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Self-drive in China

  1. #1

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    Nov 2008
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    Cool Self-drive in China

    I am interested in finding out about driving around in China from people who have mastered the art. Where did you go and what problems did you have?


  2. #2

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    First you have to get a Chinese driving licence. China does not recognise foreign licences. More here.

    Last edited by PDLM; 24-11-2008 at 09:47 PM.

  3. #3

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    Sep 2005
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    unless you know how to read Chinese or have a GPS... getting around would be my no. 1 issue. most signs i've seen along the road are in chinese.

    also nerves of steel and a cool head would help too.


  4. #4

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    Nov 2007
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    hong kong
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    I drive cross border then to Dongguan, I enjoy it but would not attemp it without a GPS unless you are fluent in chinese. Most of the drivers do not have a clue where they are going therefore stop in the middle of the road and look at signs. You have to be on the alert at all times. but it does give you a lot of freedom compared to driving in HK. The only real law that people obey is speeding when they pass a camera otherwise anything goes.


  5. #5

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    The first problem is getting your license. 2 routes for this, the official way whereby you will need to take a written test, etc which costs around RMB200 in total or the agency way which will cost between RMB4000 - RMB5000 and will guarantee a license.

    Secondly there is actually driving in China itself. Roadsigns are now getting better with many highway and city signs also in English BUT the majority of roadsigns are in Chinese only. New highways and roads are constantly being built along with redesigns of current roads. This in itself can cause headaches as you try an get around. And then you have other road users........

    I have to say if you get a clear highway by the coast the driving experience can be relaxing, but at any other time it is just crazy. Takes a hell of a lot of getting used to.


  6. #6
    er2
    er2 is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaykay
    The first problem is getting your license. 2 routes for this, the official way whereby you will need to take a written test, etc which costs around RMB200 in total or the agency way which will cost between RMB4000 - RMB5000 and will guarantee a license.
    Jaykay, did you take the test? Do you have to go to China for this, and are there any prep materials? Thought about driving around in Guangdong with a few friends but it turned out none of them (locals) had any idea how to drive a car

  7. #7

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    Oct 2005
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    Sham Tseng, NT
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    In 4 years time ive been into 2 deadly and very sad car accidents (I wasn't driving!).

    The one in Shanghai was caused by an old lady suddenly crossing the street, and my taxi ran over her. And a similar accident happened in shenzhen where and old man was also crossing the street and the driver failed to stop on time.

    Each time big crowds were created around me as i am the white man. The crowd was very friendly as i wasn't driving or responsible. But it wouldn't want to be in such a crowd if i was driving the car!

    After these experiences, it would strongly suggest not to drive in china as a foreigner. A lot of accidents happen there , and if you don't speak the language you will get yourself in trouble ...


    edit : Just an anecdote : When discussing this with a Chinese supplier, he advised me to always make sure you hit them hard enough, as it is supposedly cheaper to kill a guy then wound them in China as hospital bills can be quite high ?!? A shocking point of view to say the least

    Last edited by FilipH; 25-11-2008 at 02:41 PM.

  8. #8

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    driving in China is a lot different than HK, People in china are not afraid of cars like they are in HK and will not get out of the way quickly. You need to be an expierenced driver to drive in China. I personally feel its worth it for me but it is not for the timid driver. Good luck.


  9. #9

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    Becareful of the drivers that purposley try to get into an accident with your car, they are just after money. Also beware of when having accidents with Taxi's, if an argument arises then they will call for back up and it can get very ugly.

    Drive very defensily in the city is my recommendation. On the highways its not that bad apart from drivers suddenly stopping in the middle to look at road signs or backing up to get to the exit that they missed. you'll also see large container truck on the fast lane doing 50 kmh as they dont give a Sh!t.


  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by er2
    Jaykay, did you take the test? Do you have to go to China for this, and are there any prep materials? Thought about driving around in Guangdong with a few friends but it turned out none of them (locals) had any idea how to drive a car
    I took the test a while ago and more recently we decided to use an agents for another colleague which was actually very quick.

    I can PM you details of agents should you want them.

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