China Information

Travel in China

Introduction: Travelling in China

China, formally the People's Republic of is a country in Eastern Asia that is slightly larger than the United States of America. With coasts on the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow Sea, and South China Sea, it borders Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar (or Burma), Laos and Vietnam to the south, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to the west, Russia to the northeast and northwest, Mongolia to the north, North Korea on the northeastern coast.

As you travel in China, you will enjoy a diversity of culture, language, customs, and economic levels. The economic landscape is particularly diverse ranging from the major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai which are basically first world to rural areas in the interior which are still at third world levels.

China Climate and Topography

The climate is also extremely diverse, with it being tropical in south to being sub-arctic in north

There is also a wide range of terrain with mostly mountains, high plateaus, and deserts in west; while plains, deltas, and hills can be found in the east. On the border between Tibet and Nepal lies Mount Everest, at 8,850 m, being the highest point on earth. While Turpan Pendi, in northwest China is the lowest point of the country, at 154 m below sea level. This is also the second lowest point in the world, after the Dead Sea in Israel.

Travel in China by Airplane

China has a great deal of domestic flights to all the major cities and tourist destinations. Beware, though, that travelling from China to Hong Kong is considered an international flight and, as such, can be quite expensive; you can save some money at the price of some hassle by flying to Shenzhen, just across the border, instead.

Prices for domestic flights in China are set at standard rates. However, most good hotels will have a travel ticket service and will be able to save you 15%-40% off the price of tickets. Even after considering discounts, traveling by plane in China is not inexpensive. Do be prepared for flight delays; these are on the increase despite pressure from both the government and consumers.

Train Travel in China

Train travel is the major mode of long-distance transportation for the Chinese themselves, with an extensive network of routes covering the entire country (with the notable exception of Tibet).

There are five classes of travel:

    * hard seat travel class (ying zuo)

    * soft seat travel class (ruan zuo)

    * hard sleeper travel class (ying wo)

    * soft sleeper travel class (ruan wo)

    * standing travel class

Soft sleepers are the preferred mode of transportation for long distance travel and are relatively cheap by Western travel standards.

Travel China by Bus

Traveling in China by bus, and by coach, is inexpensive and ideal for in-city and short distances transportation. Local buses start at around 1 RMB and can be quite packed during rush hour. More modern buses with air conditioning charge 2 RMB. Fares are marked on the outside of bus doors and no change is provided, so have exact fare.

Travel by taxi (in China's Cities)

Taxis in China are generally common, and reasonably priced. In most situations, expect between 10 and 30 Chinese Yuan for an ordinary travel within the city. There is no extra-charge for luggage, but at night it does get a bit more expensive. While drivers trying to cheat you by taking a longer way are not unheard of, it is not that common, and on average shouldn't be a nuisance.

Note that sitting in the front passenger seat of taxis is the norm -- some taxis even mount the taxi meter down by the gearbox, where you can only see it from the front seat.

Car Travel in China

It is disputed if International Driver's Permits can be used in mainland China (the ROC, or Taiwan, is a signatory to the convention which created IDPs, but not the mainland). If IDPs cannot be used on the mainland then one must pass a local exam to get a PRC driving licence.

Travel by pedicab

In some mid-sized cities, pedicabs are a much more convenient means of travelling short distances.

Travel in China: Health and Safety tips

•  Be careful of your valuables while on the train; property theft on public transportation has gone up in the recent years.

•  When you travel in China by train, be prepared with some motion sickness pills if you are inclined toward that type of ailment.

•  Drivers in China often disregard the rules of the road, and accidents are frequent. Sudden swerves and stops can cause injury, so keep a good hold wherever possible.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikitravel article "China".

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