Beijing

Beijing Capital Airport is spread out over three terminals in the northeast corner of the city, with most international flights arriving at T2 or T3. Taxis are relatively cheap—around RMB 75 ($12) to the center of the city—but almost none of the cabbies speak English, so you’ll need to have the Chinese characters for your destination handy if you’re not a Mandarin speaker. A high-speed train connects the airport to major public transit hubs at Sanyuanqiao and Dongzhimen.

On paper, Beijing’s roadways are defined by six neatly arranged concentric ring roads. In reality, traffic is chaotic and often grinds to a standstill. During peak commuting hours, it’s best to avoid surface transportation. Beijing has an extensive and rapidly growing subway system that connects to most points of interest. As of early 2015, there were 18 lines and 319 stations, with plans for significant expansion. Buses are also plentiful, but most lack English translations for the stops.