Thanks to everyone for your valuable advice. I think that is a great idea, to get the shuttle bus to the station and then either taxi or subway from there. I think I should be able to manage that
Mel thanks for your comments about the Chinese personality around foreigners, I will definitely bear that in mind when I am dealing with people. I know the Chinese people regard "saving face" as very important so its imperative not to embarrass them at all which of course I would avoid doing to anyone.
Thanks again everyone, I am so looking forrward to the China leg of my tour, it just feels sometimes like I will be landing on another planet due to the culture and language differences but I'm sure along with my trusty phrasebook we should get along fine!
In Beijing, buses are cheap but bus stops are a mess of characters. The best thing is to get your destinations written in Chinese for you. That way, people will have an idea of where you want to go. Bus drivers and ticket people are usually good about telling your where to get off (no pun intended ) but keep an eye out anyway. The subways are a good way of getting around within the city of Beijing. They are in English and make it very easy to find your way around.
I am studying abroad in Shanghai this semester with USAC, their program is great, and right now I am teaching english in a small city called Taiyuan. Anyways I have a blog at [snip] feel free to check it out, and if you have any questions you can ask them on the blog and I will answer them, 100% guarantee In there I explain everything about transportation!
[ Edit: No promos allowed. URL removed. ]
All public bus (public and long distance) stops are in Chinese characters. All the bus numbers are in Arabic Numbers
All Train stops(public and long distance) are in Chinese characters and Pinyin. All train numbers are in arabic.
A month is not a long time in China, i would say only focus on a few places. I wouldn't go all the way to Lhasa unless you want to make that your trip. Good Tibetan places not all the way in the TAR are places like Xiahe in Gansu. Which is amazing Tibetan town. There is an article in the wiki guide that i wrote on Xiahe, i also wrote most of the stuff on Tibet and Lhasa.
A good month trip would be Beijing to Xi'an to Lanzhuo to xiahe, south to overland style to Chengdu. Although the area between xiahe and chengdu was hit pretty hard by the earth quake. From Chengdu to Guilin/yangshuo, then Guilin to HK.