There are many ways to get to the Great Wall. One of the easiest and cheapest in by public bus (I'll get the number soon!) (619?). You pick up the bus at a specific location in Beijing, but you can also get on farther north along the road to Badaling. Anyway, it's a great way to go, and will drop you off at the entrance.
There are tours offered by many hotels, but those are best for limiting options. Sure, everything's taken care of, but you may not have the time you want or need.
You can also catch a tourist bus from the southwest corner of Tienanmen Square, across the street to the west of the square.
the Metro system in Beijing is becoming better and better, they are building new lines and it is a fast way to get around beijing during traffic hours, which are... well from 8:30 am-8:30 at night in some parts of the city!
if you're going to be in Beijing for sometime, i would suggest investing in a card, you can take all metro lines, buses, and even some taxi's with this card (though it is easier to pay with cash when on a taxi and there is no discount)
the subways have all become 2 RMB since... march? of this year and you can take it to any stop you like (one time use only)
if you are new to this city and do not speak Chinese, take the subway or a Cab, though the subway is often crowded it is pretty simple to get from point A to point B and will be quicker btw 4:30-7:00pm
taking the bus very cheap (starting at 1 rmb, or 0.4 rmb with a card) is also easy once you figure out the routs, check out bjbus.com for more info
the card is 20 RMB (refundable) and you can add however much money you want to it. this can be bought at any metro stop.
Buses are extensive and incredibly cheap, but...
- buses can be very packed during rush hour s (7am-9am; 17pm-19pm)
- buses are unlikely on schedule
- bus stop signs are in Chinese only
- neither bus driver nor conductor understand English
First of all, thanks to other Vters who provided detailed info (and pics) on getting to Badaling by Bus 919 (sorry your names escape me at the moment but hey! you got my top ratings).
My sister and I took the bus to Deshengmen and walked a few short minutes to the tower building where Bus 919 originates. Note: if you take the subway, the nearest subway station is about 15-20 mins walk.
There are three places where you will see buses numbered 919, and not all of them go to Badaling. We chanced on the first parking lot with buses numbered 919 but were told it did not go to Badaling. The next place we tried was a bus stop just behind the (first) parking lot. Bus 919 stopped there and passengers were getting off but we were not allowed to board. We were mystified. To make matters worse, there was a man telling us it cost 20 RMB to get to Badaling by the 'slow' bus and 40 RMB by 'fast' bus (scam, no doubt).
I knew the correct fare was 12 RMB so we ignored him. I asked the next bus driver where to get the right bus and he pointed to the direction beside the tower building, well out of sight from where we were standing. Sure enough, the right one was just a minute's walk from where we were!
So depending on which direction you are coming from towards the tower, you may be lucky and hit the right parking lot for Bus 919 the first time. We only got the right one after the third round :- l
- In some Beijing buses you can only board from the middle door and exit from the front and back, so, be careful.
- You have to pay an extra ticket if your baggage occupies the area equal to a standing passenger.
- Keep the ticket with you whilst traveling on the bus because in some public buses when you get off there might be a conductor examining the passengers' tickets. Be careful.
- On a bus stop board, you can find information such as the number of the bus, departures, terminus, first runs, last runs, and the name of the current stop.
- If your final destination is a little bit long, I suggest you take first the subway and then transfer to the public bus.
- Some Beijing maps have detailed information about bus numbers and bus routes, though most of them are in Chinese.
- In Beijing public lines re-routing often occur, therefore, if you want to confirm ask the conductor or a passenger for help.
Some buses in Beijing (especially the newest ones) are installed with IC card readers (Check NOW my ‘Subway IC cards’ tip).
However, most of them don’t have this equipment and therefore must be the conductor the one responsible for the ticketing. Usually there is one conductor on common public buses and two conductors on long buses.
Before boarding the bus, you must pay attention to two things:
1. Check the bus sign or the exterior of the bus if it is marked self-service ticketing.
2. Make sure you have the correct change ready.
Using a 'Yikatong' IC card it is a nice deal because you can enjoy:
- 60% discount in 447 bus routes (including the buses beginning with 'dong4 tong1' characters)
- 20% discount for other bus routes
- You will spend at most CNY 0.4 for your trip instead of the former CNY 1 or 2 for the lines which have the flat fare system
- Unfortunately, it doesn’t apply to long distance buses.
Traveling by public buses in Beijing is relatively inexpensive, a flat fare is usually CNY 1.00 for the whole line and it applies to downtown public bus/trolley bus/night bus No.1 to No.212 (this No.212 is a night bus).
Bus operating time is from 06:00 to 23:00 every day.
Who doesn’t remember a few years ago those long worn-out buses in Beijing always crowded and looking ugly and dirty? Today is totally different.
Beijing authorities have been gradually replacing them with energy-saving green buses equipped with electronic bus-stop announcements, IC card readers, electronic monitors, and passenger-monitoring devices. Some of them even have mobile television with live broadcast televisions. Just amazing.
The bus system in Beijing is divided in the following way:
- Urban lines - bus No.1 to No. 122
- Night buses - bus No. 201 to 212
- Suburb lines - bus No. 300 to No. 949
- Air-conditioned buses - beginning with '8'
- Double-decker buses - beginning with the character 'te4', what means 'special'
- Tourist buses traveling along special lines heading to many scenic spots
Although some buses along the route of Chang'an Jie or places where there are a lot of foreigners announce the stop names in both Chinese and English, however, most of the buses in Beijing make announcements only in Chinese.
Besides, buses drivers usually don’t understand English and the names of bus stops are written in Chinese characters. So, if you want to go to a specific spot, show the driver or other passengers a piece of paper with the Chinese name of your destination in advance, I assure you that they will gladly help you when the bus approaches the place where you want to go.
You should also know that buses during peak hour (06:30-09:00 and 17:00-19:00) are very crowded.
Theft is also a problem on buses. Pay special attention to your purse, mobile phones, small bags, pockets, etc., especially when boarding and exiting the bus.
when arriving Beijing, you can choose taxi or shuttle bus at airport, the shuttle bus service has 6 lines, olny one goto Tianjin, another 5 goto Xi Dan, Gong Zhu Fen, Fang Zhuang, Beijing railway station and Zhong Guan Cun.
For most foreigners, Xi Dan line is the best choice, the end is very close to Wang Fu Jing.
the service time often from 6 am to 11 pm.
ticket price :16 RMB/person
If you working or living for a long time in Beijing, go anywhere by bus is the cheapest way, you should pay ony 1 RMB every time, and if you buy a IC bus card, it will give you a 60% discount, that is to say, 0.4 RMB every time.
you may check all bus line and station information in website, but at frist, you should learn Chinese hard :)
The public buses are surprisingly cooler as most of the buses are air-conditioned (for summer). Most buses plying the centre of the city has a flat fare of 1 RMB, regardless of distance though be prepared to pay 1RMB or 1.50RMB more if you're going further.
Simply flag the bus down and dump your money into the cashbox by the side of the driver or flash your card on a "Yi Ka Tong" or IC Card sensor to have your fare deducted.
Specific numbers ply specific routes. There is a bus conductor on the bus (usually) shouting the name of the next destination, though the more modern buses have electronic signs inside the bus as well, displaying the name of the next stop in English.
I hardly saw any westerners taking the buses. I would assume the language barrier is a daunting dam to overcome. But if you think you have guts and willing to try it out, well, give it a heave ho!
There is a store-value card called "Yi Ka Tong" (or IC Cards) you can purchase. This card will allow you to travel on both public buses and the Beijing Metro for a period of time or as long as you have money in the card! Save me the hassle of hunting down coins and small changes. It's kinda like the Octopus Card of Hong Kong and the Ezylink card of Singapore. There is a 20RMB deposit (which you can claim back from IC Card outlets) and on top of that, any amount of money you wish to add, depending on how much you think you're going to spend.
You get through the gates of the subway and board and alight the buses by flashing the card on a sensor and your fare will be automatically deducted.
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