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Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plain

Tianjin Binhai International Airport is located in the east of the urban area, in Dongli District, which is only 15 km (9 miles) to the east of the urban area. It is a second alternative to high-speed train, especially if wanting to reduce the added travel time and cost that comes associated with flying into Beijing -- just some 120 km (75 miles) from Tianjin.

The home base of Tianjin Airlines and the delightfully humble Okay Airways, domestic routes include most major Chinese cities. A few international routes are available, including destinations in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Mongolia.

Metro Line 2 now connects the airport directly to Tianjin station, with a fare of just ¥3. There are also four Airport Shuttle Bus routes, and the most expensive price is ¥25. No change is given on the bus, so make sure you have exact change for the fare.

From Beijing Capital International Airport

China's main airport in Beijing is a good alternative for getting into Tianjin, especially for long distance flights from Europe or the Americas. Ticket prices inside China may be lower as well, so worth checking this option.

  • Take the Airport Express train into Beijing, the subway to Beijing South Station and the bullet train to Tianjin (see below). It takes at least 3.5 hours.
  • There is a direct bus between Beijing Airport and Tianjin. It nominally takes 2.5 hours. The bus does not go to central Tianjin, but to a bus terminal a little outside. From there you can have someone pick you up, or take a taxi.

Transportation - Get In

By Train

Tianjin Railway Station was built in 1888, sometime known locally as the 'East Station', is the main station in Tianjin. Tanggu station serves the seaside district of the same name. Tianjin West and Tianjin South stations serve bullet trains to Shanghai, while Tianjin West in urban area and Tianjin South are a bit far from the city.

Tianjin railway station is open for the bullet train to Beijing South train station. One-way tickets are ¥55 for Economy, ¥66 for Business, or ¥94 for VIP. The bullet train designation is a 'C' and takes about 33 minutes, travelling up to 300 km/h. Some C-series trains make a stop in Wuqing, add 5 more minutes to the whole trip.

There are shuttle buses between Tianjin railway station and Tianjin airport. A ticket costs ¥15 per trip. It stops about 200 m from the train station northern gate (back gate). When one get down from the shuttle bus, just walk along the pavement and you will reach the train station.

Should you choose to take taxi, use the official taxi stand (just follow the signage). The taxi fare from Tianjin railway station to Tianjin airport is about ¥50-65. It is not advisable to use any of the touts that offer taxi services. The official taxi stand has plenty of taxis.

If leaving the station by taxi, be prepared for a production-line approach to getting the punters into taxis. Marshals keep the queue moving so have baggage ready to stow and a destination in mind or possibly be forced to go to the back of the line and wait your turn again.

Tianjin South Railway Station handles some of the high-speed rail service to Shanghai. It is not near the city, although there are some bus routes from the South Railway Station to the city, and the taxis are mostly of the illegal variety, so plan accordingly. The renovated Tianjin West Station also handles the high-speed rail service to Shanghai. It can be reached by Tianjin Metro Line 1. Tianjin South serves as an intermediate station for bullet trains between Beijing South and Shanghai Hongqiao. Tianjin West is not located on the main line, but as a termini for trains between Tianjin West and Shanghai Hongqiao.

The following rail lines go through Tianjin:

Tianjin West Railway Station, Jingshan Railway, from Beijing to Shanghai Jinpu Railway, from Tianjin to Pukou District, Nanjing Jinji Railway, from Tianjin urban area to Ji County, Tianjin Jinba Railway, from Tianjin to Bazhou, Hebei

The inter-city trains between Beijing and Tianjin have a number range between C2001~C2298:

C2001~C2198: From Beijing South Station to Tianjin, non-stop. C2201~C2268: From Beijing South Station to Tianjin, with stops at Wuqing Station (武清站) or Yizhuang Station (亦庄站); C2271~C2298: From Beijing South Station to Tanggu Station of Tianjin.

Transportation - Get In

By Bus

Tianjin is well connected with other cities via bus. The price from Beijing is about ¥30.

There are also two school bus lines linking Nankai and Tianjin Universities and Tsinghua University. They depart daily at 15:45 and 16:45 from Tsinghua's North-West Gate.

Transportation - Get In

By Car

Some spots in Tianjin, including roads and bridges, have names from Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Three Principles of the People (for example, Minquan Gate on Zhonghuan Road). Names harkening back to the era of the Republic of China on the mainland also appear (e.g. Beiyang Road). Many roads in Tianjin are named after a Chinese province or city. Also, Tianjin is unlike Beijing, in that very few roads run parallel to the major four compass directions.

Tianjin has three ring roads. Unlike Beijing, the Inner and Middle Ring Roads are not closed, traffic-controlled roadways and some often have traffic light intersections. The Outer Ring Road is the closest thing to a highway-level ring road, although traffic is often chaotic and sometimes more than chaotic.

Transportation - Get Around

Founded in 1904, the Tianjin bus system was the first in China, and the metro was second in the nation (1970) and today the city is well served by its public transportation. Within the city, traveling on a bus line that is less than 12 km (7 km) will cost ¥1.5, while ¥1 will cover a journey on any line over 12 kilometres, even if you travel less than 12 km (7 mi) but on a line that is over this distance, the cost is still ¥1. It's well worth your time to look up popular bus routes. Buses are comfortable and clean.

The old Tianjin metro was suspended in 2001, but after refurbishing was re-opened in 2006. In addition, a light-rail line runs between the urban area of Zhongshanmen to the seaside area Donghailu in TEDA.

Transportation - Get Around

By taxi

Taxis are abundant. The minimum cost for 3 km is ¥8, (¥1.7 per km thereafter). Taxis also charge for the time while the vehicle is stationary at ¥1.7 for every five minutes (cost is exempt for less than five minutes). It is strongly recommended to avoid taxis from near the railway station. See note in the Get in-By train section above about how to avoid train station taxis. The same advice applies at tourist stops, it is best to walk a few blocks to a regular street to catch a metered taxi. Ride with illegal taxis at your own risk.

There are Tianjin tourist maps with destinations written in Chinese characters and English. Pointing at where you want to go will get you a long way with taxi drivers. It might be a good idea to take a magnifying glass along as many of the drivers have trouble with the small font.

You can rent a taxi driver for the day or even for just a few hours. The drivers are happy to wait, and the cost for two hours would be less than ¥100.

Another caution about taxis is that there are toll roads in some parts of China. In a taxi, you will be expected to pay the base fare plus the toll fee. The driver pays the toll and receives a receipt at the toll booth. At your destination, you ask for the receipt(s) and pay that amount plus the base fare. If you are going a long way, you may also be asked to pay for the return toll fee. That is a legitimate request, although you could argue that the driver will pick up another fare to pay for the toll anyway. You may or may not succeed with the driver.

Tipping isn't common practice, as in most Chinese cities.

Transportation - Get Around

By metro

The municipality consists of two rapid transit systems, Tianjin Metro and Binhai Mass Transit. They are currently under heavy expansion from five to nine lines. Five lines are currently operating both in the City and the Binhai area.

As of 2013, the entire network of Tianjin Metro and Binhai Mass Transit has 50 stations and 5 lines.

Number & NameTerminalsInterchange
1Line 1Shuanglin – LiuyuanLine 2 and Line 3
2Line 2Caozhuang – Tianjin Railway Station - Tianjin Binhai AirportLine 1, Line 3 and Line 9
3Line 3High-tech Zone – XiaodianLine 1, Line 2 and Line 9
9Line 9Tianjin Railway Station – Donghai RoadLine 2, Line 3 and TEDA MGRT
TTEDA Modern Guided Rail TramTEDA – North of College DistrictLine 9
5Line 5 (u/c)North Warehouse – Dasizhen
6Line 6 (u/c)Dabizhuang – Liqizhuang


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