How to Buy China Train Tickets Online

Publisher:刘琪Published:2017-10-09Times :22

There are basically only two ways to buy China train tickets online – through the China Railway Bureau website or via a 3rd party travel companies.

Buying through the China Railway Bureau website requires that you meet the following criteria:
You’re comfortable reading Mandarin Chinese (the website has no English version)
You have a Chinese bank account.

If those two above statements apply to you, read on. If not, try a third-party travel company. They offer China train tickets timetable, schedule, fare, quick booking and delivery service. Be aware of the third-party's extra charges and frauds!


Buying Tickets Online Using
To begin, you will need to open up the website using either Internet Explorer or Safari web browsers. I personally use Chrome for my daily browsing, but in this case you will need IE or Safari because of a security applet you might be forced to download during the payment process.

Once you reach the homepage for, click on the button that reads 新版售票 (xin ban shou piao) on the left sidebar.


This will bring you to a secure page (sometimes foreign-based web browsers won’t recognize the security certificate but click “Proceed Anyway). On this page you need to type in the cities between which you will be traveling and the date you wish to leave.

You will need to use Chinese characters to input the city names and there is an option at the bottom for student ticket prices if that applies to you.


In the example above, I was looking for a train between Beijing (北京) and Urumqi (乌鲁木齐) for the 13th of August. Since I am not a student, I kept the “regular ticket” checked and then clicked the button to search for available trains on that day.


What you see here is that two trains are available. In the table it will show which type of tickets are available on each train (i.e. hard seat, soft seat, hard sleeper, soft sleeper, etc.). You don’t have to choose which one you want yet, just click on the train you wish you book using the blue buttons on the right.

At this point I will need to have a login in order to continue. It’s not that hard to create a login but you will need to have your phone handy.

Using the guide you see to the right here, fill the blanks in with the following information:

Username: this can be whatever you want it to be
Password: the website will tell you the strength of your password and then you will need to retype the password again below.
Spoken Password: just type in a memorable number (at least 6 digits), which will be used if you ever needed to call customer support. Retype the password again below.
Security Question: there is a dropdown menu of questions that you can answer.
CAPTCHA: type what you see

Once you’re finished with that, click the checkbox that says you agree with their terms of use and click Submit!

The next page requires you to fill in more detailed information about the passenger (you) that will be purchasing the tickets. It is incredibly important that you have all of this information filled out accurately or they may not let you on the train.

The information they require includes:
Last Name: that would be your family name on your passport
Gender: are you male 男 or female 女?
Form of ID: in the dropdown menu, you will want to choose passport 护照
ID #: here is where you put your passport number
Birthday: what year/month/day were you born?
Email: to confirm your tickets
Cellphone Number: again, to confirm your identity
Additional Info: are you an adult, kid, student or disabled veteran?
The rest of the info is not marked with a red asterisk so don’t feel like you need to fill out your address unless you want the tickets delivered directly to your door (although there will be a place later to add this info if you decide to have the tickets delivered).
Paying for Online China Train Tickets on
Once you’ve confirmed your ticket order (确定) you will then need to worry about actually paying for the tickets. You will want to find the pay online option (网上支付) and do this within half an hour of booking the tickets or else your booking will be lost.
Because there are so many different ways to pay I’m not going to dive into all the details here. I personally used my UnionPay card which I had already setup with my bank to allow online payments. With just a few clicks I had paid for my tickets and received a confirmation email.


Picking up your Online China Train Tickets from
You can’t just walk into a train station with a printout from, you need a physical ticket. There are multiple ways that you can get your tickets in hand, including having them sent by mail to your hotel or home (in China).
The easiest way, however, is to just to arrive at the train station the day before – or even a few hours before – and go to what essentially amounts to “will call” in the ticket hall. There are kiosks that can do this, but it doesn’t work with foreign IDs so you’ll need to unfortunately stand in line with the confirmation number they sent you via email and your passport.
They’ll hand you your ticket and you’re good to go!


Conclusion: Online China Trains Tickets
As you can see, it’s entirely possible to purchase train tickets online with confidence. You can purchase tickets up to 20 days in advance, which should give you plenty of time to make sure you get what you need.

If you can read/write Mandarin and have a Chinese bank account, the best method is to purchase the tickets yourself using

If you can’t read/write Mandarin Chinese or you haven’t opened a China bank account, the next best method is to use a travel company to do it for you. There are plenty of companies that claim to do this