China is the world’s third-largest country by area, but it’s also one of the cheapest and easiest countries to explore if you know how to get around on the train system.
Ticket booths are located around the city, but they’re often hard to find and communication can be a barrier. There’s also an official ticket booking site, but it’s in Chinese and not very well designed. Fortunately, you can avoid the train ticket offices and the confusing booking site altogether.
Ctrip, one of China’s largest travel sites, has an app where you can pay directly with a Visa, Mastercard, JCB and AMEX card. Let us show you how easy it is to book your trip using one of China’s most widely used travel platforms.
1. Select trains, obviously.
2. Select the location of your departure and your destination, then select the date of your departure. You can choose to display results for only the G- and D- trains, which are the fastest and the second fastest trains, respectively.
3. Choose which class you want to travel in. Second class is fine for a few hours, but for overnight journeys I would definitely choose a hard sleeper and I would avoid standing room tickets altogether, unless you’re okay with the discomfort, or brazen enough to take other people’s seats when they get up to use the washroom.
4. Ctrip automatically charges you RMB 20 in “C-money” to book online. You can use it for future purchases, but really you should just consider it a booking charge.
5. Confirm your details, then click choose/add passenger. I already had my contact info set up, so this was a one step process for me. If you haven’t set up a contact yet, simply click “add new passenger” and enter your passport number and your name as it appears on your passport.
6. When you’re done creating your contact, you’ll be redirected back to this screen, where you’ll need to enter a contact name and the email where you want to receive your ticket information.
7. Enter your credit card number and click verify.
8. Now input the rest of your credit card information and click pay. Your trip is booked! Have fun exploring China!