Beijing, as the capitol city of China, has become an increasingly important city for business travelers. It’s polluted, it’s crowded and people really do spit loogies all over the sidewalks on a regular basis. I’m not a huge fan of the place myself, but there are certainly some redeeming qualities.
Check out these indie travel tips for Beijing
Getting There & Around
Beijing is serviced by the Beijing Capitol International Airport. Getting through Customs and Immigration isn’t too bad, but forms can be a little hard to locate if you don’t get them on the flight.
The city has an extensive subway and bus system. Buses are insanely crowded, and can be easily avoided if you don’t want to enter the fray. I recommend one of the many, many taxis in the city. Have your hotel personnel write down the addresses you need in Chinese if you don’t speak the language, most drivers do not speak English. You must have a Chinese drivers license in order to rent a car. You can find a driver service easily, such as Auto Europe.
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There are plenty of high dollar, western style hotels in Beijing. The following are nice digs for business travelers:
Beijing Marriott West
Food & Drinks
To get a real sample of the local flavor, head to a hutong (alley way) and find a restaurant with a lot of customers. If the locals eat there, it should be safe for you. I stayed near Nan Luo Gu Xiang and found the food in the area to be fantastic! Many of the quaint establishments have rooftop dining, which is perfect for an evening meal.
Beijing has some serious tourist attractions, many of which are within walking distance of each other. The Forbidden City is the most well known attraction in the area. Like Beijing, it’s big, it’s crowded and it’s remarkable. Tienimen Square is adjacent to the Forbidden City and a short cab ride from the Temple of Heaven Park, which should not be missed. The Lama temple is stunning, but photography is discouraged in interior buildings. In the evening, check out a Chinese Opera. If you have a free day, take a day trip to the Great Wall. Away from the main tourist points, it is stunningly beautiful and a nice break from the city.