China Highways

Highways in China reached a total mileage of 3,457,000 kilometers (2,148,080 miles) by the end of 2006. Almost all towns, counties and cities are accessible by highway. Therefore, buses can actually take you anywhere. Road conditions are usually very good. However, please be prepared that the road conditions can be very poor in remote areas.

Numerous bus departures make bus tickets more available than train tickets. Buses are also often cheaper than train travel when going the same distance.

How to buy tickets

Tickets are sold at the bus station and need to be booked in advance. You simply need to go to the ticket window and tell the clerk your destination and the number of tickets needed. Or, you can ask someone to write down the Chinese name of your destination and show it to the clerk.

Unlike trains, buses do not have different classes within a single vehicle; however, ticket prices vary according to the condition of the bus, and the price difference is not very large. It is always advisable to choose the more expensive ones, for they are cleaner, more comfortable, and probably air-conditioned.

How to find your bus and get on

People working at bus stations hardly speak any English, but they are usually helpful. If you are not sure where your bus is or which bus is yours, you can show your ticket to the worker and he/she will lead the way.

What’s inside the bus

Usually an express non-stop bus is clean and air-conditioned, and has safety belts and one attendant. The windows are shut. A bottle of water and sometimes a local newspaper is provided for free to each passenger.

Other buses are tolerably clean, and have no attendant. These buses stop along the way to pick up passengers. The windows are open and the air conditioning might not be on. There will be no water provided for free to passengers, but you can buy some for yourself.

None of the above buses are equipped with washrooms, so you need to be prepared and go to the washroom before the bus leaves. Long distance buses, however, do stop along the way for a rest. You can use this interval to breathe some fresh air and use the washroom quickly. Please make sure that you take everything with you.


Pickpockets are ubiquitous at the station and even on the bus. Please keep your luggage and valuables securely attached to yourself, and don’t leave them unwatched in any case.

In case you get car-sickness, besides your usual way to relieve this discomfort, you can also prepare some cut ginger and smell the pieces every now and then. Many Chinese people use ginger to relieve car-sickness.

Hi, I'm Gavin Van Hinsbergh
I updated this article on November 22, 2012
See all my travel articles
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Questions and Answers About China Highways

Alexander 2012-09-25
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Hi, I am planning a round trip in October starting and ending in Hong Kong. I plan to visit the following sites. Hongkong - Guangzhou - Kaiping - Beihai - Guilin - Hongkong.I don''t find much information on the internet of how to get from Kaiping to Beihai. Are there direct connections by bus. If yes - which station, when do the buses leave and how long does it take. Thanks for your support

Hi Alexander, yes there are direct buses from Kaiping to Beihai at Shuikou Bus Station 水口汽车站. It departs at 09:20, 10:00, 10:40, 13:00, takes about 5hrs.

Whitney Liao replied on 2012-09-26
nash maskey 2012-09-13
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need night bus information fro xi''an to cheng du
Dear Nashm Maskey, There are three buses from Xian bus station to Chengdu, which set off at 9:00am, 12:00pm and 19:00pm. It costs about CNY258/US$41 per person and it takes about 13 hours. Lussie Lu replied on 2012-09-16
addy 2012-07-22
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I want to take a bus from Guiyang to Shenzhen or Guangzhou. Can these be booked in advance over the phone or on the internet? How much will each ticket cost?

Hi Addy, there are no direct trains from Guiyang to Shenzhen, but to Guangzhou.

Tickets are usually available 10 days before departure. You can book it online via this website.

You can take bullet train from Guangzhou to Shenzhen, it is very convenient.

Please read the policy first then help yourself to process with it.

Regards, Whitney

Whitney Liao replied on 2012-07-23
melanie 2012-05-22
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I want to travel from Taiyuan to Jinzhong and then onto Pingyao how do you recommend and cost please
Thank you for enquiry.I have designed a 7 day's tour included Taiyuan.pingyao and Jinzhong for you. Please check your mailbox to see the detail. If you need any help.please feel free to let me know Lily Guo replied on 2012-05-23
marieji sto.tomas 2012-05-09
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Is there a bus going to Xi''an from Xiamen? My friends & I are arriving in Xiamen on June 1st & want to go to Xi''an. How much does it cost to ride the bus? Is it cheaper to just rent a car so we can just drive up to Xi''an?
There is no bus derect from Xiamen to Xi'an. You can take a bus to Zhengzhou, and then transfer a bus to Xi'an. For detailed information, you can call Songbai Long Distance Bus Station: tel: 0592-5089328, address: 5 Jinhu Road, Huli District (湖里区金湖路5号). Xiamen is 2,143 kilometers from Xi'an (by road), reanting a car must cost you a lot. Youo can take train K241/K244 from Xiamen to Xian, which need you 38 hours and 30 minutes. The cheapest ticket for a hard seat is 245 yuan. Lynn Ye replied on 2012-05-14
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