The increase in popularity of traveling to Beijing has been fairly prevalent the past decade or so, but with the Summer Olympic Games in the city this past year (2008), its popularity absolutely skyrocketed.
Unfortunately, along with becoming a tourist Mecca, comes a vacation that can destroy a family’s budget, if you aren’t careful with where you go in Beijing. And be aware that if there is a Winter Trip in the offing, Beijing winters get very cold and snowy.
Autumn and spring are the #1 and 2 seasons because that is when you will experience the most comfortable weather. Summers tend to be humid and very smoggy. Air pollution has become an environmental issue in China, and Beijing is slowly progressing to a cleaner environment.
Where to Stay in Beijing
Due to the Summer Olympics this past August (2008), the city added numerous beds in hotels to accommodate the anticipate influx of tourists for the games. As a result, there are more beds now than they need. So, it could be a budget traveler’s dream come true where lodging is concerned. Beijing is committed to developing mid-range price hotel rooms in order to benefit the economy by offsetting the low-cost guest houses and more opulent hotels. Numerous Bed & Breakfast places offer very low budget, hygienic rooms which can be looked into. On group bookings, you can even get a bigger discount or opt for tour packages after searching online.
Where to Eat in Beijing
For the most part, the restaurants in Beijing are extremely affordable and you can actually afford to splurge every now and then. Just don’t think you can go out every night on the town, if you have a serious budget to maintain. Don’t do the opposite and get too low-cost conscious. This could be detrimental to your health. It is always best to eat a hot meal and a well prepared and cooked entrée.
Try to avoid eating raw vegetables and drinking water that is not bottled. And when you buy bottled water, by all means make sure that the seal wasn’t broken before you drink it. There have been cases where certain “charlatans” have been arrested for gathering up discarded plastic water bottles, refilling them with tap water, and then selling them as a street vendor.
Getting Around Beijing
It is suggested that the Beijing mass transit system be avoided for any commuting other than very short routes or runs. Though the taxi drivers in the city have a well-deserved reputation for taking advantage of the international traveler, you will find plenty who are gracious and charge reasonable fares. Whenever possible, make sure any directions and destinations are done in Chinese characters, and preferably on the back of your hotel’s that you should have with you at all times. When your day out is ending, you have the business card to show the taxi driver so he knows where to take you.
Photo of taxi meter, Beijing, China originally posted by Zoom Zoom