My name is Russell. I want to share with you the things I learned when I am traveling or I was traveling. And to those who want go to China, or Beijing, China for Beijing Olympics 2008 this August 8, 2008.
Before I stayed in Beijing, I stayed first in Changchun, Jilin Province for almost eight months before I moved to Beijing to see places, and while seeing places I worked for my subsistence. And while I was in Changchun, I always go back and fort to Beijing because I have friends there.
To go to Beijing from Changchun, there are many options to choose from. You can go by air which is the easiest way, about two hours and half. Air China or China Southern can be an ideal airline. You have to consult your travel agents if so, or it depends on your style and purpose while staying in China.You can also take by bus going to Beijing. There are many buses also going to and from Beijing. All you have to do is be careful when traveling during winter by bus since the hi-ways are slippery due to snows that clog or hinder. It also take longer time (at least 16 hours) traveling by bus because buses stop from station to another station in cities you will pass by. But for me as a traveler, and as a new foreigner in the land, I prefer going to and from any city or province in China by train. There are a lot of train trips to Beijing from Changchun. You choose the fastest or slower train, depending on your attitude of traveling. I take moderate speed of train which travels at least 10-12 hours. There are also air conditioned trains and non-air conditioned for your own choice. I always take train number 272/271 to and and from Beijing to Changchun. The time of departure from and to Beijing is ideal for me and the travel time is moderate. There are bullet trains that can only take at least six hours from and to Beijing, from and to Changchun. I will tell you later the detailed trip schedules of the trains and the tips on how to manage yourself mingling with Chinese in the train. Choose the ideal train schedules so that when you arrive in Beijing, your embassy office can entertain your questions about where to go, and what to do, the DO's and DON'T's in Beijing. It is important and common sense to have an idea how to read chinese characters in China since almost all the signages, buses, taxis, and other informations are written in chinese characters especially the address of the hotel or place where you want to go.
If you happen to be in Mongolia and planning to go to Beijing to witness the Olympic games, you can take airplane from there. There are rumors from among foreigners I have talked with (not proven)and some Chinese locals in Beijing that pirates sometimes inspect the train trips to and from Mongolia. You will all lost your documents especially if they will get it upon inspecting what you've got.(money,jewelry and other belongings). So better to take plane than see yourself on that situation.
If you're in Hngkong, or Macau, obviously you can take some means of transportation you like and convenient for you to Beijing. There are number of airline companies servicing routes from HongKong or Macau to Beijing. You can ask your travel agents or you can send me email asking how. You can also browse the Internet for on line booking and choose the means convenient and safe for you. But for me as a traveler/tourist who enjoying sight seeing and traveling by land, I usually like to take train so I can enjoy the scenery as I pass by. It's fulfilling that way for me.
From Hong Kong you can travel by airplane directly to Beijing. There are at least five airline companies that offer affordable trips. You can consult your travel agent about this or ask me directly or you can visit some websites that offer on line bookings. But for me again as a traveler who wants to explore many things and wants to know more about their culture and beliefs, I believe this is one of the best ways to learn from them, mingle with them from the poorest not exact the richest men. But I can learn more from the middle class and those with knowledge and studying in school or finished schooling.
My route was from Hong Kong boarder to Shenzhen City, right after you exit Hong Kong boarder, you can book train ticket for Beijing since the Shenzhen Railway Station is right after the exit boarder of Hong Kong. There you can still opt to go to Macau first or take train directly to Beijing or via Guangzhou. To Macau, you can take bus or boat. By bus, you have to pay 90 yuan(RMB), and takes three(3) hours and a half to Zhuhai City or they call it Gongbei (boarder of Macau-China). Macau is a Special Administrative Region of China but you need to have passed through the immigration procedures. You can take also by boat/ferry going to Macau from Hong Kong and you pay approximately 200 yuan/rmb and lesser travel since you will have two hours and a half (approx). The name of the Pier is Shenzhen Shenkou Pier. This is also another kind of adventure since you will pass the sea of Hong Kong and Macau. You will enjoy new and exciting scenery.
Some trains travel directly to Beijing from Shenzhen City and only have few stops. Train number K106 leaves for Beijing at 10:50 in the morning and arrives at 15:58 in the afternoon the next day in Beijing making it 1 day and 5 hours travel. Train number T108 also leaves at 14:46 in the afternoon and arrives in Bejing the next day at 13:48.
When I was in Macau, the Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. From it's boarder called "portas" by the locals and other foreigners, directly outside right after you exit from it is the Gongbei, Zhuhai City. There are many ways to go Guangzhou City, also in the Province of Guangdong. You may take bus from there,(Gongbei terminal)to Guangzhou, approximately three hours and you pay 95 yuan/RMB. You may take taxi too, which more convenient if you have more baggages to carry and it costs around 400-500 yuan/RMB and only 2 hours and a half travel. Oftentimes, taxi drivers don't use taximeter if you look stranger and very foreign, and may charge you more. But if you are a backpackers and concern about your travel budget, bus is cheaper. There are two train stations in Guangzhou, Guangzhou Railway Station and Guangzhoudong(East) Railway Station. You may drop off also in Beiyuan Airport if you are planning to take airplane. There are at least 5 airline companies servicing the Guangzhou-Beijing route, and flights are daily, morning and afternoon. Guangzhou is an industrial city of China and is quite amazing to see new places and more enjoyable if you take train. By train, for me it is safer , cheaper and more enjoyable travel.