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Last updated : Nov 2009
China Getting There - International Travel
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The national airline is Air China (CA).

Airlines serving China include: British Airways, KLM, Finnair, Qantas, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, SWISS, as well as many others.

Note: Travellers should be sure to reconfirm their return flight reservations, as overbooking by airlines has resulted in people being stranded in China.

Approximate flight times

From Beijing to:

  London: approximately 10 hours

  New York: 22 hours

  Los Angeles: 12 hours

  Sydney: 12 hours

International airports

Beijing/Peking (BJS/PEK) airport (Capital International Central) is located 25 kilometres (15 miles) north of the city (30-40 minutes by bus and taxi).

Guangzhou/Canton airport (Baiyun) is located 7 kilometres (4 miles) from the city (travel time – 20 minutes).

Shanghai Hongqiao (SHA) airport is located 13 kilometres (8.1 miles) southwest of the city (travel time – 25-40 minutes).

Shanghai Pudong (PVG) airport, in the new eastern financial centre is situated 30 kilometres (19 miles) from the city centre (travel time – 50 minutes by bus or taxi) and has been handling international flights since March 2000. Pudong is due to become the city’s major international airport with a magnetic levitation train (opened in 2003) and an underground link (scheduled to open in 2005).

Facilities at the above airports include taxis, public and shuttle buses, banks/bureaux de change, duty-free shops, post offices, business facilities, restaurants and bars. There are also airports at several other major cities.

Departure tax:RMBY90. Children younger than 12 and transit passengers are exempt.


Main seaports are Hong Kong/Kowloon, Guangzhou (Canton), Fuzhou (Foochow), Qingdgo (Tsingtao) and Shanghai. Pearl Cruises operates more than 20 cruises a year to China. Other cruise lines include Holland America, Pricess, NCL Asia Cruisetours, Silversea and Seabourn.

There are scheduled ferry services connecting most Chinese ports with Kobe in Japan and the west coast of Korea (Dem Rep). Ferries operate between Weihai, Qingdao, Tianjin and Shanghai in China to Incheon in Korea (Dem Rep).


International services operate from Beijing to Moscow (Russian Federation), on both the Trans-Mongolian Railway (via Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia) and the Trans-Manchurian Railway (via Zabaikalsk in northern China). There is also rail service from Beijing to Pyongyang (Korea, Dem Rep). Due to demand, it is sometimes necessary to book as long as 2 months in advance.

A scheduled train service operates from Hong Kong to Guangzhou (Canton), and is of a better quality than internal trains in China. Several trains operate daily. Services between Shanghai-Kowloon/Hong Kong (travel time – 29 hours) and Beijing-Kowloon/Hong Kong (travel time – 30 hours) both operate on alternate days. There are two trains each week from Almaty in Kazakhstan to Urumqi. There are three fares: hard sleeper, soft sleeper and deluxe soft sleeper.

Note: Passengers on the Trans-Mongolian or Trans-Manchurian Railways are strongly recommended to search their compartments and lock the doors prior to departure, due to an increase in smuggling along this route.


The main roads into China follow the historical trade routes through Myanmar, India, the former Soviet republics and Mongolia. One can travel from Pakistan to Xinjiang on the Karakoran highway.
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