Long-distance Drive from Beijing to Hangzhou

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Normally people would take either flight or train from Beijing to Hangzhou, 90 minutes by flight or 6 hours by high speed train. Few would consider road tripping from Beijing to Hangzhou. Driving long hours in a car can be physically taxing , but it gives you some compensation – the freedom to get directly from your residence to your destination, drive by the countrysides, towns and cities, immersing yourself in the motherland you are going to get yourself more familiar with due to the long-distance drive.

I’m going to drive from  Beijing to Hangzhou alone on a solo road trip, a wish that has been lingering in my mind for many years. I’ve just searched through the Baidu Map and get the distance of 1291 km, about 14 hours and 38 minutes and 635 toll fee by car, passing by Tianjin, Huanghua (Cangzhou), Binzhou, Zibo, Linyi, Xinyi (Xuzhou), Huaian, Yangzhou, Zhenjiang,Liyang, Huzhou and Hangzhou. Most of the drive uses G2 ( Beijing Shanghai Expressway ) and G25 ( the National Expressway from Changchun to Shenzhen ) .

At the time of my writing, China has a total 111,950 km expressway network known as “National Trunk Expressway System” which includes 7 radial expressways starting from Beijing, 9 north-south expressways and 18 west-east expressways, popularly known as “7918 Network”.

7 radial expressways leaving Beijing (G1-G7), like G2 from Beijing to Shanghai.
9 vertical expressways going north to south (double digit G roads with numbers ending in an odd numeral), like G25 from Changchun to Shenzhen.
18 horizontal expressways head west to east (double digit G roads with numbers ending in an even numeral), like G50 from Shanghai to Chongqing.

This is my maiden solo long-distance road trip. As a precaution, I’ve got some solo road-tripping tips online, plus my own drive experience and sum up the following driving tips of my own version:

1. Have my car equipped with in car cameras, one of the best ways to protect my vehicle from Pengci, accidents, or break-ins. Pengci is a Chinese word depicting the fraud involving deliberately crashing cars, then demanding compensation.
2. Ready for a GPS navigation and I use the local brand – Careland though I can also easily use Baidu Map GPS from the app loaded into my Apple smart phone, just double GPS safe.The built-in GPS on my BMW car is not a champion in the GPS field.
3. Have comfortable pants and shoes for the long-hour’s drive.
4. First-aid kit.
5. Car Emergency Kits.
6. Plenty of water, fruits and snacks.
7. Music CDs
8. Chewing gums and often open car windows to keep in a good condition for car driving.
9. Schedule two days for the whole trip and don’t drive too hard for the first day.

Today after 16-hour stressful driving, I safely reached my hometown – Hangzhou.  Starting at 6:00am from residential place in Beijing and get to my prebooked hotel in Hangzhou at 10:00pm.

My day trip drives passes by 2 municipalities ( Beijing and Tianjin ) and four provinces ( Hebei, Shandong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang ). Each municipality and province has its own toll fee ticket to be collected from the vehicles driving through its administered regions. So I’ve got 6 toll fee tickets, acounting to 635 yuan for the whole trip.

It is grateful that nearly every 40-50 km there is a rest stop or service area which provides everything from 24-hour Chinese buffet, grocery, hot water, toilet service, car repairs to gas station.

My first toll fee gate stop at Dayangfang ( Beijing Toll Fee ).

My first toll fee gate stop at Dayangfang

My first toll fee gate stop at Dayangfang

Dagang Service Area offers 24-hour Chinese buffet.

Dagang Service Area offers 24-hour Chinese buffet

Dagang Service Area offers 24-hour Chinese buffet

A rich choices of food and dishes for the buffet.

A rich choices of food and dishes for the buffet.

A rich choices of food and dishes for the buffet.

One of the groceries or markets in a rest stop on route.

One of the groceries or markets in a rest stop on route

One of the groceries or markets in a rest stop on route

This is Hebei Province’sToll ticket ( a computerized plastic pass ).

This is Hebei Province'sToll ticket ( a computerized plastic pass ).

This is Hebei Province’sToll ticket ( a computerized plastic pass ).

Driving through the 1698-meter Binzhou Yellow River Bridge in Shandong Province.

the 1698-meter Binzhou Yellow River Bridge

the 1698-meter Binzhou Yellow River Bridge

G2 – Beijing Shanghai Expressway

G2 - Beijing Shanghai Expressway

G2 – Beijing Shanghai Expressway

Any questions, just drop a line.

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