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Moshen

Car rental in China

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Moshen

Planning a trip to China for the fall and would like to rent a car in either Xian or Beijing to go to Xinjiang and back. I have instructions for getting a temporary Chinese drivers license at the Beijing airport, but some people say that unless you have a Chinese credit card, agencies won't rent to you.

So my question is, has anyone here managed to rent a car in China and if so, who did you rent from and what hoops did you have to jump through to do it?

Thanks,
Moshen

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laomao

I rented a car last week with some friends. We needed a full Chinese drivers license (not sure what you mean by a temporary license? To get my license I had to take a written exam at the driving centre, booked weeks in advance) and booked the car on an app. I can't remember how we paid but probably alipay (linked to a chinese bank account). I think it would be very very hard for a tourist to rent a car. I also wouldn't recommend driving long distances in China due to the standard of driving here.

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vellocet

Never heard of a temporary drivers license.   China is not party to the treaty that honors international drivers licenses (Taiwan is) and anyway I wouldn't really recommend driving here.  It's dangerous, even for Chinese.  

 

I've learned standard practice for some people, no matter where they are in the world, is to land at the airport and rent a car immediately.  Even in a strange city, where the laws are different, drivers crazy, etc.  I believe it's because they just like driving because it gives them a feeling of control, and when they're on a bus or something there's no control and this makes them feel bad.

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roddy

There used to be such a thing as a temporary driving license. Sounds like it is now historical as well as temporary. 

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Baby Charlie

My question is where in Beijing, do you plan to park?

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Shelley

This might be of help.

https://idaoffice.org/posts/how-to-rent-a-car-in-china-with-us-driver-license/

 

Even if you manage to jump through all the legal hoops and get through the red tape one thing I did notice was Moreover, rental cars are not allowed to leave a particular administrative area (unfortunately!).    

 

You can however easily hire a car with a driver.

 

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大块头

I know you're looking for car rental advice, but Xinjiang isn't a pleasant place to visit right now. 

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Moshen

>>There used to be such a thing as a temporary driving license. Sounds like it is now historical as well as temporary. <<

Your link isn't working. Can you please tell me why you think there are no longer temporary drivers licenses? Thanks.

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roddy

Odd. Try this one. This is more recent, so it's more likely they are still around. I don't know either way.

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DavyJonesLocker

yup i do it every now and then (5, 6 times a year ). Its a great way to see the nearby and faraway places . I went to 古北水镇 last weekend but have done a lot of much longer road trips. I heard about this temporary driving license facility at Beijing airport but no idea if its a reality or not., Might be best to to go and ask directly as rules and websites can become out of date quite quickly in China.

 

As of a more general long term suggestion, If you plan to stay in Beijing for a while and have a resident permit then a chinese driving licence is the way to go. Its pretty straight forward if you use an agent.He wll bring you to the testing center and do everything (apart from sit the test). The test is fairly straightforward, 2 full days study you should pass

 

Driving in Beijing is an experience, some foreigners make a song and dance about it but you get used to the rules or lack thereof, quite quickly. Its not as dangerous as people make out as everyone drives at a modest pace, even on the freeways, ring roads (compared to Europe) but the chances of a fender bender is higher. Its sterotyping i know but the average chinese person can't drive for *insert derogatory word of your choice*. So if you expect the unexpected (people cutting in front of you from junctions, no indictaors, driving whilst browsing their phones, driving down the street the wrong way etc) its pretty mangeable and an adventure.

 

3 hours ago, Baby Charlie said:

My question is where in Beijing, do you plan to park?

 

 

You can park overnight on the street (there is sometimes a number you can phone or someone will come peddling after you on a bike to take payment, in carparks etc) but its not cheap so best to hire the car the day you leave Beijing to go elsewhere . Finding a parking spot on the street is a difficult enough task though even a good deal out  from the center

 

I use the 神州租车 APP. its useful. You need to upload you passport and visa on the APP, wait for a few days for them to register you, go to one of their offices and enquire as to why they haven't, the guys wakes up from his afternoon nap looks at you startled like your an alien, then gets on with it , and bingo your set to go


I link my ALIPAY account  to it, you have 3 options, credit card details , alipay 芝麻points if you have them (700) or prepay deposit on the day. The car are usually good and cheap 200kuai upwards, 300 for a SUV but there is always 70 or so extra charges for this and that fee. A decent company don't make any issues about a few scuffs here and there, no more that hertz or avis do anyway.

 

I like driving as its part of a road trip for me, full up with snacks, stop off at small towns, take detours to see lakes etc, see the sights but if its just a way of getting from A to B e.g. beijing to Xi'an then the high speed train is the way to go. However others I know just see it as stressful and avoid it if possible, each to their own. 

Actually I am thinking about the same trip soon to Xian, haven't been there in 10 years

 

 

53 minutes ago, Shelley said:

Even if you manage to jump through all the legal hoops and get through the red tape one thing I did notice was Moreover, rental cars are not allowed to leave a particular administrative area (unfortunately!).    

 

 

I doubth thats correct Shelly I have done it a load of times and every year there is a max exodus of rental cars leaving Beijing during chunjie and national holidays. In fact its hard to rent a car at that time as they are nearly all gone. Last time I went to 辽宁 and had to hire the top end range, everything else already gone

 

 

1 hour ago, 大块头 said:

know you're looking for car rental advice, but Xinjiang isn't a pleasant place to visit right now. 


can you even go there as a foreigner without an invite I seem hear varying reports about that all contradicting each other. 

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889

There's no invitation necessary for Xinjiang (that's Xizang), but foreigners are very very restricted as to hotels where they can stay in the big cities, and are often quickly ushered out of smaller towns and cities. There's an inspection entering and leaving Xinjiang, and you should expect your phone to be examined.

 

Foreigners are seriously not wanted in Xinjiang, especially tooling around with their own wheels I imagine. Rather like a visit to E Germany, with the same kind of tension but more so.

 

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DavyJonesLocker

thanks @889

 

I got invited (and then deinvited) to a wedding last year due to the hassle of having me staying in the hotel, it was a smaller town  and a muslim wedding so probably not a wise move. Shame  

 

 

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Shelley

@DavyJonesLocker I will defer to your real world knowledge, that was off the website I linked to.

 

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DavyJonesLocker
47 minutes ago, Shelley said:

@DavyJonesLocker I will defer to your real world knowledge, that was off the website I linked to.

 

Thanks for your link though Shelly. It's often hard to know if a rule is still in existence or just ignored completely. 

For example anyone with a B licences plate can't drive within the 4th ring road yet I see loads of them daily in the center. It's illegal to drive on a ring road with a motorcycle but I and a whole lot of others do it regularly passing police cars, and even waved through check points many times . 

However it's sensible  to point out on a forum  what the rules are let everyone decide how to proceed. E.g illegal driving maybe a fine and points on license if unlucky. One drink or no license and it's 15 day jail term and possibly removed from the country (as happened a colleague)

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Dawei3

When on business, our company doesn't allow use of rental vehicles in China because of concerns that after an accident, a foreigner may held by police.  Apparently, there were times in the past when the foreigner left the country without paying for the costs of the accident.  Although this is my company's policy, I don't ever remember reading an article about this actually happening (i.e., the foreigner being held by police because of an accident).  One unfortunate issue is that the police & legal system will generally side with the Chinese person, regardless of their culpability in the accident.  Hence, if an accident happens, don't expect to be treated fairly.

 

Peter Hessler's "Country Driving" is a great book on his travels & travails renting a car in Beijing and driving all over.  He noted that he wasn't supposed to drive the car out of Beijing, but the rental agency didn't care;  instead they liked hearing his stories.  At that time, China was much more open than it is now.    

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Moshen

>>you should expect your phone to be examined.<<

What are they on the lookout for? I don't use most social media at all, so there would be just a few phone contacts and some recent business emails on the phone. And my husband is one of those increasingly rare people who doesn't even own a cellphone.

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edelweis
On 5/9/2019 at 2:54 AM, Moshen said:

I have instructions for getting a temporary Chinese drivers license at the Beijing airport

 

I am curious to know where you found those instructions. And could you please post them here?

 

 

11 hours ago, Moshen said:

my husband is one of those increasingly rare people who doesn't even own a cellphone.

 

Even when traveling abroad ? Very impressive. How you and he you manage that?

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