The train network in China is in full expansion, recent accidents not withstanding. As we use this method to travel to many factories for quality control. This blog post will help you through the process of purchasing train tickets.
The most important information to know before going to buy a train ticket is that every passenger whether foreign or Chinese national will need to provide a passport or Chinese identity card in order to purchase a ticket. Without a proof of identity it is impossible to purchase a ticket. We recommend buying train tickets a few days in advance then the day you wish to travel. Even though there are many trains going to the same destination scheduled daily it is always best to plan ahead!
Train tickets can be purchased at any train station in China. ODM managers recently were in Shanghai and had to travel to Yiwu to visit a factory. He bought his train ticket at the Shanghai Railway Station for a train that was leaving from Hongquiao Railway Station. Thus there are no problems to go to the nearest train station to your hotel to purchase the ticket to your desired destination. You can also purchase train tickets at travel agencies, although the same conditions apply as in the train stations.
Can you understand the sign above with the train hours? Quite complex when everything is written in Chinese! Even the train tickets are all written in Chinese except for the train hour and which gate it departs from.
Another important factor to consider is the language barrier. If you do not speak Chinese and intend on buying a train ticket at a travel agency or at an official ticket office we recommend you ask a local person to write down your request in Chinese on a piece of paper. This will be much easier then trying to make the employees try to understand you in English. The easiest option is to ask a Chinese national (eg. the ODM buying office) to help you out when buying the train ticket.
Now all you need to make sure of is that you don’t miss your train!
Check out some of our other China travel blogs: