Travel Tips -- Beijing

Accomodations ... Air Travel ... Transportation ... Where to Go ...  Weather ... Clothing ... Medical Services ...  Miscellaneous

Accommodations

There are hundreds of hotels authorized to accomodate foreign visitors in Beijing.   Typically a five-star luxury hotel will cost you around $150 to $200 per night for a standard room, while a 2-star hotel will cost about $30 to $40 per night.  Through ASM's Online Reservation, one can get a substantial discounts compared to walk-in prices.   Some of the 2, 3 star hotels are renovated historical residences and come with traditional Chinese furnishing.  They offer a fresh variation from the ubiquitous chain hotels.  One of our customers' favorite is the Lusongyuan Hotel, which was converted from a former princess's palace. 

For those who are staying for an extended period of time, a rented apartment is a better alternative.  However, the landlord often requires 3 to 6 months of advanced rent payment as the security deposit, and he/she can still throw you out for one reason or another without refund you the difference.  It is also very important to make sure that the landload can legally rent you the place; if you can busted by the police, it is you who will lose the place and the deposit.  Not fair?  Life is not fair. So be sure you are contracting with reliable parties.  Don't simply fall for the price.

ASM Overseas Corporation provides assistance with both hotel reservation and apartment renting in Beijing.  Interested parties should direct their inquiries to hotel@cbw.com or use the online reservation form to send in the details of requirements.

Air Travel

With 63 international air routes, Beijing is linked to 54 cities in 39 countries and regions. There are also more than 550 domestic air routes linking the capital to all major cities and travel destinations in China. There are 26 foreign airlines have their booking offices in Beijing.  For a nominal service charge, ASM Overseas Corporation can book and deliver your tickets for international and China domestic travel.  Please send your request online.

The Capital Airport, for both international and domestic flights, is located 27 kilometers from the city center. There is a airport highway in use from February 1996. Taxi fare is approximately 80 yuan from downtown area to the airport. Shuttle buses run around the clock between the China Aviation Building and the airport every 30 minutes. The bus fare is 13 yuan. For more information, call 64563604 at the Capital Airport Information Desk. A new airport is now in use near the old location with very modern facilities.  ASM Overseas Corporation offers airport transfer starting from $60 (pick-up)/ $45 (delivery) for a regular four-seat sedan.

Reminder: Visitors should reconfirm departure flights as soon as they arrive, or risk having their bookings canceled. This can be done by asking the hotel reception.

Domestic and Foreign Airlines Representative Offices in Beijing

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Transportation in Beijing

For new visitors who feel more comfortable with pre-arranged transportation provided by English speakers, ASM can assist you.  We provide airport pick up and delivery service, chauffeur service (hire by the day), and personal guide service.  Please e-mail to hotel@cbw.com for details or reservation.

For people who are familiar with Beijing, there are many cheaper options.  You can find plenty of taxis found around hotels, tourist area, department store and main streets. They can also be hired by telephone. The small taxis, either hatchback or with a trunk, costs for the first four kilometers 10.40 yuan and add up 1.6 to 2.5 yuan per kilometer thereafter. Receipts are provided on request. Few taxis driver speak English, so it is advisable to have destinations written out in Chinese.

City bus provides a much cheaper way to get around Beijing. The buses are trolley buses, tend to be crowded most of the time. Fares are just 50 fen. Please avoid taking public transport in rush hours from 6:30 to 8 am or 5 to 7 pm.

Subway trains are fast and convenient. There are two lines. One circle city line and the other extends to its far western suburbs. Straight Line runs from Xidan to Pingguoyuan. Tourists can get off at Muxudi near the White Cloud Taoist Temple, the Military Museum, or the Shijingshan Amusement Park. One way fare costs 50 fen. Stations are marked in pinyin. The subway operates in short intervals from 5 am to 11:30 pm, but tourists should avoid rush hours (7 to 9 am and 4:30 to 6 pm).

Bicycles provide a form of transportation for a majority of Beijingers, so cycling are set aside on all major roads. The city proper is flat for easy riding and there are repair stands with air pumps and spare parts on the way. Bicycles can be rented from large repair chops as well as from hotels. It can be an experience to pedal; around the Inner City. It takes only one and a half hours to cycle from the Tiananmen Square to the Summer Palace. Rental charges vary from 2 yuan per hour for top brand bikes to 25 yuan for 24 hours for average ones.

Rickshaws offer an experience for tourists. Found around big hotels and street corners in cozy seasons. Rickshaws provide a more relaxing way to explore the city. The fare can be bargained with the rickshaw pullers.

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Where to Go, What to See

The best season to visit Beijing is during the autumn, when the weather is neither hot and humid like in the summer, or cold and extremely dry in the water, or windy and dusty like in the spring.  However, whatever season you're stuck with, there's plenty to see in Beijing and its vicinity.  The regular suspects are the Forbidden Palace, Summer Palace, Great Wall, Ming Tombs, Temple of Heaven, etc.  ASM Overseas Corporation has partnered with several tour agencies to offer over a dozen tours in Beijing.  Price starts from $60 per person for an escorted two-day tour (lunch and admissions included).  Check out the details and e-mail to hotel@cbw.com to make a reservation.

Weather

Located in the north temperate zone with a continental monsoon climate, Beijing enjoys an annual mean temperature of 11.8 C and an annual mean precipitation of 630 mm which concentrates mainly in the summer. January is the coldest month with the monthly mean temperature of -4.7 C while July the hottest month with a mean temperature of 26.1 degrees. Beijing spring is relatively short, and people used to say that when the last day of the winter is gone, the summer is about to set in. Summer is usually hot with abundant rainfall. Autumn days are cool with clear sky and gentle breeze, making it the best season to travel. As winter is severe, outing naturally require heavy clothing. Climatically, Beijing four seasons cater to different interests of tourists.

Clothing in Beijing

The climate dictates seasonal clothing. In winter it is a good idea to wear layers of garments - thermal or silk underwear with a sweater and cotton-padded jacket. It is easy to take off once indoors. Casual clothing is advised for comfort in warm weather. Revealing mini skirts and halter necklines may draw unflattering stares. Slacks are recommended for strenuous traveling and sightseeing.

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Medical Services

Most hotels have their own clinics or have access to a doctor. They can also help guests buy medicine or send them to a hospital.

There are a few hospitals which accept visitors from foreign countries :

International Medical Center (IMC), 24 Hour Medical Assistance 6465-1561

Asia Emergency Assistance (AEA), 24 Hour Medical Assistance 6462-9112

International SOS First Aid Center, 6500-1122

Sino-Japanese Friendship Hospital, 6422-1122
Foreigners Section X.3412, Outpatient Dept. 6422-2951

Beijing Union Medical College Hospital 6592-6114
Emergency 6529-5284, Foreigner Dept. 6529-5296, 6513-5002

Beijing Hospital 6513-2266, Foreigners Dept. X 3130

Friendship Hospital 6301-4411

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Miscellaneous

Electricity: Most hotels have built-in converters in bathrooms for shavers and hair dryers. Otherwise, come equipped, because there is no standard type of plugs in use. Generally, the voltage is 220 watts.

Water: Only a few hotels can offer quality tap water. It is advised to have flasks of hot and cooled boiled water in the room. Bottled mineral water is widely available.

Public Toilets: Some public toilets do not provide toilet paper, of if they do, you must pay for it.   It is wise to carry a pack of facial tissues in your purse or pocket to avoid the embarrassment.  In addition, it is usually much more comfortable to use the toilets in large hotels than the ones along the street.

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