Bus and Coach Travel in China

Find out how to get around China using the bus and coach networks, and the best ways of getting around in Chinese cities...

Although the rail network in China is comprehensive, some destinations may only be accessible by bus. Tickets can be purchased from bus stations in the town or city from which you are travelling.

Overnight buses are popular, with sleeper buses popular on long journeys. Some buses are capable of 'sleeping' 35 passengers in bunks. Passengers should be mindful of their belongings on buses.

City transport

Apart from bikes, bus travel is the most popular form of transport in cities. In addition to normal bus routes, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems have been implemented in 14 cities and a further 11 have a BRT system under construction.

Bus fares in major cities cost a flat fee of RMB1 for a non air-conditioned bus and RMB 2 if the bus has air conditioning. By buying a ‘smartcard’ travel is discounted.

Further information:

Trams/Trolleybuses

Some Chinese cities use an electric-powered trolleybus system. However a number of these forms of transport have been disbanded in recent times.

Taxis

Taxis in cities are commonplace and are reasonably priced. There is no charge for extra luggage but tariffs increase at night. Taxis run on meters for journeys unless a fixed price had been negotiated beforehand.

Taxis are usually distinctive in colour from black and yellow to green, red and silver colours.

Although it is possible to hail a taxi in cities, drivers are not allowed to stop on busy streets except in specially marked zones.
It is normal practice to sit in the front of the taxi rather than the back.

On paying for the taxi take a receipt. It has the taxi's registration plate printed on it in case contact needs to be re-established.

Taxis can be hired for an entire day by negotiating a fee with the driver. Most Chinese taxi drivers do not speak English. Hotels and other establishments often issue cards with a map and address on the back which can be shown to the driver.