Going to beijing on 16/7/01 any tips?

Old Jul 14th, 2001, 05:38 AM
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Going to beijing on 16/7/01 any tips?

Hi has anyone got any tips about where to go in Beijing because we're going on Monday (16/7/01.We are all very excited and can't wait to go!And does any one know a way of getting over bordem on a plane????Thanks a lot! Katherine
Old Jul 14th, 2001, 01:11 PM
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A few tips - I just got back last weekend. I can't help with the plane ride - I was bored stiff.

With Beijing - I am writing a trip report with more details - but I doubt it will be ready by Monday. (If it is, I will try to email it to you).

-Be prepared to bargain in the markets. Checkout the prices in the department stores or the friendship stores first, so you have an idea of the maximum you should pay.
-Make sure that you have a phrase book that has Chinese characters in it. We had two books, and the one without chinese characters in it was worthless. Our pronunciation sounded correct to our ears but was unitelligiable to Chinese speakers - so we had to resort to pointing at phrases occasionally.
-Do not take a taxi who won't use their meter. They will over charge you. This was rarely a problem for us. However, three days in a row the taxis outside the Pearl Market would claim that their meter was not working, there was a traffic jam, or would try to negotiate an huge fare (3x normal). Just step to the curb and flag down a passing taxi rather than taking one that is waiting at curb side.
-If you are tall and blonde and female be prepared to be stared at and have people take your photo. It was a bit disconcerting for me, although no one was trying to be rude about it. I found that I was more comfortable in capri pants than shorts because of the attention I was getting. Many women in Beijing wear shorts, but they tend to be about knee length - and if you are tall and unusal looking (compared to the general population in China) you may already have enough attention being paid to you.
-On the second floor of the pearl market knock-off designer handbags are for sale. They are plastic. They are also priced about 3x the cost of buying the same bag in one of the department stores or street side stores. Bargain hard if you intend to buy one. (But if you are dying for a 'Prada' or 'Kate Spade' bag, this would be the place to find one.
-Be aware of a scam we heard about and then encountered in person. You may be approached on the street by a youngish person (usually a group of 2 or 3) stating they are English students and would like to practice speaking to you. They will then ask you some questions about your trip, etc. and eventually get around to telling you that they are art students studying traditional scroll painting - and that there is a one day (of course) only art exhibit at there school nearby, and they can take you there. This is either an attempt to get you hopelessly lost in a hutong, rob you, or at best sell you a grossly overpriced scroll. Avoid them. We were approached the first time we left our hotel and saw at least 10 other tourists approached in the five days we were there. Since I had read about this scam in advance I was aware of this - so I am just passing the word on to you.
Old Jul 14th, 2001, 01:12 PM
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A few more tips:

- At the pearl market (even if you are not buying pearls, which are soooo cheap - go for a look) we bought pearls from booth 154 on the third floor (most of our purchases) and 140 also on the third floor. There are more pearl dealers on the 4th floor, with fancier showrooms. THe 4th floor has better quality freshwater and saltwater pearls, that are MUCH more expensive (due to much better quality). We ended up paying 18 RMB for pearl earings - roughly $2.00 per pair - similar earings seem to run about $50 USD here. They will string the necklaces for you while you wait. (Triple strand pearl necklace - $15.00....) Pearls were so amazingly inexpensive (be sure to bargain) that we actually bought a fair number of things just to bring back as gifts.
-I recommend trying Li Family Restaurant (you will need reservations) and also Xihe Yaju for sichuan food - Xihe Yaju was wonderful and we went there 2x because we liked it so much. (Both restaurants are listed in Frommer's guidebook).
-The hutong tours are really worth doing. We used a group called 'to the hutong' (www.hutongtourinxuanwu.com) and were very happy. There are a few other organizied tours available as well.
-The great wall really is awesome. We hiked from Jinshaling to Simitai (3 1/2 to 5 hours hike for two pretty fit people) and hired a driver for the day (3 hour drive each way). Well worth the expense and time. It is possible also to take day tours that just visit one section of the wall and also take you to the Ming tombs or summer palace or something and don't require a 5 hour hike.

I hope this helps. We had a blast - certainly one of the most interesting trips we have taken.
Old Jul 25th, 2001, 04:28 PM
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Ride the subways when possible. The traffic is so bad, it takes forever to travel by taxi. Have a phrase book, asking when the subway is located in Chinese, as they can be hard to find, even when you are in the correct location. In otherwords, not well marked, but the once inside the subway, they are not to difficult to use.
Old Aug 4th, 2001, 06:12 PM
coconut wireless
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Aloha, I am on the island of Kauai. Saw your posting and would love to have your trip report.
I am leaving the 13th of Sept. for six weeks in China and a week in Burma.
My express purpose for writing this e-mail however, is to ask about your
driver and hiring a car. We were thinking of going to Mutianyu and want to hire a car & driver. Can you give me some input about this? A contact name & number - e-mail?
Also, what did you think of the Summer Palace? I am thinking just thinking
of skipping it.

Old Aug 4th, 2001, 06:13 PM
coconut wireless
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OOPS!!! Forgot to address the message above to Author: [email protected] ([email protected]). Tried e-mailing you direct but it came back.

Old Aug 4th, 2001, 09:31 PM
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Coconut wireless - I will get in contact with you off-forum. I no longer post my email address here after receiving viruses via email. I'm still working on the trip report but will send information on the driver immediately.
Old Aug 8th, 2001, 10:39 PM
Barbie Doll
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In-flight Tips from an Airline Employee:
To help with the bordem of long flights:
Prepare yourself with multiple activities you enjoy. I always bring a book, my discman (especially since you've listened to the in-flight music stations three-times over by the end of the flight), a crossword or search-a-word puzzle book. I find this is especially good since your mind is concentrating on the activity at hand and not the time. Try your skill at Mensa or lateral thinking-type puzzles. Play cards with your travel partner/neighbour-you've got time! Make a point of getting up from your seat every hour or so and walking around the cabin. It will help stretch your muscles and improve circulation. I know I often get bloated after a long flight and I find this helps out. Play with the kids or babies on board-a good way to keep them occupied too! Good luck!

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