China has an extensive train network connecting over 500 cities. Trains are one of the most commonly used means of transport for tourists and are generally reliable and safe. If you want to travel China by train, keep these things in mind.
- Chinese train stations can feel like airports, especially in the big cities. Prepare for big crowds and save time to navigate around the station.
- Try to book a ticket online beforehand. At the stations, information will generally be in Chinese and payment options might be limited. You can ask at your accommodation how to book tickets or check information on sites like seat61.
- Check if your trip doesn't correspond with a Chinese public holiday, like Chinese new year. Many Chinese will use public transport to travel to their home town. Expect full trains and massive crowds.
- Because of the vastness of the country, train journeys can be extremely long. If you have less time, domestic flights are a good (though less green) alternative.