Pre-Booking xChinese Trains Online
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Apr 15, 2012 12:39 AM Last Post By: Raki_Man
Apr 9, 2012 3:40 AM
Pre-Booking xChinese Trains OnlineWould you pre-book your overnight trains or would you wait until you arrive in xChina? China Trip Advisor has online booking and the fares cost quite a bit more than buying them yourself.
From the searches I've done so far, it us often difficult to get overnight trains for that trip. Just wondered what your thoughts are. Just how good are they, do they get the tickets you want? Anyone used this service before? There are two other onlines as well - CTT.net and CTT.com Of the three, which in your opinion is better?
Apr 9, 2012 4:19 AM
1Haven't used them and probably never will. I don't think any of the online agencies will guarantee tickets for when they are most needed (holidays). They also can't get tickets any sooner than if you buy them yourself (usually 10 days before departure). So even if you "buy" them before you arrive, they aren't actually purchased by the agent yet.
How are you planning on traveling? Hard sleeper can be hard to arrange last minute, especially in the summer. However, if you are willing to go by soft sleeper, you should be okay. For the price, it probably makes more sense to upgrade from hard sleeper to soft sleeper or perhaps even take a flight than to pay the commission a lot of these agencies ask.
Apr 9, 2012 4:29 AM
Apr 9, 2012 8:05 AM
3If it's a remote area without an airport I would definitely try to prebook. I got stuck several times in Southern China as there were no train tickets for a few days.... once even in Nanning going to Kunming (even bus tickets were all sold out and it wasn't a holiday!).
The thing is that the black market sucks up prettty much all the hardsleepers shortly after their release on the major routes. So getting those is sometimes rather impossible unless you buy from those street-dealers yourself -which I wouldn#t recommend as you cannot know if they are real tickets or not. Agents do have contacts with those black-market vendors and will very likely be able to get you a true hard sleeper ticket for almost eny route and time. Soft sleppers and seats are easier to get but might quite often still sell out quickly. I would recommend soft sleepers though anyway since you can lock the door in those. Hardsleeper wagons are one of the most common places to get your backpack razored in China
next problem: You can very often only buy tickets from your starting point. So if you go from Shanghai to Beijing and bak you can only buy your return ticket in Beijing... Another good reason to spend an extra coin on an agency
Apr 9, 2012 2:58 PM
4Hardsleeper wagons are one of the most common places to get your backpack razored in China
In over 7 years of taking hard sleepers, I've never had this happen nor heard of it happening to anyone. I haven't heard of anyone having their backpack razored in China anywhere.
You can very often only buy tickets from your starting point.
This used to be the case, but I think it's becoming easier to purchase tickets in cities other than the city of departure.
I think #3 makes things sound worse than they are. I've only gotten stuck somewhere once, trying to get a train ticket from Guilin to Beijing. It can happen, of course, so if you much be somewhere on a specific date and you need a lower berth, it might be worth going with an agency. Your hotel or hostel can often help you as well, for a much lower commission.
Maybe you could tell us your itinerary?
Apr 9, 2012 3:16 PM
5"I haven't heard of anyone having their backpack razored in China anywhere."
I had a small daypack slit open in a Chengdu bus station some years back. It does happen.
Apr 9, 2012 4:31 PM
Apr 9, 2012 5:13 PM
Apr 9, 2012 6:27 PM
8if you are willing to go by soft sleeper, you should be okay
I thought that would be the case however when I recently tried to book a soft sleeper from Chongqing to Urumqi I found that both hard and soft tickets were sold out for the following ten days, however when booking Urumqi - Kashgar I was able to get a ticket for the following day
Apr 10, 2012 1:45 AM
I know it's one of the favourite arguments of people here to say "it hasn't happend to me or my friends so it doesn't exist" but it's apparently a rather unqualified argument. You are one plus a few friends out of millions of people travelling in China daily. And if you'd read forums and magazines and newpapers more often than you apparently do you would know it happens. Often.Seen it with my own eyes, happend to friends of ine, read it several times....
Apr 10, 2012 4:00 AM
10Fluffy @ #5 - I arrive in xXian on 6 June, so xXian 6-9, xPingyao 10-12, xBeijing 13-16, xSuzhou 17-18 - I'll be going by overnight train between those places.
When I checked with cnvol for o/n trains two months ago, I took note of the details, but when I checked for those same trains yesterday, I found some of those train numbers are no longer listed.
Apr 10, 2012 4:52 AM
When in Xi'an, try to book onward tickets (Pingyao - Beijing, Beijing - Suzhou). Have backup plans. For example - Xi'an - Pingyao by bus, or fly Xi'an- Taiyuan, then bus Pingyao. For Pingyao to Beijing, you could go by bus to Taiyuan, then high speed train to Beijing (you can probably book this in Xi'an). http://www.travelchinaguide.com/china-trains/ also has quite accurate timetables (I'm not recommending that you use them for booking).
Apr 10, 2012 5:38 PM
Apr 15, 2012 12:28 AM
Apr 15, 2012 12:39 AM
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