More Beijing comments

Nov 16th, 2005, 10:43 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 349
More Beijing comments

I just returned from Beijing and was well prepared after reading a lot from other travelers on this site. I just want to offer a few more tips for those who will be there soon:

1) Taxi's are everywhere. But, try to catch the newer yellow/blue colored ones rather than the older red ones. The newer cabs are cleaner inside, more comfortable, and the driver more willing to help (some even use GPS).

I once took a red old taxi and the driver almost short-changed me (don't know if he was intentional or not). Count your change. Take a receipt--I heard that if you leave something in the taxi, you may be able to get it back by calling the # on the receipt.

2) For sites within Beijing city center, see them yourself. DO NOT USE GUIDES or JOIN TOURS. That includes the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Sq, Temple of heaven, various parks and temples, etc. You can get to these places with taxi easily and cheaply (less than US $2-3) and the subway is extremely easy to use as well.

3) Local food is cheap and good. You can ask for less oil and salt/MSG if you are not used to the way they cook.

4) The shopping places (Silk Market, Ya chow, Pearl Market) close pretty early. Silk Market is 9pm, others may be same or earlier. Silk Market has higher asking prices, but if you work hard enough, you should be able to negoiate down to similar prices everywhere... if you feel the prices are high, just walk away. There are plenty of stalls selling the exact stuff. Most people working the stalls know enough English since they get enough foreigne customers day in/day out.

5) I did not see Jing Shan Park recommended much, but I think it is definitely worth going to. You can climb a small hill and see the whole Imperial Palace from above. (The main Pavilion is under construction). Also, seeing the local elderlys doing different activities (singing, dancing, calligraphy, etc.)is very interesting.
mmyk72 is offline  
Nov 16th, 2005, 07:25 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,925
thanks for this info
rhkkmk is offline  
Nov 19th, 2005, 07:39 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 193
I agree with what you said. The red taxis were always old (and they didn't want to put on their air conditioning on even if it was 100 F outside). My language group had a tourguide and most of the time we were brought to the government sponsored factory stores, and of course they didn't get any business because we were just students and couldn't 'waste' money on stuff we could buy for a quarter of the price at the flea markets. One tip I'm giving about the market, is that bargaining is a game: don't get too obsessed about it and get into an argument; you'll realise that you're fighting over fifty cents...
TransitBuddie is offline  
Nov 20th, 2005, 09:13 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 331
In addition to this, here's all the places I ate in while in beijing. I only reviewed the ones I thought were great!
luckykat is offline  
Nov 21st, 2005, 04:58 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 349
TransitBuddy--That's exactly my experience with tours. So I repeat: DO NOT JOIN TOURS!!!

My tour had us going to 4 factory stores in less than a week, that a huge waste of time. Plus, with the bad traffic in Beijing, many hours were wasted on the tour-bus just getting to these places.

With the subway so easy to use (even for people not knowing Chinese), half of the sites can be easily reached quickly and cheap.
mmyk72 is offline  
Nov 24th, 2005, 06:42 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 585
LOTS of good things and bad things about going on a tour. The factory stores is definitely one of the BAD things!
BigJim is offline  

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