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.
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.
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)
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.
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:
China train travel Tips