Ticket stubs and memories

I’ve always kept ticket stubs from China travel expeditions. Like most things in China, they tend to be fairly extravagant and they also make wonderful souvenirs.

Entrance ticket for Beihai Park, Beijing.

An old entrance ticket to one of my favourite places in Beijing – Beihai Park

After 9 years of travel to and around China, I’ve certainly got a few; some of these have made it into hefty photo albums; others lie scattered at the bottom of draws and bags, to be discovered by surprise on rainy weekends or long bus journeys.

They bring with them waves of nostalgia for me, but I also think they’re just generally fun to look at.

But entrance tickets are not just about having pretty pictures and an official stamp.

Some feature an interesting use of English:

Some tickets tend to feature the landmark looking its very best (naturally). This can mean there is sometimes a slight discrepancy between what you see on your ticket stub and what you see with your own eyes if you tend to visit during the ‘off-season’. This fab little entrance ticket for the Simatai section of the Great Wall shows it looking mysteriously awesome, cloaked in fog and lush green foliage.

A photo of the Simatai section of the Great Wall

Simatai in the Summer

However, at the time of my visit just at the end of winter and following recent restoration work, it looked more like this:

Simatai in the Winter

Some have useless tiny maps on the back:


This “map” featured on the entrance ticket for the immense Tiger Leaping Gorge. NB: Map not to scale.

Some tickets double as teeny weeny postcards (complete with a map):


Ticket for the Ganden Sumtseling Monastery near Tibet (back).


Ticket for the Ganden Sumtseling Monastery (front).

Some feature some highly dubious photoshop editing:

Public transport tickets have less ambitious designs.

This humble ticket stub is an old Beijing subway ticket, which I picked up back in 2005  when I went travelling around China for 6 weeks.

Old Beijing paper subway ticket

Before the advent of the Yikatong travel card, Beijing’s subways only issued tiny paper tickets.

There used to be a single person stood at the exit collecting tickets from the thousands of people who flowed through the subways each day to stop them just dropping them all over the floor. It wasn’t very effective and hundreds of these tickets would be fluttering about and sprinkling themselves all over the subway floor like confetti.

These tickets have now been replaced by snazzy re-usable yitong travel cards, which resemble and work in the same way to London’s Oyster card (except, you get no discount on travel).

Beijing's yikatong

Beijing’s Yikatong travel card, which can be used on subways and buses.

So what’s my favourite souvenir ticket, ever? It’s probably this one:


Wanshan Park in Danyang.

Sure, the ticket is pretty bog standard, but I love it so much because it brings with it memories of this:


Being followed constantly by flocks of excitable Chinese school kids who were utterly impressed by our presence in the park.

Do you keep ticket stubs from the places you visit? What makes you hang onto them?

This post was inspired by a similar post by travel blogger extraordinaire – Troo Adventure. Go check it out!

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2 responses to “Ticket stubs and memories

  1. I keep tickets to the places I travel. Not sure why because they just get stuck in boxes. I have some great ones from China too. Great post 🙂

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