Getting Around China

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  • angiebabe's Profile Photo

    Buying flight tickets online

    by angiebabe Updated Mar 8, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is an excellent website for buying tickets when you are in China www.elong.net - also www.ctrip.com and www.travelchinaguide.com is also handy for loads of info and for train and plane tickets.

    Ive used it to buy internal flights 5 times so far, with only one problem in any of those purchases, was when they rung me back to check my credit card and ask for the HSBC contact number in Australia so they could get authority for the use of my card for ticket purchase....they never rang me back to say theyd not made contact and i went off to the airport - thankfully was able to buy a new ticket at the airport at the same price)

    You dont need to print out the invoice - though i took the opportunity to for two of the purchases but either times not required.

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  • angiebabe's Profile Photo

    Excellent website for following train timetables

    by angiebabe Updated Mar 8, 2014

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    This is excellent to be able to look up train times in English - wwww.travelchinaguide.com - as getting tickets is not also an easy feat! (best having train code, time, fare etc all ready on paper when you want to buy...and some places have long queues.

    If you can read hanzi/Chinese characters then you can access the Chinese website that allows you to also purchase the tickets and print them out)

    but with www.travelchinaguide.com, you can keep up with the trains and how many tickets are left while you are deciding which train to take and whether to pre purchase a ticket or how long you might otherwise need to arrive to buy at the train station if possible (most trains in China are booked up before the day of departure - unless its a more expensive high speed train and then you have more chance of being able to hold off pre buying)

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Airport at Qingdao

    by gwened Written Oct 19, 2013

    well finally arrive at my final destination the nothern city of Qingdao, where the tradition has it for good beers ::)

    The airport here was quick and nimble on the way in I took the hotel shuttle waiting, and on the way back local colleague took me back. The hotel was about a 10 minute ride!

    The airport site in English has a very good info to those coming in without local support,
    http://www.qdairport.com/qd/2009/en/index.do?method=airport&code=domesticdepartures&type=passengerguide

    a very good bus service is available here
    http://www.qdairport.com/qd/2009/en/index.do?method=airport&code=airportbus&type=transportationguide

    The curbside drop off is very easy to get out and the counters are just there, easy in and out. The waiting area on arrival is Under cover so no worries if rains or snow.

    Qingdao was nice, see you here somehow someday...

    arrival on Terminal 2 the Terminal 2 gates domestic side the public bus city and airport it seems good
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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    airport at Pekin

    by gwened Written Oct 19, 2013

    Continuing my saga, on my way home needed to pass by here and spent 4 hrs in the airport, this is coming in with China Eastern Airlines on arrivals from inland China.

    Again did not leave the airport but plenty of public transport here
    http://en.bcia.com.cn/traffic/map/map_t3.shtml

    most people I spoked with speaks English so the travel around it was easy. I did had some food at LEi Cafe by B gates before passing by customs checkpoint.

    http://en-shopping.bcia.com.cn/store/708.html

    The whole process was fast and easy, I was able to go thru customs come back out to eat and go back in later on. I need to as my flight was leaving for Paris at 1AM!!! local time.

    All you need to know to move about in the airport is here in English
    http://en.bcia.com.cn/guide/

    Enjoy Pekin China, maybe next time can go out.

    from Lei Cafe to customs gates at Pekin departure hall Terminal 2 the gates after passing customs my AF plane waiting for me ::)
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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    airport at Guangzhou

    by gwened Written Oct 19, 2013

    well this was my entry point to China coming from Indonesia, so not much to go out ,just Inside airport visit.

    The restaurant is very modern, I came in on area B arrivals with China Southern airlines, and quickly into immigration, customs, and then security. Pretty fast and smooth.

    I departed on gate B208 on China Eastern Airlines, again very smooth.

    For those staying over ,there is an airport express bus service to city center There are with stop at area A and B. There is also taxi service. ONce in the city there is a metro /subway/tube service. The metro has five lines.

    there is also bus companies to take you to nearby cities such as Wuzhou, ,Zhaoqing ,etc.

    The shopping is extensive, with many international brands such as Bally, Mont blanc, L-Occitane, Burberry etc etc. Many souvenirs food goodies are represented as well such as lei kei bakery. The Yeasun stores are franchise of 7 Eleven stores. To eat you have the fast food McDonalds, Subway, KFC, as well as local KBT, and Kungfu. You hve Starbuck at the 3F connecting corridor in the control area.

    you will be ok, it even has a Pullman hotel right at airport.

    hall or area B at Guangzhou the gardens at Guangzhou the shopping building by 1F Pullman hotel just across street the Airport Express bus
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  • smirnofforiginal's Profile Photo

    TRAINS TRAINS TRAINS

    by smirnofforiginal Written Sep 23, 2013

    Trains are a relatively easy, cheap and convenient way to travel around China. Tickets cannot be booked more than 20 days in advance which can be a nuisance if you are needing to be planned, prepared and are in transit because the popular journeys at busy times of the year (eg summer holidays when China are also on their summer holidays) can get booked fast.
    However, tickets can be provisionally booked. The best way to do this is to go via ChinaTripAdvisor. As soon as the tickets come on sale they will grab them for you. They also provide Chinese print outs to show the train conductors in the case that you are needing to be off the train before the final stop, especially if it is a sleeper train.

    Sleeper trains have soft sleepers and hard sleepers. Soft sleepers are 4-berth carriages with locking doors. Hard sleepers are still soft with blankets and pillow but the carriage is divided into open compartments of 6 sleepers 3-berth high (the top bunk is very high to climb up to!). Lights go out automatically to request everybody goes to sleep! The downside is there is not space to sit to talk to your companions unless you have the bottom bunk. If you do not get on at the trains starting station do not be surprised to find a chancer taking a nap on your bed - do not be polite... kick em out! Daytime trains (on seats) can be noisy affairs but also good fun with locals!

    All trains (daytime and sleepers) have ample vendors selling fruit, drinks, snacks etc... It is usual to be given a kettle of hot water so that you can make pot noodles (these are also sold on the train).

    Do not expect anybody in the trains stations or on the trains to speak any English.... this can be problematic when booking tickets at a ticket office. My tip would be (if you have an English speaker at your hotel) to get them to write down exactly what you want so that the ticket office can read and issue. Trains have numbers and these are written in western numerals which is a big help. Stations are also written in both Chinese and English but, if in doubt, show the Chinese name to somebody and people will always help.

    To purchase tickets in China you will need your passport. If you are in a city with more than one train station make sure you know exactly which station you need as fast trains can often depart from different stations to slow trains etc...
    If your tickets have been pre-booked, to collect them you will need your booking reference number and your passport. Ticket purchase and collection usually occurs in a building separate to the actual train terminal.

    To get into the station you have to go through security.
    Look for your train number. You will wait there. People will start queuing about 30 minutes before the guards open the doors to the platform. Be prepared for elbows, pushing and a complete scrum. Carriages have numbers (in western numerals) by the doors. You will need to look on your ticket to see which carriage you are in. On very long sleeper trains platform guards will check your ticket and guide you to the exact spot where you should wait. There is no messing around - the train comes in and you don't have a long time to get on. There are two warnings before the doors close. There is a guard at each door so they will tell you if you are trying to get on in the wrong place... and will help. It can seem daunting but it is really quite easy and it all runs incredibly smoothly.

    On overnight sleeper trains the ticket conductor will take your ticket, stash it in their passenger book in place of the plastic card they then give you. Before you leave the train they will return to exchange tickets again - this helps to ensure you get off at the right stop!

    Measure your children or shorter people as there are discounts according to height!

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  • TheAndos's Profile Photo

    Train from Beijing to Xi'an

    by TheAndos Written May 30, 2013

    We took the overnight train from Beijing Station which looks more like an aiport terminal than a railway station. Security, waiting room. The train is non-stop.

    The 'soft' sleeper has two bunk beds ie 4 passengers. Luckily, we were travelling with friends so we had the whole compartment. At one end of the carriage is a western toilet, the other end is Asian. There are also two washrooms, with 3 basins each for washing teeth etc.

    A refreshment cart comes up and down the corridor but you may like to take your own nibbles. Hot water is available at the end of the carriage, and the compartment has a thermos flask you can fill, so you can take coffee/tea.

    The beds have sheets, doonas and pillows. With the help of a light sleeping pill, I had a good eight hours rest!

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  • Homanded's Profile Photo

    HOW TO PURCHASE AIRLINE TICKETS

    by Homanded Written Apr 2, 2013

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    Always book flights within China. Much cheaper and readily available that way.
    I always use elong.net to get an idea of pricing.
    I seem to remember needing a chinese credit card to book, if not, you can book directly once you find a good deal/flight price.
    For instance, right now, one way between Xi'an and Beijing is 450 Chinese Yuan or, about USD $70.00 but you might find it cheaper.
    You'll need to book either at airport or at a travel agent once there.
    It is much easier than you think. No problem with language.
    You can book all of your inter bookings at one sit if you know your dates and destinations.
    Elong in English: flight.elong.net/index_en.ht...
    Use the XE currency converter link to do your conversions:
    xe.com/currencyconverter/con...

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  • Sevsa's Profile Photo

    First Class Waiting rooms in Chinese train station

    by Sevsa Written Mar 19, 2013

    If you hold a first class ticket on a Chinese train you can wait in the First Class Waiting area at the train station. Unfortunately they are usually not easy to find but are well worth the effort because it is much more relaxed and less noisy in these areas/rooms. If you can find someone official who speaks English they might help. They are usually in out of the way areas of the stations behind closed and often locked doors. You might have to ring a doorbell and you definitely have to show your ticket to the person on duty.

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  • xymmot's Profile Photo

    TRAVELING DURING SPRING FESTIVAL

    by xymmot Written Oct 18, 2012

    Chinese New Year travel is the worlds largest human
    migration. With the Chinese workers all over China,
    the next forty days of the spring travel season, it is
    estimated that over 700 million Chinese will travel
    home. In the USA on holidays we travel in the millions
    in double digits, yet the Chinese travel in triple digits
    It is hard to concieve that 150 million people travel in
    China
    on one of the busiest travel week . So get your
    tickets early and travel before the rush.

    Below is a web site for upcoming events for Chinese
    new Year.
    http://www.chinatravel.com/focus/chinese-new-year/

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  • iblatt's Profile Photo

    Show luggage tags when you exit

    by iblatt Written Sep 15, 2012

    In many Chinese airports the authorities want to make sure that you leave the airport with your own suitcase and not with somebody else's.

    For this purpose the airport staff is positioned at the luggage claim exit and ask you to show the luggage tags attached to your boarding pass, and compare them to the markings on the luggage you are carrying on your way out.

    So, make sure you have the luggage tags ready for inspection.

    Notice in Chengdu airport
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  • mikelisaanna's Profile Photo

    Taxis in large Chinese cities

    by mikelisaanna Updated Jul 19, 2012

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    In the major cities of China, taxis are the best way to get around. In the five cities that we visited (Beijing, X'an, Chengdu, Guilin and Shanghai), the taxis were usually Volkswagen Jettas. They were clean (definitely cleaner than New York City cabs and comparable to London), and had enough room for three people in the back and one up front. Prices were very reasonable. It usually cost only about $2 or $3 to get from one point to another within the city. Airport runs were more expensive, reaching $15-20, which is still a bargain relative to the US or Western Europe.

    One thing to keep in mind is that most Chinese cab drivers do not speak English or any other Western languages. You need to get a Mandarin speaker to write down your destination and its address in Chinese characters, which you then hand to the driver when you get into the taxi. Most hotels have preprinted cards with their name and address in characters.

    You hail taxis on the street by holding out your arm, just like in New York or London. Large hotels have taxi stands, as do the airport terminals. Unlike New York, Chinese cab drivers do not expect tips. However, if you have a good driver and want to tip them, feel free. It will definitely make them happy.

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  • DennyP's Profile Photo

    TRAIN TRAVEL IN CHINA IS EXCELLENT WAY TO GO.

    by DennyP Updated Feb 6, 2012

    %TRAINS
    Travelling by train in China is an excellent way to travel. China has one of the most vast train and railway networks in the world. The trains are clean, comfortable, fast ,reasonably quiet and with good security. I found travelling across China a great experience.
    Although I Always carry my own food and water. Train water can be very dubious...Just fine for washing but not drinking. The restaurant cars were excellent with fast , cheap, hot, with a big selection of tasty Chinese dishes... The majority of my train journeys were long and with sleepers...These were clean , cheap, secure, and warm..I will return to China soon to travel across the country from east to west..which will I am sure be a great journey.
    China has the fastest train in the world that travels from/to Shanghai from Beijing and then there is aslo the highest train in the world now is found here with the opening of the Tibet /Beijing Express.Im sure anyone doing any of the amazing train journeys that can be taken here would not be dissapointed. Some of the most popular International trains journeys also can be joined here in Beijing: The Trans Mongolian to Ulanbataar and Moscow. Links up with The Trans Siberian Express journey to Moscow /Vladivostok.The Trans Manchurian to Harbin links up also with the Trans Siberian.
    Any further information on these journeys can be found on my "Travelogues"
    AROUND THE WORLD BY TRAIN can be found on my homepage with many tips on long distance train travel.
    ALWAYS CARRY YOUR OWN FRESH BOTTLES OF WATER ON TRAINS
    DO NOT DRINK TRAIN WATER UNLESS IT HAS BEEN BOILED
    CARRY A METAL MUG WITH YOU FOR TEA, COFFEE, HOT NOODLES,

    TRANS MONGOLIAN EXPRESS BEIJING-ULANBATAAR-MOSCOW ALWAYS A SECURITY GUARD AT EACH DOOR AT STOPS DINING CAR ON CHINESE EXPRESS, CLEAN FAST,CHEAP, ONE OF THE EXCELLENT WAITING ROOMS WHEN CHANGING NATIONAL TRAIN SLEEPER COACH  NANNING TO BEIJING
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  • Chicha15's Profile Photo

    Transportation Trap

    by Chicha15 Updated Jan 25, 2012

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    Getting around China can be expensive if you rely on cabs. They seem to hike up the price for tourists most of the time. We tried to get a cheaper option by taking the motorized rig but once at our destination they more than doubled the price and little did we know we were not even at our destination! Beware of these guys! they will promise but not deliver! Maybe calling a taxi from the hotel woudl be a safer bet...

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  • ant1606's Profile Photo

    Hong Kong airport to Dongguan

    by ant1606 Updated Jan 21, 2012

    The best option to reach Dongguan (and other locations) from Hong Kong airport - and vice-versa - is through a "Limousine Service" aboard 8-seater minvans. Tickets for the Trans-Island Limousine service company can be bought at the C02 counter in HKG airport terminal for the price of about 210-240 HK$ one way. Service is provided directly to major hotels. Travel time is about 3-4 hours including the HK-China border crossing via bridge into Shenzhen where long lines can be expected at the inspection booths.

    HK/China border via bridge into Shenzhen Trans-Island Limousine service Trans-Island Limousine service
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