Hello everyone! How are you, today? I hope you are doing alright. I am personally doing very well. It is evening here and I am drinking a lovely cup of coffee. It has been freezing cold recently, but finally, we get some sunny spells. I am very happy about it. I really enjoy the weather.
In this article, I want to talk to you about public transport in China, in particular about my personal experience, and also possible challenges that every single foreigner can face during the trip. First of all, let’s talk about the public buses and Chinese road network, and then I will tell to you most common things, that can cause you a headache when you decide to ride the subway or the train. So... Brew a cup of tea or coffee and get comfortable. I hope you like this article and find it useful.
The public bus fares are quite cheap, so you do not need to be worried about spending a large amount of money as for example, in Korea or Japan where I would say the bus tickets can be quite pricy. But be ready that your journey can be completely ruined by the terrific traffic jam and crazy Chinese drivers because you know, roads are always overloaded, especially during the rush hours, so I would really recommend you to download a couple of movies and maybe some video games in order to make your journey a little bit more pleasant.
On the other hand, Chinese subway is very modern and easy to use, especially if you have a transportation card linked to your Apple Wallet. You do not need to buy single journey tickets all the time or top up your card at the ticket machine, but it can also be very inconvenient sometimes, mainly because of the security check, especially during the rush hours, the queue line can be extremely long, so you may end up with waiting for 20 mins or even half an hour for your turn. Thus, be ready, they scan your bags every time when you want to ride the subway or the train. And there is actually no way to avoid, so the security check is required in China.
Now, let’s imagine you want to go to another city by train. The first thing you really need to know about is there are basically two types of trains in Mainland China. Regular and bullet trains. The difference between them is really significant. I would really recommend you to choose the high-speed train if you want to make your journey comfortable and trouble-free.
At the end of the day, it depends on your priorities, really, but let me tell you a few things about it. If you choose to go somewhere by regular train, you need to keep in mind that if you buy a hard seat ticket, your passport and ticket will probably be checked every half an hour, even in the night time and it can be very irritating. Therefore, if you choose the regular train service, you better buy sleeper tickets. First of all, they only check your ticket once, and secondly, you can have some sleep. Although, I think that is a fantastic deal if your journey lasts for over 10 hours, seriously if you have extra money, you better get a high-speed train ticket, in my perspective.
By the way, if you have ever been wondered how to print out freshly-bought train tickets that you purchased online, I am going to disappoint you. Unfortunately, there is the only way to print them out. You need to find and go to a ticket window, so be sure, you print out the tickets in advance, maybe a few days prior to a trip. Otherwise, you may spend hours in a queue and probably miss your train. So... Be ready and prepare yourself!
Alternatively, you can travel between cities by long-distance buses. However, I want to warn you, it can be very challenging as the majority of the drivers and coach stations' workers do not speak any English at all. In addition, there is a large number of police checks on the roads, so it can drive you crazy literally. I really don’t recommend it to people who come to China for the first time.
Speaking of the taxi, I know many of you like to take a taxi from the airport to the hotel, but taxi drivers also don’t speak English much, but to be honest, I think it is not really difficult to explain to them where you need to go as you can simply show the address on your phone.
I think that is all I wanted to tell you for today. If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment below.
Thank you for your time. See you. For now, Bye Bye!
Hi everyone! I’m Maxim. I was born and grew up in the central part of Moscow. I’ve been living in China for over 5 years and would love to share my experience with you about living abroad, in particular in China. I’m also proud to tell you that I may become a husband soon. I hope my articles help you to learn more about China and its culture. Cheers! 🙂