Getting Around China

China is a country of superlatives. Roughly the same size as the United States, this vast country in eastern Asia boasts the world's largest population, third-longest river, and biggest airport: the new starfish-shaped Beijing Daxing International.

Given the distances involved, flying is the quickest way around the country. China’s massive airports⁠ offer dozens of daily nonstop flights, including from Hong Kong to Beijing, and allow for easy weekend getaways—like from Shanghai to Xi’an to see the Terracotta Warriors.

Taking the train on short and long-haul journeys is efficient and inexpensive. More than RMB220 billion was spent to build China's high-speed rail system—the largest in the world—that crisscrosses four provinces. And by the time you factor in security screening, travel time to each airport, and potential delays, it's often more efficient to take the train.

Dozens of trains whisk travelers daily across the vast country at speeds up to 236 mph (380 kph). China’s bullet trains are fast and convenient making them many travelers' preferred choice, particularly the 819-mile (1,318-kilometer) Shanghai to Beijing route. 

On longer journeys like the 2,334 miles (3,757 km) trip from Beijing to Lhasa, the train is slower, but the scenery is mesmerizing and the experience is one of the most unique in the world: passengers ride on the world's highest railway that includes an ascent to Tanggula Pass, the highest point on a railway in the world. We dare you to find a journey that—literally—tops this.
Start planning your trip
Customize your trip with help from a local travel specialist.
How to Get to the Yangtze River

Traversing 3,900 miles (6,300 km), the Yangtze River is the longest river in Asia. The river starts in the Tibetan Plateau, also referred to as the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and... read more

How to Get from Beijing to Xi'an

From Beijing, it's possible to make the 661-mile (1065 km) journey to Xi'an via a two-hour flight, five-hour bullet train, or a slower overnight train that takes 12-16 hours.... read more

How to Get to Beijing

Steeped in history and tradition, Beijing is a city of contrasts. Ancient hutongs (alleyways) are tucked in the shadows of modern skyscrapers while old-timers can be seen... read more

Suzhou
How to Get to Suzhou

Suzhou, sometimes referred to as Soochow, is an important economic city in South Eastern China in the Jiangsu Province. Suzhou doesn’t have its own airport, so the easiest way... read more

How to Get from Beijing to Guilin

Beijing to Guilin are 1,240 miles (1995 km) apart, and a three-hour flight is the fastest way to go. But despite the considerable distance, train travel between the two cities... read more

How to Get from Beijing to Lhasa

It takes a bit of pre-planning to make the 2,175-mile (3,500 km) trip from Beijing to Lhasa (nicknamed the "Roof of the World"). Travelers can go by a relatively quick plane... read more

How to Get from Emei to Chengdu

There is no airport near Mount Emei but the 98-mile (158 km) journey to Chengdu is a swift and comfortable trip by bullet train or car. Note that if you are traveling by the... read more

How to Get to Hong Kong

Hong Kong is located on the coast of southern China, and the former British colony at the mouth of the Pearl River is easily accessible from many cities in mainland China. A... read more

How to Get from Xi'an to Guilin

Guilin is 700 miles (1445 km) away from Xi'an, meaning that a swift two-hour plane journey or the comfortable bullet train are the most practical options. If you don't mind... read more

How to Get from Xi'an to Chengdu

The overland route from Xi'an to Chengdu takes you through 462 miles (743 km) of verdant mountain forest, providing an excellent backdrop to a 3-5 hour bullet train trip, or a... read more

How to Get to Shanghai

Whether you opt for a plane or train, travelers can conveniently travel to Shanghai, China's financial hub. Flying is the quickest travel time, but by the time you factor in... read more

How to Get from Chengdu to Beijing

Whether you opt for a plane or train, travelers can conveniently travel the 1,200 miles (1,900 km) between Chengdu and Shanghai. Taking a flight is the most convenient option,... read more

How to Get to Lhasa

It takes a bit of pre-planning to get to Lhasa (nicknamed the "Roof of the World"). Travelers headed to Tibet must use a Chinese travel agency to apply for a Tibet Entry... read more

How to Get from Suzhou to Hangzhou

There are no direct flights from Suzhou to Hangzhou, but with just 100 miles (160 km) between them, you can make the trip in an easy two hours by car or bullet train. Suzhou is... read more

How to Get from Xi'an to Shanghai

Whether you opt for a plane or train, travelers can conveniently travel the 844 miles (1,359 km) between Xi'an, the capital of China for 13 dynasties and the starting point for... read more

Tourists traveling by bamboo raft on the River Li
How to Get from Guilin to Yangshuo

The high-speed rail network may have expanded as far as Guilin, but travel beyond this to rural Yangshuo is strictly by road or river. It's possible to rent a car (with driver)... read more

How to Get from Shanghai to Suzhou

The distance between Shanghai and Suzhou is just 62 miles (62 km) making it easy to hop from one city to the other, even as a day trip. The bullet train makes the trip in just... read more