Are you taking the train in China and need tickets? Are you unsure how to buy train tickets in China? In this lesson, we will learn all about it.
To purchase a train ticket in Mainland China, you can go to any railway station a maximum of 58 days ahead of departure. Unfortunately, in many places it is difficult to buy tickets using only English, so let’s learn how to say “I want to buy a train ticket” in Chinese.
Hello! I would like to buy a train ticket.
You can also use a numeral-classifier compound in the sentence to express how many tickets you want.
Hello! I would like to buy two train tickets.
“张 [zhāng]” is the classifier for flat objects, like sheets of paper. To express the number of tickets wanted, we use “number+张”. Here are some examples of how you can use 张.
1 train ticket / 2 sheets of paper / 5 tables / 10 Beds
Ok, now the staff knows how many train tickets you want. But you have to tell them when and where you want to go, right? Let’s see how you do that!
I would like to buy a ticket for March 1st, from Beijing to Shanghai. The earlier in the morning the better.
Let's take a quick look at some of the grammar structures in the above sentence.
The expression 从～到 (from..to) can be used for both for time and places, to express e.g.: from one place to another, from one time to another.
You can read more about this structure on the grammar wiki
This construction is used to express that one change causes something else to also change.
Read more on this structure on the grammar wiki
The above example can be used when you don't know the train timetable, to let the staff give you some options for departure time. If you know the timetable however, you can tell staff the correct time of course. In that situation, you can say like this:
I would like to buy a hard sleeper ticket for March 6th at 1:20 PM, from Shanghai to Beijing.
硬卧[yìng wò] is short for 硬席卧铺[yìng xí wò pù], which is a sleeper train ticket class with a hard bunk bed. China is very big, and if you want to take a train from Guangxi Nanning to Beijing it will be take around 28 hours, so it’s better to have a bed to sleep in. The 硬卧 also has three types, which are 上铺[shàng pù] （upper bunk）, 中铺[zhōng pù] （middle bunk）, 下铺[xià pù] （lower bunk）.
There are a lot of seat classes in China, let’s have a look.
Luxury Soft Sleeper, Soft Sleeper, Hard Sleeper, Business Class Seat, VIP Class Seat, First Class Seat, Second Class Seat, Soft Seat, Hard Seat, Standing.
Ok! Now we can say the time, the destination and the type of seat we want! But we still cannot buy a ticket! Why? Because we have to show our passport or identity card. In China, your name and your passport number will be printed on the ticket, and only the person on the ticket can ride the train.
Here is my passport. Here is my ID.
Now we know all we need to know! Let's summarize:
Hello. I would like to buy two train tickets. One for March 1st, from Beijing to Shanghai. The earlier in the day the better. One for March 6th in the afternoon, from Shanghai to Beijing. The cheaper the price the better. Here is my passport, thank you!
Finally you can get your ticket!
But, oh no! The ticket is entirely in Chinese!! How do you read it? Let's have a look.
Now you have your ticket and can get on the right train!
Have a nice trip!