Domestic Transportation in China

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Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Moving about in the city is mostly by taxis; there are a lot of them (60,000 in Beijing) and they are quite inexpensive. The size of the cities makes walking around difficult. The cities are very congested, so it is better to plan and leave early for an appointment. Beijing has 5 metro lines while Shanghai has 9 of them. Magnetic charge cards for the metro are very useful since they can be used to pay taxis also. They can be charged at all the metro station ticket counters and at the local grocery stores. Buses are plenty and cheap, but uncomfortable since they are often jam-packed.
Very important: Keep addresses of places where you want to go written in Chinese since the pronunciation does not often correspond to the transcription in Pinyin.
Maps of Urban Networks
University of Texas Library on line
Urban Transport Agencies
Beijing Metro
Shanghai Shentong Metro Company
Taxi Companies
Haibo Taxi
Shanghai JinLing Taxi Service Co Ltd

Transportation From Airport to City Centre:






Car Rental
Shanghai-Honggiao (SHA) 16 km / 10 miles CNY 60-100/25-40 min CNY 3 / 35-40 min - Available
Beijing-Capital (PEK) 28 km / 17 miles CNY 135 / 30-40 min CNY 16 / 45 min - Available

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

Bus: is the primary means of transport between cities.
Train: Generally in good condition although links are usually slow (for example: Canton-Beijing: 36 hours)
Airplane: Domestic companies have a low rate of accidents. The schedules are generally adhered to although the airports have reached their saturation levels.


Visit the China Vista website for further advice on the means of transport in China.

Rail Companies
Ministry of Railways (website in Chinese)


Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
Air China Major Yes Yes
China Southern Airlines Major Yes Yes
Jetstar/Jetstar Asia/Valuair low cost No Yes
Shanghai Airlines Major Yes Yes
China Eastern Airlines Major Yes Yes
Spring Airlines low cost Yes No
Elong Major Yes Yes

You Can Consult the List of Airlines Banned Within the EU. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).


Traveling By Yourself

The state of the road network, which is rapidly developing, is overall satisfactory on the major roads although they are poorly marked. Driving in China is risky. It is better to rent a car with a driver or to hire a driver if you buy a car.
Driver's License
It is possible for foreigners living in China to obtain a Chinese driver's license.
If you have a driving license of a foreign country, you have to just take the written part of the driver's test (the equivalent of the rules of the road) to obtain the Chinese driver's license.
Conditions For Renting a Vehicle
Foreigners not holding a Chinese driver's license cannot rent a car. It is however possible to rent a car with a driver. Rental agencies and travel agencies provide this type of service.
Rental Agencies World
Website of the Avis car rental agency in China
Shanghai Car service
Shanghai Longhui leasehold
Find an Itinerary
Google Maps
Traffic Conditions Online
Webcam China
Parking Facilities
The country has limited space to build parking lots. This problem will grow with the increase in the number of cars as the standard of living improves.

Rules of the Road

Minimum Driving Age
18 years
Side of the Road For Driving
Speed Limits
30 km/h (19 mph) in single-lane city roads
100 km/h (62 mph) in express streets of the city
120 km/h (75 mph) on expressways
Safety Belts
Permitted Amount of Alcohol in the Blood

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