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  • Writer's pictureDavid Cheung

Getting Around China

China is a vast country with diverse regions, each offering unique experiences and attractions for travellers. From bustling cities to scenic countryside, China has something for everyone. However, for tourists, getting around in China can be challenging due to language barriers, complex transportation systems, and unfamiliar customs.

In this article, we will discuss the various modes of transportation available to tourists and provide tips on how to navigate them.

Air travel: China has a well-developed air transportation network, with numerous domestic and international airports. Major airlines like Air China, China Southern, and China Eastern offer regular flights to various cities in China. Air travel is a popular option for long distances, and it's often the fastest way to get around the country.

Train travel: China also has a vast network of trains, including high-speed trains (HSR) that run between major cities. HSR is a convenient and affordable way to travel in China. Tickets can be purchased online, at train stations or travel agencies, but it is advisable to book in advance during peak travel periods, like Chinese New Year.

Bus travel: Buses are another option for getting around in China. They are affordable, but they can be slow and crowded, especially during peak travel periods. Long-distance buses can be uncomfortable, so it's recommended to bring a neck pillow and wear comfortable clothing.

Taxi: Taxis are widely available in China, but they can be more expensive than other modes of transportation. It's important to ensure that the taxi is licensed and has a meter. In some cities, like Beijing, taxis have a flat fee for short distances, but for longer rides, the meter is used.

Subway: Subway systems are available in most major cities in China, and they are a convenient and affordable way to get around. Subway maps are available in English, making it easy for tourists to navigate the system.

Bike-sharing: Bike-sharing services like Ofo and Mobike are popular in China, especially in cities like Beijing and Shanghai. Biking is a great way to explore the city at a leisurely pace, and it's also environmentally friendly. To use bike-sharing services, download the app, scan the QR code on the bike, and ride away.

Private car hire: Private car hire services like DiDi are available in China. DiDi is similar to Uber and is available in most major cities in China. To use DiDi, download the app, register, and request a ride.

Tips for getting around in China:

  • Learn basic Mandarin phrases like "hello" and "thank you." This will help you communicate with locals and navigate transportation systems.

  • Have your destination written in Chinese characters, or show it on your phone to the driver or transportation personnel.

  • Carry a map or a GPS-enabled device with you.

  • Buy a local SIM card to access the internet and use translation apps.

  • Keep a copy of your passport and visa with you at all times.

Travelling and getting around in China can be an exciting and rewarding experience. By familiarizing yourself with the various transportation options and following the tips outlined in this article, you can navigate the country with ease and make the most of your trip.


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