Will I need to drive my own vehicle to conduct my everyday life (work/school/shopping) at my destination?
Due to the number of taxis and the frequency of buses it is not necessary to drive a personal vehicle to get around Chengdu.
Personal cars are not necessary (unless you live outside the third ring road) and you can function with relative ease relying on the taxis and public transportation. Finding a taxi in Chengdu can take a long time depending on the time of day and location. However, most expats in Chengdu are able to function with relative ease without.
You are allowed to drive in Chengdu provided you are at least 18 years old and have a driver’s license from your home country or an International Driving Permit (IDP). You are then required to apply for a Chinese driver’s license and pass a written test in your national language. For your reference drivers are required to carry third party insurance.
People drive on the right side of the road, but it is not uncommon for the center lanes to be used by both directions of traffic. It is strongly advised that you spend a couple months in Chengdu familiarizing yourself with the driving culture before you get behind the wheel.
Expats generally rely on taxis to move around Chengdu. With a starting rate of 5.00 RMB (some taxis also charge 1 RMB as a fuel charge, look for a sign on the passenger side’s dashboard) taxis are an inexpensive method to get around town. As previously mentioned there are areas and times where flagging a taxi is challenging.
San lun che’s, three wheel contraptions that resemble Thailand’s ‘tuk tuks’ is another option for travelling short distances. You will have to negotiate a price before you start so you know exactly what the cost will be. Although there are thousands scooting around the city they are technically illegal. Bargain hard and do not be afraid to walk away.
Could an expat also use public transportation to get out of the city—to surrounding towns, recreation areas or suburbs? If so, list options.
It really depends on where you want to go and how much time you have. If you are travelling to the major tourist destinations (for example: Leshan, Emei Shan or the Pandas) China’s long distance bus system is relatively easy to navigate. But if you are trying to attend an event outside the city limits you may have to rely on taxis which may or may not be available.
If you rely on taxis to move around Chengdu there are few concerns. The driving will seem frighteningly erratic with taxis cutting off buses and buses cutting off cars, but the system is generally safe. There is also a lack of seat belts in taxis.
If you decide to cycle while you are here, be aware that you may not have right of way, even in the bike lane. Cars also honk at one another to notify other cars and bikers of their presence which is not seen as rude.
You can buy tickets for long distance transportation at the stations or from ticket vendors. For air travel you can buy your tickets online from ticket websites like C trip or Elong.
Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.