Plan B for Short Trips - How to Take the Coach
The Sichuan area is distinguished for its mountainous terrain, and for quite some times in the past transportation was a huge problem, as exemplified in Tang dynasty poet Li Bai's remark "the road to Shu is more difficult than ascending into the sky". As transportation technology advances, not only has the Shu road become "less difficult," people have also been given more ways for commute and travel. Comparing with the train, the coach is noted for its flexibility and more frequent departures, as well as the ability to reach farther, isolated destinations. Today we will show you how to catch a coach.
Choose Coach Terminal
There are 11 coach stations in Chengdu, such as Shiyangchang Station, Shiling Coach Station and Beimen Coach Station, among others.
Looking to head off to hot destinations around Sichuan? Check out the table below for reference:
For a visit to Mount Emei, one option would be a trip to Leshan first, and then ride direct to Emei, or opt for a coach ride from Chengdu East Railway Bus Station. For a visit to Mount Qingcheng, one option would be a trip to Dujiangyan first, and then ride direct to Qingcheng, or opt for a coach ride from Xinnanmen Station in Chengdu.
Buying a Coach Ticket
Those with a foreign passport may purchase coach ticket both online or offline under a real-name verification system. Meanwhile, readers with a sufficient Chinese proficiency could try out the Sichuan coach system's ticket sales website or installing and using the corresponding mobile app "四川汽车客运票务网". For those a bit less proficient with the Chinese language, a viable option would be buying ticket from a service window at the coach terminal. Regardless of online or offline method, purchase of coach ticket requires information including real name.
Travelers may register an account on the website of the Sichuan coach system using a mobile phone number, then proceed to "Personal Center" to fill out basic info, and link up a mobile phone number and email account to receive verification code for ticket retrieval.
After completing the above step, then search for coach ticket according to place of departure, destination and departure date. Of which, coaches that depart on a fixed schedule will depart in accordance with the time shown on the ticket, so make sure to arrive at the depot ahead of time; other coaches operate on a rolling schedule and have no fixed departure time, just make sure to arrive at the station before the designated time. Choose the coach you want and hit the "Purchase Ticket" button to enter the ticket purchase order confirmation page.
Tips: There are four types of commercial coaches in 17 classes which are classified as advanced, medium and regular. The higher the class, the more comfortable the interior.
On the order confirmation page, we need to double check to make sure coach ticket info are correct, then fill out contact information (for receiving verification code) and passenger information. If you are bringing a child less than 1.2m in height, it is necessary to buy an accompanying children's ticket, and if the child is between 1.2m-1.5m in height, it is mandatory to purchase a regular children's ticket. After a successful purchase, a verification code will be sent to the contact person's mobile phone and email, which needs to be shown at the station to retrieve the purchased ticket.
Tips: If no verification was received, go to the "Personal Center" 30 minutes after payment to check if ticket purchase was completed. If "To be Retrieved" is shown along with verification code, that indicates a successful transaction; if an "Null" is shown, that means the ticket was not purchased, and the paid money will be refunded via the same method of payment in seven working days.
Foreign travelers may also bring a valid passport and proceed to a ticket counter at a coach depot to buy ticket, and accepted payment methods include Alipay, WeChat Wallet and cash. Ticket counters are usually located to the side of the passenger terminal. After buying your ticket, remember to double check the information on the ticket just in case there are any errors.
Ticket Check and Boarding
To get on the coach you would need your passport and a valid ticket. Coaches that depart on a rolling schedule have no fixed seats, so sit wherever you want; coaches operating on a fixed schedule usually have designated seats, so find your spot according to the info shown on your ticket. Large coaches and some medium-sized coaches have been outfitted with external luggage compartments, where you may deposit your larger baggage, but keep the important items on you. Other luggage that has not been stored in the exterior compartment will need to be brought onboard by passenger.
Remember to stay safe and buckle up, then get ready to enjoy your journey.
Want to take the train instead? Click here.