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Transportation in Beijing


Unless you are in Beijing for an extended stay, avoid the buses. They are old, crowded and dirty, and there's little logic to the routes. If you have some time to just jump on, and you don't mind standing, they are a cheap and often entertaining way to discover parts of the city you never knew existed. You can always get a taxi back.


Walking through the tree-lined streets around the Forbidden City is a delight, as are the parks and lakes of Beihai and Houhai and the surrounding hutongs. But be warned - what can look like a block or two on a map can be a long way on foot, sometimes with not many sights to look at.


Taxis are the most comfortable way to get around Beijing, especially if you're only in town for a few days, and as long as you travel outside rush hours. The fare is RMB10 for the first three kilometres, then RMB2 for every kilometre thereafter. Taxis are everywhere and drivers are generally friendly and honest. Despite the efforts of the Olympic organisers to train taxi drivers to speak English, you should have your destination written down in Chinese characters.

Rent your car

As Beijing’s car numbers rapidly rise, new car parks are being built, many close to outlying public transport. You might consider hiring both a driver and a car. Otherwise, remember that on some city roads the speed limit is 30km/hour (19mph) and on expressways, it’s 120km/hour (75mph).

Rent your car

Transportation tips

Beijing's public transport is pretty much pay-as-you-go, and the fares are low. Carry plenty of small notes around with you if you plan to catch the bus or train. Make sure the meter is running in a taxi and get out if they don't put it on. Be careful of rip-off taxi drivers, they gather outside the tourist spots and can charge five to ten times more than the correct fare.

Beijing Government Transport website

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