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Tips for Taking a China Train

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How do I enter a station in China? How do I check in? May I bring my bags in a carriage? What safety precautions should I heed? Is it crowded during the Chinese Spring Festival? All the answers can be found from the following tips.

Procedures for Taking a Train in China 
 Purchase a ticket. 

Find out the Right Waiting Room
Find out the Right Waiting Room

 To enter the station hall: passengers should go through the security check and ticket check before entering the station hall. You may be required to show your ID card or passport when the ticket is being checked.

 Wait in the appointed waiting room. You will see a huge LED screen showing the timetable and the waiting room you should go to as you enter the station hall. For soft-seat ticket holders there are special soft-seat waiting rooms. 

 Check-in: passengers should go through the correct check-in point to have their tickets checked and board from the platform. 

 Boarding: please make sure to get in the right carriage (the carriage number is on your ticket). The conductor will also check your ticket to see if you are in the right carriage. Please watch your step when boarding.  

Get to the Platform
Get to the Platform

 Find your seat/berth and put your bags in the overhead luggage rack or under the seats/berths. A train usually stops briefly at stations along the way so passengers should not leave the carriage until their final destination. 

 Check out and leave the station: when you arrive at your destination, please take all your belongings. Your ticket will be checked at the exit of the station, so please keep the it during the trip.

Free luggage weight is 20 kg (44 pounds) for an adult and 10 kg (22 pounds) for a child. Oversized or overweight baggage should be consigned. Explosive, inflammable, or dangerous objects are forbidden. For more tips about luggage regulation.

Safety Tips in Carriages 
1. When chatting with friends or strangers, avoid revealing your personal information such as your name, birth date, passport number, or bank account.
2. Do not drink bottled water offered to you by strangers.
3. Keep your luggage and valuables carefully about you when you get on and off the carriages, especially when it is very crowded.
4. If you go to the toilet or washroom, do not leave your bags with strangers.
5. If an accident happens to you or you find anything abnormal, please tell a conductor or a policeman immediately.

Spring Festival Travel Peak  
Spring Festival Travel Peak refers to the huge amount of travel traffic during the 40 days around Chinese Spring Festival (January 1st on Chinese lunar calendar; usually in January and February). During that period, people go visit their hometowns to celebrate the traditional festival and then travel back to their working places after the festival.  

Spring Festival Travel Peak
Spring Festival Travel Peak

Trains, as the most economic transportation mode in China, bear much of the traffic. Tickets are hard to get during holidays, especially on December 28th, 29th, 30th, and January 1st, 6th, 7th, and 8th in the Chinese lunar calendar. Railway stations are packed with travelers. 

In addition to the Spring Festival, taickets are also hard to get during other Chinese festivals, such as the National Day Holiday (October 1st - 7th), the May Day Holiday (May 1st – 3rd), and the Mid-autumn Festival Holiday (three days around August 15th in Chinese lunar calendar). 

It may be a little troublesome touring during holidays like Spring Festival due to the heavy traffic, but you will also learn much about Chinese culture. Here are some tips:
1. Try to avoid traveling during the Chinese holidays.
2. If you happen to visit China during the holidays, book the ticket in advance.
3. If you are not able to get the tickets in advance or have no time, please book them through qualified ticket agencies or travel agencies, such as Chinatour360.com.
4. Plan your travel during the Chinese holidays carefully, so you will not miss your train or flight.
5. Read about traditional Chinese festivals before your trip.

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Questions & Answers on Tips for Taking a China Train
  • Do the train stations in Guangzhou South and Zhuhai/Gongbei have signage in English? We do not speak Chinese and want to be sure we are directed to the correct trains at the correct time. How much time should we allow for arrival at the station proceeding our departure time? Can we purchase our tickets at the station? We will be traveling June 2-4.

    Asked By Amelia (USA) | Apr. 19, 2013 23:26
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