9

I am in China and want to buy a train ticket neither online nor at the station but from a travel agent that is able to issue such tickets.

How do I find a travel agency that issues Chinese train tickets? (At a resonable price, see example below.) Is there a map or listing of such agents?

I am aware that train tickets are best bought in advance in China. The window to buy advance tickets is larger when buying those tickets from an agency instead of at the station and that is what I need.

I am further aware that such resellers exist (I have personally used their services) but I found them hard to locate. Despite having lived in Shanghai for quite some time, I know of only one such place and it took me half a day to find it. It is also just a hole in the wall in a side street that I would not typically pass by. The commission was only RMB5 or something like this and I got my ticket right away, which is why I prefer this way over ordering the ticket online.

Assume that I

  • already know the precise train ticket I want
  • also know there are still seats available for this train and class
  • have my passport with me
  • know enough Chinese to communicate at the agency
10
+100

I don't know about an online resource for these places, but I actually found them pretty easy to find in bigger cities. While walking around I often saw them, even randomly in Shanghai.

What I would do is, copy this photo onto your phone and then show it to locals, or even better your hotel reception. Even without speaking any English, people were always able to point me in the right direction.

Chinese train booking office in Xian

  • +1 and thanks! your answer has actually inspired me to come up with an answer by myself to search for those places on baidu. always good to get advice from seasoned China travelers! – mts Jun 23 '16 at 14:32
6

The excellent answer by @PeterHahndorf has inspired me for a viable solution:

The ticket office in the picture he provides reads "火车票代售点" i.e. railway ticket selling point. Searching for this (the Chinese phrase!) on baidu maps gives a good selection of such offices, including the one I had found.

enter image description here

Screenshot of map.baidu.com searching for "火车票代售点" in central Shanghai, fair use under Wikipedia rationale for identification and critical commentary.

Searching for the same expression on Google Maps does return some results but less than with Baidu and likely missing the cheap hole-in-the-wall places I am looking for.

  • 1
    It is always helpful to be able to use Chinese web sites, or even type Chinese characters on your keyboard. I bought tickets at several hole-in-the-wall places as well as more proper shops, they all had the same sign and I think they all charged the same commission, so the size doesn't make a difference in price. In some towns the offices were also part of a hotel reception, so sometimes you may not see the sign. – Peter Hahndorf Jun 23 '16 at 14:38
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Good idea to check with your hotel receptionist about where to find the nearest railway ticket agency if you live in a hotel in China which is allowed to host foreigners.

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