Guide to Train Travel in China

All tourists should travel by train in China at least once, and for budget travelers it will likely be the major means of transport between cities. In some instances, the high-speed, bullet trains that link nearby cities might be the most convenient and fastest transport option available. Across the variety of train types and the different classes, train travel in China ranges from very comfortable, perhaps even luxurious, to downright painful. But it is always an experience. Train travel allows some lovely views of the countryside that you might not otherwise be able to see and also allows you to get up close and personal with the Chinese.

China’s rail network links every mainland province with a total track length of more than 76000km. Only the USA and Russia have a larger rail network in terms of track length and China dwarves every other country in the world in terms of passenger numbers, with more than 1.2 billion passengers per year.


Types of Trains in China
There are several different types of trains operating in China, indicated by the letter before the train number. They range from ultra-modern, high speed bullet trains to older trains that chug along at a painfully slow speed. Read More…




Classes on Chinese Trains
There are five main classes you will encounter on Chinese trains, ranging from relatively plush, two-person cabins with sleeping berths to a simple, uncomfortable seat in an economy class airplane style setup. Read More…




Facilities on Chinese Trains
Information about the facilities on board Chinese trains. The situation with buying food on the train and using the restaurant car, as well as a rundown of luggage, bathroom and washroom facilities. Read More…




Buying Train Tickets in China
Information about when, where and how Chinese train tickets can be purchased. Advice on how to buy tickets yourself as well as the best agents to use. Plus the availability of tickets at different times of year. Read More…




How To Read Chinese Train Tickets
An explanation of how to understand the key information on a Chinese train ticket. Although most of it is written in Chinese, it’s easy enough to understand what is says once you know what you are looking at. Read More…




Boarding Procedures for Chinese Trains
Information about boarding procedures on Chinese trains. How far in advance you need to arrive at the station, security issues, finding your platform and carriage and what happens with your ticket. Read More…




International Train Journeys To and From China
Entering and exiting China by train. Information about international train journeys to and from China, including the famous Trans-Mongolian and Trans-Manchurian routes to Russia, as well as possible train journeys to Vietnam, Kazakhstan and North Korea. Read More…