Train tickets are suggested to be purchased at the origin
city where the train departs, which correspondingly is
a easier way to get a confirmed seat or a berth no. ,
otherwise, you will probably stand for the whole trip
though you have a ticket.
The train tickets can be purchased at the train station
or some certain banks such as ICBC (Industrial and Commercial
Bank of China), as well as some ticket-windows around
colleges. Usually the train station sells tickets 3 days
in advance and other windows sells 5 days in advance.
If you do not speak Chinese, it will be difficult to purchase
tickets by yourselves so buy tickets from the local China
Travel Services or ask your hotel business center to make
the arrangement is a better option though with an additional
service fee charged. To guarantee the availability, it
is best to make train reservations at least two days in
advance. If during the Chinese Holidays, like Spring Festival
(usually late January or early February), Labor Day (May
01 - 07) and National Day (October 01 - 07).
Usually train numbers start with Z, T, K and N are express
trains equipped with air-conditioning system. Zs are so
far the best trains in China, which are direct trains
and usually have only soft sleepers. Ts are express trains
usually equipped with sleepers and have only very few
stops on the way. Ks, similar like Ts but have a few seats
equipped and more stops. Ns have more seats. Train numbers
without letters are not as good as those express trains;
usually the seat carriages do not have air-conditioners.
Almost all types of train cars have hard seats, hard sleepers
and soft seats no matter whether the trains have air conditioners
or not. Soft seats are not widely available.
Trains are always crowded throughout a year, so arrive
at the station two hours before departure.