Beijing, the capital city of China is among the most fantastic places to visit in the Republic. The first-timers will be amazed by the bright lanterns with neon lights, the mazelike alleyways and the brimming population across the city. Though the crowd and the constant rhythmic car honks sometimes annoy the first-time travelers, but we all know China is the most populous country across the globe! When you are traveling to Beijing for the first-time, it is important to be careful about certain things in the foreign land. We have jot down some common first-time fails you must avoid in Beijing.
Creating a long bucket list for Beijing
Who would like to miss anything out when traveling to China’s capital? But, practically that’s not possible unless you have a long vacation lasting for months. The temples, the palaces, the complex subway transfers, the traffic, shopping, eating, drinking, hutong strolling, day trips, etc. are difficult to cover in a couple of days. So, depending on the duration of your trip, develop a smart itinerary list that covers the most famous attractions in and around Beijing.
Keep Tian’anmen Square and the Forbidden City for the same day; you need to dedicate one day completely for exploring the Summer Palace; an afternoon for 798 Art District – you need to cross the subway and catch a bus. Remember getting back to the hotel early to avoid the rush hour traffic.
Overlooking the smog factor
Beijing is notoriously polluted with the air quality degrading over years. Air pollution will affect your entire trip, if avoided. We would suggest you to carry masks and try planning your day according to the air quality. ON a good air day, explore the temples, palaces, etc. and on a bad air quality day, spend your time unveiling the country’s history at the museums and galleries. This is one of the most important Beijing travel tips for the first-time travelers.
Shying away at crossings and queues
If you keep waiting for your turn in the queue, Beijingers will leave you behind. Beijingers always move with purpose, after all it is a city with almost 11million people. You might feel uncomfortable by the chaotic roads and queue jumping, but this is how it is in Beijing. You need to move your elbows fast to get through the queue and be fast at crossing, sometimes pushing your way out. You will fail a lot of these battles (the locals do it every day!) but make sure you look confident and keep moving forward.
Think of walking everywhere
Beijing is not a city to explore on foot. If you do not want to take public transports, get a bike or bicycle on rent and see the city on your own. You need to pay a deposit before taking the bike from the bike hire shop. There are many around the capital city. Metros are also a good way to move around the city. The subways have clear sign posts written in Roman letters and even English announcements on board. Buy a metro card, called as IC Card in Beijing and travel within the city without any inconvenience. You can get the card from the kiosks at subways and recharge it in machines. The metro card can also be used for public buses, just make sure to scan while boarding and disembarking. You might not get help of the English announcements in the buses going beyond the city. However, there are helpful guards at bus stations who can help you get onto the right bus.
All Chinese people speak English
Yes, English language signposts are sound in subways and shopping stress but that doesn’t mean English is a widely spoken language in China. It is one of the important things to know while traveling to Beijing that people don’t speak English. Carry a English-to-Chinese and Chinese-to-English dictionary or download a Chinese language app (The world is going digital) to communicate in Chinese with the shopkeepers, bus drivers and locals when you need help. If you are lucky, you might find a few English-speaking staff at bus stations, subways or hotels, but it is better to learn a few Chinese phrases before you reach Beijing.
Here are a couple of helpful phrases for you to learn:
- Ni hao (Ni hawww): Hello
- Xiexie (shyeah shyeah): thank you
You can learn some more online.
Scared of the food etiquette
Travelers are terrified thinking of the food etiquettes in China – eating with a chopstick! Many of us don’t even know how to old it, right? That’s not a matter of serious affair in Beijing. If possible, you can learn using chopsticks before the trip or just ask for serving spoons to enjoy your food. A few stares at the restaurant and food stalls can be avoided.