So I'm back in Beijing and sitting in the comfort of Helen's bedroom! During our travelling we did a lot of walking and we made use of a lot of public transport in getting from A-B; through this I learnt a lot in the practise of using public transport in China. As a result I'd like to post my guide, for all of your Chinese public transport queries, which I like to call Gabby's guide to Public Transport in China!!!
How to Cross the Road in China.
1) First off, the traffic drives on the right, remember?!
2) At junctions, bikes will often be much faster than the cars, and the risk of being hit by a bike is much higher.
3) Bikes will alternate between the pedestrian and car status as it suits them; therefore no red lights need ever apply to them.
4) Women with prams will run into your ankles unless you are sprinting.
5) Cars will continue to drive for up to 5 seconds after the light has switched to red.
6) Pedestrians may continue to cross the road up to 10 seconds after the light has switched also.
7) Many drivers will beep their horns for a great number of reasons which would not induce the British to beep their horns.
8) If there are no cars in a lane, you should stand in the middle of it, so as to be slightly closer to the other side of the road.
9) Do not attempt to move to one side to help the person in front of you pass you because it will frustrate the person standing behind you.
How to use the subway in China.
1) Throughout the week leading up to catching a tube, keep all small coins which are given to you. The ticket machines will only accept notes which are of pristine condition and if yours are battered, you will have to pay with coins.
2) When you have bought your ticket, brace yourself for a long walk to the actual platform (this can be up to 10 minutes away).
3) Waiting for a tube is quite simple, there are rows painted on the platform with arrows towards where the doors will open on the train, stand in line and queue in an ordered fashion.
4) When the train arrives, step out of the queue row and into the space in front of the door opening (which have been marked specifically to be kept clear for people wanting to get off the tube).
5) Once stood in front of the tube, push forwards.
6) If you have a pram, roll it into the ankles of the people in front of you: Now is the perfect time to make use of all the practising you did while crossing roads.
7) If you have a boyfriend, let them push in front of the crowd and then hold your hand to drag you to the front also.
8) When you are in the tube, getting a seat is literally first come first served; if you would like to sit, you must use your lightening fast reactions.
How to behave on a night train in China.
1) Don't buy any water all day leading up to your night's travel - there is free drinking water on Chinese trains.
2) The beds are stacked in threes and allocated at random; you want to pray to (whichever) god (is most likely to grant you Chinese travelling bed requests) that you, or your friend get(s) a bottom bunk.
3) A) If you were lucky, you can sit on your bunk like a sofa until you wish to sleep
B) If you were unlucky, you can lie on your bed or sit on a chair by the side of it.
4) If you play cards, expect an audience. And by audience I do not mean a subtle peak, I mean expect people to walk behind you to see what cards you are holding and then walk to watch your opponent's hand.
5) There may be stewards selling fruit on this train from a trolley, for 4x the price of fruit outside the train, we suggest you buy your food before boarding.
6) Keep a pair of easy to put on shoes by your bed to make getting up in the middle of the night to go to the loo (too much free water, too little time!) a less stressful ordeal.
7)If you fall asleep (and you probably will), you should expect to be woken up in the morning by a Chinese man poking your leg, asking to check your ticket, roughly half an hour before the train arrives at the destination. This is your wake-up call.
How to catch a bus in China.
1) Some bus drivers sit next to a cash deposit into which you pay your coins (or notes, if you're planning on catching a tube soon) as you get onto the bus.
2) Some bus drivers do not take responsibility for issuing tickets and look at you in a confused manner if you attempt to hand them money - in these cases, look further down the bus for the ticket master.
3) If the journey is long distance you may travel in a minibus, these buses will take up to 5 more people than there are seats and in these cases you sit in a fold down, backless seat in the aisle of the minibus - bad luck.
Trust me, I'm an expert.
Wudaokou ->Shanghai -> East Nanjing Street -> Suzhou -> Tongli -> Suzhou -> Shanghai -> ZhengZhou -> Dengfeng -> Mount Song -> Dengfeng -> Luoyang -> Longmen Grottos -> Luoyang -> Beijing -> Wudaokou.