Train Tickets in Shanghai Railway Station

I received email, asking me how to buy train tickets in Shanghai. It is not too complicated. I mean at normal time. During three long vacations, it will be tough to get a ticket. Three holidays are:

  • May Holiday, from May 1 to May 7
  • October Holiday, Oct 1 to Oct 7
  • Spring Festival, from the first day to the 7th day of the lunar new year.

To get a ticket during those periods is another story.

Buying it at Railway Station

There is one major railway station in Shanghai – Shanghai Railway Station. It is easily accessed by Metro Line #1. From Pudong Airport, you can take Maglev to Long Yang Road station, transit to Metro Line #2, and transit to Metro Line #1 at People’s Square. Shanghai Railway Station is just two stops away from the People’s Square.

There is a large ticket center at the railway station. Just go there and buy ticket as buying movie ticket. You don’t need photo identification or other documents to get tickets.

Please note: To ask for refund of the ticket is possible, but may not be 100% return. Also, never buy tickets from vendors outside. Some people sell fake tickets.

Other Ticket Offices

There are many places you can buy tickets. The most convenient one I know is the one at Long Yang Road Station of Metro Line #2.

You can buy tickets to any city at that ticketing office. They charge 5 RMB or 0.6 USD service fee. You can also ask hotel reception to buy ticket for you.

Booking Ticket in Advance

Unlike most train system in the world, most tickets are sold only 7 days in advance. You cannot book tickets ealier than that.

For special route, like Beijing to Shanghai, it is a little different.

Hope this helps.

60 thoughts on “Train Tickets in Shanghai Railway Station

  1. So, foreigners, in these three periods of one week each (which is the only time that the chinese people can visit their relatives in this vast country), you are simply lost if you want to go by train.

    Buy an airplane ticket instead.

    These periods are NOT for backpackers, and others who want a trouble-free leisure time.

    All places are just… crowded.

    A funny story : I consider to go to Jiangxi this time, and already now, 3 days before the messy time begins, 3 chinese asks me to get a ride in my car, just to be sure of going home !

    So, chinese with cars, actually you can make a living out of this in these busy periods, as private drivers for desperate people !

  2. Be aware also, that you may not just get ONE ticket from your departure point to your destination. In both cases that I traveled by train in China this month I got 2 tickets. The first to an intermediate station and the second from that station to destination. In both cases I did not have to move seat or sleeping berth. Why the system is like this I would love to know but in busy times it is worth knowing about and at times I suppose you might need 3 (or more) tickets ^_^. In these cases you need to pay the agent (read hotel ticket office, or actual agent) the commision for each ticket so they will cost you 10 t0 20 RMB more each. It is worth using the agent to avoid travel to the actual ticket office but it can be a wait to find out if you can actually GET the ticket and then another wait to finally receive it.

    I can confirm that the Maglev ticket office is very quiet and you should be able to avoid queing there.

  3. There is also a ticket booking office on Beijing DongLu, near Sichuan ZhongLu. This is very near the Bund. When I have gone they have told me that I cannot buy a return ticket, only one way. So last time I went to Beijing, I tried to buy a return ticket as soon as arrived but they were already sold out for the next week (this was during the October holiday). I had to take the night bus back, not fun. So, does anyone know if there is a way to purchase return or onward tickets from your originating station?

  4. To Adam’s Not Here,

    As I know, return tickets can be bought at the ticket office. But the buying process depend on the railway station. For example, Xi’an is a little different from ShenYang.

  5. I bought tickets both ways at the train station, but only to Kunshan.It’s probably a bother if you’re working, but a worthwhile experience to take the subway and get your own tickets if you’re a tourist. I wanted soft seat tickets because I’d heard that the other classes were smoke filled. I was told there was only hard seat and asked with obvious dismay would there be smokers. The ticket sellers burst out laughing and assured me there wouldn’t be. And the seats seemed to me to be soft enough.

    In the old days (which these days in China can be last week) there were never return tickets because selling tickets was a form of Power and the destination place wouldn’t give up that power to a remote agent (at least that was my take on it).

  6. Hi,

    I would like to buy a return train ticket from Shanghai to Xian in June. (Travel by night) How much would it cost? Can I ask the receptionist to but the ticket for me? Is there any other option?

  7. hi,

    please give me more information on the ticket booking office located in the Longyang metro station and how to locate it…

    can i book tickets to Wuxi from that place?

    Also if you have any information on how to go and see places in Wuxi like the lake and the buddha, it would be great.


  8. I don’t know any place in Pudong Airport that you can buy train ticket. You can get it at Long Yang Road Metro Station, which is connected to Pudong Airport via Maglev – just 8 minutes away.

  9. Hi Jian Shuo,

    I was wondering if you have any idea how I can get train tickets from either Beijing/Shanghai to Hong Kong (Hung Hom). I understand there are some online travel agents who can do it but it’s a lot more expensive. Any idea how much it’ll cost if I buy at yrain station in beijing/shanghai?

  10. I suggest you to buy it at train station. I don’t know the exact price, but believe me, if you buy at train station, the price won’t be flexible – it is just the same price everywhere.

  11. Is it also possible to buy and start at Shanghai South Railway Station?

    In this case I would like to know for the destination Suzhou.

  12. I once attempted a day trip from Shanghai to Suzhou during the labor day week. Went to the main train station and lined up with the crowd to buy soft seat tickets. When it was finally my turn, and in between my broken chinese, the clerk wouldn’t sell me the return ticket. He said i need to buy it when I am in Suzhou. I was very confused about why but didn’t want to take too long at the ticket counter because there were hundreds of people waiting behind me. Once at Suzhou, I then proceeded another long line-up to buy the return ticket. At the counter, wanted to buy soft seats but he said there are only hard seats left and I have no choice. So reluctantly bought the tickets. It was a huge mistake too because that compartment was literally packed…absolutely no seats and passengers were jammed in, smoking, with not much breathing space. My main question is, why can’t you buy return tickets and is it possible to find seats in the soft seat compartments once you are on the train by upgrading my train ticket fees?

  13. ear Mr. Wang,

    I’ll going to visit some of my old Chinese friends who are currently living in Nanjing. Here is the plan… I will arrive Pudong Airport on 22 november at 05.30 AM. I would like to have your advice how I could have the most fastest (best connection with arrival flight in Pudong) and convenient way of travelling to Nanjing. I’ve heard that they are currently buses leaving from Pudong Airport directly to Nanjing but the first bus is leaving at 11.30 AM. Is that correct? There are also buses leaving from the Airport to the Shanghai Railway station leaving from Pudong Airport with interval of every 20 min.

    Is it wise to take a bus from Pudong to the Shanghai railway station to get connecting train to Nanjing instead of a direct bus from Pudong that’s leaving at 11.30 AM to Nanjing? Or will I just don’t win time with this connection? Maybe it’s better to wait for direct bus from Shanghai to Nanjing?

    Could you give me a timetable from the train leaving from Shanghai to Nanjing? What are the prices of traintickets from Shanghai naar Nanjing.

    I know alot of questions. I hope you could give me some answers or advice…

    Thanks in advance,


  14. Dear Shou Wang,

    chance upon your site about buying tickets. Would appreciate your advice here.

    I plan to go to Mt. Wudang on 22th Oct. I would fly to Pudong airport and plan to go to Shanghai Train station from there. I was trying to access the train schedule but could not find the site. Would appreaciate if you can advice me where I can find the necessary infor as I read that they do not have trains going to Mt. Wudang everyday?

    You were saying that they do not have booking in advance, would I be able to get my return ticket from wudang train station?

    How long is the journey from Pudong Airpot to Shanghai Train station?

    Anything to look out for in the train? Thief?

    Thank you very much


  15. Does the Z8 Train going from Shanghai to Beijing leave from the North Railway Station in Shanghai?

  16. Hi,

    I’m a little confused. I am looking to buy a soft seat ticket on a Z train from Shanghai to Beijing. Are these available or are there only sleepers and hard seats? If so, what would you suggest?

  17. Your information is valuable for me. I plan to go to yongkang. Which direction I should take starting from Pudong airport to reach the train station. I plan to go there on 1 Januari 2007. Is there any budget hotel in Yongkang. WHich one is recommended

  18. Hi there,

    Just want to ask…last year i was planning on going to xian (from guangzhou), but i was informed that they are not yet selling the tickets. Up until the week before may 1, the tickets are already limited and the prices are outrageously high. i am not planning to go there again but this time coming from shanghai but also on a holiday. can i just go to shanghai railway station and buy ticket one or two weeks before?

    please advise on any place i can buy tickets other than the railway satation without having to wait until a week before.



  19. Hi There

    I have been reading all about train stations from shanghai to Beijing,,,still confused on which station to buy these tickets from…will be landing in shanghai at noon on 11may and want to go directly to train station and buy tickest for beijing…what are the chances…..thanks

    Linda Rowe

  20. Actually from Shanghai Railway station (North side), there is also a long distance air-con coach (bus) station.

    You can easily get tickets to surrounding cities like Suzhou, Nanjing, Wuxi etc. its very frequent and a bus leaves for a desination every 15-20mins.

    service hours are approx 6am-6pm.

  21. i want to go to yiwu fronm pudong airport, what should i do? and is there any bus service from pudong airpot to train station.

  22. as i understand it, i can just go to the shanghai railway station (via metro line 2) or Shanghai South Railway Station (via metro lane 3) and purchase a ticket leaving the same day? can i purchase return ticket for the next day? or do i have to purchase it from suzhou. (i pray it’s all right. don’t want to experience the hassle like how others have experienced it…?)

    I’m going to suzhou, just take the D train to suzhou from shanghai?

    i appreciate a response.

  23. I like to go from Shanghai to Beijing via train. What is the train station name in shanghai and how easy way I can go there. Do most of people speak english there. And what is the main train station name in Beijing.

  24. October 14 my wife and I plan on traveling from Pudong Airport to south train station and on to Yiwu City.

    #1 how to travel from airport to train station.

    #2 train tickets to Yiwu and return. Is it easy to purchase.

    Thanks in advance.


  25. @Wayne,

    1. Take Airport Shuttle Bus #3 to Xujiahui and take Metro #1 to Shanghai South Railway Station.

    2. The ticket back should be easily bought at Yiwu.

  26. Oh god~!! Thanks wendy~!! Your picture was very helpful for me.

    My apartment is very close from Longyang rd station.

    Anyway, thanks again!

  27. Hi!

    I’m working in Shanghai-Wai Gao Qiao. One friend of mine from Changzhou wants to visit me, coming by train. There is any possibility to come by train directly in Pu Dong area? How much costs one train ticket from Changzhou to Shanghai. Chipper than bus ticket on the same distance?


  28. @Dan, there is no train or train station in Pudong. Your friend can arrive at the Train Station, and take Metro Line 4 or Line #2 (via Line #1) to come to Pudong. More specifically, your friend needs to take Line #6 (transit at Century Ave).

  29. Hi,

    Does anyone know if the ticket booking office in Longyang Rd. Can speak and understand english in case I plan to buy tickets there? Also what day and time is there office hours?

    Thanks in advance.

  30. I Want to go to Lhasa by train (shanghai – Lhasa), on January 25 (2008).

    I live in in Nanjing, but I couldn’t get the ticket yet. The clerck of the Nanjing railway station told me that I have to go to Shanghai to get the ticket, because in Nanjing I can only buy the ticket for the same day.

    Neither, travel agencies (in Nanjing) cannot solve my problem.

    I would like to know the way to get the ticket, and if there is any phone/website online (in english) that let me know if there are still free places.

    thank you in advance


  31. Hi,

    I woudl liek to go by sleeper train from Shanghai to Haikou. I know it takes 30+ hours but I think it will be a good way to see China. Has anyone here done this journey before? Any suggestions when, where and how to get a train ticket?

    Many thanks,


  32. Does anyone can guide me after arrival at Pudong Shanghai airport would like to go Yiwu via Train or a Bus. Where could I buy the tickets either for Train or a Bus.

    Will apprecaite any guidance anyone can provide.


  33. HI THERE,







  34. Iam at Shanghai International Studies University,near to Chifeng station Road. What metro line is it to Shanghai Railway Station. I want to buy a ticket to travel to Beijing. Can anyone help me and show direction to the station?

  35. Iam at Shanghai International Studies University,near to Chifeng station Road. What metro line is it to Shanghai Railway Station. I want to buy a ticket to travel to Beijing. Can anyone help me and show direction to the station?

  36. I am traveling by train from Shanghai to Kunming Jan 14 and returning Jan 21 or 22. Will these times conflict with the Spring Festival? We are arriving in China (Shanghai) on Jan 14 about 15:00 hrs and hoped to go straight from the Pudong airport to the train station. My research says the train (K79) to Kunming leaves from the SOUTH train station at 19:17. Bus 7 from PVG should get me there. We hope to travel Soft Sleeper both ways. What are my chances of this? Is it possible to somehow purchase these tickets in advance if my assumptions on timing and availablity are inaccurate? Will the train accept credit cards or cash only? Is there a foreign window at the SOUTH train station similar to the one at the MAIN train station where someone can speak English? Can I purchase round trip or must I purchase a return in Kunming? Will I be able to recharge my lap top and camera on the train? What are the electrical outlets like in China? Similar to US? This is our first time in China. What more should I know about this trip? We plan to spend a day in Kunming and then travel to Dali and on to Lijiang for a couple of days and then a couple of days in Shangri La. What is a “must-see” on this itinerary? Sorry to have so many questions but we are very excited to come to China.

  37. This blog is quite educational.

    We will be in Shanghai on Apr09,2009 and will fly to Beijing on Apr12,2009. We want to ride the train back but to different destination (Hangzhou). I need help on getting advance tickets for 2 persons for Train Z9 from Beijing to Hangzhou on Apr14, 2009.

    I understand that we can try at Beijing but we would rather get the tickets in advance to avoid urgency.

    Can anyone help? THANKS,

  38. Hi there,

    Any idea what time the ticket agent at Long Yang opens on Saturdays?

    Thanks! :)


  39. Can somebody help me? I want to take the train from Shanghai to Suzhou, water city. What train do I take and where? And can I buy return tickets? Thank you

  40. There are plenty of trains to Suzhou from Shanghai railway station, you can buy the ticket any time at the station or other ticket offices. I have not bought any return ticket yet, but I think you may be able to buy one. Good luck!

  41. Buying tickets in Shanghai for departure from another city.

    After flying from Shanghai to Guangzhou by train, I plan to travel to from Guangzhou to Nanning by train. I was wondering if it is possible to buy train tickets in advance from Shanghai (I will be travelling around the spring festival time, so fear that I won’t be able to get tickets in GZ). Thanks for your help!

  42. Is English spoken at ticket counter of the Shanghai Railway Station?

    Are any signs, directional signs, in English?

    Are station announcements also made in English?

  43. You mentioned:

    Booking Ticket in Advance

    Unlike most train system in the world, most tickets are sold only 7 days in advance. You cannot book tickets ealier than that.

    Is this information accurate as of year 2010? Also, the tickets I would like to purchase is from Shanghai South Railway Station, will the tickets be available to purchase at Shanghai Railway Station?

  44. Hi,

    Anyone can help me please !

    I want to take a train from Shanghai (Pudong airport) to Yiwu (Zhejiang) .

    – Where can I buy the train ticket ?

    – Someone told me that I must take the train from Shanghai South Station only (going to Yiwu). Is it right ?

    Thanks for your help.


  45. Hello,

    Can we pay using a credit card in either of Shanghai’s Railways (South or Main Station)?

    We are planning to go to the great wall of china, were leaving by friday night and should be back here in shanghai by Sunday night, is there a possibility that we can visit other places in Beijing like the forbidden city, etc? Even if it means we will be only staying on a specific place for 30 mins, just to visit most of them, its okay with us.

    Can you suggest an itinerary for us?

    Thanks a lot.

  46. Hi,

    I am going to Shanghai to attend the New International expo center in shanghai and after this I like to visit the capital city Beijing. I like to go to Shanghai to Beijing by super fast train on 22 June 2011. Would you say the train schedule along with ticket price from shanghai south train station? Can I book a ticket from Bangladesh?


    I look forward to receiving your comments.

    Kind Regards

    Humaune Kabir

  47. My family (4) will like to travel from Shanghai to Beijing on Aug. 13, 2011 by the hi-speed train (the newest train). If I book tickets on line can I collect the ticket at the Shanghai railway station before departure on that day?

  48. Hello,

    I would like to buy 4 train tickets for the 30th of September, I understand that these can be purchased on the 20th of September.

    I am in Shanghai and would like to buy tickets for another province. Is that possible? If not, does anyone know of any agent that can assist with purchasing tickets during the busiest week in China?



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