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3 Ways to Take a Trip: Transportation in China
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China has created a comprehensive transportation system of railways, highways, and airports. Therefore, it is very convenient for you to travel around China.

  • Air Travel

Airplane is the most convenient, and fastest means of transportation, although the most expensive. Air travel can save precious time and energy for enjoying the attractions in your destination. The hubs of China's air travel are Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, with international flights to major cities around the world, as well as domestic flights to major cities within the country. You can book discount domestic China flights through Xiecheng (携程) or Qunar (去哪儿), these two online travel agencies normally offer the best deal on flight tickets. Besides, if you plan ahead, let’s say at least one month in advance, it stands a bigger chance for a cheaper flight.

  • Train Travel

Traveling by train is one of the cheapest ways to travel some of the longest distances in China, and is popular with the local population. Even Tibet, one of the most inaccessible regions in the world, can be reached via train with the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

Currently, foreigners could choose either buy the train ticket online or at the station ticket office. If you try to buy online, you need to make sure that everything you fill in online is correct and valid, otherwise you cannot claim your ticket either on a self-service ticket machine or the ticket office. If you buy tickets from the ticket office at the train station, you need to provide your valid passport and pay for the ticket fees. But, be aware that English is generally not spoken by any of the staff on the trains or in the railway stations, so, bring a Chinese friend, or practice your Chinese language before going out.

  • Road Travel

Highways in China reached a total mileage of 3,457,000 kilometers (2,148,080 miles) by the end of 2006. Almost all towns, counties and cities are accessible by highway. Therefore, buses can actually take you anywhere. Road conditions are usually very good. However, please be prepared that the road conditions can be very poor in remote areas.

Numerous bus departures make bus tickets more available than train tickets. Buses are also often cheaper than train travel when going the same distance. Tickets are sold at the bus station and need to be booked in advance. You simply need to go to the ticket window and tell the clerk your destination and the number of tickets needed. Or, you can ask someone to write down the Chinese name of your destination and show it to the clerk.

Unlike trains, buses do not have different classes within a single vehicle; however, ticket prices vary according to the condition of the bus, and the price difference is not very large. It is always advisable to choose the more expensive ones, for they are cleaner, more comfortable, and probably air-conditioned.

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