How to Get Around China

By | May 24, 2022


Traveling by plane

According to top-medical-schools, the three largest Chinese airlines are Air China (CA), China Southern Airlines (CZ) and China Eastern Airlines (MU), which connect numerous cities in the country. There are also a number of smaller airlines serving destinations across the country. Regular flights from Beijing and Guangzhou (Canton) to Hong Kong are operated by various airlines. The Taiwanese airline China Airlines (CI) connects Shanghai, Fuzhou, Wenzhou and Wuhan, among others, non-stop with Taipei (Taiwan). Air China (CA) operates flights between Beijing and Lhasa (Tibet) and from Tianjin, Hangzhou, Chengdu and Chongqing to Taipei (Taiwan). Cathay Dragon (KA) connects Hong Kong with Guangzhou twice daily.

Air Travel Note

Domestic flights can be booked locally for a small fee at the local CITS office or directly with the airlines. Advance booking is recommended in April, May, September and October as high surcharges can be expected on site.

Departure fee

Airport Fee: Approximately €6.50 (¥50 RMB), payable in cash upon check-in. Departure fee for flights to Hong Kong and international: approx. €11.50 (¥90 RMB), from Hong Kong approx. €6.50 (¥50 RMB).

Traveling by car/bus

About 80% of Chinese towns are connected to the road network; Motuo and Tibet are not. The distances are not comparable to European standards; from Beijing to Shanghai, for example, you drive 1,461 km. An express highway connects Beijing with Tianjing. A four-lane toll highway runs from Hangzhou to Ningbo. In addition, the Beijing-Taiyuan, Guangzhou-Shantou, Nanjing-Shanghai, Shanghai-Hangzhou, Shenyang-Dalian, Wuhan-Yichang, Xian-Tongchuan and Haikou-Sanya routes on Hainan Island have been developed as expressways. Toll: Most of the highways, some national roads and bridges (Donghai Bridge, Hangzhou Bay Bridge, Danyang-Kunshan Bridge) have to pay tolls, which mostly have to be paid in cash.

Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic


Condition of the roads

The road quality is very different. Motorways and busy roads are very well developed, and the motorway network is constantly being expanded.

Road classification

Roads in China are divided into: – Motorways and National Roads; both marked with a G and a number; – provincial roads; marked with an S and a number; – county roads; marked with an X and a number and – so-called Xiangdao, streets in cities and towns.

Car rental

Rental cars are only available with a chauffeur.


Taxis can be found everywhere in the cities. It is advisable to have the destination address in writing with you so that you can show it to the driver (hotel’s business card, etc.).


Bicycles, motorbikes and scooters can be rented from rental companies in the cities; Bicycles often even in the hotel.


Bus travel is very popular in China. In particular, the larger cities and many places that cannot be reached by train are served by buses. The buses at low fares are often overcrowded. But there are also connections with luxury buses. The main long-distance bus station in Beijing is called Liuliqiao. In Shanghai, the long-distance bus station is located at the north end of the main train station on Zhongxing Road.


Traffic regulations: – right-hand traffic; – alcohol limit: 0.0 ‰; – Telephoning with mobile phones is not permitted while driving. Maximum speeds: – in built-up areas: 30 km/h; – extra-urban: 60-80 km/h (car), 50-60 km/h (motorcycle); – Motorway/Expressway: 110-120 km/h.

Roadside Assistance

The ADAC foreign emergency call offers ADAC members and holders of ADAC foreign health and accident insurance comprehensive assistance in the event of vehicle breakdowns, traffic accidents, loss of documents and money, and medical emergencies. The emergency number is available around the clock; for vehicle damage: Tel. +49 (89) 22 22 22, for illnesses: +49 (89) 76 76 76. The ADAC partner club in China is the China Automobile Association (CAA) in Beijing, Tel. +86 (10) 57 33 16 88.


The national and international driver’s license are NOT valid in China. Drivers are required to obtain a Chinese driver’s license, which can be issued as a provisional driver’s license for a stay of up to 3 months; for longer stays, the regular Chinese driving license is required.

Traveling in the city

Buses are very cheap but often overcrowded. There are subway networks in Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin. A maglev train connects Shanghai Pudong Airport (PVG) with Metro Line 2 at Longyang Station (journey time: 8 minutes) on the outskirts of Shanghai. Many other cities have trams or trolleybuses. Taxis are readily available in major cities. A sticker on the outside of the car door provides information about the price per kilometer. One should make sure that the taximeter is switched on; You should inquire about the price before you start your journey. However, taxi drivers rarely understand a foreign language. It is therefore advisable to ask the hotel for an address of the destination written in Chinese and to have a business card of the hotel with you for the return journey. Taxis can also be hired for the day. Motorbike taxis, motorbike tricycles and cycle rickshaws are available at train and bus stations. Bicycles can be rented in larger hotels and certain shops, among others. Motorbike tricycles and cycle rickshaws are available at train and bus stations. Bicycles can be rented in larger hotels and certain shops, among others. Motorbike tricycles and cycle rickshaws are available at train and bus stations. Bicycles can be rented in larger hotels and certain shops, among others.

Locally on the way by train

Trains are the main means of freight and passenger transport in China and are mostly safe and punctual. The main routes run from Beijing to Guangzhou, Shanghai, Harbin, Chengdu, Tianjin and Urumqi and from Guangzhou to Hong Kong. The high-speed lines in China cover about 30,000 km. The 1,318 km long high-speed line of the China Railway between Beijing and Shanghai connects the two metropolises in just 4 hours 48 minutes with stopovers in Nanjing, Tianjin and Jinan, among others. The night train between Beijing and Shanghai takes 9 hours 15 minutes. There are also high-speed connections between Beijing and Tianjin (journey time: 30 minutes) and between Guiyang and Chengdu (journey time: 3 hours 30 minutes to 5 hours). Beijing and Hong Kong are connected by a high-speed railway via Wuhan and Guangzhou (journey time: 9 hours). The Qinghai-Tibet Railway connects Lhasa with Qinghai Province. There is a connection to Beijing from the Golmud terminus. Travel time to Beijing is 43 hours. At over 5,000 meters above sea level, it is the highest railway in the world. Train tickets are available online from China Railway, directly from the train station, through travel agencies and hotels. It is advisable to buy the tickets at least 10 days in advance.

Traveling by ship

Ferry services are offered on the larger rivers. Victoria Cruises offers year-round Yangtze River cruises between Chongqing and Shanghai via Wuhan and Nanjing. CKS operates regular ferry services between Hong Kong and mainland China.

Transportation of China