Getting Around a Chinese Metropolis

So, I really have only two basic travel tips for getting around a Chinese metropolis (and feeling comfortable about it). Get a SIM card with data and get a rechargeable subway card.

  1. The SIM card is needed so that using your cell phone you can navigate the city’s back alleys using some map software like Google Maps, and
  2. the rechargeable subway card is needed so that you can just zip through the system without getting stuck by missing cash or language skills.

Voila! That easy. At least that’s what I need to feel comfortable.

PS: For visits to China I’m using China Mobile’s M-Zone SIM card, which comes with voice, texting, and data/Internet. It is cheap, prepaid, and with no strings attached. I can even tether my notebook with my cell phone for Internet access. In Hong Kong I use a similar card from 3. The public transport cards have different names in different cities but are easy to figure out. In Beijing it is the Yikatong (一卡通), in Hong Kong it is the Octopus card.