Recently I had a chance to travel by High Speed train from Shanghai to Beijing. Specifically I took the G train (with very minimal stops and the whole journey is about 4 hours or so). I bought the tickets from a web site called China Highlights and this is to share the experience. My next blog post will share the wonderful onboard experience in the business class cabin for the train.
I bought the tickets in Singapore before I leave the country. I planned for the tickets to be delivered to my hotel in Shanghai.
Firstly, I visited the web site, https://www.chinahighlights.com/china-trains/, and I booked the 8am ticket from Shanghai to Beijing. The most important information you must give to the web site is the EXACT NAME in your passport and the EXACT passport number. Even though this is a domestic train, this information is needed as the train station staff will check them (even locals have to be book with their own identification document too).
Then you will pay online. I used PayPal to pay as it gives me peace of mind (and hopefully reward points with DBS woman card :p).
When you finished booking, you will receive a mail, asking for payment. If you have paid, you can ignore it. But at least receiving this mail tells you that you have booked successfully.
You will wait for the next mail which will CONFIRM they have purchased the tickets for you. For my own experience, I booked on 12:21pm. At around 7:37pm (7 hours later), I received the 2nd mail confirming the booking. You might want to check your junk mailbox if you did not received.
You can see there are lots of useful information. There is even a very helpful Chinese message that you can show to your hotel staff if you did not receive the train tickets when you reached your hotel.
And lots of useful instructions and a video, You can watch the video on this website:
Knowing that I have purchased my tickets, I then proceed to fly to Shanghai. When I reached the hotel in Shanghai, I asked for my tickets from the reception and indeed it was there waiting for me 🙂
Inside was an envelope:
And inside the envelope, was my small ticket. Which you need to keep for your dear life 🙂
If I remembered correctly, there is a small delivery charge in the final bill too.
So is this expensive ? I can see from my ticket that the cost is 1748 RMB (=256 USD). They charged me 289 USD or a difference (including delivery charge) of 33 USD. For the service and the peace of mind (and now I know they truly deliver the tickets on time to the hotel), I think it is worth it.
I also asked a friend in China who bought a train ticket in China online using a China application (they are so advanced in China on e-commerce).
Here’s the online ticket. For a second class ticket, he paid 211 RMB.
For the same trip, I checked China highlights (same date, same time, same train), and this is what I saw. it is about 219 RMB. So the difference is about 8 RMB only in this case (but excluding the delivery charge) and some forex rounding up.
Again totally worth it.
I have a very positive experience buying from China highlights and hence I would highly recommend it too to you if you are overseas and want the peace of mind of getting the train tickets before reaching China.
And the experience of taking the high speed train is fantastic. Will share in the next blog post.