Buy Train Tickets in China
Q: I'm planning to travel by train from Guangzhou to Kunming. How soon can I I purchase the train ticket? Also, while I am still in Guangzhou, can I also purchase the train tickets from Kunming to a nearby city and the train ticket from Kunming to Guangzhou? I plan to stay in Kunming and neighboring area for one week.
Train tickets are generally sold about 10 days in advance. so that's how soon you can buy your tickets in Guangzhou. From Guangzhou to Kunming it is a long journey, a train ride of 25 hours. That means you need to get yourself a sleeping berth, ideally a soft sleeping berth. Train tickets may be hard to come by, especially those for sleeping berths, so indeed you need to plan in advance.
As for purchasing tickets for tains that depart cities other than the one you are currently in. If the city from which you're going to depart is the original departing place of a train, then you can try to purchase a ticket for this train while you're still in some other city. In your case, while you're still in Guangzhou, you can try to purchase a ticket for a train that is going to leave Kunming, say, 4 days later, on the condition that Kunming is the original departing city of that train - if the particular train comes from somewher else and just stops and goes through Kunming, then you cannot buy a ticket for that train while you're still in Guangzhou.