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Beijing subways and guides

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Oct 15th, 2011, 08:27 PM
  #1
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Beijing subways and guides

Hi - Some Beijing questions on guides, drivers, subways. We only speak/understand english.
1) Are the Beijing subway stops announced in english? Are the stops displayed in chinese or english characters? Will we have a hard time navigating the subways ?
2) Should we have guides/drivers take us to the main tourist sites? If so, should we pre-book online or contact the concierge? Or just hop in a cab?
3) Any recommended guides or drivers for touring Beijing?
Thanks in advance.
labern116 is offline  
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Oct 16th, 2011, 02:21 AM
  #2
 
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Book a private guide in Beijing. Viator only promotes tour guides in Beijing with a professional license or tour guiding certificate, ensuring you have the best possible ...
tourguides.viator.com/Listing.aspx?type=tourguide&...

Good guides above english signs fairly common MANY english

speakers in tourist areas usually get my best 5* Hotel deals

betterbidding.com www.otel.com there and best guide/driver

deals through the concierge.

Happy Journey.
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Oct 16th, 2011, 02:23 AM
  #3
 
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Swissotel Beijing is a fantastic hotel located in Beijing, China. Find the best hotels with best prices and book instantly at otel.com
www.otel.com/hotels/swissotel_beijing.htm

Best for me last...
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Oct 16th, 2011, 03:00 PM
  #4
 
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We were in Beijing spring of 2010 and had no problems using the subway at all. We visited all the sites in the city on our own. We found Beijing to be an easy city to do on our own. One thing that helped is I brought along pictures of the key sites with descriptions in English and Pinyin. Made it easy if we needed to ask for directions.

The only guide that we used in the city was one we happened to meet in front of the Forbidden City.

I can recommend the guide we had for The Great Wall (we went to Mutianyu) -- his name is Johnny: http://www.beijing-driver.com He speaks English very well, and he was a lot of fun. We also had a good tour to the Wild Wall with the China Culture Center (good English speaking guides)-- they offer a number of tours primarily for expats but open to visitors as well: http://www.chinaculturecenter.org/tours/beijing.php

I have a China Trip Report that you can see by clicking on my name. Have a wonderful time -- China was even better than I expected.
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Oct 16th, 2011, 04:38 PM
  #5
 
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In answer to you question regarding the subways-The stops are announced in Chinese and in English and are signposted in both languages as well. The subway is very easy to use and is the fastest way to crisscross the city. Get a map before you go and know which stop you need for each attraction you want to go to. Try to avoid being on the subway during rush hour as it is very crowded, but still very doable.
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Oct 16th, 2011, 09:16 PM
  #6
kja
 
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> 1) Are the Beijing subway stops announced in english? Are the stops displayed in chinese or english characters? Will we have a hard time navigating the subways ?

Yes, the stops are announced and posted in English and the subway system is extremely easy to navigate - among the easiest I've every encountered.

> 2) Should we have guides/drivers take us to the main tourist sites? If so, should we pre-book online or contact the concierge? Or just hop in a cab?

I don't know of anything in Beijing itself for which you would need a guide. As indicated in my answer to your question #1, the metro system is extremely easy to use. If you want to take a taxi, be sure to take something that has the name of the place you want to go - and the name of your hotel - in Chinese characters. Taxis are plentiful in Beijing and are quite cheap - as long as you ensure that the driver uses the meter. (Unless you've hired a taxi for a specific purpose and have already agreed upon a price, don't accept any taxi that won't use a meter.)

> 3) Any recommended guides or drivers for touring Beijing?

Again, no need for a guide or driver in Beijing - you can see the city and its sights and including several different segments of the Great Wall easily on your own. Several of us have posted trip reports about our experiences with independent travel in China. My very long report includes a few days in Beijing at the start of a 4 week trip and another larger block of time at the end of my trip - click on my name if you want to see it. For other reports, go to the China section and click on Trip Reports. And if you look, you'll find a number of posts on this board that discuss reasons why guides might not be the best option in China.

Hope that helps!
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Oct 17th, 2011, 08:51 PM
  #7
 
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You will be fine with english. The subway takes you to all the major sites except the Great Wall.
you do not need a guide but one can enhance your experience. Check synotrip.com
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