Getting around in Beijing:

Posted by CityWise on 14. Aug 2014

Public transport in some countries can take up a large proportion of the family budget. However in Beijing it is cheap, very cheap! Here at CityWise, we have summed up some of the ways to travel around town.
- Walk. Joking. BJ is not the best place to walk to be honest. The obvious reason is pollution (unless you have a thing for taking a 3-hour stroll around the city wearing a pretty creepy looking mask or a respirator). But even on a good day walking might be a challenge because of the size of the city and the fact that everything is pretty scattered around.
- Cycle. Better than walking but still tricky. Bikes are easy and cheap to buy (as cheap as RMB 100 or 12 euros). Nevertheless they are even easier to steal. So don’t be surprised or upset not to find your new shiny one where it was left and even if it was properly locked. Alternatively you can hire one of the public red-and-white bikes from special bike stands in the street. If that one gets stolen after you are done with it at least it won’t be your problem. Either way, ALWAYS be alert and watch out for the crazy traffic.
- Take a bus. If you speak/read Chinese that is or if you know the number of the bus and where to get off. Watch out for the little character 快 or 支 after the number – buses 300 and 300快 most likely take a different route. If you do take the bus, make sure you hold on to the hand-rail as strong as you possibly can. Beijing bus drivers are constantly competing with taxi drivers for the “Fast and Furious” prize.
- Take the subway. Extremely cheap (RMB 2 or 25 cents) but awfully busy during the rush hours. It is also highly convenient if you don’t speak Chinese. Everything is in English and most of the tourist hot spots can be reached by subway (a great way to avoid traffic if you are in a rush).
- Get a cab. Beijing cabs are probably one of the cheapest in the world. A great way to get around. But make sure you brush up on your Mandarin/have a business card or a piece of paper with your address in Chinese (note: most drivers don’t speak English). It may also benefit you to get a printed receipt at the end of your journey as it might help if you forget something in the car.
- Try a rickshaw. So called “sanlunche” (3-wheeled cars) are cheap and fun. Make sure to agree on the price before you get in otherwise you will be ripped off. Don’t be afraid to bargain because they will set a higher initial price for unfamiliar foreign faces. As a friendly warning, all tourists should be careful whilst riding a rickshaw. Even though it is fun, it can also be risky.

- Whatever you do – be safe and try to stay calm because at some point the crowd, the noise, the mess on the roads or the traffic jams will get under your skin. Remember that something you cannot change is not worth losing your cool over!


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