Here you can book chinese train tickets for a reasonable price up to 20 days in advance.
The procedure in a nutshell is very easy:
- Ask me for the specific train/date/type
- Pay reservation commission fee
- AFTER I purchase the ticket – pay the ticket price
- Get an email form me with confirmation number and instructions
- Collect the ticket
1. You write me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org. In this email you tell me where you want to go, when and what are your priorities with the class type.
For fast service please send me your names and passport numbers (the train tickets nowadays are passport assigned)
We are 2 people, want to go on October 25 from Beijing to Xian, overnight hardsleeper will be perfect.
Jim Morrison, passport number 453675543, USA
Justin Bieber, passport number kz666, Kazakhstan
2. I track the system and look for a ticket/s for you. If there are tickets available – I send you a paypal request for the commission fee. The commission fee breakdown is:
1 ticket – 20$
2 tickets – 35$
3 tickets – 50$
4 tickets – 60$
5 tickets – 70$
6 tickets and on – start with the circle again, 20$ for the 6th ticket and so on.
All the prices are for one way. If 2 people want to go first to Xian and then back to Beijing, the price breakdown will be:
35$ for the first train and 35$ for the second train = 70$. I hope it’s clear.
3. After getting the commission fee I purchase te tickets for you and send you a paypal request for the ticket’s price. In this case I’ll add 4% for the paypal fee, since it’s a commercial transaction. The complete price breakdown will be added as a comment. For getting a currency rate I use the http://www.XE.com portal
4. After getting the ticket payment I send you a confirmation number for collecting tickets with proper instruction.
5. You collect your ticket/s in town or at the train station
6. You have a nice journey!
1. Q: Can I book the ticket a month in advance?
A: Yes, but it will be just “informal booking”, so we’ll know that you need tickets. But the actual booking can be done only 20 days in advance, since there is no option in the system to book the tickets earlier.
2. Q: Why can’t I buy the tickets myself from the train station on the same day?
A: Maybe you can, maybe you can not. There are roughly 1.5 billion chinese in China and most of them travel by train. They also aren’t very bothered by learning basic English, so the tickets both run out and are hard to obtain, because eventually you have to explain yourself. Besides, I don’t sell the tickets only, I sell confidence and time/headache saving.
3. Q: Why can’t I book tickets online?
A: The booking system is completely Chinese-oriented and doesn’t support any international payment options.
4. Q: Why to book here and not through the agency, which are many?
A: Some agencies charge much more money per ticket, our prices are quite reasonable. They also can’t guarantee anything 100%, despite some of them say they do. And you have to make a payment in advance. Besides here you always have a chance to ask questions before the purchasing and sometimes I can suggest you the better way to go or the better route to take.
5. Q: Can you guarantee the booking before actual buying?
A: No. Nobody can guarantee it, since buying process is quite tricky and there are situations that there are no tickets AT ALL. That’s why you will pay for the ticket only in case we book the tickets for you.
Tips and tricks:
- Hard sleeper is the best offer for its money. It’s not actually hard – you just travel in a coach divided by sections, no doors in each section. Every section has 6 bunks: 2 lower bunks, 2 middle and 2 upper. The best option is lower bunk (slightly more expensive than middle and upper), but unfortunately we can’t guarantee booking the certain bunk. Soft sleeper is almost twice more expensive and allows you to travel in section of 4 bunks with the door. Soft seat is quite comfortable, but isn’t available on every train, hard seat is the cheapest option, but quite a challenging one and we personally wouldn’t recommend it unless you are tough enough or desperately want to save some money. Usually there is no problem to get a hard seat, even on the last day.
- Beijing – Shanghai is one of the busiest routes in China and it’s VERY hard to get a hard sleeper for this train. In case there are no hard sleeper tickets I would recommend second class seat – it brings you to Shanghai and back pretty fast and conditions are more than OK – tested by myself. J
- Tickets to Lhasa WON’T automatically grant you access to TAR (Tibet Autonomic Republic) so if you want to go, first arrange the permit and only then book the ticket otherwise you’ll be returned from the border by Chinese authorities. In addition, when entering TAR, your Chinese visa will be automatically CANCELLED. So if you have one entry visa – ask around for possible solutions.
- If you’ve bought a soft sleeper tickets – sometimes you don’t have to wait for the train in common waiting room, there is a special VIP waiting room for you – look for the signs or ask the staff.
- In Beijing Central and West train station the ticket window for foreigners is No 16 – you can collect your tickets there. If there is a queue of Chinese people – pull on! You have only one window and they have dozens. J
- Try to avoid travelling during national holidays in China – the situation with tickets is a disaster. The hardest days for travelling are:
a) Right before and after Spring festival (January-February, according to the lunar calendar)
b) Right before and after National holiday (held from 1-7 Oct)
c) During QingMing holiday (beginning of April)
Cheat: you can relatively easy book tickets right after the beginning of these holidays, because all the people are at their homes. Flight tickets are cheap at these days as well.
Ticket refunding process:
If you decided for any reason that you need/want to return your tickets, you can return them in the any train station up to 2 hours before departing. In this case 5% of the returning amount will be deducted by the government.
HOWEVER, since you’ve booked tickets using my bank account, there is an option that money will return directly to my account. In this case you have to contact me and after checking my balance I’ll return your money to your PP account (90% of the ticket price, since I’ve lost 5% already and need to get them back). Service charge isn’t refundable.
Example: You’ve booked a ticket for 100$ and paid to me 114.4$ (+ PP commission). But after returning ticket I’ll get to my bank account only 95$ back, since the refund fee. So I contribute these 5$ from your amount and you’ll get back 90$ minus PP commission for your country, which you’ll pay automatically after receiving the payment.