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Transportation in China

By Air
Plane is the most convenient and fastest way of transportation in China, though it is relatively more expensive than other means of transport. China's airlines have witnessed a dramatic improvement every year over the last two decades. By the end of 2003, a total of 1,176 domestic and international airlines operated in China. Nowadays most cities in China have their own airport, and flying to other cities is easy and convenient as there are many agencies and hotels offering ticket bookings. Major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong also operate international airlines.

By Railway
Travelling by rail is an enjoyable, relaxing, and inexpensive way to see China's countryside. New or modernized equipment has replaced the old train systems in most areas. Travellers who lack the time to cover vast distances by train can still get a delightful taste of rail travel by journeying on popular short distance routes from Shanghai to the nearby cities of Suzhou, Nanjing, or Hangzhou; or from Beijing to Tianjin and Dalian. Amenities have been added to first-class train travel (known as "soft seat"), including comfortable waiting lounges at some train stations. You can book the tickets in most travel agencies and hotels. The hard seats or soft seats are ideal for short distances and hard sleeper or soft sleepers are suitable for long-distance travel.

Road & Highway
China's comprehensive highway network reaches every part of the country. All town and counties are easy to reach through the development of the highway system, with nearly 1.278 million km stretching across the country. China is currently investing significant funds in creating and improving its 1.76 million kilometers of highways. All China's tourism cities have good transportation and communication facilities.

Other Transportation in Beijing

Foreign visitors to Beijing can usually afford to take a taxi everywhere they want to go. The price ranges from 10 - 35 RMB for most destinations. Going to the airport can set you back up to 200 RMB. Still, when you convert it back into local currency is still cheaper than most places in the world. The main problem is communication. Be prepared to have your destination written in Chinese characters to hand to the driver, because most of drivers cannot speak English. You might need to take a taxi somewhere in your free time, so please ask hotel staff for assistance.

The subway in Beijing is rather limited at the moment with just 4 lines in operation. It costs 3 RMB to most destinations, with outlying suburbs costing 4 or 5 RMB, but this will change within the next few years. By 2008 there are likely to be 13 lines in Beijing covering the whole city and the airport. Right now, the subway is a great way to beat the growing Beijing traffic chaos. The hotels we have chosen are usually close to the station, please ask our staff for directions.

These are for the real adventurous travellers out there. There are many different kinds of buses with prices starting at 1 RMB for a non-air-conditioned crowded bus. 2 RMB might buy you some air conditioning and a few less people. Of course, the language is a major problem as there are virtually no buses with any English information.

China used to be called the world of bicycles (and there are 9 million bicycles in Beijing). In most parts of China, riding bikes is still a convenient form of transportation in the city. In Beijing, visitors may choose to ride a bicycle into the city's numerous back alleys and hutongs to discover or experience local customs and habits. Bicycles can easily be rented for 20-30RMB per day, or purchased for 150-500RMB. Parking your bike is easy as there are many places to park bikes all over the city and the charge for this service is less than 0.5RMB.

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