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Urban Transportation

Urban transportation plays an important role in each city of China. With improvements in road construction, more convenient transport options are available. Public buses, taxies, bicycles are the most common vehicles for you to take. In some modern and developed Chinese cities, subway, light rail and even Maglev trains can all be considered as good ways for you to get around the city.

A national network of roads including national, provincial highways and countryside ways has build and greatly improved. Moreover, great efforts are being made to construct more expressways and Class I and Class II highways for motor traffic, which is especially convenient for tourists. Thus traveling by road instead of by air or by rail is no doubt a unique way of learning about China. China's long distant bus system has several advantages. It goes actually everywhere. Remote regions, especially in the west, are often inaccessible via train or plane, in those areas, bus become the primary means of


Bus tickets are often easier to purchase than train tickets, for buses are plenty and they are not in such high demand among Chinese travelers. Bus travel is often cheaper than train travel of the same distance.

Almost all major cities and towns have long distant bus stations and tickets are sold at the bus station itself and need not to be booked in advance. Unlike trains, Chinese long distant bus does not sell tickets for different classes within a single vehicle. However, tickets prices vary according to the condition of the bus. Going between the following destinations are recommended for a bus tour.

Shenyang-Dalian, Beijing-Tanggu, Nanjing-Shanghai, Shanghai-Hangzhou, Hangzhou-Ningbo, Xi'an-Lintong, Xi'an-Baoji, Guiyang-Huangguoshu, Beijing-Shijiazhuang, Taiyuan-Shijiazhuang, Yichang-Huangshi, Jinan-Qingdao, Guangzhou-Shenzhen, Guangzhou-Foshan, Chengdu-Chongqing, Fuzhou-Xiamen, Hainan Island Ring Road, Guilin-Liuzhou, Guangzhou-Shantou, and Luoyang-Kaifeng.

Taking a taxi is very convenient in major tourist cities. You can take a taxi at a hotel or along the street. Taking a taxi is very convenient in major tourist cities. You can take a taxi at a hotel or along the street. Metered taxis are readily available at all hotels and shopping districts, and are permitted to stop at your signal. Travelers may find it convenient to hire a taxi for a whole or half day, but be sure to agree on a price first.

All taxis have a sign that says "TAXI" on the top. In most cities, the taxi tends to be a small local-made car painted in either red or yellow. In large cities, there are luxurious sedans at a higher rate. Taxi fares vary from city to city, usually starts at RMB 10 in large cities and RMB 8 in small cities as always clearly marked on the taxi window. A ride costs 1.00 or 2.80 Yuan per kilometer.

A reminder that Some taxi drivers speak English but most taxi drivers do not understand much English, although those in tourist cities are encouraged to learn and speak some simple English. Non-Chinese speaking visitors are advised to take along written directions and a map to point to the location of your destination.

As the fast and convenient way to go around the city, suChongqing light railbway is the best choice. The first subway in China was built in 1956. At present, major large Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Taipei, Shenzhen and Nanjing have city subways. More subways are planned or under construction in Chengdu, Xian, Zhengzhou, Wuhan, Dalian, Changchun, Harbin, Hangzhou, Urumqi, Suzhou, Lanzhou and Kunming.

Light Rail
Light rail is a new type of railway that can be incorporated with city roads with less investment. It is a more environment-friendly vehicle and is much safer and faster than the common railways. Now in China, several light rails are planned to be constructed in Beijing before the Olympic Games in 2008.

Maglev Train
the maglev train in Shanghai The magnetically levitated train is the fastest of all the land transportation vehicles with the highest operating speed of 431km/h. In China, only Shanghai has this type of train, opened in 2002. It runs between Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Longyang Road Station (Close to Metro Line 2) from 7:00am to 9:00pm, departing every 20 minutes. The one-way ticket price is 50 Yuan per person or 80 Yuan per person for the roundtrip journey. There are discount rates too. For more detailed information, please refer to their official website in English: http://www.smtdc.com/en/

In urban transportation system, ship is not one of the major roles. However, in some port cities, ship is frequently used on cargo transportation, owing to its lower cost. Additionally, some piers provide passenger transportation. At present, there are cruise services in Dalian, Haikou, Hong Kong, Ningbo, Qingdao, Qinhuangdao, Shanghai, Tianjin, Weihai, Xiamen, Yantai, and Zhuhai and other coastal cities. Please see Coastal Cruises to know the related details.

Today, rickshaw is not often used in cities, as automobiles gradually substitute it and become the most important role in urban traffic system. In Beijing, rickshaw is highly recommended when you visit hutong (a kind of very characteristic old alleys). In Pingyao Ancient Town of Shanxi, rickshaws are very popular with tourists.

Travel on Foot
Backpacking - Traveling on foot is one of the best ways to see China. When you're walking you can have interesting interactions with the
people you meet along the way, assuming your Chinese is good enough or if you have an English-speaking Chinese friend traveling with you. Since China is so highly populated your chance of running into other people is good. However, there are also plenty of unpopulated areas in China, so be sure to come prepared when backpacking.

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