Top 10 things you must know before you visit Beijing

2018-05-12   Leo Kui      2

As one of the most visited cities in China, Beijing is busy, vibrant, and jam-packed full of tourists. But most of the tourists are local Chinese which makes it a bit difficult to get travel information for people who don’t know Chinese. With my 10 years of work experience as a tour guide in Beijing, I conclude the most important information for travelers.
This will 100% help you make a better experience for your Beijing trip.
Use These Beijing Travel Tips to Plan Your 2018 Trip

# 1 How to travel to Beijing when your VPN doesn’t work?

So many people have told you to have a VPN when you are here in China. (VPN: Virtual private network – Wikipedia) As Google and some social medium doesn’t work here, so have a VPN might be better to keep in touch with your family and friends.
If your SIM card has international data, your internet is free in China, and you don’t need VPN to access Google, Facebook, etc.…
But if you don’t have VPN or when your VPN doesn’t work well during your trip. The internet in China is very good, and you can always find Wi-Fi in public places. So, you can use Bing or Yahoo to search for information. Use Apple map, and the best off-line map is mapsme, remember to download it before you come. (The 10 Best Apps for Traveling in China)

# 2 Subway in Beijing is very good

All signs, maps & announcements are bilingual in Chinese & English, both in the stations and on the trains. The entire system is modern, clean & not much different from the subways in Bangkok, Tokyo, or Hong Kong. All stations have toilets too. All passengers need to pass the security checkpoint before entering, with x-ray machines for bags and metal detectors. I was also pleasantly surprised that most Beijing commuters are polite and courteous.
You need to buy a Yikatong (Yikatong – Wikipedia) which is a Subway transfer card.
You can pre-purchase a Yikatong for 20RMB at any Subway station as well as the airport subway station. You can use this card for any mode of public transport in Beijing, simply by tapping it as you enter and exit. If you run out of credit, you can easily top it up at any station. It is much quicker than purchasing a ticket every time.

# 3 Public restrooms

Most westerners will be surprised when they went to the public toilet, as the public toilets are always Squat toilets. This is because we feel cleaner if there are thousands of people using it and people don’t clean it on time.
Most of them don’t offer toilet paper. Make sure you always bring toilet paper with you when you go out for travel. Even in a good shopping mall or MacDonald, the toilets usually don’t offer toilet paper.

 #4 What kind of adapter do I need for Beijing China?

Most good hotels have the adapter, but it is still better to have one just in case they don’t offer it. These types of things always cost more when you buy them at the airport. Either purchase one before you arrive in Beijing or purchase one from a local shop once you’ve got to where you’re staying.
In China, the power sockets are of type A, C, and I. The standard voltage is 220 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.

#5 Can I drink tap water in Beijing?

The official answer is, yes you can. My recommendation is, better to stick to bottled (or filtered) water. But you shouldn’t worry too much about brushing your teeth or showering with tap water or eating fruits and vegetables that have been washed in tap water.

 # 6 Let the car go first!

The way of drive-in China can consider very dangerous in the western country. When the car turns right they don’t wait for people even it is a red light. Please keep in mind, there are always rude drivers. So, don’t challenge the cars when you cross the road.

 # 7 Avoid the Chinese holiday

Chinese holidays can be extremely crowded. I waited 2 hours in the security queue to get to Tiananmen Square on last Chinese National Day.

Date English Name Chinese Name
1st to 7th of 1st Lunisolar month Chinese New Year 春节
About the first weekend of April Qingming festival 清明节
1st May to 3rd May International Labor Day 劳动节
15th day of 8th Lunisolar month Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋节
1 to 7th October National Day 国庆节

If you do travel on the holiday and can’t change the schedule, the most important thing:
Book the tickets ahead
Book the tickets ahead
Book the tickets ahead

As the Forbidden City only sells 80000 tickets per day, it sounds like a lot, but it is usually sold out 2 or 3 days before the holiday.
The website to reserve the tickets is all in Chinese and have to use Alipay or any Chinese bank card to pay; it is super inconvenient for international travelers.
Contact any Chinese friend you know to help you buy tickets or book a tour.
Such as our Private Heritage Walking Tour.

 # 8 Beijing is very safe

Regarding crime, Beijing is probably one of the safest cities of comparable size anywhere in the world. In fact, it is so safe that people may let their guard down and expose themselves to being robbed or worse. … Pickpocketing occurs in Beijing, though foreigners do not seem to be targeted in particular.

 # 9 Money Change in Beijing

I don’t think that the airport is the best place but it is the most convenient.
There is no private company allowed to change money. You can go to any bank in Beijing and Change the main currencies in the world such as USD, EUR, GBP, etc.…
If your currency is not popular, you can only go to the bank of China.
Take your passport with you.

 # 10 How to take a taxi in Beijing?

It can be hard in the rush hour or touristy sights. But most of the time, you can easily get a taxi.
Nearly all cabs are now ordered online or by the app in the city, download a Didi from your app to get a taxi in Beijing is very wise.
Some tips for taxis:
1. Always plan your trip before and know which place you are going. Write the address down in Chinese. Always have your hotel card and number for emergencies.
2. ONLY get into the yellow/green official cabs which have their plate start with a “B.”
There is a golden rule: legal taxi driver doesn’t speak English.

Do you have any other ideas about the important things we should know? Please leave your comments below!

2 Comments so far

Shirley ChanPosted on11:52 am - Aug 27, 2019

Hello. I have 1 question regarding the payment for Didi. Can we pay by cash?

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