With China High-Speed Rail service available widely, it is so convenient to travel from places to places within China. My recent trip to China covered Zhejiang province, using high-speed rail from Shanghai to Suzhou as it is our first stop after Shanghai. There are several tickets for High Speed. Let’s start with the cheapest to the most expensive ticket and that is the second class seat, first-class seat, business class seat. We tried 3 of them during our travel in China so that we could see the difference. As for Shanghai to Suzhou route, we start with the business class seat.
The high-speed trains run at a minimum speed of 200km per hour and it is certainly a better way to explore China than using buses. Now the high-speed rail network connects all major cities across the country as well as numerous towns. It is really very convenient and comfortable ride of a few hours.
In total there are 4 main railway stations in Shanghai but Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station and Shanghai Railway Station are the most frequently used for high-speed trains. There are networks going to most of the major cities nearby for these two railway stations.
Book your reservation online
We booked our reservation online before we arrived in China. I think it is better to do that as tickets are selling fast. Rather than paying at the counters, most people here have the habit of using their handphones to do any bookings.
Arrive 1-2 hour before departure
Please arrive at the station 1-2 hours ahead of your departure time. Shanghai Railway Station is huge and there are always lots of people. It can scare you and it can be difficult to navigate.
Once we arrived at the Shanghai Railway station we were pretty shocked as it is so huge and with lots of people. We get panic for a while as we can’t just go in with our online reservation. We need to go to a ticketing counter and then change the online reservation to the physical ticket. Only with the ticket, we can enter the security checks at the entrance.
Go to foreigner counter to exchange your ticket
During my visit to Shanghai Railway Station, we could not find any counter that was opened with a staff. Everything seems to have automated, we could only see ticketing machines line up in the ticketing room. We asked the security in the station and they told us since we booked business class seat, we can just use our online reservation to enter, which means we don’t have to go to the counter to change the ticket. Ticketing rooms are usually located outside the station, not inside the station.
Usually, you need to go to the counter for foreigner to get your ticket. You also need to show proof of ID and that is your passport.
These days it is quite hard to find a ticketing counter with staff as most transactions are done with the machines. A foreigner cannot purchase a ticket from the machines as it needs a local ID to perform the transaction. All foreigner has to go through human intervention, that is to go through a staff.
Go through security scan at the entrance
Only after you obtain your ticket, you are then allowed to go through the security and enter the railway station. Most station in China has a security check at the entrance, all luggage, and bags needed to go through the scan and passengers are needed to walk past the metal detector.
Business Class Lounge Review
There are many waiting halls in the train station and you will find yours on the ticket. The good thing about the business class seat is you have a special waiting area dedicated only to the business class seat ticket holder. Just like at the airport. Inside you will find snacks and beverages free for you to consume.
All types of high-quality tea are available. The signboard here says that “Snacks here taste good but please do not take out”.
TV monitors showing all the train’s departure schedules.
Sampling some of these snacks and local drinks. The white bottle is the Chinese giant drinks company – Wahaha yogurt drinks, taste good.
Those snacks are dried tofu, shanzha 山楂, dried marinated fish slices, and dried plum.
At the business lounge.
Local Chinese can use their ID to tap at the automated gate and enter the platform but for the foreigner, you have to go through the human check again. Show your ID and ticket.
Escalator to go down to the platform.
The business class is usually at the front of the train. Proceed to the front before the train arrives and line up to climb on board. The high-speed train is very quiet and smooth.
There are only 5 seats in the business class. A-tv screen, adjustable table for you to have your meal or work on your computer. The seat is great, few buttons at the side to choose how you want to position your seat. You can just press a button and the seat will automatically go to the horizontal position.
Lots of room for your leg and luggage.
The staff will bring you free drinks and snacks.
I arrived in Suzhou, so please wait for my next review on first class and second class seats for the high-speed train in China.
The business-class seat is the most luxurious seat and it cost about three times the price of a second class seat and about twice that of the first-class seat. For Shanghai to Suzhou, the prices are as below:
Business Class Seat
- RMB 107.5 – 128.5 /USD 16 – 19
First Class Seat
- RMB 54.5 – 69.5/USD 8 – 10
Second Class Seat
- RMB 34.5 – 39.5/ USD 5 – 6
To answer the question -Is it worth it to travel on a Business class seat on China High-Speed Train?
My answer is yes but you may not always get your seat as there are only 5 seats available.