To survive in Beijing
To survive in Beijing
Do you want to survive in Beijing? It is one of the largest cities in the world so it is not easy to visit it.
Here is some advice that certainly will make your life easier and will help you to go round the city! (Of course i am talking about my personal experience!).
First of all, when you leave your country, take with you as much cash as you can, because very often they do not accept credit cards. Even if they do they will require very high commissions!
In Beijing, I haven’t been able to use my card even in very large hotel chains such as Holiday inn Express. In a couple of situations (much to my surprise) they accepted Mastercard but not Visa… never happened before!
Moreover, to withdraw from ATM was a little bit complicated, some did not accept the card, others let you withdraw very small sums of money (no more than 150 euros at a time), so we had to organize to have always some cash with us!
Taxis are another problem…. in my opinion they are very few for such a large city as Beijing, but taxi drivers are the real problem. Unfortunately they do not understand English and so they don’t know where to take you! So it would be useful to take with you the address written in Chinese to show them (you can ask your hotel receptionist to do it for you!), otherwise you run the risk of wasting a lot of time and money. Sometimes, they also refuse to take you somewhere if your destination is too near and so their earning is limited!
Taxi are generally rather cheap; if the place you have to go to is not very far away you will spend no more than few euros. There are also illegal taxis, and in this case you should establish the fare before taking it; but as there is the problem of communication in English, it is better to give it up! The same thing can be said for “tuc-tuc”; it is difficult to make a deal about the price, and their way of driving is simply crazy… i must say that we were really frightened once or twice!
Still talking about moving around the city, be very careful while you walk (and it is the same in all the other cities we visited, that is Shangai, Xi’an and Guilin!). there are a lot of electric motorbikes and they are very silent: you do not hear them coming and without knowing how you will find yourself run down! Moreover, it seems that motorbikes and bikes can go everywhere without respecting the pedestrian crossings!
In order to visit the many monuments of Beijing, you should ask your hotel, because it is very difficult to find the tickets; for example, we had problems both with the Forbidden City and with Summer Palace, and even if we weren’t happy to do so, we had to book a tour to visit these attractions!
But on the whole, in spite of these little problems, China is wonderful and if you are careful it is possible to survive in Beijing!