Travel Info

Travel Tips

Traveling in Beijing can be both intriguing and frustrating. Many travelers can be frustrated when trying to find the best sightseeing, eating and sleeping arrangements. Read on to find some Beijing travel tips to help you get the most out of your Beijing experience. 

Beijing has numerous sights that should be seen if visiting the city. It is possible to see the absolute highlights in a day, but allow a week to see it thoroughly. A one or two day visit requires very careful selection when choosing which sights to see. If you are in a hurry, we recommend the following attractions: The Great Wall, the outstanding feature of China's ancient heritage; The Forbidden City, the best preserved and largest imperial place in the world; and The Hutong, which epitomizes old Beijing.

Transport, hotels and attractions are extremely busy during the Chinese New Year (usually in January or February) and the week-long holidays of International Labor Day (May 1) and National Day (Oct 1). If you expect to visit Beijing during these periods, it is suggested that you place your booking at least one month in advance.
We at China Highlights provide various Beijing tours ranging from one day to a week or ever longer to cater for our customers personal needs. Most importantly, we are pleased to offer tailor-made services to visitors who want to make a tour fit their own circumstances and interests.

Be warned, although it's definitely not hard to book a Beijing tour, please be cautious when selecting the company you use. Some travel agencies who offer seductively cheap prices are only doing so in an attempt to rip travelers off, by taking them to less attractive sights, or by taking them to endless tourist shops or factories. We at China Highlights guarantee the quality of our tours.

Beijing’s weather differs greatly between seasons and travelers are advised to check the weather before departure. Autumn is probably the best season to visit Beijing. During national holidays prices are higher and everywhere is more crowded. The main national holidays are Spring Festival, which affects transport for 2 weeks or so every year between late January and early March, Labor Day Golden Week (May 1-7) and National Day Golden Week (October 1-7).

Beijing has direct air connections with most of the major cities in the world and serves as one of the main entry cities to China. (See USA to Beijing Flights.) As the nation's capital, Beijing has air and rail links with every part of the country.

Beijing's city transportation struggles under pressure from new car owners and congestion is a problem. Public transport such as buses and the metro can be packed with commuters. The most time-saving and hassle-free way of getting around is to take a taxi, or to book a private tour through a reliable travel company that includes private transport.

Nighttime entertainment is considered by many travelers to be one of the highlights of their travels. Beijing won’t disappoint in this area. The city has a flourishing entertainment industry. As the veil of night descends, bars, karaoke joints and night clubs all open their doors. Some special shows featuring authentic local culture, such as Beijing Opera and Chinese acrobatics are increasingly popular among foreigners.
Chinese cuisine, with its complexity and variety in taste, is definitely one of the finest pleasures that a visitor can experience in China. Beijing is a gastronomical paradise, where hybrid cuisines from throughout the country are served. Everybody should try not to miss the chance to eat Peking Duck. Many restaurants serve this dish, but the best one is Quanjude Restaurant. You may also opt to try other dishes, such as imperial era food, noodles and hot pots. Wangfujing Street is filled with stalls serving a great variety of snacks at night. Wangfujing is the main pedestrian street in Beijing. You can’t miss it.

Beijing has many good hotels to cater for those looking for a luxurious stay. The budget hotels cluster at the city outskirts, while the hotels in the city center are often relatively expensive. Travelers are strongly advised to book a hotel through a reliable travel company, whose good relationship with hotel owners often guarantees a preferential price.

Most travelers want to take home some bargains or souvenirs. The best things to buy in Beijing are Cloisonné and fresh water pearls.

Post Office

There are offices around street corners in Beijing, so it would be quite convenient for to tourists to post mails and packages.

Beijing Tiananmen Post Office
Address: East of Tiananmen Square
 
Beijing Yong'an Lu Post Office
Address: 173, Yongan Lu, Xuanwu District
 
Beijing Fangzhuang Post Office
Address: 22, Pufang Lu, Fengtai District
 
Beijing Hua Shi Post Office
Address: 67, Hua Shi Jie, Chongwen District

Foreign Exchange

In Beijing, Great Britain Pound, Euro, U.S. Dollar, Swiss Franc, Singapore Dollar, Swedish Crown, Danish Crown, Norwegian Crown, Japanese Yen, Canadian Dollar, Australian Dollar, Philippine Peso, Thai Baht are all exchangeable at the bank of China, and other authorized banks offer foreign exchange service, some hotels, restaurants and shops will also accept foreign exchange business in order to provide convenience for foreign tourists.


Banks

Beijing Xindongan Emporium Branch of Bank of China
Address: No 130, Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng District

Beijing Wangfujing Branch of Bank of China
Address: No 1, Chang' an Street, Dongcheng District

Beijing Xidan Branch of Bank of China
Address: No 130, Xidan Street (north), Xicheng District

Beijing Dongzhimen Branch of Bank of China
Address: No 35, Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng District


Credit card

It is very convenient for tourists to use credit cards in star hotels and the large department stores of Beijing. Major credit cards such as Master Card, Visa, JCB and American Express are accepted. Credit cards usually cannot be used in small restaurants or small convenience stores.


Internet

Surfing the internet is not an adventure any more, for internet cafes' can be easily found along the streets of Beijing, and lots of hotels have internet access. If you want to do business via the internet, chat with family or friends, there are plenty of venues for you to choose.


Telephone

Phone booths can be easily found along the roads, you just need to buy a calling card. Moreover, many hotels are equipped with telephone, it is usually free of charge to make phone calls within China, yet the price may be expensive for making international calls.


Book stores

Xidan Books Building
Address: No C17, Chang'an Street (west), Beijing

Wangfujing Xinhua Book Store
Address: NO 235, Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing


Hospital

In Beijing, there are 29 advanced-level hospitals having special foreign clinics which have a high reputation among local foreigners.

China-Japan Friendship Hospital
Address: No A2, Cherry Road, Heping Street
Tel: 010-64221122
 
Beijing Tongren Hospital
Address: No 2, Chongwenmen Street (inner), Beijing
Tel: 010-65129911
 
Beijing Chaoyang Hospital
Address: No 8, Baijiazhuang Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing.
Tel: 010-85231000


Drug Store

Tongrentang Drug Store
Address: No 20, Beida Street, Xicheng District
 
Yongantang Drug Store
Address: No 2, Huangsi Street, Dongcheng District
 
Chaoyang Drug Store
Address: No 8, Chaoyang Street, Chaoyang District

Transportation

As it is China's capital, getting to Beijing is made very easy and straightforward. Frequent flights link the capital to virtually every major city in the world. There are also rail links via Russia and Mongolia. Domestic flights to China’s major cities are also plentiful. Beijing is one of the major nodes in China’s rail and road networks. Using Beijing as a starting point to explore the rest of the land makes perfect sense. Transport to Beijing’s nearby attractions, particularly the Great Wall at Badaling is convenient via fast modern highways. Beijing has a very modern subway network and many buses to take you to its many attractions across the city.


Air Transport

Beijing Capital International Airport is the largest airport in China, the busiest in Asia, and second busiest in the world in terms of passenger throughput. It is located about 25 kilometers (16 miles) northeast of central Beijing. Click here for more on Beijing Capital International Airport and Beijing International Flights and Procedures.

International Flights: There are flights to major cities in all continents except sub-Saharan Africa and sub-USA America.

Domestic Flights: There are flights to every provincial capital, except those where train or bus travel is quicker like Tianjin, and another 40+ cities besides.

Airport to City Transport

Hotel Shuttle: The best and easiest way is to go by hotel shuttle. Most major hotels will have this service. When making a hotel reservation, be sure to ask for airport shuttle service from the airport.

Airport Taxi: The legitimate taxis form a long queue outside the Arrival Hall, but taxis move quickly so you won't wait long. At the head of the line a dispatcher will give you your taxi's number, which is useful in case of complaints. The charge will be at least 100CNY, but pay according to the meter, which includes an expressway toll of 15CNY. After 23:00, you will pay more.

Beijing Subway: The Airport Express Line runs from Terminal 3 or Terminal 2, via Sanyuanqiao, to Dongzhimen in 16–20 minutes.

Airport Shuttle Bus: The airport shuttle runs every 30 minutes from early 5:30 to 20:00, and cover different routes, including Beijing Railway Station. It costs 16 yuan (about $2).

Other Buses: There are buses to Tianjin and Qinghuangdao.

Train Transport

Although not in Central China, Beijing is probably the best-served city in China with train links. See our searchable timetable for details of over 200 services to and from Beijing. China is however a very large country and that train travel is much slower than air. For example:

Beijing–Xi'an takes about 10 hours.
Beijing–Shanghai takes about 14 hours.
Beijing–Harbin takes about 20 hours.
Beijing–Guangzhou takes about 30 hours.

Train travel may be difficult for some and little English is spoken on most trainsThere are four main railway stations in Beijing that serve the four directions: Beijing Railway Station (serving the east), Beijing West Railway Station, Beijing South Railway Station (also called Yongdingmen Station, not to be confused with Yongdingmen Long-Distance Bus Station) and Beijing North Railway Station (also called Xizhimen Station). Many buses stop at these stations, so you need not worry about getting downtown from these places.

Bus/Coach Transport

Intercity Luxury Express Coaches: Coach transport to cities near Beijing is very convenient. There are four major long-distance bus stations: Dongzhimen (northeast; Dongzhimenwai Xiejie), Muxiyuan (south; Haihutun, Fengtai District), Beijiao (north; Deshengmenwai) and Majun or Guangqumen (east; Guangqumenwai).

Buses to Attractions: Beijing has more than 20 different sightseeing buses. Click here for their routes. Major hotels have tourist bus services to major attractions like the Great Wall.

You are advised to avoid traveling during big public holidays: It is not a good idea to travel in China during Chinese holidays, as it is the time when masses of Chinese people are traveling around. The biggest three national holidays in China are Chinese Spring Festival (in late January or February), International Labor Day (May 1 to 7) and National Day (October 1 to 7). Spring Festival is an especially crowded time. The advantage of being in China at this time is that you will get the opportunity to experience first hand the significance of these celebrations in Chinese culture.

City Transport

Subway

During the build up to the 2008 Olympics, Beijing's Subway has been extensively developed from 2 lines to 10 lines. Beijing Subway Map and Timetables.

City buses/trams

Sightseeing Buses: Beijing has more than 20 different sightseeing buses. Click here for their routes.

City public buses run from 5:30 till 23:00 daily. Taking buses in Beijing is cheap, but less comfortable than a taxi or the subway. The flat rate for a tram or ordinary public bus is 1 yuan. Buses equipped with air-conditioning or of a special line are charged according to the distance. Few foreigners like getting around by bus, because it is always crowded, especially during rush hours (6:30-9:00 and 17:00-19:00). Some recorded announcements give the stop's name in English. Having your destination in Chinese characters will help. When squeezing onto a crowded bus take care of your wallet, etc.

Minibuses, running from 7:00 to 19:00, charge the flat rate of 2 yuan guaranteeing a seat. They are faster and more comfortable.

Taxis

Though Beijing does suffer from congestion, its taxi drivers will find the fastest way to your destination. Bring the name of your destination in Chinese characters if your spoken Chinese is not good.

Pedi-cab is a good choice for sightseeing, especially for visiting the narrow Hutongs. You will find pedi-cabs on the street. You should agree on a price with the driver before starting the journey. Legally registered pedi-cabs can be identified by a certificate attached to the cab and the driver has a card hanging around his neck.

Bicycle

China used to be called the sea of bicycles and in Beijing today the bike is still a convenient vehicle for most people. Renting a bike may be a better way for you to see this city at your own pace. Bikes can be hired from many hotels for 20–30 yuan/day. A deposit will be required. You can also rent bikes at some bicycle shops for repairing bikes and inflating tires. Their charge for renting bikes there is lower as the bikes are not as new. When needed, you park your bike in a bike park, which can be easily identified by the large amount of bikes on roadsides. The charge is about 1 yuan.

Walking

Beijing is a huge city, but some attractions can be linked together with a short walk, e.g. Tian’anmen Square, the Forbidden City and Beihai Park.

We are here to help. Contact our travel advisors for help with navigating China's transport network, or book a tour and let us take the hassle out of getting around China.


Weather

Beijing Average Climate by Month

 

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

High (ºC)

1.11

3.89

11.11

19.44

26.11

30

30.56

29.44

25.56

18.89

10

2.78

Low (ºC)

-9.44

-7.22

-1.11

7.22

12.78

17.78

21.11

20

13.89

7.22

-.56

-7.22

Precip(mm)

.1

.2

.4

1

1.1

2.8

6.9

7.2

1.9

.7

.2

.1

High (ºF)

34

39

52

67

79

86

87

85

78

66

50

37

Low (ºF)

15

19

30

45

55

64

70

68

57

45

31

19

Beijing Average Monthly Temperatures
Beijing Average Monthly Temperatures
Beijing Average Monthly Precipitation
Beijing Average Monthly Precipitation


Detailed Information on Beijing Weather

Beijing has a humid continental climate with hot humid summers and cold dry winters.

Average annual rainfall is only about 60cm, and most of this falls in July and August (20cm each), with virtually no precipitation in winter. The average July high is 29ºC and the average January low is -6ºC.

The winter climate is due to Siberian air masses that move southward across the Mongolian Plateau. The summers are hot owing to warm and humid monsoon winds from the southeast, bringing Beijing most of its annual precipitation.

Beijing Weather Tips for Travelers

The best season to visit Beijing is probably autumn. Summer (June to August) is considered peak season, when hotels typically raise their rates and the Great Wall nearly collapses under the weight of marching tourists. Autumn months (September to November) have the best weather and fewer tourists. Spring is less pleasant - not many tourists but lots of wind and dust (northwesterly winds blow in masses of fine loess from Mongolia). Beijing is a good place to see flowers in Spring. The city has a lot of professinally tended gardens where you can see a variety of flowers. See places to go to see flowers in Beijing.  In winter, you'll have Beijing to yourself and many hotels offer substantial discounts - just remember it's an ice box outside. Everything is chock-a-block during the Chinese New Year (in January or February). Have a look at our top 10 Beijing tours and choose your time of travel.

Clothes for traveling: In spring and autumn, jeans and a sweater are usually enough. In the warmer months, T-shirts and light pants or shorts are the best bet. In the colder months, it is wise to dress in layers: long underwear and jeans, shirt, sweater and down jacket. If you want to go local, you can buy a thick cotton army coat (jun da yi) for less than 100 yuan. Rain gear is necessary, especially during the summer months.
Others Tips: An umbrella should be taken in case there is unexpected rain, especially in summer. Sunglasses and sun cream are recommended in the summer.