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Booking train tickets in China?

Booking train tickets in China?

Old Oct 5, 18, 7:30 pm
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Booking train tickets in China?

I'm going to spend some time in Hong Kong and Mainland China in late October. I'm just wondering how are you guys booking train tickets especially the new bullet train linking Hong Kong to Guangzhou? Is it possible to check train schedule and prices online? Is it possible to book train tickets online or it has to be done at the ticket counter? Do they accept credit cards?

Thanks!
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Old Oct 5, 18, 9:48 pm
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Originally Posted by lsquare View Post
I'm going to spend some time in Hong Kong and Mainland China in late October. I'm just wondering how are you guys booking train tickets especially the new bullet train linking Hong Kong to Guangzhou? Is it possible to check train schedule and prices online? Is it possible to book train tickets online or it has to be done at the ticket counter? Do they accept credit cards?

Thanks!
Odds are that there is a train ticket office within 1 km of your hotel; this is the best way to book because it avoids the will call drill. But, if you need tickets in advance, Ctrip works. 12306 is the official channel, but, it doesn't work so well with passports.
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Old Oct 6, 18, 2:28 am
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Just for the record, the official 12306 site works fine with passports. It doesn't work, though, unless you also have a Chinese bank card and mobile number and can read Chinese.

High-speed rail tickets from HK can also be bought on the official MTR site.
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Old Oct 6, 18, 5:29 am
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Originally Posted by lsquare View Post
I'm going to spend some time in Hong Kong and Mainland China in late October. I'm just wondering how are you guys booking train tickets especially the new bullet train linking Hong Kong to Guangzhou? Is it possible to check train schedule and prices online? Is it possible to book train tickets online or it has to be done at the ticket counter? Do they accept credit cards?

Thanks!
Service just started end of Sept, so it i relatively new and I don't think there are too many data points yet.
This is the MTR website with the HK GZ HSR
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Old Oct 6, 18, 8:27 am
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You can buy tickets at the MTR website but only those departing from HK. For other trains in China you need to book from another ticket agent. I would not wait to be at the train station to buy tickets to Guangzhou. Looking at ticket availability for tomorrow, most trains are already sold out. You can monitor ticket availability here: www.china-diy-travel.com
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Old Oct 7, 18, 7:27 am
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I use Ctrip, never had any problems with them.
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Old Oct 7, 18, 10:30 am
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Just a reminder that "booking online" in China -- no matter how you book -- does not get you a ticket online you can use on the train. Instead, you get a confirmation number which you use to pickup your actual ticket at the station ticket office with your passport. Remember, name and passport number must match exactly the data entered online.

Lines can be long at the ticket windows. A wait of 30 minutes or more is common.
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Old Oct 7, 18, 1:33 pm
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Originally Posted by IluvSQ View Post
I use Ctrip, never had any problems with them.
Is the price the same as buying at the train station? Does Ctrip charge any fees?
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Old Oct 7, 18, 2:18 pm
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Yes, ctrip has a commission. The official 12306 site does not, but it's not practical for most foreigners.
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Old Oct 7, 18, 5:41 pm
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Originally Posted by 889 View Post
Yes, ctrip has a commission. The official 12306 site does not, but it's not practical for most foreigners.
IIRC, it's not a commission, but an insurance policy that is really hard to opt out of. My main beef with Ctrip is the will call drill; I would gladly pay them Y30 if they could send blue tickets to me.
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Old Oct 7, 18, 6:13 pm
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No, ctrip is constantly changing its fee structure. At present on trip.com the commission is called a "Booking Fee" and no insurance is provided.
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Old Oct 8, 18, 8:41 am
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Nobody works for free so all ticket agent charge a fee. Going to the train station is the only way to get tickets at face value (if there are any left).
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Old Oct 20, 18, 10:27 pm
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for any sort of train travel, always check seat61.

here is the link for the HK to Guangzhou trip.

https://www.seat61.com/HongKong.htm#...to%20Guangzhou

Last edited by NewbieRunner; Oct 20, 18 at 11:27 pm Reason: fixed broken URL
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Old Oct 21, 18, 9:32 am
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Based on trip reports, taking the HSR from HK is hell. It seems that they do not have their act together yet on the HK side. Picking up or buying tickets took one guy 1.5 hours. Then you have to pass the two immigration lines. Certainly not worth it if you are just going to Shenzhen or Guangzhou.
In addition, if you bought online via any ticket agent (like ctrip or others) or even directly on 12306.cn, the ticket office in the Kowloon station will charge an additional "handling fee".
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Old Nov 2, 18, 9:11 pm
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Is there a web site where I can pull up a seat map for various classes of service of trains? TIA.
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