Beijing alone

Jan 9th, 2000, 02:44 PM
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Beijing alone

I'll be returning back to Beijing on my own (my first time was on a tour). I was wondering if anyone had any concerns regarding:
- staying at inexpensive hotels (< 3 star)
- catching a taxi (safe?)
- Do I need to know a little Mandarin?
- Is a hepatitis "B" immunization enough?
- Is riding a bike safe?

I'm planning on walking most of the time and returning to my hotel by taxi. I'll be there for four days/three nights. I've seen the major attractions : Forbidden City, Tiananmen, Ming Tomb, Great Wall, and I want to see what the "real" city is like.

Any suggestions/answers to my concerns are appreciated. Thanks.

Jan 9th, 2000, 03:32 PM
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We used taxis in Beijing from hotel and after Opera with no problem, but had our destination always written in Chinese. A family we met used taxis alot with the only problem that they were sometimes let out at the destination the driver thought they wanted but they were not sure--thus they saw some things they hadn't planned and missed others but had a good time. They did hire a "rickshaw" by some tourist spot by agreeing to the price in advance, but the drivers stopped in an alley and demanded much more money in U.S.--they started yelling and attracted a crowd. Seems if you just stop and stare at something you can attract a crowd.

If you rent a bike, please be careful. While in Beijing we were amazed at how the different types of transportation shared the road, but we just spent 3 days in Shanghai and saw 1 bad bike accident each day--one was a van doing a u-turn that knocked a man across the street and his head into a curb. We passed two other accident scenes walking that afternoon, but I don't know what type of vehicles were involved. I think I'll stick to my bike trails with my helmet.
Jan 10th, 2000, 04:36 AM
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pls visit
Jan 10th, 2000, 10:42 AM
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My take on riding a bike in Beijing is that the traffic is so bad and undisciplined that the risk is inordinate. Also, the smog is almost intolerable inside a car; imagine what it would be like with your head next to the exhausts.
In Shanghai, when we commented to our guide (private car with guide and driver) about the concrete barriers along the street (separating the cars from the bicycles), he said that those were put there to deter carjackings by cyclists. While you're probably not a carjacker, this does indicate that there is some danger being "out there".
Taxi's seem like the best compromise.
Jan 18th, 2000, 06:50 AM
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Our driver in Shanghai came upon a traffice jam because of an accident and he drove down the bicycle lane in his van for about half a mile to get around the backup.

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