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Transport in Beijing, China

Getting There
Despite the fact that there are about one hundred and twenty points of entry and exit in China, only a small number of foreign airlines are allowed access to the country’s airspace. As a result most visitors to China arrive via Hong Kong, Shanghai or Beijing with Beijing Capital Airport being the country's busiest air hub. The country’s official carrier is Air China which is run by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). The other alternative airline is Dragonair, a joint venture between the CAAC and Cathay Pacific.

Flying directly to Beijing can prove quite expensive as a result of the policies exercised by the CAAC. For a cheaper option, you should fly to either Hong Kong or Macau and travel to Beijing by one of the alternative modes of transport on offer. When departing the country you should also not that you will have to pay a departure tax of Y105 and this must be paid in the local currency.

If you travel overland to China the most popular connections include the Trans-Siberian Railway which travels from Moscow to Beijing, the Nepal-Tibet, Pakistan-Sinjiang, Kasakhstan-Xinjiang, Macau-Zhuhai and Islamabad-Kashgar routes as well as many more.

Finally, if you arrive in China by sea you will do so from Hong Kong, Japan or Korea. There are several boat connections between Hong Kong and Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shekou or Shenzhen. From Japan there is a luxury boat service between Osaka and Shanghai as well as a weekly service between Kobe and Tanggu. And, those of you travelling from Korea will depart from Inch’on and travel to either Weihai, Tianjin or Qingdao.

Getting Around
The subway is undoubtedly the fastest way to get around the city centre but should be avoided during rush hour. To locate the stations keep a look out for the subway symbol whick is a blue ‘D’ with a circle around it. There are three main lines, the Circle Line, the East West Line and the Fuba Line which only opened in 1999.

If you do wish to take the bus, be prepared for the adventure of a lifetime. Destinations only appear on bus fronts in Chinese and stops are so infrequent you really do need to know where you’re going and how many stops away it is before you board these vehicles. They’re packed pretty much all of the time too but perhaps a little more bearable than the subway. One and two digit bus numbers serve the city centre while the 300’ s serve the suburbs.

Finally, Beijing is home to over one hundred thousand taxis so unless circumstances are extreme, you shouldn’t have any problems finding one. It is worth noting that they come in different classes based on their price per kilometre. To find out which is which look for a small red sticker on the side rear window which will tell you. The cheapest alternative charges Y10 for the first 5km and Y1.20 per km thereafter while the most expensive charges Y10 for the first 4km and Y2 per km after that.

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