Traveling around China is easier than ever before. A myriad of transport options, such as high-speed trains, a growing number of flight routes and even private car await to get you to your travel destination. Don’t let your time as a Gi2C intern be all work and no play. During your China internship, take advantage of your stay in the Middle Kingdom and travel!
One of the most exciting things to watch unfold in China’s development is the expansion of its high-speed rail network. Every year, more and more routes open up, whisking passengers to their destinations in record time at more than 300km/h (186mph). In the past, train travel between Beijing and Shanghai was a 12-hour affair. Today, the journey is a mere 4 1/2 hours. G and D class trains are the fastest; Z, T and K class trains the slowest. Doing an internship in Beijing or an internship in Shanghai puts you at an advantage: both cities are transport hubs in China.
In Beijing and Shanghai, tickets can be bought at train stations located throughout the two cities. But today, most Chinese buy their train tickets online – and you can too with a foreign credit card or by signing up for WeChat Wallet and paying in cash from your Chinese bank account.
Head to english.Ctrip.com to check out train schedules and ticket availabilities. Their English language website is excellent and easy to navigate. Once you purchase your ticket online, you can pick it up at a train station (bring your passport and purchase order number) or you can have the tickets delivered to your home or office for a fee. You can also ask a Chinese friend to purchase the tickets for you online.
Flying is the obvious choice given China’s vastness. But sometimes, it isn’t the best option. Beijing and Shanghai are notorious for flight delays. It isn’t unusual to for a flight to be delayed for four or five hours, even longer. If you’re traveling a short distance, then you might want to consider taking a fast train (if there is one) to save time.
Once again, check out Ctrip ticket prices and schedules as well as flight+hotel packages. If you read some Chinese, you can visit another popular local website called Qunar. The ongoing expansion of China’s high-speed network has led to a fall in air ticket prices as competition between the two heats up, so be sure to compare both before booking your trip.
Bus stations in Beijing and Shanghai are home to long and short distance buses that can get you most places. Prices are lower than the high-speed train but obviously much slower. Buses aren’t always so comfortable either, but tolerable for a short trip
There’s plenty to see in just outside central Beijing and Shanghai during your Gi2C internship, and for daytrips hiring a private driver should definitely be considered. Hiring a private car is cheap, especially if you can get a group together and split the cost. Some drivers will have vehicles that can hold four passengers, while others will have SUVs that can hold six or more.
Hiring a private driver for a daytrip saves the hassle of trekking to the train or bus station. The driver will often pick you up and drop you off at your home. In Beijing, hiring a driver is ideal for a daytrip to the villages of Lingshui or Cuandixia or Yunmeng Gorge. In Shanghai, there are a number of watertowns in neighboring Jiangsu Province that can easily be reached by private car.
If you head to a bus station, private drivers will usually approach and offer to take you to your destination. Make sure to negotiate the price. Alternatively, Yongche offers an online reservation option to book a driver.
As interns abroad, China offers fabulous opportunities for travel whether by train, plane, bus or private driver. Take advantage of your time to explore during your internship in China. You never know when you might be back.
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