Getting Around - Internal Travel
Most long-distance travel inside China is by air. The Civil
Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) operates along
routes connecting Beijing to more than 80 other cities by 14 regional
airlines, servicing all major cities and several sites. CAAC
operates several other private carriers including China
Eastern, Chian Southern, China Northern,
Great Wall and Yunnan Airlines.
Tickets will usually be purchased by guides and the fare will be
included with any tour costs.
Independent travellers may also book with the local Chinese
International Travel Service (CITS), which receives a small
commission, or alternatively purchase tickets from booking offices.
It is recommended to purchase internal air tickets well in advance
if travelling during the months of May, September or October. The
tourist fare for a ticket is 70% on a train ticket and 100% on an
air ticket. There are several connections to Hong Kong from
Beijing/Guangzhou (Peking/Canton) as well as many other
cities. Safety records are variable.
Whenever possible, travellers are recommended to fly in UK or North
American aircraft which are used by many larger airlines.
Departure tax: RMBY50.
All major rivers have ferries, especially the Yangzi.
Coastal ferries operate between Dalian, Tianjin
(Tientsin), Qingdao (Tsingtao) and Shanghai.
There are scheduled ferries operating between mainland China and
Hong Kong, conditions on which vary.
Railways offer the main means of transport for
goods and people throughout China. The routes are usually cheap,
safe and well maintained.
The major routes are from Beijing to Guangzhou,
Shanghai, Harbin, Chengdu
and Urumqi. Three types of trains are in service,
of which Express is the best.
There are four different fares: hard seat, soft seat (only short-distance
trains such as the Hong Kong to Guangzhou (Canton) line), hard sleeper
and soft sleeper. Children less than 1 metre (3 feet) tall travel
free and those under 1.3 metres (4 feet) pay a 1/4 of the fare
Traffic drives on the right.
80% of settlements can be reached by road. Roads aren't always in
good condition. Don't underestimate distances, and make sure vehicles
are in prime mechanical condition as China is still very much an
agricultural nation lacking mechanical expertise or services normally
available in the West. From Beijing to Shanghai
is 1,461 kilometres (908 miles), and from Beijing
to Nanjing (Nanking) is 1,139 kilometres
Bus: Adequate services are operated connecting
the main cities. Buses are usually crowded, but can travel to parts
of of the country that trains can not. There are also some more
expensive luxury coach buses.
Car hire: Available, however, most rental companies’
policy of keeping the driver’s passport renders self-drive
car hire impossible in practice for visitors. Vehicles with a driver
can be hired by the day or week. Driving standards are erratic at
Shanghai has a metro system and
limited metro services operate in Beijing and Tianjin,
and tramways and trolleybuses
in several other cities. New lines are being constructed in Beijing.
Guides who travel with every visitor or group will ensure that internal
travel within the cities is as troublesome-free as possible.
Most cities have public transit systems, normally bus.
Taxi: Taxis operate in large cities but
are sometimes difficult to find. It is best to check if the taxi
has a meter. If not, then one should agree on a fare before departing,
particularly at railway stations where it is best to haggle before
getting into the taxi. Visitors should write down their destination
before beginning any journey. Taxis can be hired by the day.
The majority of people travel by bicycle or public
transport. In most cities bicycles or rickshaws
are available for short rides.
The below chart gives approximate travel times (in hours and minutes)
from Beijing to other major cities/towns in China.