Hiring a Private Car and Driver
While public transport in China is some of the very best in the world, there are clear advantages to hiring a car and driver. Not only can you sit back and enjoy the scenery, but you can stop whenever you like to take a few extra pictures or admire that unexpected mountain vista. After a hard day exploring, you can have a well-earned nap in the back of the car, before waking up for a dinner of authentic Chinese fare. There is no need to worry about parking, and in most places, your driver can drop you off right outside any attraction that you are visiting.
Here at Wonders of Yunnan, we offer a hassle-free car rental service catering to every tourists' needs. All of our drivers are fully licensed and very experienced. They have modern, comfortable vehicles and know how to drive smoothly without constantly honking the horn at every other motorist on the road, so that the passengers can relax and grab forty winks in the back. They are all fully insured, and know exactly how to deal with any situation that arises. Our drivers are dedicated professionals, committed to offering qualified service with courtesy. All the drivers have the official licenses with at least over 5 years' driving experience. They are familiar with the region and will refrain from smoking and eating in the passenger’s presence.
By booking a car and driver, you can be assured of convenient, punctual, safe and comfortable travels. It saves time, money and effort by taking any guesswork out of your plans. We run a fleet of rental vehicles with variable sizes for you to select from. All our vehicles are air-conditioned and well-maintained. More importantly, they have full auto insurance coverage, and are officially licensed to operate in these territories. All vehicles undergo regular compulsory checks to ensure safety regulations. We also provide baby seats upon request.
Our car rental service includes airport/ railway station / cruise port pick-up/ drop-off service, half day or whole day business or sightseeing. We can also combine all the above when required. We can also include an English-speaking guide.
Full day car rental with driver for sightseeing
1-2 Passengers – 4 seat car
3-5 Passengers – 6 seat van
6-12 Passengers – 17 seat van
13-25 Passengers – 33 seat coach
26-40 Passengers – 51 seat coach
We offer clean and comfortable vehicles with professional drivers. The above size suggestions are based on one person with one standard sized suitcase. If you have more luggage, consider a larger vehicle. We also offer 24-hour English phone support and an all-inclusive price without any hidden charges.
Tipping is not compulsory, but has become expected of western customers. We suggest the following standard if you are happy with the service:
Tour Guide: RMB 80 per day Driver: RMB 50 per day
Self-Drive Car Hire
While it is possible to rent a car and have a self-drive holiday, you will need an international driver's license and also a Chinese driver's license, for which you will have sit and pass a special examination. You will also need to have the right residency registration. This means getting a registration form from your hotel, and taking it to the local police, who will then issue you with a residency form. This is quite a lot of trouble to go through if you are only here for a couple of weeks.
It is also advisable that you are an experienced driver. International experience is especially helpful. If you have driven in Africa, or the Mediterranean or South East Asia, then you will be well prepared for Chinese driving culture. If you have only driven in the leafy suburbs of your hometown, then you might be in for a rather unpleasant shock. Chinese city streets are extremely crowded and not at all fun to drive on. You need to have a very special temperament for Chinese city driving - the right mixture of patience and aggressiveness to deal with all the craziness.
You will not be able to read any of the signs and the toughest part is driving at night, when you have all the bicycles and scooters coming from everywhere with no lights on. Cars do not stop when making right hand turns. Cars turning left when the light changes will immediately turn in front of on-coming traffic. Electric bikes will come from all directions and if you stop for pedestrians at a cross walk, they will stare at you wondering why you are stopping. Parking on the street is another major issue and something that you have to deal with every evening. China is very overcrowded when it comes to cars, and finding a safe parking space at night is often a major challenge.
The risk of traffic accidents is unfortunately much greater in China, and the main issue for anyone considering renting and driving a car in China is what do you do if an accident does happen and do not have the protection of a diplomatic or corporate shield. It can get ugly quickly, regardless of whatever insurance coverage you think you have purchased. This goes especially for accidents involving injuries. Cash payment as compensation is required on the spot. Police will need to be involved and will side will locals (even against Chinese from other regions). Plus, you have the usual scam of people throwing themselves on the road and claiming that you hit them. This is why many cars have a front view camera filming the road.
China is much larger than the United States or Europe. You do not want to drive from one major city to another as the distances are huge. Truck traffic can cause massive week-long traffic jams, as recently happened outside Beijing. Major cities have gridlock at rush hours, and sometimes most anytime during daylight on weekdays. You could use taxis, but you will need to speak the local language to communicate with drivers. In addition, it can often be very difficult to hail a cab during rush hour or when it is raining. Some taxi drivers are simply too afraid of the language barrier to stop for foreign tourists. For subway enthusiasts out there, I should also mention that, apart from the unpopular lines, the trains tend to be packed to the gills. If you absolutely insist on a self-drive holiday, we recommend that you read Peter Hessler's book "Country Driving".