BEIJING - GETTING AROUND
The subway in Beijing is a very quick and efficient way to get around the city and visitors will find clearly marked signs and route information provided in English with stations identified by a subway symbol on a sign with a blue English D that has a circle around it. There are currently around 17 lines for the subway system in the city and prices for a single fare start around CNY3 - CNY8 for a trip depending upon the total distance traveled. Trains run from 5:00 am until around 11:15 pm (varies based on stations) with rush hour being a very busy time to travel with extremely crowded trains and stations during these times (7:30 am to 8:30 am and 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm). Tickets can be purchased from vending machines at the subway stations. Download the Metroman app on your Smartphone for a map of Beijing`s subway.
The most useful subway lines for visitors in the city are lines 1 (East-West) and 2 (Circle) with line 1 covering a route through the center of the city past Tiananmen Square and the Circle line runs a circular route around the city covering many of the major attractions
There is a transportation card available `Yikatong` for use on the subway, buses, and taxis in the city. The initial cost is CNY20 which is a refundable deposit.By Bus
Buses in the city are cheap and convenient but can be difficult for to use, crowded during rush hour and very slow compared to the subway system. Bus drivers speak very little if any English and most signage are not provided in English. Buses in the city run from 5:30 am until 11:00 pm daily with a flat fare around CNY2. The most useful buses are 1 and 2 that run a clockwise route around the Forbidden City via Tiananmen Square.
Plenty of sightseeing buses are available in the city with options to hop-on and hop-off at many of the tourist attractions and destinations.By Taxi
A Taxi is a great way to get around the city, they are plentiful and fares are very reasonable. Taxis are metered and the driver should have a taxi number and phone number for the company displayed inside the car and all licensed official taxis plates begin with a `B`. Be sure to get in a vehicle labeled with a `B`as others are not licensed.
Most drivers do not speak English so it is a good idea to have your destination written down in Chinese. Taxis can be hailed on the street or found at designated taxi ranks, a red light will be on in the cab if the taxi is available for hire. Fares cost around CNY10 with the rates per kilometer that are displayed in the back window and an estimated daytime trip inside the city costs around CNY20 - CNY30, a taxi is 20% higher after 11:00 pm.By Foot
Beijing is a great city to walk around, during rush hour it is one of the fastest ways to get from place to place, many tourist attractions are situated close together which make it very easy to take a short walk from one to the other. Walking is required to get to the train, subway and bus stations and the city is set up in a grid pattern with the streets running from east-west (identified with a white sign and red letters) and north-south (green signs with white letters) making it relatively easy to navigate the streets and neighborhoods.
Some great outdoor areas to explore by foot are the `Hutongs` which are ancient alleyways with beautiful traditional architecture and courtyards. Popular areas include the hutongs near Yonghegong Lama Temple, Qianmen, and Houhai.
The Great Wall of China walk is a must while visiting Beijing, about an hour outside of the city there are several sections of the wall, The Badaling section is the most famous (and most crowded) ones to visit, other sections include the Mutianyu, Jinshanling, Huanghuacheng, and Simatai. Take a walk along this historical monument for some spectacular views of the countryside and surrounding areas.By Bicycle
China was once known as the `sea of bicycles` and Beijing was known as `Bicycle Kingdom`. Exploring the city on two wheels is still a very popular activity; the streets of the city are flat and bike lanes are everywhere making it a safe and fun way to explore. Taking a bicycle ride around the `Hutongs` of Beijing is a magical experience.
Bike rentals are available all over the city with rates around CNY10 - CNY 50 for the day. Bike sharing companies such as Mobike and OFO provide an easy way to rent a bike practically anywhere in the city. Scooters and electric bikes are also popular option to get around
Cycling around the city is one of the most fun and often the quickest way to get around. Almost every road has a bike lane. Bike rental per day is around CNY50, or take advantage of Beijing`s bike-sharing with kiosks all over the city, use your Beijing travel card from Dongzhimen or Tiantan Dongmen subway stations, find a kiosk and use the bike for an hour before returning to a kiosk and swapping out the bike for another 1 hour journey.By Rickshaw
Rickshaws are an authentic way to see parts of the imperial city; they are great for a quick ride and for the experience. One drawback is they can be expensive, a one hour journey per person can cost around CNY100, drives typically don`t speak English and this form of transportation is popular around the downtown tourist attractions.