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Getting There

Qinhuangdao airport is just outside town to the south, reached by taxi, with infrequent flights from Taiyuan, Harbin, Changchun, Dalian, and Shanghai. Train services from major cities in the Northeast pass through Shanhaiguan on their way to many southern destinations, but Qinhuangdao is better served from Beijing -- take the T509 at 7:30am, arriving in Qinhuangdao at 10:28am. This is an all soft-seat train that marks the return of class designations to Chinese trains -- imagine the embalmed Mao a-spin. Yi deng (first class) is ¥97. Outside the Qinhuangdao railway station, cross the road and turn left to find bus no. 33. It reaches Shanhaiguan in about 30 minutes, for a fare of ¥2. The bus drops you at the south gate of the old city walls (Nan Men). Trains directly to Shanhaiguan from Beijing tend to be slower or ill-timed, although the T11 departing at 10am and arriving at 7:06pm is a possibility. Shanhaiguan's new railway station, Shenyang North station, (tel. 0335/794-2242) is a few minutes' walk southeast of the south gate. The T12 returns to Beijing at 9:13am, arriving at 6:17pm, and the speedier T94, which departs at 3:46pm, arrives at 8:28pm. Tickets are set aside for both trains, but unless you're fortunate, you'll probably have to buy a seatless ticket and upgrade on the train. It's safer to return to Qinhuangdao, where the T510 at 1:37pm reaches Beijing Station at 4:42pm.

For bus services it's again better to return to Qinhuangdao, with twice-daily connections to Beijing's Xi Zhi Men bus station and others to Beijing Railway Station, for ¥60 Bus no. 33 to Qinhuangdao Railway Station runs every 2 to 5 minutes from 6:20am to 7pm.

Getting Around

Buses have conductors and cost ¥1. A tourist shuttle service runs from Nan Men (South Gate) to the Tianxia Diyi Guan and Jiao Shan at 8:30am, 11am, and 3:30pm, summer only. Most taxis have a flagfall of ¥8, which includes 2km (1 1/4 miles), then charge ¥1.20 per kilometer up to 8km (5 miles), then ¥1.80 per kilometer thereafter. Use one taxi to see all the sights. Insist that the "one-way" button is not pushed, and then this should be about 32km (20 miles), and cost less than ¥50, including waiting time. There's also an assortment of meterless rickety three-wheelers with extravagant ideas about the depth of foreigners' pockets. A better choice is to rent a bicycle from one of the cluster of stores on Nan Dajie.

Fast Facts

Banks, Foreign Exchange & ATMs -- The main Bank of China (8:30am-5pm) is just inside the city wall's southeast corner at Diyi Guan Lu 60. There is no ATM.

Internet Access -- The Lingshi Wangba, between the post office and the Friendly Cooperate Hotel, charges ¥2 per hour.

Post Office -- The post office is on Nan Guan Dajie, right next to the Friendly Cooperate Hotel. Hours are from 8am to 6pm.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.