Trains in China can take you to many popular destinations, and it would be a fantastic experience to take a bullet train during your Chengdu tour. Travelers in Chengdu can buy train tickets in person, online or through a travel agent or ticket agency.
Trains are a safe, comfortable and cheaper way to travel around. However, foreigner should know how to buy a ticket in China. Let's check the following tips.
Buy tickets at the railway station or the travel agency
You can go in person to purchase tickets at any railway station or ticket outlet in Chengdu, such as a travel agency. You can have the tickets 58 days in advance of the train departure. There is an additional charge of RMB 5 per ticket at ticket outlets as the service fee. We suggest you purchase the return ticket the day you arrive at the destination.
1. Book on 12306.cn
12306.cn is the official website of the China Railway Corporation and its pre-sale time is 60 days before departure. But the website is only in Chinese, and if you know Chinese very well it would be convenient for you, otherwise you can ask for help from your Chinese colleagues.
You need to register using your email or a cell-phone number based in China and the online payment must be done within 30 minutes on a Chinese bank card, or risking the transaction being null and void.
Your name on the booking system must match exactly the one on your passport ID. Spaces and symbols (hyphens) in the name are not allowed. Often names on IDs do not correspond to personalized names. Example: Jim Green's name shows in his passport as Green (on the top line) and Jim (on the lower line). The difference between the booking system and the ID may result in a failed booking or boarding. See more: How to Buy Train Tickets at www.12306.cn
2. Book with an online agency like Ctrip
You can buy China train tickets online with Ctrip up to 60 days in advance and at least 35 minutes before the train departure. You can search the train schedules and buy cheap train tickets for any high-speed rail route in China online with Ctrip website in English, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Russian, Spanish or Thai as well as simplified or traditional Chinese. If you want to have your China train tickets delivered to your chosen address, you'll need to purchase train tickets at least three days prior to departure. (More>>>> http://english.ctrip.com/trains/how-to-buy-train-tickets.html)
Get a Chinese person to buy tickets for you
Tickets go online on 12306.cn up to 60 days in advance. The problem is that you can only buy these tickets with a Chinese bank card.
Our suggestion is to ask your Chinese friends and coworkers to buy tickets for you on 12306.cn website or 12306APP, especially during the Chinese holidays, in case that the tickets be sold out. If you're living in China and have Chinese friends, this is a good way to go.
Passengers who hold red-colored tickets shall go through the manual ticket check and blue-colored ones to the automatic check.