Home to the Olympics in August this year, Beijing is one of the hottest travel destinations of 2008. In fact, it has been a tourist favourite for years. Visitors from all over the world come here to, among other things, take a trip up the Great Wall of China, stroll in the Forbidden Palace and appreciate the rich history of Tiananmen Square. There are several ways for visitors to reach Beijing whether they are coming from international destinations or neighbouring Chinese provinces.
By Air - Beijing has one main airport - the Beijing Capital International Airport. This is located about thirty kilometers from the city centre and consists of three terminals, each of which caters to specific airlines. Terminal One caters to Hainan Airlines, Terminal Two to China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines and Skyteam, and Terminal Three to Air China, Shanghai Airlines, Star Alliance and Oneworld. The different terminals are connected by both shuttle and travelators.
From the airport, you can get to town by taking a taxi. Take note, however, that many of these taxi riders may not be very fluent in English, if at all. It is best if you have a Chinese translation of the name of your destination. Also, if the taxi driver appears unsure of your destination, do not hesitate to take another cab as chances are, he is not from the city and does not know the area well. Taxis charge by meter, and tolls are also charged if you use the highways. Another way of getting to town is by taking the airport shuttle. Buses leave every half an hour or so. Different buses travel to different locations, the five main ones being Zhongguancun, Gongzhufen, Xidan, Fangzhuang and Beijing Railway Station.
By Train - Beijing has five main railway stations, each of which caters to different locations. Beijing Railway Station, located in the middle of the city and highly accessible, caters to destinations such as Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Nanjing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Mongolia, Russia and North Korean. Beijing West Railway Station, the largest of the five, caters to destinations such as Chengdu, Hong Kong, Kunming, Shenzhen, Xi'an and Xiamen. Beijing North Railway Station is a small railway station that caters to destinations such as Inner Mongolia, Chifeng, Longhua, Tongliao and Zhangjiakou. Beijing East Railway Station and Beijing South Railway Station provide daily services to and from Chengde and Tianjin respectively.
By Bus - Bus travel is also another option. There are six main bus stations in Beijing: Xizhimen, Deshengmen, Dongzhimen, Sihui, Zhaogongkou and Lianhuachi. Buses reach here from places as far as Shanghai and Mongolia.
Orson Johnson writes for Holiday Velvet, a website providing Beijing accommodation, China and Worldwide vacation rentals .