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Beijing is the transportation hub of northern China with international and domestic flights, good roads and rail connections including high-speed trains to Shanghai, Xian, Wuhan, Guangzhou and Harbin. Passenger trains leave from four stations: Beijing Railway Station (the oldest, with international routes); West Railway Stations (high-speed trains to Guangzhou and Xi'an), South Railway Station (the largest train station in Asia with high speed trains to Shanghai and Harbin and service to Suzhou), and North Railway Station (trains to the Great Wall).

Service from Capital Airport to the city (about 25 kilometers or 1.5.5 mile) is by an airport express line on the subway or by shuttle bus.

Although international car rental agencies are represented at the airport, you would not be able to drive in China unless you have a Chinese driver's license as international driving permits are not recognized. The options is to rent a car with driver or hire a taxi for a trip.

Beijing has a public-bike system with rental sites downtown and in the suburbs, but registration is required. You'll need to present your passport, a copy of the passport, a Transportation Smart Card loaded with at least CNY30 (US$5) and a deposit of CNY400 (about US$60) at various locations, including the East Gate of the Temple of Heaven (Tiantan Dongmen Station, exit A2) and Dongzhimen Station (exit A). You can also rent from a bike shop or sign up for a bike tour.

The subway is the fastest way to get around the traffic-clogged city. Now with 17 lines, named by number or terminal station, the system has more than 200 stations with service roughly between 5 am and 11 pm. Expect crowds and extended rush hours. Lines 1 and 2 are particularly useful for tourists. Look into buying a Beijing Transportation Smart Card, which can be used on the subway, the Airport Express Train, city buses and some taxis. They are sold at subway stations, some bus stations, supermarkets and post offices.

Buses downtown are in service generally between 5:30 am and 11 pm with night lines operating from 11 pm. Fares are charged by distance, but use a Beijing Transportation Smart Card for a 50 per cent discount. Get on the bus in the middle door and exit through the front or back. There are also two sightseeing trolleys with bilingual guides looping around major attractions . Operating 8 am to 5 pm, both have stops around Tiananmen Square.

Taxis, which can be hailed on the street, engaged at a stand or booked by phone, are metered according to distance traveled and wait time. An airport run would cost between $15-$30 depending on distance. Negotiate before going on longer trips to tourist sites like the Great Wall (generally costs around $80RT). Fares can be paid with the Transportation Smart Card. Official cabs have signs on top and driver registration cards and give receipts on request.

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