Beijing Travel Tips
Traveling in Beijing can be both intriguing and frustrating. Many travelers can be frustrated when trying to find the best sightseeing, eating and sleeping arrangements. Read on to find some Beijing travel tips to help you get the most out of your Beijing experience.
Beijing has numerous sights that should be seen if visiting the city. It is possible to see the absolute highlights in a day, but allow a week to see it thoroughly. A one or two day visit requires very careful selection when choosing which sights to see. If you are in a hurry, we recommend the following attractions: The Great Wall, the outstanding feature of China's ancient heritage; The Forbidden City, the best preserved and largest imperial place in the world; and The Hutong, which epitomizes old Beijing.
Transport, hotels and attractions are extremely busy during the Chinese New Year (usually in January or February) and the week-long holidays of International Labor Day (May 1) and National Day (Oct 1). If you expect to visit Beijing during these periods, it is suggested that you place your booking at least one month in advance.
Be warned, although it's definitely not hard to book a Beijing tour, please be cautious when selecting the company you use. Some travel agencies who offer seductively cheap prices are only doing so in an attempt to rip travelers off, by taking them to less attractive sights, or by taking them to endless tourist shops or factories. We at China Highlights guarantee the quality of our tours.
Beijing's weather differs greatly between seasons and travelers are advised to check the weather before departure. Autumn is probably the best season to visit Beijing. During national holidays prices are higher and everywhere is more crowded. The main national holidays are Spring Festival, which affects transport for 2 weeks or so every year between late January and early March, Labor Day Golden Week (May 1-7) and National Day Golden Week (October 1-7).
Beijing has direct air connections with most of the major cities in the world and serves as one of the main entry cities to China. (See USA to Beijing Flights.) As the nation's capital, Beijing has air and rail links with every part of the country.
Beijing's city transportation struggles under pressure from new car owners and congestion is a problem. Public transport such as buses and the metro can be packed with commuters. The most time-saving and hassle-free way of getting around is to take a taxi, or to book a private tour through a reliable travel company that includes private transport.
Nighttime entertainment is considered by many travelers to be one of the highlights of their travels. Beijing won't disappoint in this area. The city has a flourishing entertainment industry. As the veil of night descends, bars, karaoke joints and night clubs all open their doors. Some special shows featuring authentic local culture, such as Beijing Opera and Chinese acrobatics are increasingly popular among foreigners.
Chinese cuisine, with its complexity and variety in taste, is definitely one of the finest pleasures that a visitor can experience in China. Beijing is a gastronomical paradise, where hybrid cuisines from throughout the country are served. Everybody should try not to miss the chance to eat Peking Duck. Many restaurants serve this dish, but the best one is Quanjude Restaurant. You may also opt to try other dishes, such as imperial era food, noodles and hot pots. Wangfujing Street is filled with stalls serving a great variety of snacks at night. Wangfujing is the main pedestrian street in Beijing. You can't miss it.
Beijing has many good hotels to cater for those looking for a luxurious stay. The budget hotels cluster at the city outskirts, while the hotels in the city center are often relatively expensive. Travelers are strongly advised to book a hotel through a reliable travel company, whose good relationship with hotel owners often guarantees a preferential price.
Most travelers want to take home some bargains or souvenirs. The best things to buy in Beijing are Cloisonné and fresh water pearls.
There are offices around street corners in Beijing, so it would be quite convenient for to tourists to post mails and packages.
- Beijing Tiananmen Post Office Address: East of Tiananmen Square
- Beijing Yong'an Lu Post Office Address: 173, Yongan Lu, Xuanwu District
- Beijing Fangzhuang Post Office Address: 22, Pufang Lu, Fengtai District
- Beijing Hua Shi Post Office Address: 67, Hua Shi Jie, Chongwen District
In Beijing, Great Britain Pound, Euro, U.S. Dollar, Swiss Franc, Singapore Dollar, Swedish Crown, Danish Crown, Norwegian Crown, Japanese Yen, Canadian Dollar, Australian Dollar, Philippine Peso, Thai Baht are all exchangeable at the bank of China, and other authorized banks offer foreign exchange service, some hotels, restaurants and shops will also accept foreign exchange business in order to provide convenience for foreign tourists.
- Beijing Xindongan Emporium Branch of Bank of China Address: No.130, Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng District
- Beijing Wangfujing Branch of Bank of China Address: No.1, Chang'an Street, Dongcheng District
- Beijing Xidan Branch of Bank of China Address: No.130, Xidan Street (north), Xicheng District
- Beijing Dongzhimen Branch of Bank of China Address: No.35, Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng District
It is very convenient for tourists to use credit cards in star hotels and the large department stores of Beijing. Major credit cards such as Master Card, Visa, JCB and American Express are accepted. Credit cards usually cannot be used in small restaurants or small convenience stores.
Surfing the internet is not an adventure any more, for internet cafes' can be easily found along the streets of Beijing, and lots of hotels have internet access. If you want to do business via the internet, chat with family or friends, there are plenty of venues for you to choose.
Phone booths can be easily found along the roads, you just need to buy a calling card. Moreover, many hotels are equipped with telephone, it is usually free of charge to make phone calls within China, yet the price may be expensive for making international calls.
Xidan Books Building
Address: No.C17, Chang'an Street (west), Beijing
Wangfujing Xinhua Book Store
Address: NO.235, Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing
In Beijing, there are 29 advanced-level hospitals having special foreign clinics which have a high reputation among local foreigners.
China-Japan Friendship Hospital
Address: No.A2, Cherry Road, Heping Street
Beijing Tongren Hospital
Address: No.2, Chongwenmen Street (inner), Beijing
Beijing Chaoyang Hospital
Address: No.8, Baijiazhuang Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing.
Tongrentang Drug Store
Address: No.20, Beida Street, Xicheng District
Yongantang Drug Store
Address: No.2, Huangsi Street, Dongcheng District
Chaoyang Drug Store
Address: No.8, Chaoyang Street, Chaoyang District
Questions and Answers About Beijing Travel Tips
Hi Eddie, for a 6 nights stay in Beijing, you can visit almost all the attractions there. Usually 2-4 days is enough for the highlights in Beijing. And I suggest that you spend 2 days in Xian, which is a can't missing for travelers to China. And it is not quite far from Beijing, only 2hr by air. The Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses are one of the 8 wonders in the world.
Highlights in Beijing: the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, Tian'anmen Square, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Hutong, Beijing Zoo(to see the panda), Cuandixia Village, Tanzhe Temple, etc.
I suggest that you rent a private van and tour guide to ensure that you can travel at your pace, and taste the local food there. Public transportation is not so convenient to some of the attractions, and you may waste lots of time on it.
If you need any tour assistance, please feel free to contact me.Whitney Liao replied on 2013-02-28
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I updated this article on February 13, 2014
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