Whereas Shanghai and Hong Kong predominate in the economic field, Peking is widely recognized as the political, educational and cultural centre of the Country, with a jurisdiction over 18 districts and counties. To get around this metropolis you might find useful these brief suggestions on public transports once you land there.
Public Bus and trolley Bus: you need to keep in mind some numbers. Buses Nos. 1-200 and trolley buses run in the city ( 1 yuan per person); buses Nos. 201-212 run at night; buses Nos. 300-599 go to the suburbs, charging according to the distance covered. Air conditioned buses starting with n. 8 are charged according to the distance covered. They usually run through the bustling streets. Buses starting with n. 6 go to the residential areas and so on. (for details see bjbus.com).
Beijing Capital International Airport (010 645 63 604) is one of China’s major gateways. It is 28 km from the city centre, about 40 minutes’ ride by car. Taxi costs about 100 yuan.
There are 4 railways stations in the city: Beijing Railway Station (ph. 5101 99 99), Beijing West (the largest; ph: 5182 6253), South (ph: 63030031) and North Railway stations. Passengers may buy train tickets from the ticket offices 10 days in advance or book by phone ( ph. 010- 51827188 from 9am-9pm every day) or internet (036.com.cn ) 5 to 11 days in advance.
There are 3 different types of taxi charges (1.2, 1.6, and 2 yuan per kilometer) and they are very convenient to explore the city. ( Call the taxi centre: 010- 683 73399)
Subway: 4 lines criss-cross the city of Beijing . Line 1, Line 2, Line 13 and Batong line. The latter two are city rails. They run from 5am till approximately 10 or 11 in the night. Subway entrances feature a gray cement structure with a symbolized lamp box. A one-way ticket is about 3-5 yuan.
Bikes and bikes! As always we cannot avoid mentioning a healthy, environmentally friendly, convenient, economical, safe and fun means of travel transportation and recreation! The bike! China truly is the ‘Bicycle Kingdom’, producing and using more bicycles than any other nation in the world. Cycling in China is a kind of life style for the Chinese people. Don’t forget that in the traffic and in the narrow alleys of the Hutongs bikes are the best means to explore the city and is a super-individual way of transport by your own pace! Try companies like The Bicycle Kingdom to rent your own bike.
Also, to avoid long stressful researches on where to go and what to do, here we have highlighted for you some of the central Beijing districts divided by main interest. Haidian District is home of China’s Silicon Valley -Zhongguancun- and 39 universities including Beijing, Tsinghua and Renmin Universities, so basically good for shopping feaver. Xuanwu District is a good area for everything related to traditional medicine whilst the Chaoyang District is the 798 Art District and flea market district. Dongcheng District is an area where many nice backpackers youth hostels are located. Just to mention some names: the 9 dragons youth hostel, Beijing City Central youth Hostel, the Courtyard Hotel, Beijing Harbour Inn Hostel, the Saga youth Hostel, the Beijing New Dragon Hostel.
Xicheng District hosts some public parks as the Beihai park, Jingshan Park, Yuetan Park and the Beijing Zoo. In the area the famous Zhongnanhai and the popular Houhai bar . If you like this ‘green’ area, we also suggest a very nice boutique value hotel nested in an hold traditional hutong called the Spring Garden Courtyard Hotel. A hotel in a Chinese traditional, deluxe courtyard, comprises a autumn and a spring garden offering a unique cultural connotation. In fact, each of the rooms introduces you to the life of different distinguished emperors in Chinese history and the dynasties that they lived in. In the multifunction hall, there are approximately one hundred photos with English translations depicting Beijing (Peking) past. These include places of interest, culture, religion, and every day life in the city. There is also a staff member available to answer questions and explain the 800 years of Beijing history).
Other central location districts are: Fengtai District; Shijingshan District; Chongwen District.