Will I need to drive my own vehicle to conduct my everyday life (work/school/shopping) at my destination?
It is not necessary to drive your own vehicle. In fact, driving in China is rather difficult and dangerous as the roads are packed with aggressive drivers. Many employers provide a driver and vehicle to their expats. It is also easy to get around by taxi.
How can I legally drive a vehicle in this city?
If you already have a driver's license from your home country, you will need to obtain a Chinese driver's license by taking a series of tests (which do not actually involve driving). This is done at the Municipal Traffic Administration Bureau.
What side of the road do people drive on?
Vehicles drive on the right. Be sure to look both ways when crossing the road, as cyclists and moped riders do not always obey the general traffic rules.
Describe typical public transportation an expat might use to get around the city.
Most expats are put off by the crowded nature of public transport and the fact that many passengers tend to push. Most expats prefer taxis, which are relatively inexpensive, though many expats are provided with a driver by their company who transports them and their family around Suzhou. Suzhou does not have a subway system.
Could an expat also use public transportation to get out of the city—to surrounding towns, recreation areas or suburbs? If so, list options.
There are long-distance buses to popular out-of-town destinations. Further afield, people take the train. Bullet trains from Suzhou to Shanghai and Nanjing depart frequently and take 25-30 minutes (22-26 Yuan). They are by far the fastest and most comfortable way to travel. These trains are very clean, modern and spacious when compared to normal train travel in China.
Frequent buses to Hongqiao Airport in Shanghai depart from downtown. A ticket costs 50 Yuan and the trip takes about 90 minutes. From Hongqiao, you can connect with almost every Chinese airport.
In regards to transportation, are there any safety issues I should be aware of?
You should be wary of traffic conditions, especially during the first few weeks of your assignment. Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are accustomed to going where they want to go without looking. When walking, driving, or riding a bicycle, never assume that someone has seen you and will take action to avoid colliding with you.
Where do I buy tickets/tokens/etc. for the major public transportation?
Bus and train tickets are bought at the station or through agents.
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.