AIR: Most long-distance internal travel is by air. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) operates along routes linking Beijing to over 80 other cities. CAAC controls several other private carriers including China Eastern, China Northern, China Southern, Great Wall and Yunnan Airlines. Tickets will normally be purchased by guides and the price will be included in any tour costs. Independent travellers can also book through the local Chinese International Travel Service (CITS), which charges a small commission, or alternatively buy tickets in booking offices. It is advisable to purchase internal air tickets well in advance if travelling during May, September or October. The tourist price for a ticket is 70 per cent on a train ticket and 100 per cent on an air ticket. There are many connections to Hong Kong from Beijing/Guangzhou (Peking/Canton) as well as other cities.
Note: Where possible, travellers are advised to fly in UK or North American aircraft which are used by larger airlines.
Departure tax: RMBY50.
SEA/RIVER: All major rivers are served by river ferries. Coastal ferries operate between Dalian, Tianjin (Tientsin), Qingdao (Tsingtao) and Shanghai. There are regular ferry services between mainland China and Hong Kong.
RAIL: Railways provide the principal means of transport for goods and people throughout China. The routes are generally cheap, safe and well maintained. The major routes are from Beijing to Guangzhou, Shanghai, Harbin, Chengdu and Urumqi. There are four types of fare: hard seat, soft seat (only on short-distance trains such as the Hong Kong to Guangzhou (Canton) line), hard sleeper and soft sleeper. Children under 1m (3ft) tall travel free and those under 1.3m (4ft) pay a quarter of the fare.
ROAD: Eighty per cent of settlements can be reached by road. Roads are not always of the highest quality. Distances should not be underestimated and vehicles should be in prime mechanical condition as China is still very much an agricultural nation without the mechanical expertise or services found in the West. From Beijing to Shanghai is 1461km (908 miles), and from Beijing to Nanjing (Nanking) is 1139km (718 miles). Traffic drives on the right. Bus: Reasonable services are operated between the main cities. Buses are normally crowded. Car hire: Available, but most rental companies’ policy of retaining the driver’s passport makes self-drive car hire impossible in practice for visitors. Cars with a driver can be hired on a daily or weekly basis.
URBAN: There is a metro system in Shanghai