Beijing is a very busy city; it is one of the few cities that never sleep. Therefore no matter what time of day it is, there is always traffic. In your travels within Beijing the best way to get around is via the subway lines, you can also organise and take the train from the airport when your China flight has arrived. If you need to get somewhere in a certain time avoid taking a taxi or bus and go underground to experience the subway. However the subways are always hectic as well, so this will outline what to expect and how to survive your subway adventure whilst having a great time touring Beijing.

 

Firstly forget your personal space, in the subways they do not exist at all and they are long gone. Being pushed and squeezed on to the train is always an eventful experience, just try not to get your jacket caught in the door or end up missing a shoe. It feels as though everyone is late for something important so everyone wants to get on this one particular train, so the race is on. However words of advice do not get angry or upset if you do get pushed into the train or that you are underneath someone’s arm pit, it will get you nowhere further in your travels and you are not a victim in this ordeal. Secondly do not hesitate at all, if your mission is to get on that train, go straight for it. Because if you hesitate for a slight second you will never get to your destination and people behind you will go straight pass you. But don’t fret to much, trains come every couple of minutes. So put your game face on and do it how the locals do it.

 

 

The best way to surviveyour trip is to know where you are going before you get on the train. There are many maps throughout the stations as well as online, so study your route before you head to the subway. The reason being is because no one is going to wait for you to work out where you need to go and which station you need to get off at. Everyone prepares themselves to get off the train the stop before and if you are not ready you will get charged at by the people wanting to get on the train. If you do plan your trip and familiarise yourself with the station names and exits, no matter how crazy busy the subway is your trip will be successful and will run smoothly. Within majority of the trains there are maps on top of the door highlighting which stations have already been passed and which is coming up next, so you cannot get lost.


All the major tourist destinations within Beijing are next to or a short walk from a subway station. Therefore the subway is the most desirable transportation to go with. You will usually find that the maps and the voice overs on the train will say which stop to get off in order to go to the attraction. The major shopping markets are near subway stations, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City is right above a subway station and majority of museums and galleries are a short distance from the subways.

Even though the subway sounds very hectic, which it can be, it is the most efficient, quickest and cheapest (2RMB per trip) way to travel around in Beijing. Also you cannot go to Beijing and not experience the subway, just do it with a positive attitude and have a laugh when you get shoved in or out of a train. It is its own little adventure in itself and is a must do in your tour of China.

Jack Li

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