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Transportation Getting Around By

Getting There

To get to Beijing you have three options: by air, by train or by bus.

By Air
The largest airport in China, Beijing Capital Airport (Tel: 64653604), is about 25 kilometers (16 miles) northeast of Beijing center. Till 1999, Beijing Capital International Airport Co. Ltd has 38 major foreign cooperative airline companies, 21 domestic airlines, 1 Hong Kong airline and 1 Macao airline. After arriving you can exchange a small amount of Chinese Yuan at the Bank of China counter near the Arrival Hall Exit.
After arriving in Beijing you can go into the city by one of the following means:

By Airport Shuttle
The airport shuttle runs every 30 minutes from early 5:30 to 20:00, which varies with different routes concerned and costs 16RMB (about $2). The bus stops at certain places in the town and you may need to hail a taxi later to reach your final destination.

By Airport Taxi
The legitimate taxis are lined up in a long queue outside the Arrival Hall. The line is usually quite long but taxis move quickly so you won't wait long till you get one. At the head of the line a dispatcher will give you your taxi's number, which is useful in case of complaints. They charge about 100RMB or more for the taxi fee according to the meter, which includes an expressway toll of 15RMB. After 23:00, you should pay more.

By Hotel Shuttle
The easiest way is to go by hotel shuttle. Most major hotels have this service. When making a hotel reservation, be sure to include a service of shuttle service from the airport.

By Train
If you are in other cities of China, you may get to Beijing by train. There are four railway stations in Beijing: Beijing Railway Station (in eastern Beijing), Beijing West Railway Station (in the southwest of the city), Yongdingmen Station (in the south) and Xizhimen Station (in the north). Many buses stop at these stations, so you need not worry about getting downtown from these places.
Some of the major domestic routes include:
Xian to Beijing: generally takes about 10 hours
Guangzhou to Beijing: takes about 30 hours
Harbin to Beijing: takes about 20 hours
Shanghai to Beijing: takes about 14 hours.

By Bus
If you are in a city which is closed to Beijing you will find to get to Beijing by bus is very convenient. There are four major long-distance bus stations: Dongzhimen (northeast; Dongzhimenwai Xiejie), Muxiyuan (south; Haihutun, Fengtai District), Beijiao (north; Deshengmenwai) and Majun or Guangqumen (east; Guangqumenwai).

Getting Around

When in Beijing, you have different options on how to get around.

By Bicycle
China used to be called the sea of bicycles and in Beijing today the bike is still a convenient vehicle for most people. Renting a bike may be a better way for you to see this city at your own pace. You can rent a better bike in your hotel and pay 20-30RMB for a day's rent, with a certain amount of money for the deposit first. You can also rent bikes at some bigger booths for repairing bikes and inflating tires, the charge for renting bikes there is lower as the bikes are not as new. When needed, you park your bike in a bike park, which can be easily identified by the large amount of bikes on roadsides. The charge is less than 1RMB.

By Pedicab
Pedicab is a good choice for sightseeing, especially for visiting hutongs on your own. You can find them on the street too. Generally speaking, it costs more. You must bargain with the driver first, asking him how much ("duo shao qian" in Chinese), and make everything clear, like the money is for per ride or not; it is for one way or a round trip; it is paid in RMB or USD, etc. The legally registered pedicab can be identified by a certificate on it, and the driver has a card hanging around his neck.

By Bus
City public buses run from 5:30 till 23:00 daily. Taking buses in Beijing is quite inexpensive but less comfortable than taking a taxi or the subway. The flat rate for an electric car and ordinary public car is 1RMB. Buses equipped with air-conditioning or of special line are charged according to the distance. Few foreigners like getting around by bus, because it is always crowded, especially during rush hours (6:30-9:00 and 17:00-19:00). More conductors begin to offer the stop's name in English but they don't know any more English. So to write down some commonly used sentences in Chinese is quite helpful. Minibuses, serving from 7:00 to 19:00, charge the flat rate of 2RMB guaranteeing a seat. They are faster and more comfortable. Note one more thing: when squeezing in a bus or on a bus, take care of your wallet.

By Subway
Most visitors, Chinese or foreigners will find the subway train clean, fast and relatively comfortable, except during weekends or rush hours, when the subway train is very crowded. The subway runs every 4 or 5 minutes daily from 5:00 to 22 or 23:00, according to different first stations and the fare is 3RMB per ride for any distance. There are two subway lines in Beijing: one runs under Chang'an Avenue and its line extends from Sihuidongzan in the east to Pingguoyuan in the west; another one circles under the northern part of the Second Ring Road. You can transfer between these lines at Fuxingmen station and Jianguomen station with no transfer fee.

To find a subway entrance, you can study your map first, to see which intersection is the nearest station. At each station there are usually four entrances in four directions. Then you should look for a large blue sign with letters BD inside a circle. If you still can not find it, you may ask a Chinese "di tie". Then walk down stairs to enter a station and go to get the ticket. The tickets are sold above the platform. When going down to the platform, hand your ticket to the checker at the top of the stairs. On both tunnel walls of the platform, you can see signs and maps in Chinese and Pinyin indicating the next station and helping you to decide which subway train to take. Over the door inside the train you also can find complete system maps in Chinese and Pinyin, and an announcement tells you the name of the next station both in Chinese and English. So if you find you are on the wrong way, you can just get off at the next station, (It usually takes about 4 or 5 minutes to travel between stations.), and get on the train running to the opposite direction. No transfer fee will be charged.

Here we provide a complete subway system map for you.

By Taxi
It's very easy to hail a taxi anywhere in Beijing. And a taxi is the preferred transportation choice for most foreigners, because it isn't expensive and it is quite easy to hail one. The taxi charges 10RMB for the first three kilometers and 1.2, 1.6 or 2RMB thereafter per kilo according to the type of the taxi. The bridge and road tolls will be paid by passengers. For a journey that takes longer than 10 kilo or running after 23:00, the fares will be charged at 50% more. When in a taxi, make sure the meter is on. Before getting off, make sure you ask for a receipt (shou ju in Chinese) with the taxi's number on, in case of any complaint. Most drivers don't understand English, so write down your destination in Chinese beforehand. For taxi complaints, ring 68351150.

By Waterway
Today you can travel around certain places by water in Beijing. So far two courses have been offered: Changhe course and Kunyuhe course. In addition, there are some tourist boats available, like in Shichahai.

Changhe Course
The course is 9 kilometers long, running from the lake Kunming to the lake Beizhanhou Hu. By boat you will pass Yiheyuan dock, Changhewan dock, Wanshou Temple, Ziyuwan dock, Zizhuyuan Park, Beijing Library, Beijing Zoo, Beijing Aquarium, Beijing Exhibition Hall, a bridge: Maizhong Qiao, Guangyuanzha, Five Pagoda Temple (Wuta Si), Gaoliang Qiao, etc. This course used to be the channel by which the Imperial Family went to westwards to summer. The boat starts off from Beizhanhou Hu at 9:30, 13:00, and 15:30 and at 10:45 and 14:15 from Yuheyuan daily.

Kunyu Course
The course runs 10 kilometers from Kunmen Hu to Yuyuan Tan, passing Yuheyuan dock, Changhewan dock, Linglong Park, Enji Park, Benjiaoyuan dock, CCTV tower dock, Yuyuan Tan (Bayi Hu dock), Aquatic Fairyland, Song Qingling Children's Park, etc. Later the course will be extended to Gaobeidian Hu, visitors will be able to enjoy more scenic spots on boats, like White Cloud Taoist Temple (Baiyun Guan), Tianning Temple, Grand View Garden, Temple of Heaven, Longtan Hu Park, etc. The boat leaves Bayi Hu at 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, 13:00, 15:00 and 16:30 and leaves Yiheyuan at 9:05, 10:05, 11:05, 14:05 and 16:05.

In Shichahai, apart from the Hutong Tour, you can also travel by a southern style boat with a long scull, fully enjoy the old life style.
Course one: back gate of Beihai-Drum Tower-Yinding Bridge-Hutong Tour-back gate of Beihai.
Course two: back gate of Baihai-Shichahai Front Water-Yinding Bridge-Shichahai Back Water-Hutong Tour-Gongwangfu Garden.

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