleepers are the cheapest.
It is not possible to sit in the middle and upper sleepers. There are seats in the corridor.
The hard sleeper compartment is an open area without door. Space for luggage is limited. There is space under the bed and on the rack across from the sleepers.
There are a few power outlets in the corridor.
As the compartment is not closed, it is more noisy and there is no privacy.
Lights are usually turned off at about 10pm and the car gets somewhat quiet.
Generally beds are 180cm long by 60cm wide.
Head space is 90cm for the lower sleeper and 65cm for the mid and upper sleeper.
Clean bedding is put in at the beginning of the journey of the train.

China-overnight-trains-hard-sleepers

Soft Sleepers

Soft sleeper compartments consist of 4 beds, 2 on each side.
The beds are labeled lower and upper sleepers. The lower sleeper is more expensive than the upper sleeper.
Beds are softer than those in the hard sleeper section.
The compartment has a door that can be locked.
A group of 2 or 3 people looking for privacy can purchase all four tickets.
There is enough space for a reasonable amount of luggage below beds or in the space above the door.
The beds are numbered in sequence and the ticket will also tell you if it is an upper or lower sleeper.
There is a small table between the two lower beds and usually with a power outlet below the table.
You have a light switch for the compartment.
Generally beds are 190cm long by 75cm wide. Head space is 95cm for the lower sleeper and 80cm for the upper sleeper. There is about 50cm between beds.
Clean bedding is put in at the beginning of the journey of the train.

China-overnight-trains-soft-sleepers

Deluxe Soft Sleepers

Deluxe softs sleepers offer privacy with 2 beds per compartments and more space.
The compartment also has a private toilet and a sofa.
There is plenty of space for luggage and the door can be closed and locked.
There is sometimes a small closet to hang clothes or a safe to put away valuables.
Generally beds are 200cm long by 85cm wide. Head space is 95cm for the lower sleeper and 80cm for the upper sleeper.
Not all overnight trains offer this option.

China-overnight-trains-Deluxe-soft-sleepersChina-overnight-trains-deluxe-soft-sleeper-sofe-and-toilet

To see what these classes in China normal trains look like and understand the various facilities on board, watch this video that gives an overview of this type of train and classes of travel.

Learn more about:

High-Speed China trains
Normal China trains
China train stations

Popular train routes with Deluxe Soft Sleepers

Beijing – Xi’An
Beijing – Shanghai
Shanghai – Xi’An
Shanghai – Guilin
Beijing – Harbin

China Normal Trains – What to expect?

Normal China trains are not as fast as the high-speed trains but are still an excellent and cheap alternative to explore China as they reach nearly every corner of China.

China-normal-train-boarding

Why ride the normal China trains?

– Very cost-efficient way to travel.
– Overnight trains allow you to save on the cost of a hotel room.
– Overnight trains also allow you to have more time to visit tourist attractions.
– Normal trains will take you to just about every town.

Normal train numbers have the Z, T or K prefix or no prefix, what does it mean?

The difference is mostly about speed and age of equipment.

– Z trains are known as “direct express” because they often make very few stops between 2 major cities. Top speed is 160km/h. These are usually overnight trains and have hard and soft sleepers, and sometimes deluxe soft sleepers. The most popular Z train is the Z19/20 between Beijing and Xi’An. The facilities on these trains are usually pretty good.

– T trains are known as “express” trains that only stop in major cities. These trains have a top speed of 140km/h and cover long distances.

– K trains are “fast” trains that stop at many stations and have a top speed of 120km/h

– There are also “regular” trains that have just numbers and no letter prefix. These trains stop very often and cover many villages. These are not ideal, sometimes have no air conditioning and should be avoided unless it is your only option.

China-normal-train-boarding

Normal trains offer hard or soft seats (very rare) of varying comfort as well as hard sleepers, soft sleepers and deluxe soft sleepers (very rare) on some trains. Learn more about classes of travel on this page

To visualize what normal trains are like, watch this video that gives you a detailed look at the trains, the services available and classes of travel.

Learn more about:

High-Speed China trains
Classes of travel on China trains
China train stations

Popular Overnight Trains

Beijing – Hong Kong
Beijing – Shanghai
Beijing – Xi’An
Beijing – Datong
Shanghai – Hong Kong
Guilin – Zhangjiajie
Xi’An – Chengdu
Kunming – Dali – Lijiang
Trains to Tibet

China Bullet Trains – What to expect?

In recent years, China has built the world’s most important network of high-speed rail with 22,000 kilometers of tracks.

China-bullet-train-waiting

Vast amounts have also been invested in the construction of new railway stations.
Considering that China airports suffer from the worst on-time record in the world, many high-speed train routes offer a viable and cost-efficient alternative.
This train is extremely popular with a ridership of 1.44 billion in 2016.

China-bullet-train-in-station

Why ride the bullet trains?

– Great comfort at a reasonable price
– Excellent on-time performance
– More reliable than flying
– Clean, modern and non-smoking
– You can enjoy the scenery
– Lots of leg space and air-conditioned
– High frequency of departure
– You can bring more luggage than on flights

Categories of high-speed trains in China

High-speed train numbers have the G, D or C prefix.
– G trains are the fastest of the high-speed train category with speed of up to 350km/h. They are long-distance trains that make fewer stops and have the most modern equipment. Speed varies from line to line.
– D trains have a top speed of 250km/ and provide fast and frequent service between important Chinese cities, serving more stations than G trains. There are also excellent overnight D train for routes such as Beijing-Shanghai, Shanghai-Xi’An, Guangzhou-Beijing and Guangzhou-Shanghai for example.
– C trains are running on shorter routes and are similar to commuter trains serving satellites cities near major centers or sometimes run from downtown to the airport. Running at speed of 200 to 300km/h, the most popular C train routes include Beijing-Tianjin, Guangzhou-Shenzhen and Chengdu-Leshan-Emeishan.

China-bullet-train-before-departure

Bullet trains offer various classes of comfort with the cheaper but still comfortable 2nd class seats, the more spacious 1st class seats, and luxurious VIP and business class seats. Seating is comparable of that of an airplane or even better. To learn more about the classes, go to this page

To visualize what China high-speed trains are like, watch this video that gives a detailed look at the trains, the services available and classes of travel.

While normal trains run around the clock, high-speed trains are daytime trains. The exception is the overnight D train. The overnight D trains are an excellent way to travel between cities comfortably, to save daylight for sightseeing rather than travel and also save on the cost of a hotel room. This video shows train D322 from Shanghai to Beijing:

Learn more about:

Normal China trains
Classes of travel on China trains
China train stations

China train travel Tips

How to buy train tickets
How to pick up your train tickets
Peak travel times to avoid
How to read a train ticket
Luggage on China trains
Child discounts

Popular high-speed train routes

Beijing – Shanghai
Beijing – Xi’An
Beijing – Pingyao
Shanghai – Xi’An
Shanghai – Hangzhou
Shanghai – Suzhou
Beijing – Harbin
Beijing – Guilin
Kunming – Guilin
Shenzhen – Guilin
Guangzhou – Guilin
Guangzhou – Yangshuo
Chengdu – Chongqing