Transportation in China: Guide for Tourists

Public transportation in China is well-organized and available extensively, including the underground metro systems.

Yet, a taxi or city bus will become the most common public transportation outside the major cities.

Motorbike taxis and rickshaws are also available in some cities, but they are mostly very expensive. Car or long-distance bus is the best transportation when you can’t reach the train. China has modern and clean public facilities and roads but still has unpaved ways in some countryside.

Transportation in China

If you’re planning a trip to China, transportation is key. Here’s a handy list of transportation options to help you navigate this vast and vibrant country. From high-speed trains to local buses, taxis to subway systems, we’ve got you covered. Get ready to explore China with ease and convenience by knowing your transportation options in advance. Let’s make your journey through China unforgettable!

1. Buses for Long Distance

Long-distance buses are cheaper and available more than rail travel. However, it is slower, less comfortable, and often breaks. To take a public bus, you don’t have to book a ticket first. The buses operate frequently, so you can buy the ticket as you arrive at the ticket office. Sometimes, you only need to pay on board since no ticket office found.

Just like the rail travel, some bus types are available from the cheapest to the most expensive. It depends on the distance as well as the facilities on the bus. Some buses have the toilet, but mostly have bathroom breaks after 3-4 hours of travelling. Most buses in China demand you to take off shoes before getting on the bus.

Minibuses are also available in most cities. It contains about 20 seats and commonly used for shorter trips. However, the minibuses often take much time to wait before operating, since they wait for more passengers to fulfil the seats and make the most of profits.

See: Brief Introduction to Beijing Airport Terminals

Bus as a mode of Transportation in China

2. City Buses

There are two city bus classes in China; poo-tohng (the cheaper ordinary buses) and KYWE (the more expensive express buses with fewer stops). You may get difficult to understand which bus to get because all bus stops are identified in Chinese.

Get a city map to get informed at least about the route numbers of the bus. Otherwise, it’ll be great to find an English city map in a bookstore. You also can ask the locals about the Chinese-written destination. Be careful and beware of pickpockets.

3. Taxis

Most taxis have the cheaper tariff in China compared to the western countries. You also should write your destination down in Chinese so you can show to the driver. It is because the English speaking taxi driver is rare in China and there are many more taxis in Beijing compared to New York City.

See: How to Get to Beijing from Capital Airport


The taxi rates are commonly fixed for the initial 3 to 5 km of the trip and then the rates are about 2 to Yuan for every further kilometre. However, the rates may be different in every city.

Before you take a taxi, make sure the driver turns on the taxi meter before it runs and you don’t have to add any tip to the driver. If you need to hire a taxi to get around the city all day long or a half day, you can hire a taxi and negotiate the flat tariff. Tell the driver your destination so he can determine the rate. It is commonly about 300 – 500 Yuan.

4. Renting a Car in China

Driving a rented car in China is very expensive and it will be very difficult for you because most signs are in Chinese. It seems the way of them to forbid foreigners from driving around the country.  Car rentals are available in Shanghai and Beijing Airports. But you should drive in the limits and hold the international driving license. That is why public transportation is more recommended to get into China.

That’s all about transportation in China, a short guide before you have a trip. To search and book the airline ticket, see Airpaz with numerous options of flights from all airlines all over the world.

It always updates the information in the real time.

Share with us