We’ve just discovered a fantastic new iPhone/iPad application for travel in China. The train ticket app though is really out of this world!
As amazing as the train infrastructure is in China, it still has its quirks. You can only buy tickets six days in advance, if you don’t use an agency you also need to show up yourself, with a passport in hand (regulations change seemingly daily), and no one will speak English unless you go to the train station itself and get in a special line.
But unless you are traveling in a peak time, such as Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) or National Week, train tickets are quite plentiful, and you really don’t need to pay extra for an agency to get them for you.
The App, called ITC for Train, locates ticket agencies around you, searches by destination or train number, tell you the schedule, duration of the trip, and usually the price if available. This gets you past the most obvious hurdle of figuring out which train you need with someone who only speaks Mandarin! Hooray for technology. It’s seriously awesome.
Oh, and it even has status updates. A-mazing!