FAQ about Beijing

What is the geographic structure of beijing?

Beijing is the political and cultural centre of China. It consists of sixteen very large suburbs. Eight of them comprise the inner Beijing city where all of the government departments, headquarters of national and international businesses, cinemas and theatres are located. There are about fifteen million permanent and temporary residents living in Beijing.    

What is the weather like in April in Beijing?

There are four distinct seasons in Beijing---spring, summer, autumn and winter. April is the start of Spring in Beijing and the weather is generally very pleasant. It's usually about 20 degrees during the day and 13 degrees at night.  You may need to take something to put on in the evenings and when you go to the Great Wall...a cold wind can blow.

What is the best method of transport in beijing?

All transfers for the activities outlined in the itinerary is provided in airconditioned coaches as part of your package. However, if you do need to go anywhere, there are buses, subway and taxi that you can choose from, but the most convenient way for a short time visitor would be the taxi.  There are 60000 of them on the streets! You just hail to the driver. He will stop and take you to where you want to go.

how much do taxis cost?

There are five ring roads which connect all suburbs of the inner Beijing city. It will cost 30-60 Yuan (AUD$5-10) for travelling within the third ring road.  The minimum fare is 10 Yuan (less than AUD2$).

Where can I exchange my money?

You can exchange the money at the airport (and we will make time provision for this to happen) or in the bank. Rates are dictated by the Government. If you are a Visa or MasterCard holder, you can withdraw money from an ATM directly. The exchange rate is about 1 AUD$ = approx 6 Yuan, 1NZ$ = approx 4 Yuan, 1ZAR = approx 1 Yuan. For current rates click here.   You may use credit cards in the hotel but our advice is to pay cash for everything if you can.  Do not use your cards in shops or markets.

What kind of meals will we get?

There are western and Chinese choices for breakfast in the hotel where you will be staying. Different restaurants will be arranged for lunch and dinner to guarantee you taste just a few of the many and the varied styles of Chinese food.  We also know you will want some western food after a few days so this happens too! 

What should we be careful of regarding food and drink?

The water from taps is not drinkable, even in the best of hotels. So make sure you drink the bottled water either provided in the hotel or sold in shops (plentiful and cheap). There are some food vendors around Wangfujing Street. They look tempting. However, due to the hygiene issue, do not be tempted to buy anything from those food vendors.

Do we need to tip?

Yes, tipping is customary, but most tips are included in the cost of your tour already.  The only people you need to tip as a group are:
  • your attached guide/translator,
  • your bus driver,
  • your group hutong tour guide,
  • your hutong rickshaw driver.

What are the opening hours of the shops in beijing?

There are lots of shopping malls scattered around Beijing. The most popular ones are located in Wangfujing Street and Xi Dan area which is the centre of Beijing. Most of the shops open from 9am to 10pm.  The Silk Market is where you can go to bargain.  Our tip is to offer no more than a quarter to a third of the opening asking price from the sellers.  Bargain hard as they certainly do! They specialise in ‘genuine copies' so do not let them convince you otherwise.

What are the basic phrases we should know in CHinese?

Ni Hao---Hello!
Ni Hao Ma---How are you?
Zai Jian---Good-Bye!
XieXie---Thank you!  
Duo Shao Qian---How much is it?
Mai Dan---The bill
Fa Piao---The receipt
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