transportation in China
is a large country. Chances are, as a foreigner, you are likely
to fly from city to city or spend most of your time in tour coaches
or hired transportation. However, if you do spend any significant
period of time in China on your own, why not dive into local
Chinese public transportation.
of us came into China expecting half of the Chinese population
to be on bicycles. Nothing can be further from the truth today.
cars and taxis seems to be the most common mode of transportation
today and in fact, you can hardly see bicylces in the streets
in some of the major cities in China! Many young adults in China
may not even know how to cycle!
you are new to China, start with taxis. Taxis are easily flagged
in the street and are generally clean and comfortable. Depending
on the city you are in, fares starts from RMB5 (US$0.8) to RMB12
(US$1.2) and runs on taxi-meter. In most large Chinese cities,
the driver will turn on the taxi-meter but in some of the smaller
taxi drivers may ignore the taxi meter and insist on a certain
pre-determined price. Request that they turn on the meter or
threaten to change to another taxi or report them to the authorities.
are lucrative and most drivers will avoid getting into trouble
with the Chinese authorities.
Chinese taxi drivers do not speak English and it may be advisable
to carry your intended destination
Be aware that in large cities like Beijing and Shanghai,
even taxi drivers can get lost! So, always have your destination
on hand or have the other party mobile phone on hand so that
the driver can communicate with the other party direct for driving
will be able to print receipts. Always ask for a receipt at the
end of a journey. In case you leave behind something, a receipt
will be useful to
trace the driver and the taxi.
Buses in China
bus in cities are the most common and popular form of public
transport. Public bus fares in China are extremely cheap and
usually cost a flat RMB1 or RMB 2 (US$0.15 to US$0.25). You pay
the same price regardless of the distance you travel.
can pay with coins or notes or you can get a smartcard which
entitles you to a discount. Be careful when travelling in crowded
buses as pickpockets are not unknown. Most of the big cities
buses are air-conditioned.
a Chinese colleague or friend to advise you on what buses to
or Subway in China
trains are not found in most Chinese cities except the biggest
ones such as Beijing or Shanghai.
then, these subways network are not well developed as compared
to other major cities around the world. In fact, Beijing subway
is so disappointing with just two major lines given that it is
such a large city.
a Chinese colleague or friend to advise you on what subway line
Trains in China
has an extensive railway system and train fare are cheap
and are very punctual. Book your tickets at
the hotel reception or at the railway station. Railway stations
are usually in a busy part of town. Some large cities such as
Beijing or Shanghai may have as many as 4 railway stations. Be
certain which station you need
to go to as each station may serve different destinations.
tickets may be pre-booked and there are different classses of seats.
Normal seat structure are 'ying zhuo' or hard seats, 'ruan zhuo'
or soft seats, 'ying pu' or hard bed and 'ruan pu' or soft bed.
These are various classes of comfort and normally the advice
is to go for soft seats for journeys up to 6 hours and soft bed
for journey more than that. Check with the ticketing office for
my advice. Avoid the hard seat class whenever possible as seats
are not reserved and you may end up standing for your entire
journey. Standing for up to 12 hours with sweaty Chinese farmers
and their chickens and ducks are certainly not the most memorable
more information about Chinese public and private transportation,
check out this interesting China
Book. Or email
us for further information.