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.
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)
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.
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:
China train travel Tips