Beijing Travel Guide – Handbook for Foreigners
Planning to visit Beijing soon? Here are some useful information that will make your journey easier.
Exchanging foreign currencies is convenient in Beijing. There are 17 currencies that can be exchanged, including the EU euro, UK pound, US dollar, Swiss francs, Singapore dollar, Swedish kronor, Danish kronor, Norwegian kronor, Japanese yen, Canadian dollar, Australian dollar, the Philippines peso, Thai bath, South Korean won, Hong Kong dollar, Taiwan new dollar and the Macao pataca.
Traveler’s Checks and Credit Cards:
Traveler’s checks are easily cashed at the Bank of China in Beijing. Major credit cards such as MasterCard, Visa, JCB, Diners Club, and American Express may also be used to pay hotel bills, at major shopping centers and for meals in some restaurants.(Keep some cash on hand just when dining or traveling.)
Office Hours :
In China, standard working hours are usually 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Major shopping malls open from 8.30 a.m. or 9 a.m. and close around 9 p.m. in winter and 10 10 p.m. in summer; they are still on opening in the weekends and always prolong opening time for about one hour. Because traffic is especially congested during rush hour, tourists are advised to avoid peak-hour traffic at 7-10 a.m. and 5-7 p.m.
Urban Transportation :
There are more than 750 bus lines in Beijing. The starting charge is one yuan, but when the passengers use a yikatong (all in one card) transportation card to take, they can enjoy 40 percent discount; if the passengers are students, they can get a 20 percent discount. Public buses are the first choice of resident for travel in Beijing.
Public bus fare : Bus charge starts from CNY 2 for first 10 kilometers and CNY 1 is added per additional 5 kilometers.
Subway and Light Rail :
Although sometimes crowded, the subway and light rail are often the fastest way to get around the city area. The Beijing subway system (Ditie – 地铁) currently consist of underground rail lines and light-rail lines.
Subway fare : Beijing subway fare starts from CNY 3 per person within first 6 km and can reach up to CNY 9 depending on the distance.
Airport express train fare : CNY 25 / person
Beijing’s taxis are all equipped with charge-meters. Taxi starting-charge is 13 yuan for first 3 kilometers during the day. The taxi fare is calculated at a rate of 2.3 yuan per kilometers after the initial 3 kilometers; and after 15 kilometers it will charge 3.4 yuan per kilometer. From 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. 20 percent more is charged. Expressway and bridge tolls are charged to passengers. For convenience of communication, foreign passengers should get someone to write down their destination in Chinese to show the drivers.
Mobile Phone :
It is very easy to get a SIM card in Beijing. You can choose between three major carriers,
- China Mobile
- China Unicom
- China Telecom
However, if you are going to use your existing cell phone it is recommended to first check with China Unicom. Other two carrier’s cellurar network may not support your cell phone from abroad. Remember to bring your passport while purchasing the SIM card at the service hall in order to process the registration.
Learn more about Shopping in Beijing
Source: Handbook for Foreigners in Beijing