11Transportation in China

If your next travel destination is China, then here will provide you the best guide of transportation in China. The transportation system in China has experienced major growth and expansion since 1949. Nowadays, China has a comprehensive transportation network of flights, trains, highways, subways, and waterways. Among these, high-speed rail lines, highways, and many new subways, have perhaps improved the daily lives of local people most dramatically. The online booking system for all of these transportation is also well developed, which allow travelers to book tickets online anywhere around the world easily. 

Air

Traveling by air is the most convenient and the fastest way from international cities to most cities of China. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), a governmental department for administration of China’s civil aviation and transportation services, takes charge of about 1,035 domestic regular flights. Beijing, ShanghaiHong Kong and Guangzhou are considered as the gateway cities and air hubs with many international daily flights. 

At present, there are a total of 76 international airports in use in China, including 70 in mainland China and 6 in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. Among them, Beijing Capital International Airport, Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Hong Kong International Airport are the world’s top 10 busiest airports in 2017.

Related Reading:

Read more about Air in China.

Air Travel Tips

China Visa-Free Policy
In China, you can just drop in and have a fun time in China major cities with 72-hour/144-hour visa-free transit policy. At present, there are 18 China cities with 72-hour visa-free transit policy and 6 China cities with 144-hour visa-free transit policy. Read more about 72-hour Visa-free Transit Policy and 144-hour Visa-free Transit Policy

Luggage Regulations
First-class Ticket: 40 kg for free
Business-class Ticket: 30 kg for free
Economy-class Ticket: 20 kg for free
Children who pay 10% of the adult fare have no free luggage allowance.

Keeping Reading on China Flights FAQs & Tips.

Train

Train, as the most principle transport mode in China, accommodates enormous passengers transport volume. China railway is undergoing fast development, especially its high speed railway. By now, the railway network in China has totaled 131,000 kilometers and will reach 150,000 kilometers by 2020. These railways cover almost every place in China, even remote mountainous areas, plateaus, and the seaside.

China Railway Corporation(an organization operating the country’s rail system) also operates several international passenger trains to nearby countries including Russia, Mongolia, North Korea, and Vietnam. In addition, several international railways are under construction or planning such as China – Thailand RailwayChina – Laos RailwayChina – Pakistan RailwayChina – Nepal Railway and China – Myanmar Railway

China currently has the world’s largest HSR system and high-speed train has been the top choice of more and more travelers in China. Among Chinese railway network, about 22,000 km belong to high speed railways. Currently, the high-speed train is denominated as one of the Four Great New Inventions of China. Currently, the high-speed railway is almost cover the major cities of China. It is very popular to travel BeijingXian, BeijingShanghai, GuilinGuiyang, LanzhouUrumqi, ChengduChongqing, YichangWuhan…by high speed train. 

Related Reading:

Read more about Rail transport in China.

Train Travel Tips

Train Tickets Booking
It is not easy to buy train ticket in China as the official China Railway Website (12306.cn) doesn’t support English, also requires Chinese payment methods. You can only buy ticket at the railway station or let the travel agency to book for you. The ticket can be booked 30 days in advance. Passport is always necessary for both ticket booking and train boarding.

Holidays Avoiding
Main holidays in China are Chinese New Year (February 15 in 2018), Qingming Festival (April 5 in 2018), May Day (May 1), Mid-Autumn Festival (Aug. 24 in 2017) and National Day (Oct. 1). Chinese New Year should be noted due to the Spring Festival Travel Rush known as the earth’s biggest human migration. Try to avoid these Chinese holidays.

Keeping Reading on China Train FAQs & Tips.

Highway

Almost all cities, counties and towns in the city are accessible by highways. The length of highways in China amounts to 1.18 million km, including 68 national highways and over 1600 provincial highways. The system of national-level highway is known as the 7918 network, composed of 7 radial highways from the capital Beijing, 9 north-south highways and 18 east-west highways.

Road conditions are usually very good, but be prepared that in remote areas such as Guizhou, Tibet and Xinjiang, the roads might be poor. Beijing, as the capital of China, has 11 national highways, linking with plenty of other cities such as Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan, Chengdu, Changsha, Taiyuan and Xian

Traveling by highway/road is not as comfortable as traveling by flight or high speed train. We suggest that you don’t use long distance buses unless you go to the remote places which other means of transportation cannot take you to such as some attractions in Tibet, Sichuan, Yunnan, etc.

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Read more about Roads in China.

Highway Travel Tips

Tickets Buying
Travelers can buy tickets at the long distance bus station, travel agencies, ticket-booking website, etc. Be aware that it is often possible to buy tickets from a ticket seller at the bus itself. Ticket prices vary according to the condition of the bus. It is advisable to take the expensive ones, for they are cleaner and more comfortable.

Suggested Alternatives
Though taking a bus is possible for tourists, there are better ways to travel to most places. With China Dragon, travelers can enjoy private service with private guides and experienced drivers for you. It’s more convenient, safe and flexible.

Keeping reading on China Road Travel FAQs & Tips.

Waterway

China has a coastline of some 18,400 kilometers and more than 5800 rivers with a total length of 400,000 kilometers. It has 110,000 kilometers of navigable rivers, streams, lakes, and canals.  The main navigable rivers in China are the Yangtze River, Yellow River, Pearl River, Xijiang River, Huangpu River and Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, etc. a Choosing a cruise ship as the vehicle to go out for travel in China, you can have a special enjoyment and experience, as well as enjoy the interesting and beautiful scenery along the river.

Most Popular China Cruise

Yangtze River Cruise
A Yangtze cruise, ordinarily between Chongqing and Yichang, a total of 193 km, is a journey to visit the most attractive parts of the Yangtze River. The highlights of a Yangtze cruise includes: sailing across the natural wonder – Three Gorges, visiting Three Gorges Dam – the world-largest dam, exploring the authentic lives of local people & culture, etc. Scenery en route are hundreds of relic and cultural sights and breath-taking natural attractions.

Keep reading on Yangtze River Cruise.

Li River Cruise
Covering 84 kilometers waterway from Guilin to Yangshuo, Guilin Li River Cruise is a wonderful experience to enjoy Karst landscape in southern China. The landscape of Li River usually reputed as the symbol of the natural landscape in China. On comfortable cruise ship, travelers will be marveled at the green mountains, strange caves, cormorant fishing scenes and tranquil villages. A visit to Guilin without Li River Cruise would not be complete.

Keeping reading on Li River Cruise.

Grand Canal Cruise
Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal is the longest man-made river in the world. Scenery on the way is mainly the unique water villages in south China such like Wuzhen, Zhouzhuang and Tongli and China’s rolling tranquil countryside. The 146.6km Suzhou-Hangzhou section of the Grand Canal, enabling the passenger to feast his eye on the natural beauty of this water-bound land south of the Yangtze River. 

Keeping reading on Grand Canal Cruise. 

Hupu River Cruise
With a total length of 113 kilometers, Huangpu River is the mother river of Shanghai. You can take the Huangpu river cruise to see the modern building complexes of Shanghai, the beautiful view of the Bund, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower and the Pudong New Area. The whole cruise takes about 45 minutes.

Keeping reading on Hupu River Cruise.

Read more about Waterways in China.

Transportation Between Main Tourist Cities

Urban Transport

Urban transportation plays an important role in each city of China. Many convenient modes of transport are available in urban areas of China for you to take such as public buses, taxies, bicycles. In major Chinese cities, subway, light rail and even Maglev trains can all be considered as good ways for you to get around the city. 

Subway

Traveling by subway is probably the best way for tourists to get around the city. Now more than 20 cities have subways lines including Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Chengdu, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Chongqing, Kunming, Wuhan, Changsha, Nanjing, Zhengzhou, Harbin, Dalian, Tianjin, Shenyang and more cities. More subway systems are under construction, or in the planning stage in these and other cities. 

For foreign tourists, it’s a good way because there are English signs and maps on the ticket card.

More information about Subways in China and Metro in China

Public Bus

In China, almost all major cities are equipped with a developed bus transport system. Bus transport is economical and convenient, so it’s the main choice of local people getting around. If you don’t know Chinese, we don’t recommend you to take the bus alone because most bus drivers don’t know English. No matter at the bus station or in the bus, almost all the words are written in Chinese. Pay attention to your belongings which may attract pickpockets when you take the bus.

Most of the buses run only during the daytime from about 06:30 to 19:30, and there may be buses in some cities running through the night. Self-service ticketing buses are common in the country, with CNY1.00 or CNY1.20 for one ticket. Some will charge according the distance you take.

More information about Bus Stations in China

Taxi

Taking a taxi is the most comfortable and secure way of getting around. Taxis are everywhere at any time of day and night. It could be different in color and fare in different cities. Most taxi drivers in China speak only Chinese, so you must have the destination address written in Chinese characters if you cannot speak Chinese.

The fare of taking a taxi is composed of  the starting fare, and the fare of over starting mileage, and fuel charge. Prices vary by city but are usually very cheap. In big cities, all the vehicles have a meter, almost systematically used. You can also negotiate the price with the driver before getting into the car. 

More information about Taxis in China.

Bicycle

Bike-sharing programs are inexpensive, promote health, and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. In the most cities of China, the Bike-Share system was well developed. Two major bike-share companies in China has more than 7 million bikes in operation in over 150 cities. And rent a bike in China only take few steps on a smart phone app, now the public bicycles already become one of the major transportation in the urban areas of China. 

Recommend Bike-Sharing Apps:
Mobike(Nationwide Bike-Sharing App/Chinese)
Hellobike(Nationwide Bike-Sharing App/Chinese)