Public Transport in Nanjing

Nanjing is a spread out city which makes exploring it by foot largely impractical. Nanjing’s subway is still in its infancy, but can be used to reach many of the city’s tourist attractions. Otherwise, you’ll need to resort to taxis and buses to get around the city.

If you’re staying in Nanjing for an extended period it might be worthwhile to buy a Nanjing IC Tong card. Similar to London’s Oyster card or Hong Kong’s Octopus card, it can be used to pay for the subway, buses and some taxis. The card gives a 5% discount on subway fares. The IC Tong card costs ¥80, including a ¥30 refundable deposit and ¥50 credit, and can be purchased at subway stations.

Getting Around Nanjing By Subway

Currently only two lines of Nanjing’s subway system are operational. Construction began on a third line at the start of 2010, and there are plans to have a total of 17 lines by 2030. The north-south Line 1 connects the train station to the city center (Xinjiekou station) and also stops at the Drum Tower (Gulou) and nearby the Confucius Temple area (Sanshanjie station). It can be useful if your accommodation is near one of the stations. The east-west Line 2 will get you to attractions such as the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, Ming Palace Ruins Park and close to Purple Mountain. Single journey tickets can be bought at vending machines at the train stations. Prices start at ¥2 for journeys of up to eight stations and cost ¥4 maximum.

Getting Around Nanjing By Taxi

Taxis are the most convenient way to traverse Nanjing, although they can often be difficult to hail. To avoid communication problems, take the names of your destinations written in Chinese and show these to the taxi drivers. Make use of our “Show the taxi driver” notes under the places mentioned in our guide to Nanjing. It will make getting around Nanjing by taxi much easier.

Flagfall in Nanjing is ¥9, which covers the first 3km. Each additional kilometer costs ¥2.4. A ¥1 fuel surcharge is added to the final fare shown on the meter. Prices increase slightly at night.

Getting Around Nanjing By Bus

As in all Chinese cities, bus routes in Nanjing are difficult to decipher and buses can be terribly crowded at any time of day but especially during peak hours. However, there are several tourist buses in Nanjing that can be convenient for reaching certain attractions. Tourist Bus #1 is the most useful, stopping at the train station, the Zhongyangmen Bus Station, the Drum Tower, Jiming Temple and the Mausoleum of Dr Sun-Yatsen.

Tourist buses cost ¥2, while other buses are ¥1. The fare is displayed at the bus stop next to the bus number on the schedule. You drop the money in the slot next to the driver when you board the bus. No change is given so try to have exact change. Buses leading to various sightseeing attractions are listed in the sightseeing section of this guide.