Frequently Asked Questions about the Beijing to Xian Train
It takes 4 to 6 hours to go from Beijing to Xian by bullet train or 11 to 15 hours by sleeper train.
The first train leaves Beijing West Station at 06:27 and arrives in Xian at 11:03.
There are 28 trains from Beijing to Xian every day. 19 high-speed bullet trains and 9 slow, sleeper trains.
Tickets cost from ¥515 ($73) for a fast train and ¥148 ($21 for a slow train).
About the Beijing to Xian Train
This guide will tell you all you need to know about booking, buying tickets for and taking the Beijing to Xian train. There are 28 daily trains running between Beijing and Xian. 19 of these are the ultra-modern high-speed trains and nine of them are the slower sleeper trains. The trains run from 06:27 in the morning to 22:06 at night.
The fastest of the high-speed trains takes just four hours and twenty minutes from Beijing to Xian.
Types of Train
Beijing to Xian High-Speed (Bullet) Train
China’s high-speed rail network is one of the best in the world. The bullet trains usually have eight carriages, but sometimes double this on popular routes. The carriages are made up of the following seats: –
- 2nd Class – Rows of three seats on one side of the isle and two on the other.
- 1st Class – Larger seats with two on one side of the isle and one on the other.
- Business Class – One seat on each side of the isle.
Pro tip: The 2nd Class seats are comfortable with plenty of leg room, and fine for this journey.
Beijing to Xian Sleeper (Slow) Train
The sleeper trains are an excellent option for backpackers and travellers on a budget. Not only are the fares very cheap by international standards, but you can save on a night’s accommodation and wake up in Xi’an.
The sleeper trains have the following sleeping/seating options:
- Hard Seat – Not recommended for this journey. The seats are uncomfortable and upright and the carriages are very busy with people standing/sitting in the aisles.
- Hard Sleeper – Open plan carriage with rows of three beds on either side.
- Soft Sleeper – Four berth cabins with lockable doors. If you are not on a tight budget then this is a more comfortable option, but not necessary.
Pro tip: I always travel using the hard sleeper option as it’s great value for money while still being perfectly comfortable. On the more modern sleepers the carriages are partitioned so it’s almost the same as soft sleeper.
How much is a ticket from Beijing to Xian?
Fast Train Ticket Prices
|Class||Cost (RMB)||Cost (USD)|
Sleeper Train Ticket Prices
|Class||Cost (RMB)||Cost (USD)|
Average prices from Trip.com correct as of December 2019. Converted using XE.com and subject to change. See schedule below for exact prices for each Beijing to Xian train.
How to Buy Tickets for the Beijing to Xian Train
Tickets go on sale one month in advance (for busy routes additional trains are sometimes added nearer to departure date).
At the Station
Tickets can be purchased from any station in Beijing (and indeed China). At Beijing West Station where the Xian trains depart, the ticket office is to the left of the main entrance. It is unlikely you will find anyone speaking English, though you may be lucky.
If you don’t speak Chinese you will need to research the train you want online and write down the train number, seat option and date, but you might as well just book the whole thing online (see below).
China Railways Booking Agency
There are China Railway booking agencies throughout Beijing and you can purchase tickets here for a small transaction fee of ¥5 ($0.70). As with the stations, it is even less likely to find English speaking staff.
So, how can you buy a ticket if you don’t speak Chinese? As someone who has lived in China for nearly five years, I can say that by far the easiest way to book is through Trip.com which is the only English language website that sells Chinese train tickets with instant confirmation.
Trip.com charge a ¥30 ($4.25) transaction fee but it’s so easy that I don’t mind paying this. Everything is in English and it’s easy to search for trains and pay online up to one month before the date of travel.
You will then be emailed a reference number which you just present at the ticket window next to the station. You can also pick up your tickets booked on Trip at the booking agencies (for the additional ¥5).
Update October 2020: You now no longer need a physical ticket to take the train in China if booking with Trip. Once you have booked your ticket, all you need to do is show your passport to enter the station and board the train (don’t use the automatic barriers, go to the manned barrier).
This recent development is excellent as it saves time having to collect the ticket. Make sure to make a note of the carriage number and seat/cabin/bed which will be listed in your confirmation email.
Where do I get the Beijing to Xian Train From?
All trains for Xian leave from Beijing West Station. The fast trains go to Xian North Station and the sleeper trains go to the more central Xian Railway Station (with the last train going to Xian South).
Beijing West Railway Station is on line 7 (beige) and line 9 (light green) and a ten-minute walk from the Military Museum stop on Line 1 (red).
From Beijing Capital International Airport
Take the Airport Express (which leaves from Terminals 2 and 3) to Dongzhimen on Line 2 (dark blue). Take two stops south to Chaoyangmen on Line 6 (dark beige). Travel seven stops to Baishiqiao South and transfer to Line 9 (light green) and travel four stops to Beijing West Railway Station.
You can also take Shuttle Bus No 7 from outside the terminal (follow the signs in the airport). Buses run every 30 minutes from 04:50 to 22:00. The cost is 30 RMB ($4) and journey time is around 90 minutes.
From Beijing Daxing International Airport
Take the airport Express to Caoqiao on Line 10 (light blue). Travel west six stops to Liuliqiao on Line 9 (light green). Travel two stops to Beijing West Railway Station.
Bus Line 2 goes to Beijing West and runs from 07:30 to 23:00.
Current Beijing to Xian Train Schedule
Trains from Beijing West to Xian North (Bullet Train)
Trains from Beijing West to Xian Railway Station (Sleeper)
Trains from Beijing West to Xian South (Sleeper)
Prices obtained from Trip.com in December 2019. Prices are in RMB (yuan).
Where to stay in Xian?
Xi’an offers everything from budget accommodation like the fantastic Travelling with Hostel next to the South gate to more luxurious hotels like the nearby Howard Johnson Plaza. Check Booking.com for a full list of options.
Looking for things to do in Xian? It’s not just all about the Terracotta Warriors and there is plenty to do in and around the city. See my comprehensive Xian City Guide for more.
More China Train Guides
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About the Author
Steve Rohan, originally from England, has lived in China for over six years. He has lived in the frozen city of Harbin, the ancient capital of Luoyang and now resides in the tropical paradise of Sanya on Hainan Island.
He has travelled extensively across Europe and Asia, mostly by train, and has written about his travels for this blog as well as self-publishing his first book, Siberian Odyssey.
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