If this is a duplicate post apologies - computer doing strange things!
Booked last night to go for 7 nights to Beijing in June over my birthday - what should the weather be like?
Also can some one recommend good restaurant for us to sample the famous Peking Duck and should we make reservations? Also lve been told the Chinese Acrobats are excellent - where do we see these?
Could someone also give me an idea of costs ie price of beer, meal for 2, cost of trips to GT Wall etc. So l know what spending budget to take!!
Also is ther a tour operator any one could recommend as being good and reasonably priced?
Also lve been advised to take with us some handy phrases in Chinese for taxi drivers to understand - is there a web site which can translate?
Finally - which guide book gives the most comprehensive low down (with pictures - l love pictures!!)
Prices are not very expensive. You can get a decent meal for $US 5 - $US 10 a per person.
For getting around in the taxi, Chinese is very hard to speak, as it there is a tonal component. Most hotels will have small cards with Chinese written on them and check boxes. You check your destination and give it to the driver. If your hotel doesn't have those, I would recommend getting someone at the hotel to write you out a destination for you in Chinese to give to the driver.
Great Wall tours are around 50 RMB ($US 10) to get to Balding. You can also, if you are adventurous, just get yourself out of the city to one of the less re-developed parts of the wall and see it for free.
This is my first time posting on here. I'm also going to Beijing in June (and Seoul). However, I'm only going to Beijing for a few days. I'll be traveling with my brother who speaks Chinese. According to my brother, everything is very inexpensive in China. He said that you can get large meals for $2, and you can stay in nice hotels for $10-20. My brother also said that tipping is not allowed in Asian countries. We're also going to the Great Wall, King's Summer Palace, King's Winter Palace, the Beijing Zoo, and some other places.
Any question you can contact me. I'm living in Beijing now.
[ Edit: Sorry, no personal contact details in the forum please. Use MC instead.... ]
Also can some one recommend good restaurant for us to sample the famous Peking Duck and should we make reservations?
There is an excellent and famous (if also a bit touristy and not the cheapest) place to get Beijing duck just south of Qianmen (bottom end of Tiananmen Square), where you get a certificate saying which number duck in their history you are eating - they have been open since the 19th century and eaten something like 150million ducks so far, and you get it specially carved at your table as well. It tends to be busy, but you can turn up and eat without a reservation easily enough (we managed on 24th evening with only a 25min wait, and previously has been no wait). They stop serving at 8pm. They also have a cheaper, less touristed and posh version on the road next door. I just can't remember the fl1ppin name!
It's possible to eat very cheaply, especially if you eat street food (normally excellent), and even good restaurants are quite cheap, although many don't have English menu's, and those that do are often more expensive than if you order from the Chinese menu in the same place, although the practice is offically not supposed to happen.
A guide book with Chinese translations, and/or a good bilingual map is fine for taxi drivers, whilst Gregs advice is also vital. Get a hotel card (or failing that, a card from a nearby hotel/restaurant etc) which you can show the taxi driver to get you home.
[quote=GelliIt's possible to eat very cheaply, especially if you eat street food (normally excellent), and even good restaurants are quite cheap, although many don't have English menu's, and those that do are often more expensive than if you order from the Chinese menu in the same place, although the practice is offically not supposed to happen.[/quote]
The street stalls are excellent for two reasons. They are cheap and they usually have the food laid out, so pointing and picking is very easy. Of course, sometimes you get surprised. I picked out to skewers of what I thought were pork and chicken, but they turned out to be a red fish and a white fish. They were still REALLY good, though. And only a couple of bucks (with a drink).
Also, look for restaurants with pictures on the menu. Easy to order from.
My favourite is the Tianwaitian restaurant for Peking duck, but they're located mostly in Haidian district, too out-of-the-way for most tourists. There's a convenient branch near the Drum Tower, on Di'anmenwai Dajie, where it meets Mao'er Hutong. It's about 48/68 RMB for a good duck and all the trimmings, very worth it!
There's also another recommendation for Pianyifang, in the Hademen Hotel, should be easier to find as it's just right opposite one of the metro station on the ring line, eastish.
Insight usually has the best pictures, but it's not very useful on-the-road, better as a coffee-table book read at home before/after your trip.
Rough Guide phrasebook is a must for travellers in your language situation.
If you hire a taxi to do the Jinshanling-Simatai Great Wall (drop-off at Jinshanling and pick-up at Simatai), don't pay any more than 450 RMB. This's also my recommendation for where to see the Great Wall! It's a full daytrip though, walk of about 4-6 hours on the Wall. If you don't have that much time, then do just Simatai, or try Mutianyu.
I would think gemduncan's rates are a bit on the cheap side. A meal in a restaurant my run you $5 including beer. I've never stayed in a hotel for $10-20 in Beijing (more like $30-50...but then again they were really nice ones). Beer (they only seem to deal in quart bottles ) ranges from 3 RMB (40 cents) in a hole-in the wall to 25 RMB ($3) in a fancy bar.
As for food, it can be intimidating to walk into a restaurant and be presented with a menu only in Chinese. You can wander around the room and point at other diner's dishes....I've been known to walk into the kitchen and point too. But the best thing I did on my last trip was to take a bilingual menu from my fave Chinese restaurant in Canada (authentic place) and show it to them. Usually they'll have some of the stuff on the menu so at least you won't be surprised. And avoid "local delicacies" at all cost if you're a fussy eater.
I've been to the acrobatics at ChaoYang theatre, just east of the city centre. About 75RMB for a ticket but very entertaining.
Expect the weather to be bastard hot. Take your own sunscreen as they don't seem to sell it in China.
$10-30 is for a moderate hotel.