As one of the largest cities in northeast China, Harbin enjoys an ideal geographic location convenient for all means of transportation to and from the city. Harbin also acts as one of China's gateways into Siberia, Russia and northeast Asia.
Harbin has an efficient and organized public transportation system. There are over a hundred public bus routes connecting every important spot to the rest of the city. The best way to travel by bus is to pick up a local map with all the updated bus routes and schedules when you arrive in Harbin.
The easiest way to get around is by taxi, because thousands of taxis roam the streets at any time of day. It's helpful to have the written Chinese characters on hand in case your taxi driver cannot understand you; it's great to practice your Chinese, but you don't want to end up in the wrong place! When taking a taxi, It shouldn't cost you more than 20 RMB to reach most destinations within the city.
To and from Harbin
In addition to convenient Harbin flight connections to most of China's major cities, Harbin also has regular flights to cities in Russia, South Korea, and Japan. There are shuttle buses to and from Harbin Taiping International Airport (Hāěrbīn Tàipíng Guójì Jīchǎng, 哈尔滨太平国际机场) available every twenty minutes from the CAAC office on 224 Zhongshan Lu (Zhōngshān Lù, 中山路).
Numerous trains depart and arrive in Harbin every day. From Harbin, direct trains run to Dalian, Shanghai, Beijing, Wuhan, Tianjin and Shenyang. There are also express trains to other provincial destinations in Heilongjiang such as Jiamusi, Qiqihar, Suihuan and Mudanjiang. There are two major train stations in Harbin: Harbin Railway Station (Hā'ěrbīn Zhàn, 哈尔滨站) and Harbin East Railway Station (Hā'ěrbīn Dōng Zhàn, 哈尔滨东站). More trains leave the former Harbin train station, while the east train station mostly serves other Heilongjiang cities. For information by phone, call the inquiry and reservation hotline at (86 451) 9510 5688.
Into Siberia & Russia from northern Heilongjiang there are border crossing points into Siberia. From Harbin, take the train to Heihe (there are a number of daily trains leaving from both stations). From here, you can get into Russia (with the right paperwork). You can also take the train from Harbin to Suifenhe where a ten-hour bus journey takes passengers on to Vladivostok. Be warned that all these routes are long and arduous. Visas for Siberia and Russia should be arranged in Beijing, although some travelers have reported they managed to get them in Shenyang. To get a Visa, all accommodation in Russia must be prearranged; it can become quite costly. The most straightforward way to get into Russia is on the Trans-Siberian express to Moscow. A trip on this train is a real experience (see Paul Theroux's novel, Riding the Iron Rooster). The train stops in Harbin every Friday morning.
Because of the remote location of Harbin, it is not easy to travel to and from central China to Harbin by bus. However, regular buses link the city with other provincial capitals such as Changchun and Shenyang. There is also access by bus from here to Mudanjiang, Jiamusi, Daqing and Hegang.
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