Fun fact: Dalian is big. And not just population big (6.7 million people), but area big–over 13 000 square kilometers. That’s double the size of New York City. Like all five boroughs. So needless to say when we arrived here without a car, figuring out how to get around became a necessity. And once we did, the whole city opened up to us.
But like navigating any city–especially Chinese cities–there is a bit of a learning curve. So we’ve put together all the info you need to make explore Dalian, public-transit-style.
This post deals with using Dalian’s buses. There’s another post for taking the Dalian metro.
Using Dalian’s Bus System
Dalian has over 150 bus routes, including 3 historic tram routes as well, making it relatively easy to get around. Baidu Maps, the only maps app we recommend using in China, has a full breakdown of all the routes so just pop in your end location and let it take you away.
Getting on the bus:
Bus stops are clearly marked with large signs that list the bus route number in English numerals, the stops in Chinese characters only, and the start and end times of the buses – important if you’re travelling at night. There may be a crowd waiting for the bus and remember that lining up generally isn’t a common practice.
Depending on the route and the time of day, there may be a little bit of uncomfortable pushing and squeezing to get on. Don’t be afraid to make room for yourself and don’t be offended when others do the same.
Paying your fare:
Bus fare ranges from 1 to 3 yuan and is usually listed on a small screen on a card reader next to the driver. Step into the bus through the front door and drop the exact change in coins or bills into the red slot next to the driver. You’re done!
Tip For This Spot: If you’re staying in Dalian for a longer period of time, you may want to get a refillable transit card that can be used on both the subway and buses. These cards can only be purchased at subway stations or the Bank of Dalian.
Exiting the bus
Keep an eye on your Baidu map for when to get off the bus. Most buses stop at every stop but if you notice other people yelling yào (‘I want!’), holler away when approaching your stop and hop off!