Free guide to Beijing - Tripomatic by liuhongmeiyes


BEIJING GUIDE                                                                                                                            BEIJING GUIDE

                                                                                 Beijing is one of the most magnificent cities in
                                                         Essential Information
Money                                            4                               Asia. Its history is truly impressive. The me-
                                                                                 tropolis is dynamically evolving at a pace that
Communication                                    5                               is impossible for any European or North Amer-
                                                                                 ican city.
Holidays                                         6                               As is quite obvious from a glance at Tianan-
                                                                                 men, the literal center of the city, Beijing is
Transportation                                   7                               the seat of communist political power, with its
                                                                                 vast public spaces, huge buildings designed ac-
Food                                            11
                                                                                 cording to socialist realism principles and CCTV
                                                                                 systems accompanied by ever-present police
Events During The Year                          12
                                                                                 forces. At the same time, this might be seen
Things to do                                    13                               as a mere continuity of a once very powerful
                                                                                 empire, still represented by the unbelievable
DOs and DO NOTs                                 14                               Forbidden City.
                                                                                 With Beijing developing so fast, it might be
Activities                                      17                               difficult to look beyond the huge construction
                                                                                 sites and modern skyscrapers to re-discover
.                                                                                the peaceful temples, lively hutong streets and
                                                                                 beautiful parks built according to ancient prin-
                                                                                 ciples. But you will be rewarded for your ef-
                                                                                 forts – this side of Beijing is relaxed, friendly
    Emergency Contacts
                                                                                 and endlessly charming.
      Medical emergencies: 120
      Foreigners Section of the Beijing Public Se-                               Time Zone
      curity Bureau: +86 10 6525 5486                                            CST – China Standard Time (UTC/GMT +8 hours),
      Police: 110                                                                no daylight saving time.
      Police (foreigner section): 552 729
      Fire: 119                                                                  Contacts
                                                                                 Tourist Contacts

                                                                                    Traffic information: 122
                                                                                    Tourist information: +86 10 6513 0828
                                                                                    Beijing China Travel Service: +86 10 6515
                                                                                    International Medical Center hotline: +86
                                                                                    10 6465 1561

                                                     2                                                                               3
 MONEY                                                                                                                                                                                 COMMUNICATION

Currency: Renminbi (RMB). 1 Yuan (元, kuai) = 10            At markets, don’t be afraid to ask for 15% of the     Electricity                                                the province where the SIM was purchased. SIM
Jiao (角)                                                   suggested price and expect to bargain hard for        The standard electricity supply in China is 220 volt       cards can be purchased in cell phone shops or
                                                           everything. Check the prices of desired goods on      – 50 Hz AC with NEMA 1-15 USA 2 pin (North Amer-           directly with the operators but you will need your
The easiest way to obtain Chinese money is to              the internet beforehand. Effective tactics are to     ican socket with flat blades) and CEE 7/16 Euro-           ID to buy it. The prepaid cards have usually the
withdraw it from an ATM belonging to one of the            state that you’ve seen it elsewhere cheaper or        plug (two round pins) in one socket. You will most         domination of 30, 50 or 100 元.
larger banks. Regional banks usually don’t accept          walking away – the price may drop significantly. If   probably need an adaptor or transformer, to be
foreign cards but there are always some working            the seller agrees with your price, you are obliged    bought only at authorized shops.                           There are also many public phone booths. Note
ATMs. Standard international charges apply and             to buy.                                                                                                          that you can use them only with a special pre-
you can be sure of not getting any counterfeit                                                                                                                              paid card called IC that can be purchased in
bills.                                                     The student discounts are usually applicable only                                                                newsagents’ or at post offices.
                                                                                                                 The main spoken language is Chinese, with sim-
                                                           for students of Chinese universities.
                                                                                                                 plified characters. Expect conversational knowl-
Exchanging money in banks is safe too, only more               Meal, inexpensive restaurant – 30 元                                                                          The country dial code is +86, the area code for Bei-
                                                                                                                 edge of English only in touristy areas and in the
difficult – it is truly a bureaucratic process with            Street food – 1 – 10 元                                                                                       jing is 10.
                                                                                                                 tourism industry.
lots of forms to be filled in that can take an enor-           Meal for 2, mid-range restaurant, three-course
mous amount of time. You need your passport to                 – 180 元                                                                                                      Internet
                                                                                                                 The best way to get by is to phonetically learn
exchange money.                                                Combo meal at McDonald’s – 27 元                                                                              There is an abundance of cheap Internet cafés
                                                                                                                 the basic phrases and memorize basic charac-
                                                               Small bottle of water – 1 元                                                                                  and almost every hostel has at least one com-
                                                                                                                 ters (restrooms, exit, up/down for traveling with
Exchange bureaus are very rare and they require                Domestic beer – 10 元                                                                                         puter for use by guests. Despite this, Internet
                                                                                                                 trains – the bunks in sleeper trains are marked
your passport as well. Never exchange money on                 Souvenir t-shirt – 30 元                                                                                      access may be quite limited as extensive cen-
                                                                                                                 with the characters, numbers). Always have the
the street or in an unofficial bureau. Keep your               Gasoline (1 liter) – 7.85 元                                                                                  sorship is in operation. Luckily, there are many
                                                                                                                 name and/or address of the place you are stay-
exchange receipts in case you will want to ex-                 Hostels (average price/night) – 50 元                                                                         ways to outflank the protection, such as various
                                                                                                                 ing written in Chinese, the same applies for the
change RMB back to your currency when leaving                  4* hotel (average price/night) – 600 元                                                                       software or VPN.
                                                                                                                 sights you want to visit – this is the only way to
China.                                                         Car-hire (medium-sized car/day) – 880 元
                                                                                                                 communicate with taxi drivers. Also, learn the
                                                                                                                 Chinese signs for numbers; they are different to           Internet Resources
Don’t count on using cards. Visa, MasterCard and           Tipping
                                                                                                                 Western ones.                                                 Official Beijing Website (
American Express are accepted at bigger hotels,            Tipping is not customary in China. There is one
restaurants and in better shops but that’s it. It is                                                                                                                           Beijing Practical Information (www.beijingpage.
                                                           exception though: the tour guides usually depend
                                                                                                                 Mobile Phones                                                 com)
also always safer to pay with cash.                        on tips (as a result of very competitive prices of
                                                                                                                 There’s a standard mobile network (GSM 900/1800)              Useful blog about travelling in China (www.
                                                           tours for non-Chinese).
                                                                                                                 and Chinese CDMA network that’s incompatible        
Tax Refunds
                                                                                                                 with American SIM cards. If coming from Europe,
There’s no VAT except for in Hainan and there-
                                                                                                                 the probability that your phone will work there
fore, no tax refunds.
                                                                                                                 is high and it can be legally used. Needless to
                                                                                                                 say, the roaming will be probably expensive and
Prices                                                                                                           there’s a portion of randomness – you phone or
Bargaining is essential and not just at markets;                                                                 operator might or might not work.
you might need to bargain even in small grocery
shops – they always try to charge tourists more,                                                                 China Mobile and China Unicom are the two
even for basic goods.                                                                                            most popular phone operators. Their SIM cards
                                                                                                                 work nationwide but roaming applies beyond

                                                       4                                                                                                                5
 HOLIDAYS                                                                                                                            TRANSPORTATION

   January 1 – New Year                                        Public Transportation                                      The fares are very cheap (usually just 1 元) and are
   1st day of 1st lunar month – Chinese New                    Expect public transport to be extremely crowded            usually paid to the bus attendant during the ride.
   Year                                                        during rush hours. The subway is still prob-               Buses numbered 1 to 300 serve the city center
   March 8 – International Women’s Day                         ably the fastest way to travel in Beijing. The             and buses with numbers above 900 connect the
   5th solar term (April) – Qingming Festival                  streets constantly suffer from congestion and              rural surroundings of Beijing.
   May 1 – Labor Day                                           the chances of getting stuck on a bus or in a taxi
   May 4 – Youth Day                                           is almost 100%.                                            There are night buses numbered 200+ that run
   June 1 – Children’s Day                                                                                                from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
   5th day of 5th lunar month (June) – Dragon                  Beijing Subway ( – employs com-
   Boat Festival                                               prehensible maps and bilingual signs every-                If you are staying longer, you might consider pur-
   August 1 – Army Day                                         where. Its network is expanding very fast; make            chasing the Yikatong (一通) prepaid card with 20 元
   15th day of 8th lunar month (September) –                   sure you have an up-to-date map. The system                deposit. The cost of subway tickets is unchanged,
   Mid-Autumn Festival                                         is simple enough: A single ticket costs 2 元 and            but it significantly reduces the cost of using buses
   October 1 – National Day                                    allows any interchange except for the Airport Ex-          (up to 60 %).
The celebration of Chinese New Year and National               press. Purchasing tickets is very easy; there are
Day lasts three days. It is not advised to travel dur-         vending machines at every station. Don’t forget            To get to the Great Wall, Ming Tombs or other
ing those dates – the majority of shops and places             to keep your ticket as you will have to use it when        sites beyond the Beijing metropolitan area, don’t
are closed and it is very difficult to get train tickets       leaving the subway as well.                                be afraid to take public transport – the sites are
and accommodation – family visits are customary                                                                           well-connected and you will always be helped to
during holidays.                                               Check out the Flash Subway Tour (www.ebeijing.             find the right stop and line. Overall, the experi-
                                                      if you'd like to learn more about the sub-         ence is incomparable to tour buses arranged for
Opening Hours                                                  way.                                                       the foreign tourists, not to mention the difference
The standard opening hours for banks and post                                                                             in price.
offices are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The big shops and                 Buses ( – the bus system is quite
shopping malls are usually open 10 a.m. to 10                  difficult to use. For instance, there are usually no       Taxis
p.m. and restaurants serve meals from 10 a.m. to               English signs and no maps of the route. At the             Taxis are inexpensive in Beijing. However, there
11 p.m. Expect the main sights to be open daily,               same time, no trip to Beijing is complete with-            is always the risk of being ripped off or getting
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but some stay open longer              out this experience and you might see places               stuck in traffic. Always have the name of your
or shorter.                                                    you wouldn’t have seen otherwise! You can also             destination written down in Chinese – pronounc-
                                                               search for the buses marked with 特 – these dou-            ing the name correctly is very difficult and you
                                                               ble-deckers connect tourist attractions.                   may end up on the other side of Beijing – don’t
                                                                                                                          expect drivers to speak English or to be able to
                                                               During rush hours, you might encounter brightly-           decipher your pronunciation of even the most
                                                               dressed staff near the main sights or stops who            popular tourist sights. The majority of taxi dri-
                                                               will help you find the right stop or bus. Be careful       vers come from the countryside so don’t count
                                                               not to be led to some private (scam) minibus by            on them knowing the city well either- always en-
                                                               fake attendants.                                           sure they know where you want to go or take
                                                                                                                          another taxi.

                                                           6                                                          7
 TRANSPORTATION                                                                                                                                                                            TRANSPORTATION

As soon as you get in, make sure that the meter               There are four classes:                                Using buses, even for the long distances, is in-               Expressways – 120 km/h
is on. If the driver doesn’t want to turn it on, just            Soft sleeper () – most comfortable, the price is    creasingly popular and some routes can be equally              Seatbelts are compulsory but almost never
get another taxi. At night and in remote areas,                  usually comparable to domestic flights bought       as comfortable as trains and even quicker. It re-              used by locals. You should use them if avail-
the drivers may try to set their own price. Either               in advance. Spacious sleep compartment with         ally varies, though, as some roads still remain                able, though.
negotiate a reasonable sum or get another taxi                   two or four bunks.                                  in shocking condition and the buses may be old             The radars are marked with the 雷速区 sign and the
willing to switch the meter on. Ask for the receipt              Hard sleeper (硬) – open to the corridors, three     and crowded. Don’t be surprised by the erratic             risk of being fined when speeding more than 10
when paying.                                                     bunks in a column. Space is limited but the         driving style or the attendant telling jokes and           km/h is relatively high in the most developed ar-
                                                                 bunks are comfortable. Upper bunks (上) are          stories into the loudspeaker throughout the jour-          eas. Speeding is common elsewhere, though.
Avoid illegal taxis. There are also many fake taxis              the cheapest and the lowest (下) most ex-            ney. The buses are also easily delayed thanks
– you can recognize them by their license plate;                 pensive, but prices varies only slightly. Hard      to construction works, weather conditions and              The rules for riding motorcycles vary from province
it should begin with 京B. If not, don’t get in. The               sleeper is probably the best value for what         congested streets.                                         to province and often change. It is best to avoid
fake taxis are usually stationed in the vicinity of              you get.                                                                                                       them – the sellers or renters will of course assure
the main sights and very rarely hailed from the                  Soft seater (座) – comfortable seats found in        For longer distances, you generally need to pur-           you that it is okay but a foreigner on a motorbike
street.                                                          day trains traveling on routes up to 8 hours in     chase your ticket at the bus station while shorter         will always attract the attention of the police.
                                                                 duration and high speed trains.                     distance tickets can be paid for on board to the
Hailing a taxi from the street might be quite dif-               Hard seater (硬座) – the most genuine experi-         attendant.                                                 As a rule, motorcycles are forbidden on the free-
ficult – there is a constant lack of taxis and some              ence. Padded seats, long-distance journeys as                                                                  ways.
of them don’t want to take foreigners. Still, it is              well. There are also standing tickets sold for      Driving
always safer to get a taxi from the street and not               this class so the train can get really crowded.     You need to have a Chinese driving license to              Walkability
to take the touted ones.                                         Despite officially being non-smoking, don’t re-     drive in China – the International Driving Permit          Due to its rapid development, Beijing has lost lots
                                                                 ally expect this. Very cheap and adventurous,       is not recognized. If you want to rent a car, you          of its walkability mainly to the distances that one
The basic fee is 10 元 (11 at night) for the first three          though.                                             also need a residence permit. Getting a provi-             has to overcome when sightseeing. The new Bei-
kilometers, and every subsequent kilometer is 2               Tickets can be bought up to seven days in ad-          sional license is not impossible, but is expensive.        jing has been planned mainly with cars in mind –
元.                                                            vance. You might get English speaking attendants       The procedures and rules are subject to frequent           and it has yet to change. The sprawling construc-
                                                              at major city stations, or at least those willing to   change.                                                    tion sites may also get in your way.
It is not very expensive to rent a cab for the whole          communicate despite the language barrier. Since
day if you want to visit sights beyond the city. Let          January 2012, it has been necessary to present         It is doubtful whether it is worth undergoing this         One solution is to rent a bicycle. Apart from short-
your hostel/hotel arrange it and expect to pay be-            your ID when purchasing tickets.                       bureaucratic process; the driving experience it-           ening the distances, it is also a genuine Beijing ex-
tween 500 – 800 元 per day.                                                                                           self may be stressful, the Chinese drivers have            perience – the streets once used to be full of com-
                                                              General guidelines, what to expect:                    their own rules that are very difficult to adjust to       muters on bikes. There are many biking lanes but
If you’d like to call your taxi yourself, here are              There is one attendant per every train. They         and there’s lots of chaos, too. You can expect             you should not count on their exclusivity – cars
some numbers:                                                   will take your ticket and exchange it for a card     almost anything to happen on Chinese roads, dri-           and scooters like to use them sometimes as well.
    96103, Yinjian Taxi                                         with your seat number. So they will know your        ving is not for the faint-hearted and may prove            Just keep your eyes open and be very careful – the
    961001, Beiqi Taxi (                   destination and will make sure you don’t miss        tricky even for those used to driving in Asia. An          experience is well worth it. If staying for a longer
                                                                your stop.                                           alternative would be to rent a car with driver,            time, it might be cheaper to buy your own bike
Regional Transportation                                         The toilets are locked when the train is ap-         which is easy in Beijing.                                  and then sell it again, as rentals are quite expen-
Trains                                                          proaching a station.                                      Maximum speed on city roads with single lane          sive. Don’t forget to get a good lock, too – bike
                                                                Bring enough food, as the dining cars vary and            per direction – 30 km/h                               thefts are very common.
There’s an extensive train network – a most popu-               you might end up eating instant soups for an              Maximum speed on city roads with several
lar way to travel long distances. The whole system              exaggerated price. Boiled water is available.             lanes – 70 km/h
is well-organized and easy to use.                            Buses                                                       Expressways in cities – 100 km/h

                                                          8                                                                                                                 9
 TRANSPORTATION                                                                                                                                              FOOD

Fortunately, some of the traditional hutongs               There’s no need to be afraid of Beijing food. The               Wine – most popular brand: The Great Wall.
(community-centered housing neighborhoods)                 rule of thumb is: if the restaurant is full of people           Don’t expect good quality, though.
have survived the development fever – and it is a          or the street stall has a queue, the food is safe.              Baijiu – distilled from grains, the most popu-
delight to walk there. Beijing also has many huge          Observe whether locals buy the food or not – if                 lar liquor. Comes extremely cheap, 5 元 for
parks that are more than inviting for a pleasant           they do, you are unlikely to have any problems.                 a small bottle. Sold even in gallon containers
stroll.                                                                                                                    right next to containers with water, for similar
                                                           Street food                                                     prices – don’t mix them up! Maotai is the most
Beijing is not the friendliest of cities for wheel-           Beijing yoghurt                                              expensive baiju brand – good as a souvenir.
chair users. There have been some efforts to                  Savory pancakes
improve – for example, there are now ramps at                 Tanghulu – candied fruits on a stick. Usually             Legal Age
some of the main sights. But unfortunately public             with Chinese hawthorn, cherry tomatoes or                 The legal drinking age is 18. Officially, you need to
transportation is not wheelchair accessible at all.           exotic fruit                                              be 18 to be able to enter a nightclub but in reality
                                                              Almond tea – almond and rice paste with                   almost no-one checks the IDs.
                                                              Beijing roast duck served with chisels, cucum-
                                                              bers, pancakes and plum sauce
                                                              Mutton hot pot
                                                              Hot and sour soup – usually with mushrooms
                                                              and tofu
                                                              Sweet & sour spare ribs
                                                              Stir-fried tomato and scrambled eggs
                                                              Moo shu pork – pork chop, scrambled eggs
                                                              and sesame seeds
                                                              Zhajiangmian noodles – noodles with ground
                                                              pork and yellow soybean paste
                                                              Tea – most popular are jasmine tea and green
                                                              teas (for example Zhejiang Longjing). Pu-erh
                                                              tea from Yunnan is also consumed a lot. Be-
                                                              ware of tea scams, though – when people on
                                                              the street try to befriend you and then invite
                                                              you for tea to a place of their choice, be wary.
                                                              You might end up paying outrageous prices
                                                              for just an ordinary tea.
                                                              Beer – usually sold in 0,75 bottles. The most
                                                              popular brands: Tsingtao, Yanjing beer (brewed
                                                              in Beijing) and Great Leap Brewing (local mi-

                                                      10                                                           11
 EVENTS DURING THE YEAR                                                                                                                                                                       THINGS TO DO

January                                                     798 Art Festival ( (con-       Free Things To Do                                            and those goods are not really expensive even
   Laba Festival – religious ceremony in Yonghe-            temporary art)                                         Tiananmen Square                                         though the seller will of course state otherwise.
   gong Lama Temple                                       October                                                  Chairman Memorial Hall – you need to get up
   Longqing Gorge Ice and Snow Festival                     Celebrations of the National Day – fireworks           early and be prepared to wait in a long queue.
February                                                    Beijing Music Festival (                Silk Street
   Chinese New Year – the most important days               Jazz-E Festival (                Panjiayuan Flea Market
   of Chinese year, the largest celebrations all            International Film and Video Festival of Beijing       Qianmen Dajie – commercial street, a symbol
   over the city                                            Film Academy (                            of contemporary China
   Lantern Festival                                                                                                Wangfujing – night markets
March                                                                                                              Shichahai Scenic Area
   Jue Music + Art Festival (                                                                  Hutongs
   China International Clothing & Accessories                                                                      798 Art District
   Fair (                                                                                    National Museum
April                                                                                                              Olympic Park (Water Cube, Bird’s Nest)
   Beijing International Kite Festival (www.bjkite                                                             You need to pay entrance to the majority of Bei-                                                                                                 jing parks, but the fee is 10 元 at most.
   Midi Music Festival (
   (rock music festival)
   Art Beijing & Photo Beijing (
                                                                                                               Shopping for souvenirs is easy in Beijing. There
                                                                                                               are many markets with great variety of goods and
   International Labour Day – celebrated on the
                                                                                                               streets are full of shops where you are likely to
   Tiananmen square
                                                                                                               randomly come across many interesting goods.
   INTRO ( (electronic
                                                                                                               The most classic souvenirs are: tea (either loose
   music festival)
                                                                                                               tea or tea discs in beautiful packages), porcelain
                                                                                                               (tea sets), silk garments, pearls, jade. You also
   Dragon Boat Festival – traditional celebration
                                                                                                               might come across beautiful calligraphy scrolls
                                                                                                               or landscape paintings. Players will appreciate
   Beijing International Art Exposition (www.
                                                                                                               elaborately decorated mahjong sets. Very orig-
                                                                                                               inal and personal gift is the custom-made seal
                                                                                                               made of wood or a special kind of wax. Kites are
   Beijing Fringe Festival
                                                                                                               often sold in the touristy areas. They are nicely
   Fashion's Night Out
                                                                                                               decorated and really fly. Foodies will appreciate
   Beijing NineGates Jazz Festival
                                                                                                               the dried Beijing duck sold in huge bags. A real
   Beijing International Music Competition (www.
                                                                                                               curiosity to amuse your friends is the chicken feet (classical music)
                                                                                                               sealed in plastic as a snack.
   The 48 Hour Film Project (www.48hourfilm.
   com) – Beijing film-makers create a film in 48
                                                                                                               Remember to bargain hard for everything – un-
   hours, the movies are then screened in the
                                                                                                               less you come to a specialised shop off the beaten
   the 798 District.
                                                                                                               path, the majority of sold stuff is made for tourists
   Beijing Design Week

                                                     12                                                                                                                13
 DOS AND DO NOTS                                                                                                                                                                    DOS AND DO NOTS

   DO expect the Chinese not to speak English                Truthfully, there’s little chance of avoiding being          order anything before knowing how much it
   – and be prepared to cope with a few learnt               ripped off. Luckily, China is a cheap country, so            costs.
   phases and a notebook with things written                 you will probably lose less money than you would         The most common scams:
   down in Chinese.                                          in other countries.                                          Rickshaws, tuk-tuks and pedicabs – avoid us-
   DO take care when crossing the street as dri-                                                                          ing them if possible. The touts are usually very
   vers rarely stop at the green light.                      Common guidelines to avoid rip offs:                         pushy and the probability of getting ripped off
   DO always ask about prices and negotiate.                   Always ask about the price and negotiate it                is high. Overall, they are more expensive than
   DO rent a bike to experience Beijing differ-                in advance. Also, make sure that you agree                 official taxis.
   ently.                                                      on prices in yuan (kwai). This applies even                “English students” – people who approach you
   DO reserve yourself enough time for aimless                 for small items such as bottles of water or ice            on the street for the purpose of practicing
   strolling around hutongs.                                   cream – if you don’t ask, the water may charge             English. Never agree to go have coffee or a
   DO eat on the street – street food is cheap and             you ten times more.                                        meal with them as you will be expected to pay
   delicious.                                                  In taxis, always make sure that you are at the             a hefty bill.
   DO NOT discuss Chinese politics with the lo-                desired destination and pay only upon arrival.             Fake alcohol – if drinks are significantly cheaper
   cals.                                                       Never use illegal taxis and don’t accept any               than in other places, there might be a reason
   DO NOT stick chopsticks upright into your                   service that is forced upon you on the street.             for it.
   food – it is a way to sacrifice food to ancestors.          Avoid organized tours offered by hawkers at                Fake money – always check the texture of the
   DO NOT be shocked to witness people expec-                  tourist sites. If interested in taking a tour, visit       bills.
   torate and spit even on public transport – it is            CTS (China Travel Service) or ICTS (Interna-               KTVs – avoid going without Chinese-speaking
   just a cultural difference.                                 tional China Travel Service). The tours that               people. These entertainment complexes with
   DO NOT get involved with any drugs – even the               are presented together with notebooks full of              karaoke booths are the site of many scams
   possession of marijuana is illegal.                         recommendations in various languages, and                  aimed at tourists.
                                                               those offered by hostels you are staying in are        If you get into an unpleasant situation, you might
Safety                                                         usually alright. Nevertheless, always ask for a        try to pretend calling the police – as they have a
This might seem surprising, but Beijing is a safe              detailed program and agree on a price.                 strong authority. You may also try calling your
city despite its size. Tourist scams and pickpock-             If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.       hostel for advice or assistance.
ets occur but violent crimes are very rare. Exer-              No exceptions.
cise your common sense and try to keep an eye                  Always check your change – you might have re-          The tap water is not safe to drink. You can buy
on your belongings. You should also watch out                  ceived less than you should or you might have          bottled water or use the thermos with boiled
on the streets – the Chinese are famous for their              been given a 5 jiao banknote instead of 5 yuan         (and usually still hot) water available in hostels
reckless driving style. There have been some                   one. Always check the 100元 and 500元 ban-               and public places.
cases of robbery at distant and abandoned parts                knotes for originality. Be wary of anyone who
of the Great Wall, too – avoid this risk by visiting           wants to give you these bills back for obscure         Always use hand sanitizer.
in small groups.                                               reasons (such as a “special price”). Reject bills
                                                               if they are badly torn, seem thin or the water-
Don’t be put off by the numbers of police officers,            mark seems weird – it is not considered impo-
soldiers, cameras and security staff all over the              lite.
city – you’re in China, after all. Expect to undergo           Double-check the prices in restaurants, espe-
a security check when entering the subway or the               cially if there’s a special English menu. Never
main sights.

                                                        14                                                                                                                     15
DOS AND DO NOTS                                                            ACTIVITIES

                  Forbidden City      /故
                  An absolute must-see. Smashing palace complex that served for more
                  than 500 years as imperial residence. A place of immeasurable beauty.

                  GPS: N39.91688, E116.39711
                  +86 10 8500 7421

                  Galerie Urs Meile
                  Established gallery known for promoting Chinese contemporary art in Eu-
                  rope and mediating contacts between European and Chinese artists.

                  GPS: N39.99865, E116.50142
                  +86 10 643 333 93

                  Tiananmen Gate         / 天安
                  The entrance to the Forbidden city decorated with huge portrait of Mao
                  Zedong is the most photographed landmark in Beijing.

                  GPS: N39.91261, E116.39721

                  Tiananmen Square           / 天安广
                  The largest square in the world. Lined with stern buildings, dotted with
                  memorials, statues (and CCTV). Don't miss out the flag ceremony!

                  GPS: N39.90625, E116.39752

                  Temple of Heaven         /天
                  Beautiful park dominated by Taoist temples where the Emperor used to
                  pray for good harvest. So much to see, reserve half a day for it.

                  GPS: N39.88278, E116.41295
                  +86 10 67036062

ACTIVITIES                                                                                                                                                    ACTIVITIES

             Jingshan Park            / 景山                                                         Bird's Nest    /
                                                                                               F                                                                                   K
             This artificial hill is simply the best place to overlook the Forbidden city in       Modern landmark of Beijing. Unique building co-designed by Ai Weiwei for
             its entirety. A must do! The views are stunning.                                      the purpose of 2008 Summer Olympics.

             4号 Jingshan Front St, Dongcheng, Beijing, China                                       11号 Tianchen East Rd, Chaoyang, Beijing, China
             GPS: N39.92352, E116.39676                                                            GPS: N39.99283, E116.39363
                                                                                                   +86 10 84373011
             Wangfujing        / 王府井
             Beijing's premier shopping street is flocked by tourists and locals alike.
             Rich in history, full of shops.                                                       Donghuamen Night Market                 / 夜市
                                                                                                   More a touristic attraction than a real Chinese market, but well worth visit-
             GPS: N39.91095, E116.41116
                                                                                                   ing anyway – how about a bite of fried centipede or snake?

                                                                                                   Donghuamen St, Dongcheng, Beijing, China, 100006
                                                                                                   GPS: N39.91519, E116.40358
             Summer Palace        /和
             Listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site, the imperial complex with its vast
             scenic gardens is undoubtedly a must-see.                                             Miaoying Temple           / 妙寺
                                                                                                   This white stupa overlooks Beihai park and the Forbidden city. Unique
             GPS: N40.00236, E116.27518
                                                                                                   fairytale-like structure with great ambiance.
             +86 10 62881144                                                                       GPS: N39.92584, E116.38924

             Mausoleum of Mao Zedong                 / 毛主席念堂
             A stately building that holds the relics of Mao Zedong. The morning                   Nanluogu Xiang
             queues are long but worth it – an unique experience.                                  An interesting blend of old hutongs and retail stores. Everything from
                                                                                                   things of daily use to kitschy souvenirs.
             GPS: N39.90255, E116.39777
                                                                                                   GPS: N39.93697, E116.39698

             Beihai Park     / 北海公
             Vast Chinese-style park that will overwhelm you by its great beauty and               Shichahai     / 什刹海
             serene atmosphere. Full of interesting structures.                                    Scenic lakeside complex consists of historical temples of serene beauty,
                                                                                                   breath-taking sceneries and quaint atmosphere.
             GPS: N39.92180, E116.38284
                                                                                                   GPS: N39.93382, E116.39237

                                         18                                                                                   19
ACTIVITIES                                                                                                                                           ACTIVITIES

             Badaling Great Wall          /八                                                Lama Temple       / 雍和宮
                                                                                        P                                                                                  U
             Fully restored and probably the most visited section of the fascinating        The most popular temple in Beijing. Seat of the state-controlled branch of
             structure. A lifetime experience!                                              Tibetan Buddhism. A showcase of astoundingly beautiful architecture.

             GPS: N40.35499, E116.01411                                                     41号 Yonghegong St, Dongcheng, Beijing, China
                                                                                            GPS: N39.94758, E116.41726

             Beijing Zoo     / 北京物                                                          Mutianyu Great Wall            / 慕田峪城
                                                                                        Q                                                                                  V
             Amazing ZOO with astonishing variety of animals and marvelous historical       This section is fully restored but offers an amazing experience nevertheless
             pavilions. Its main highlight, Panda Hall, is a must-see.                      – it is remarkably less crowded than Badaling.

             137号 Xizhimen Outer St, Xicheng, Beijing, China                                GPS: N40.43189, E116.57014
             GPS: N39.93880, E116.33869

             Prince Gong Mansion          / 恭王府                                             Pearl Market       / Hong Qiao
                                                                                        R                                                                                  W
             Ornate residence complex and well-manicured gardens hold Beijing opera         Popular shopping destination: five floors of practically everything from
             stage and library. Unique example of the traditional Siheyuan layout.          sunglasses to traditional silk dresses, fans and pearls.

             GPS: N39.93738, E116.38514                                                     9号 Tiantan Rd, Dongcheng, Beijing, China, 100062
             Phone:                                                                         GPS: N39.88613, E116.42051
             +86 10 83288149                                                                Phone:
                                                                                            +86 10 6711 7429

             Water Cube       / 水立方
             Built for the Summer Olympics, this cuboid was recently remodeled to           Old Summer Palace         /明
             serve as a water park. Its pools, slides and spas are surely inviting!         The palace was destroyed by French and British troops during the Second
                                                                                            Opium War. Walk the ruins that are still entangled with powerful atmos-
             11号 Tianchen East Rd, Chaoyang, Beijing, China
             GPS: N39.99288, E116.39053
                                                                                            GPS: N39.99983, E116.31261

             National Art Museum of China            / 中国美
             Simply huge art museum displays a wide range of Chinese art ranging from       National Centre for the Performing Arts                / 国家大院
             the imperial art to contemporary approaches.                                   Smashing architectural gem holds mind-blowing performances of tradi-
                                                                                            tional Chinese ballet, acrobat shows, Beijing opera and theatre.
             1号 Wusi St, Dongcheng, Beijing, China, 100010
             GPS: N39.92483, E116.40894                                                     GPS: N39.90471, E116.38811
             Phone:                                                                         Phone:
             +86 10 64006326                                                                +86 10 6655 0000

                                       20                                                                             21

             Great Wall Museum
             Exhibition covering more than 3,000 square meters illustrates the fascinat-
             ing history of the Great Wall. Unnecessarily underrated.

             GPS: N40.35750, E116.00982
             +86 10 8119 1011


To top