As the nation's capital, getting to Beijing is straightforward. Rail and air connections link the capital to virtually every point in China, and fleets of buses head to abundant destinations from Beijing. Using Beijing as a starting point to explore the rest of the land makes perfect sense.
Beijing has direct air connections to most major cities in the world. For more information about international flights to Beijing,
Daily flights connect Beijing to every major city in China. There should be at least one flieht a week to smaller cities throughout
China. The prices listed in this book approximate only and represent the n discounted air fare.
Purchase tickets for Chinese carriers flying from Beijing at the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) in the Aviation Building or from one of the numerous other ticket outlets and service counters around Beijing, and through most midrange and top-end hotels. Discounts are generally available, so it is important to ask For online bookings, Ctrip (www.ctrip.com.cn) can deliver your ticket to you.
You can make inquiries for all airlines at Beijing's Capital Airport. Call 6454 1100 for information on international and domestic arrivals and departures.
No international buses serve Beijing, but there are plenty of long-distance domestic routes served by national highways radiating from Beijing.
Beijing has numerous long-distance bus stations (, Positioned roughly on the city perimeter in 'he direction you want to go.
Buses from Bawangfen long-distance bus station (Bawangfen Changtu Keyiinzhan) in the east of town serve Places such as, Baotou and Qinhuangdao, plus destinations in the northeast including Changchun (Y291, 12 hours, four daily), Shenyang (Y199, 7V4 hours), Dalian and Ha'erbin (Y341, 14 hours, at 6pm and 8pm).
The nearby Sihui long-distance bus station has departures to Tianjin (Y23, hourly 6.30am to 4.30pm), Chengde (Y56 to Y74, four hours), Qinhuangdao (Y78, 3'/2 hours, five per day), Baotou (Y150,12 hours, 9.30am and 2.30pm), Changchun (Y240, 12 hours, 5pm), Dalian (Y275 to Y282,10 hours, 4.30pm and 6.30pm) and Dandong (Y224, one daily).
Liuliqiao long-distance bus station (Liiiliqiao Changtuzhan; 83831716), southwest of Beijing West train station, has buses north, south and west of town including Datong (Y125 regular), Baotou (Y150, three daily), Shacheng (Y45, two hours, 11.50am and 2pm), Shijiazhuang (Y75 regular), Chengde (Y60 regular), Luoyang (Y248, four daily), Xi'an (Y180), Hefei (Y180), Yinchuan (Y237), Dalian (Y282, 4pm) and Xiamen (Y880, 11.30am every other day).
The nearby Lianhuachi long-distance bus station (Lianhuachi Changtu Qichezhan) has buses south to Shijiazhuang (Y50 regular), Luoyang (Y165, once daily), Anyang (Y105, twice daily), Ji'nan (Y100, once daily) and Yan'an (Y245, once daily).
Another important station is Zhaogongkou long-distance bus station in the south (useful for buses to Tianjin).
Travellers arrive and depart by train at Beijing train station, southeast of the Forbidden City, or the colossal Beijing West train station in the southwest. Beijing train station is served by its own underground station, making access simple. International trains to Moscow, Pyongyang (North Korea) and Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) arrive at and leave from Beijing train station; trains for Vietnam leave from Beijing West train station. Buses 122 and 721 connect Beijing train station with Beijing West train station.
The queues at Beijing train station can be overwhelming. At the time of writing, an English-speaking service was available at ticket window 26. Information is available at window 29. A foreigners ticketing office (S 24hr) can be found on the 2nd floor of Beijing West frain station If von ran't face the Queues, ask your hotel to book your ticket or try one of the train ticket offices around town where you pay a Y5 commission for your ticket. One train ticket office can be found just west of the Lao She Teahouse; another train ticket office can be found east of Xinjiekou Nandajie.
FROM BEIJING TRAIN STATION
From Beijing train station, 'Z' class overnight soft-sleeper express trains do the trip to Shanghai in 12 hours, with several trains departing nightly. In the reverse direction, trains depart for Beijing from Shanghai at similar times.
Other fast express trains from Beijing train station include Suzhou, Hangzhou), Hefei), Changchun, Ha'erbin and Nanjing .Typical train fares and approximate travel times for hard-sleeper tickets to destinations from Beijing train station include: Changchun, Dalian, Datong), Hangzhou ,Ha'erbin, Ji'nan , Jilin , Nanjing , Qingdao , Shanghai , Suzhou ,), Tianjin , and Urumqi .
FROM BEIJING WEST TRAIN STATION
Fast 'Z' class express trains from Beijing West train station include Fuzhou (Z59, 5.38pm, hard seat Y253, hard sleeper Y458, 19 hours 40 minutes), Changsha (Z17, 6.16pm, 13 hours), Nanchang (Z65, 7.34pm, hard sleeper Y319, ll'/2 hours), Wuchang (Zll, 9.06pm, hard sleeper Y281, 10 hours), Hankou (Z77, 9.18pm, Y281, 10 hours) and Xi'an (Z19, 9.24pm, Y417, 11 hours).
Other typical train fares and approximate travel times for hard-sleeper tickets to destinations from Beijing West train station include: Changsha (Y345,14 hours), Chengdu (Y418, 26 hours), Chongqing (Y430, 25 hours), Guangzhou (Y458, 22 hours), Guiyang (Y490, 29 hours), Hankou (Y281, 10 hours 20 minutes), Kunming (Y578, 40 hours), Lanzhou (Y390, 20V, hours), Shenzhen (Y467, 23V4 hours), Shijiazhuang (hard seat Y50, two hours 45 minutes), Kowloon (Y480, 24 hours 23 minutes), Urumqi (Y652,44 hours),
Yinchuan (Y262, 19 hours), Xi'an (Y274, 12 hours), Yichang (Y319) and Xining (Y430, 24'/i hours).
For Lhasa in Tibet, the T27 (hard seat Y389, hard/soft sleeper Y813/1262,48 hours) leaves Beijing West train station at 9.30pm, taking just under two days. In the return direction, the T28 departs Lhasa at 8.30am.
FROM BEIJING SOUTH TRAIN STATION
Beijing's brand-new Beijing South train station (Beijing Nanzhan; Map pp 122-3) opened in August 2008. High-speed trains - the world's fastest intercity trains - depart from here for the 30-minute journey to Tianjin.
FROM BEIJING NORTH TRAIN STATION
Inner Mongolia is served by trains from Beijing North train station
GETTING AROUND To/From the Airport
Beijing's Capital Airport (Map pi 17) is 27km from the centre of town or about 30 minutes to one hour by car depending on traffic.
The newly opened Airport Line light-rail link (Y25, first/last train to airport 6.30am/ 10.30pm, first/last train from airport 6.30am/ 11.05pm) runs every 15 minutes, connecting Capital Airport with Line 2 of the underground system at Dongzhimen.
Numerous buses also run to and from the airport. Almost any bus that gets you into town will probably do; then you can hop in a taxi and speed to a hotel or link up with the underground system.
Several express bus routes ((B) 6459 4375 or 6459 4376) run regularly to Beijing every 10 to 15 minutes during operating hours. Tickets on all lines are Y16. Line 3 (first/last bus from Capital Airport 7.30am/last flight, first/last bus from Beijing train station 5.30am/9pm) is the most popular with travellers, running to the Beijing International Hotel and Beijing train station via Chaoyangmen. Line 2 (first/last bus from Capital Airport 7am/last flight, first/last bus from Aviation Building 5.30am/9pm) runs to the Aviation Building in Xidan, via Dongzhimen. Line 1 (first/last bus from Capital Airport 7am/l 1pm, first last bus from Fangzhuang 5.30am/l 1pm) runs to Fangzhuang, via Dabeiyao, where you can get onto the subway Line 1 at Guomao. Check that your bus runs to the correct terminal.
A bus also runs from Nanyuan Airport -Beijing's other airport - to the Aviation Building in Xidan, coinciding with departures and arrivals.
Many top-end hotels run shuttle buses from the airport to their hotels.
A taxi (using its meter) should cost about Y85 from the airport to the city centre, including the Y15 airport expressway toll. Join the taxi ranks and ignore approaches from drivers (see boxed text, below). When you get into the taxi, make sure the driver uses the meter. It is also useful to have the name of your hotel written down in Chinese to show the driver.
Flat as a mah jong board, Beijing was built for bicycling and the ample bicycle lanes are testament to the vehicle's unflagging popularity. The increase in traffic in recent years has made biking along major thoroughfares more dangerous and nerve-racking, however. Cycling through Beijing's hutong is far safer and an experience not to be missed .
Budget hotels often hire out bicycles, which cost around Y20 to Y30 per day (plus deposit); rental at upmarket hotels is far more expensive. Rental outfits are increasingly common, including the (expensive) centrally located streetsideoperation on finyu Hutong, which hires out bikes for Y10 to Y20 per hour, Y60 to Y80 per day. Another rental operator can be found by exit B of the Gulou Dajie subway station .
When renting a bike it's safest to use your own lock(s) in order to prevent bicycle theft, a common problem in Beijing.
Before the Olympic Games, foreign visitors were effectively barred from driving in Beijing. Only residents who had lived in Beijing for one year could apply and licence application procedures took a month to process. Such draconian restrictions were to be lifted for the Olympic Games, but may have been reinstalled. Check with Hertz (@ 800-8108 833) for the latest news. Taxis are cheap and hiring a driver is a proposition, which can be arranged through Hertz (from Y520 per day), at major hotels, CITS (§fj 6515 8587) or other travel agencies.
A rechargeable transport card for the underground, buses and taxis is available from subway stations and kiosks.
Relying on buses can be knuckle-gnawingly frustrating unless it's a short hop; thick congestion often slows things to an infuriating crawl (average speed below lOkm/h) where Beijing creeps by in slow motion. The growth in bus lanes (there was a target of 400km worth in 2008) aims to speed things up. Getting a seat can verge on the physical, especially at rush hour. Beijing's Chinese-only bus routes on bus signs are fiendishly foreigner-unfriendly, although the name of the stop appears in pinyin.
Fares are typically Yl or under depending on distance, although plusher, air-conditioned buses are more expensive. You generally pay the conductor once aboard the bus, rather than the driver.
Buses run Sam to llpm daily or thereabouts, and stops are few and far be-tween. It's important to work out how many stops you need to go before boarding. If you can read Chinese, a useful publication (Y5) listing all the Beijing bus lines is available from kiosks; alternatively, tourist maps of Beijing illustrate some of the bus routes. If you work out how to combine bus and subway connections, the subway will speed up much of the trip.
Buses 1 to 124 cover the city core; 200-series are yeban gonggong qiche (night buses), while buses 300 to 501 are suburban lines.
Special double-decker buses 1 to 8 run in a circle around the city centre and are slightly more expensive, but spare you the traumas of normal public buses and you should get a seat.
The subway (ifeffc ditie) is both fast and reliable and enjoyed massive expansion before the Olympic Games. Currently nine lines are operating (including the Airport Line), with two more under construction, including Line 9 which will link Beijing West train station with Line 1 and Line 4.
Line 1 (Yixian) runs east-west from Pingguoyuan to Sihui East; Line 2 (Erhaoxian) is the circle line following the Second Ring Rd; Line 4 (Sihaoxian) links Gongyixiqiao and Anheqiao North; Line 5 (Wuhaoxian) runs north-south between Tiantongyuan North and Songjiazhuang; Line 8 (Bahaoxian) connects Jiandemen with Forest Park; Line 10 (Shihaoxian) follows a long loop from Jingsong in the southeast to Bagou in the northwest; Line 13 runs in a northern loop from Xizhime to Dongzhimen, stopping at 14 stations; and the Airport Line connects Dongzhimen with the terminals at Capital Airport. The
Batong Line runs from Sihui to Tuqiao in the southeastern suburbs. At the time of writing, the flat fare was Y2 on all lines (Y5 if you swap between Line 13 and the rest of the subway system).
Trains run at a frequency of one every few minutes during peak times and operate from Sam to llpm daily. Disabled passengers note that escalators often only go up. Only a few platforms have seats. Stops are announced in English and Chinese. Subway stations are identified by subway symbols, a blue, encircled English capital 'D'.
Beijing taxis come in different classes, with red stickers on the side rear window declar-ing the rate per kilometre. Y2 taxis (Y10 for the first 3km, Y2 per kilometre thereafter) include a fleet of spacious Hyundai cars, with air-con and rear seat belts. The most expensive taxis are Y12 for the first 3km and Y2 per kilometre thereafter. Taxis are required to switch on the meter for all jour-neys (unless you negotiate a fee for a long journey out of town). Between llpm and 6am there is a 20% surcharge added to the flag-fall metered fare.
Beijing taxi drivers speak little, if any English, despite encouragement to learn 100 basic phrases for the Olympics crowd. If you don't speak Chinese, bring a map or have your destination written down in char-acters. It helps if you know the way to your destination; sit in the front (where the seat belt works) with a map.
Cabs can be hired for distance, by the hour, or by the day (a minimum of Y350 for the day). Taxis can be hailed in the street, summoned by phone or you can wait at one of the designated taxi zones or outside hotels. Call H6835 1150 to register a complaint. Remember to collect a receipt (ask the driver to fapiao); if you accidentally leave anything in the taxi, the driver's number appears on the receipt so he or she can be located.
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