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Travel in China by High-speed rail

China has a vast territory and abundant resources, the span from west to east, and from north to south, are more than 5000 kilometers. Because of the rapid development of High-speed rail, it reducing time costs for travel. No longer need to book tickets several months in advance, no need to bear the frequent delay of airline. Only carry a suitcase to train station, the convenient high-speed rain can meets your need totally.

In China, the new built high-speed rail line already reach 5149 kilometers, 350km of it can reach to 350km/h, 250km of it can reach to 250km/h. Adding the exist high-speed rail, currently the total traffic mileage are 8358 kilometers, 17 thousand kilometers rail are under construction right now. Whatever it is rail length or speed, Chinese high-speed railway can be regarded as No.1 in the world.

How many high-speed railway in China?

Currently, the lines under construction or built completed are near 50. The important lines are from Beijing-Tianjin, Beijing-Guangzhou, Beijing-Shanghai, Wuhan-Guangzhou, Guangzhou-Shenzhen, Zhengzhou-Xi’an, Xiamen-Shenzhen, Fuzhou-Xiamen, Harbin-Dalian, Shanghai-Nanjing, Shanghai-Hangzhou, Nanjing-Hangzhou, Zhengzhou-Xuzhou, Nanning-Guangzhou, Lanzhou-Urumqi, Beijing-Fuzhou, Hefei-Fuzhou, Datong-Xi’an, Shanghai-Kunming, Guiyang-Guangzhou, Chengdu-Chongqing, Hangzhou-Changsha, Changsha-Kunming etc.

The form below will shows you mainly travel high-speed rail lines in China:

Main high-speed rail Origin station Terminal station Mainly cities pass through Train number(Beijing time) Main scenic spots
Beijing-Tianjin Beijing South Tianjin Station Beijing South—Yizhuang—Yongle—Wuqing—Tianjin Beijing-Tianjin
Beijing:Forbidden City,the Summer Palace,Temple of Heaven,Prince Gong Mansion etc;
Tianjin:Temple of Great Compassion,Panshan scenic spot,Tianjin Museum etc.
Beijing-Guangzhou Beijing West Guangzhou South Beijing—Zhengzhou—Wuhan—Changsha—Hengyang—Guangzhou Beijing-Guangzhou
Zhengzhou:Shaolin Temple,songshan mountain,the Longmen Grottoes,White Horse Temple etc;
Wuhan:hubei provincial museum,Yellow Crane Tower,East Lake etc;
Changsha:Mawangdui Han Dynasty Tomb,Yuelu Mountain,Zhangjiajie etc.
Zhengzhou-Xian Zhengzhou East Xian North Zhengzhou—Luoyang—Sanmenxia—Huashan—Lintong—Xian Zhengzhou-Xian
Luoyang:the Longmen Grottoes,White Horse Temple,White Cloud Mountain etc;
Lintong:Terra-Cotta Warriors,Xian lintong county museum,Huaqing Hot Spring etc;
Xian:small wild goose pagoda,Ming Dynasty City Wall,Xian history museum etc.
Xiamen-Shenzhen Xiamen North Shenzhen North Xiamen—Zhangzhou—Chaozhou—Shantou—Shenzhen Xiamen-Shenzhen
Xiamen:Gulangyu Island,Yongding Classic Earth building,southern putuo temple etc;
Shenzhen:window of the world,Splendid China Folk Village etc.
Shanghai-Nanjing Shanghai Station Nanjing Station Nanjing Station Nanjing—Wuxi—Suzhou—Shanghai Nanjing-Shanghai
Nanjing:ming tomb,Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum,Nanjing Ming Dynasty City Wall etc;
Suzhou:lingering garden,The Humble Administrator's Garden,Lion Grove etc;
Shanghai:the Oriental Pearl Tower,the Bund,Old Temple of Town God etc.
Shanghai-Hangzhou Shanghai Hongqiao Station Hangzhou East Shanghai—Jiaxing—Tongxiang—Hangzhou Shanghai-Hangzhou
Tongxiang:Wu town,Fu yan temple,Fengming temple etc;
Hangzhou:Lingyin Temple,West Lake,Thousand-island lake etc.

So what should be paid attention when take high-speed rail train?

1.How to buy tickets?

If you try to travel China during Chinese public holiday such as May day, China National Day or Chinese Spring Festival, that will be a disaster for your journey, you could not see any beautiful scenery but human sea everywhere. So you should be especially notice below:
a.China started adjust pre-ticketing sale time from 20 days to 60 days by telephone booking and internet booking From Dec.1,2014. During the holiday period it will be harder to book a ticket.
b.From Mar.1, 2014, China begun ID-based ticket booking system, anyone who want to buy a ticket should show his or her valid identity card. Foreigners show their passport to buy it.

2.Where can I buy it?

You could buy tickets by these ways:
a.Train Station ticket office or train ticket agencies: you can buy a tickets in advance at most 18 days. And if you buy it by train ticket agency, you will pay extra 5 yuan for service charge, and it also not like train station open 24 hours, their working time is 08:00-17:00.
The staff in train ticket agency usually cannot speak English, so you better write information down about your train number, departure time and seat require, and ask your hotel staff to help you translate it into Chinese.

b.Booking tickets on the internet by China national Railway website: You can booking it 20 days in advance. But the whole website are Chinese, and it do not provide other language translation. If you can totally understand the booking process, or you have Chinese friends could help you, you can use this way. The payment methods only allow some specific China credit card or debit card which provide e-bank service.

3.How to recognize the truth-false of your train ticket?

Chinese ticket scalpers are those people who resale tickets for a higher price to earn money on the street. Of course it’s illegal, we don’t suggest you to buy their tickets. Some fake tickets are difficult to distinguish. Here we provide a sample to help you recognize it.

a.Watermark: it printed “中国铁路(Chinese railway) ” very clearly on the tickets.
b.Hand feel: smooth surface. Some fake ones touch rough and the printing ink is easy to erase.
c.Flexibility: After curl it still can recover its shape.
d.Code: Every tickets has a set of numbers on the top left corner.
e.Anti-fake label: there is a QR code on the bottom right corner to record your ticket’s information.

Chinese train tickets real-name ticketing system and authentication:

This policy is suitable for all trains from Jan.1,2012 in China. The passengers should own their ID card or passport to buy tickets.
For crack down on scalpers and entrench real-name ticketing system, from Mar.1,2014 begun authentication policy, all passengers ID information should be check by official tickets website. It’s more strict and safer for passengers.

4. How to refund tickets?

a.Tickets refund time: no later than 2 hours before the train left, you could refund it at the window of train station ticket office. Group passengers should refund it more than 48 hours before the train left.
b.service charge: if refund it more than 48 hours before the train left, charge for 5% of ticket price, 24-48 hours for 10%, within 24 hours for 20%.

5. How to change the ticket?

If passengers cannot take the train on that time, they can change another time in advance at the specific window in train station tickets office.
If the changed ticket’s price higher than original one, you should pay for the extra price difference. If it lower than the original one, you will get the price difference money.
You can only change your ticket for one time.

6. How to buy your ticket after the normal time

There are 3 cases:
First, you lost your tickets
Second, you didn’t buy one, but you use some ways to get on this train, then you can’t show your ticket when conductor check tickets.
Third, cause there is no tickets for your destination station, so you buy another station to get a ticket.

7. When is the passenger-flow rush period in China?

It normally happened in some famous holidays of China.
a.May Day(May.1st-7th)
b.Chinese Spring Festival(usually in Jan. and Feb.)
c.National Day(Oct.1st-7th)
d.winter holiday(normally in Jan. and Feb.)
e.summer holiday(normally in Jul. And Aug.)

High-speed train travel tips:

1. Chinese high-speed train seats have first-class seats and second-class seat.

first-class seats
First row: window 1A 1C | | 1F window
Second row: window 2A 2C | | 2F window
Third row: window 3A 3C | | 3F window

Second-class seats
First row: window 1A 1B 1C | | 1D 1F window
Second row: window 2A 2B 2C | | 2D 2F window
Third row: window 3A 3B 3C | | 3D 3F window

2. Different seats price compare:
Seat < hard sleeper< CRH second-class seat < soft sleeper < high-speed train second-class seat < CRH first-class seat < high-speed train first-class seat.

3. Chinese trains have hard seats and soft seats. The material of hard seat is harder but elastic. Soft seat has armrest and it’s more comfortable.

4. Chinese trains have hard sleeper and soft sleeper. 6 Hard sleepers consist a room with no door.

(Hard sleeper)

soft sleepers consist a room with a door. The lower bunk cost more than other bunk.

(Soft sleeper)

5. The meaning of train number’s letter G, Z, T, K, D

T train is express train normally runs 140 km/h

K train is fast train normally runs 120km/h

L train is extra passenger train with a random speed.
C train is inter-city train, now only used between Beijing-Tianjin.
D train is China Railway High-speed train normally runs 250 km/h.

G train is high-speed rail normally runs 300-500 km/h.

Z train is non-stop express train, normally runs 160 km/h

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