Beijing is a completely over-rated city in China and having backpacked through 13 of China’s 29 provinces, it’s easily one of my least favourite. But somehow in the madness of it all, backpackers end up drawn to its magnetic charms, so get your China visa and off you got. Here are some tips. Unless you are able to plan ahead and make the correct arrangement, your trip to Beijing will be one filled with what ifs and should’ve, would’ve, could’ve.
While you can save on your airfare and accommodations with the use of coupons you can easily find on Discountrue and other helpful websites, knowing the ropes before you travel can make a world of difference. Read to learn more about the best tips for traveling to Beijing, as well as within Beijing!
Selecting A Travel Agency
Booking a trip to Beijing is not difficult, and I recommend doing it alone without a travel agency. However some might be daunted by this on their first trip to China. If you are booking your trip through a travel agency, do your homework and research the destinations you are going to be seeing, use Young Pioneer Tours, the cool company I used for North Korea.
For many Beijing visitors, the opportunity to experience authentic Chinese cuisine is reason enough to book a trip. Peking duck is one of the most commonly requested dishes and nearly every restaurant offers you the chance to taste their variation on the meal. Head to Wangfujing Street at night, so that you can taste their wide variety of street foods.
Those who are in search of fun nightlife activities will not be disappointed. The city has one of the most happening entertainment industries in all of Asia. I partied mostly in and around Sanlitun Street. Visitors have their choice between a variety of bars, nightclubs and karaoke spots. Travelers looking to experience the nightlife, while also learning more about local culture should make their way to the Beijing opera and search for opportunities to see Chinese acrobatics.
This aspect of traveling within Beijing can be confusing to the uninitiated, which is why it behooves travelers to do the proper research and know where they want to travel and how they will get there before they get on a plane. The buses and the metro are usually overcrowded, so travelers who are looking for something a little more stress free will want to use taxis to get around the city. To see the sights of Beijing, book private transport with a reliable travel company.
Finding a Quality Hostel
Travelers who are looking for budget hostels should check out two cool hostels in and around the city centre. I first stayed at the YHA near the train station and loved it. Then I moved out to a quirky family run hostel near the Lama Temple.
There are of course lots of other places to visit nearby, such as the Great Wall. A few times I have also got the night train to and from Beijing, including on my North Korea tour where we passed by the city of Dandong.