tailor made tour

Ask a Question


I accept the Privacy Policy.

Questions & Answers

How to Take Train in China?

A Quick Guide on How to Take Train in China – Step by Step

Step 1, arrive at the train station, get your train e-ticket number and passport ready for check. If you haven’t bought ticket yet, buy ticket at ticket lobby first.

Step 2, get through security check and have your passport checked.
Step 3, wait for your train at the assigned waiting hall.
Step 4, line up to check in and find the assigned platform to board your train.
Step 5, board the train.   
Important notes: China’s railway stations usually begin the tickets checking 20 to 30 minutes (around 10 minutes for bullet train) before the departure time, so carefully read train ticket. And it is better for you to get to the railway station 60 min in advance if you choose to travel by train. For some big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, the railway stations are very big and crowded, passengers need more time to get on the train and are suggested get to the railway station 1.5 hours in advance. During Spring Festival Rush, you’d better arrive at the station 2 hours before departure time.

How to Take Train in China
high-speed train waiting hall

Necessary documents before entering the station:

  • Valid original passport
  • Train ticket (e-ticket)

Nowadays, people do not need paper tickets to travel by train in China as the e-tickets have covered both high-speed and ordinary trains. Foreign passengers can enter the train station and take the train with a valid foreign passport used to book the ticket. This makes it easy and fast for domestic and foreign tourists.

If you booked your ticket on the 12306.cn website, you have an e-ticket. You can use it directly, unless your passport status on 12306 is “to be verified”. In that case, you need to verify your identity at the ticket counter and get a paper ticket. If you book a tour with us, you don’t need to collect the paper ticket and we can also give you a paper trip information sheet. It will help you find your train and seat easily.


>> Further reading: How to Book China Train Tickets?

Find the Correct Railway Station for Your Train

In many cities, there are two or more railway stations. For instances, there are three railway stations in Guilin, mainly five railway stations in Beijing, four in Shanghai, three in Xian and also three in Kunming. 
Thus, you must find the right train station according to your ticket. And if you get to the wrong one, you are most likely to miss your train.

We suggest that you read your train ticket thoroughly and very carefully, especially the departure station, departure date and time. Show your ticket or booking information to the driver when taking a taxi. Have the correct map and consult with your hotel staff if you take metro or public bus. If you book a tour package with Top China Travel, we’ll check the train information for you, your guide and driver will take you to the correct train station. 
After arrival, follow other passengers to get through the processes for train boarding. 

>> Further reading: How to Read China Train Ticket 

Find the entrance for Security Check

Passengers need to present the ID certificate (Chinese ID card/valid foreign passport/travel permit etc.) to get into the station.

Foreign passengers will need to go through a manual entrance check where a staff member will scan your passport or input your passport number to verify your e-ticket.


There are security channels in each station. Put all your luggage on the security check apparatus and have yourself checked by security staff as well. Afterwards, pass the channel quickly. Do not forget to fetch your luggage. Be noted that the prohibited articles will be confiscated.

>> Further reading: China train luggage regulation

How to Take Train in China

Get to the Right Waiting Hall, Wait for the Train

After passing through the security channel, find the waiting room according to your train’s number. The information about train schedule, date, time, destination status, waiting room and sometimes platform will also be shown on the big electronic board. With the number and the departure time of the train, you can find your train easily.
In big cities, there are both Chinese and English signs. If not, you may ask for help by showing your ticket to a staff and she/he will show you the way to the right place. 
Important notes: the bullet trains and high-speed trains (D, G C trains) stop only for around five minutes (even less time in small stations), so you must make sure you are in the correct waiting room.

How to Take Train in China

Get into the Platform

You wait at the waiting room till ticket checking. In China, the ticket checking always begins 30min in advance of the train’s departure. However, some kinds of trains such as G, C & D trains start ticket checking in 15 to 20 min before the train’s departure time. Please double check the number and departure time of your train.
When waiting for checking, you should stand in queue at the manual check channel and show your passport again to the staff. The ticket entrance will be closed 5 to 10 min before train’s departure.
Follow the direction boards to the assigned platform for your train. 

You can expect a long walking from ticket check gate to the platform. As a result, the luggage should be light, or at least easy to manage. In some small or old train stations, there is not escalator or elevator, so you may have to walk down the stairs with your luggage by yourself. Stand by the safe place on the platform for boarding. 

Board the Train – Find Your Carriage and Seat

Line up to get on train. For your convenience, at many railway stations, the carriage numbers are marked on the platform, so that you can locate your carriage quickly. 
Each carriage has the train number and carriage number on it, and you should find your carriage according to the number on your ticket. There are stewards on each carriage, you may double check with the stewards whether you get into the correct train and carriage. 
board China train
After getting into the carriage, match the seat number on your ticket with the seat number above the window to find your seat and have your luggage settled on the luggage rack or under the seat. Remember to keep your passport, it may be checked on train and you’ll need it to get out the arrival station. 

board China train

Useful Chinese sentences for taking train

English Chinese
Please take me to this train station.


Qǐng dài wǒ dào zhè ge huǒ chē zhàn.

Excuse me, where is the restroom?


Qǐng wèn, xǐ shǒu jiān zài nǎ lǐ?
Could you tell me where is my waiting room?


nǐ hǎo, Qǐng wèn wǒ de hòu chē tīng shì nǎ gè?
Hello, where do I wait for carriage 2?


nǐ hǎo, wǒ zài nǎ lǐ děng hòu xx hào chē xiāng?

Excuse me, where can I collect the ticket?


qǐng wèn, wǒ zài nǎ lǐ qǔ piào?

Excuse me, where is the left luggage office?


qǐng wèn, xíng lǐ jì cún chù zài nǎ lǐ ?