Welcome to Beijing! This guide will introduce you to all of the information that you need to know when in China's capital. How to get around; how to eat; where to go; what to see; it's all in here. I've even included a few pointers on language and culture that will add some color to your adventures in Beijing. Take this guide with you as you go around the city, as it’s full of the Chinese names and addresses of places to see and restaurants to try. Any time you get stuck, just show your cab driver the characters of the place you need to go to or show your waiter the thing you want to eat on the menu provided, and you should be in good shape. Also, don’t forget to bring a copy of your hotel’s card with you so that you can always get home safely or call for backup in extreme situations. Please take a few moments to go through the online version of this guide: You’ll find that it offers important updates, as the city is constantly changing, and interactive features, particularly with respect to language, that will supplement what you carry with you while in Beijing. !"#$%! Warm regards,

Michael Collins


Welcome to Beijing What this guide offers you The Excitement of Beijing 2008 Why the Summer Games were such a big deal to the Chinese China’s Olympics What China calls its Games Opening Ceremony A look at the ways in which Chinese language and culture influenced the Opening of the Games The Olympic Colors The special roles colors played in the Olympics Chinese Culture An overview of Chinese culture with a particular focus on Food, Art, Confucianism and other traditional concepts Mandarin Crash course in Chinese with a section on Greetings and Basic Words – study and impress your friends Food Four tips on dining etiquette Menu Menu advice and dish recommendations that will help you explore the many types of Chinese food Getting Around Beijing Explanation of the layout of Beijing and how to use public transportation to get from A to B with the least amount of hassle Shopping Essential bargaining techniques for Western shoppers Places A list of the must visit Place to See, Places to Shop and Places to Eat in Beijing, when you’re not watching the Games Recommendations Restaurant and Bar picks that won’t lead you wrong Itinerary The combination of Places and Restaurants that should Guide you through China’s capital Warnings Please read these before you set out in the city! Frequently Asked Questions Additional information 5 6 7 8

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Map of China Basic lay of the land My Story Your author

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Welcome to the capital city of China. Beijing is a city where old and new come together in a fascinating mix of traditional and modern Chinese culture and lifestyle. Recently Beijing has been all over the news because of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, an event that the entire world watched. The Beijing Games were larger than life, and here are a few of the impressive figures that were associated with them: 1 – first Olympics in China 5 – cost in RMB of the cheapest student tickets to the Games 302 – gold medals awarded in Beijing 10,000 – athletes who participated in the Beijing Games 21,000 – torchbearers along the Olympic flame’s 85,000-mile journey to Beijing 7,000,000 – tickets sold for the 2008 Summer Games 4,000,000,000 – spectators who watched the Games on TV and radio 35,000,000,000 – the total cost in US dollars of all of the construction projects for the Beijing Olympics This past year, culminating in the 2008 Summer Olympics, has been China’s “coming out” party to the world. Let’s use the Olympics to begin to better understand China and to learn about Beijing. And to do this, we’ll need to know a little bit about Chinese history, language and culture. So, why were the Beijing Games so special?


Over half the world’s population watched the Beijing Summer Olympics, which was the biggest event in the world in 2008. We in the West couldn’t talk about the stock market, climate change or human rights without mentioning Beijing 2008. Still our interest paled in comparison to the excitement over the Games in China. After China won the right to host the Games in 2001, the whole country started counting down the minutes (literally, and on big digital clocks in places like Tiananmen Square) until 8 pm on August 8, 2008. Months before the start of the Games, you were guaranteed to see the Olympics rings and Fuwa prominently displayed in almost every Chinese city. Multiple programs lauding the accomplishments of Chinese Olympians ran every night on CCTV Olympics, formerly known as CCTV-5 the nation-wide sports channel, but renamed for the Games. Daily newspaper headlines wondered aloud how great the Games would be. And in Beijing, the 2008 “One World, One Dream” slogan showed up on billboards, t-shirts, bumper stickers and even in flower arrangements. It was overwhelming. But why did the Chinese care so much about the 2008 Beijing Olympics? There are many ways to think about this. Here's one that puts the Beijing Olympics in the context of recent Chinese history. The Chinese journey to Olympic glory began in the 18th century. At this time, China was the most powerful nation in the world, and its population already numbered close to 300 million (the population of the US today). The Qing, China's last dynasty, presided over an economy that accounted for 1/3 of the world’s GDP (the US currently accounts for 20% of world GDP), a territory that included Taiwan and Hong Kong and a peaceful society that allowed technological innovation and the development of culture. China was at the height of its power. In the 1700’s, China was developed, cultured and proud and didn’t care to interact with the outside world. As they paid less attention to other countries, the ruling Qing became increasingly despotic and corrupt. Refusing to believe that foreigners could produce anything of value, China did not participate in the industrial revolution. The country did not modernize with the West. Isolationism worked for China until a trade dispute with the British brought about the Opium Wars. In the 1840's and '50's, steam powered gun-ships sailed up Chinese rivers, and forced China once again to pay attention to the rest of the world. China’s losses to the British in the Opium Wars were the beginning of the Middle Kingdom's downward spiral. For the next 90 years, the colonial powers of Britain, Germany, France and Japan took turns beating up big, backward China. No longer an economic or political power, by the late 1930’s China had lost both Taiwan and Hong Kong, it’s once proud culture had turned in on itself and challenged everything the Chinese had traditionally held close to heart and society was on the verge of civil war. It was a rapid and humiliating fall from greatness for China. A long march and a bit of luck brought Chairman Mao to Tiananmen Square where he founded the People’s Republic of China on October 1, 1949. Although many


Chinese, swept up in the communist sentiment of the time, brimmed with hope that they would soon return to their place of greatness in the world, they would not see this change under Mao. A series of ill-conceived attempts to modernize the economy and improve society ultimately left China, by the mid 1970's, right where it started under communist rule – poor, backward and culturally bankrupt. Things began to change in 1978. “No matter if it’s a white cat or a black cat, as long as it catches mice it’s a good cat.” With these words, Deng Xiaoping initiated in China one of greatest economic transformation that the world has seen in modern times. In test cites, specialized economic zones in southern China, Deng applied pragmatic, market-based reforms to China’s planned economy. The success of these zones, like Shenzhen, encouraged the government to spread the reforms across the country. And thus they created China's capitalist – socialist, free market – command, hybrid economy. August 8, 2008, marked the 30th anniversary of Deng’s jumpstarting China’s economic engine. In this time, China’s economy grew at better than 8% per year, and in the process it pulled roughly 400 million people out of poverty. Beijing is now one of the most important political centers in the world, and Chinese culture influences people everywhere, from Europe to Latin America. The Summer Olympics affirmed to the Chinese and the rest of the world that China is back. This is why the Olympics became known as China's "coming out party" to the world. This is also one reason why the Chinese were so excited for Beijing 2008. China bundled many of its hopes and dreams for itself into the Olympics. It's easy to see where the country wants to go in the future by looking at the way China marketed the 2008 Summer Olympics.

The Chinese government named the 2008 Summer Olympics the Green Olympics, the High-Tech Olympics and the People’s Olympics. The Green Olympics is the most prominent concept attached to the Games, and represents what China claims is its determination to protect the environment. China’s economic boom has created terrible pollution problems. Some of the most significant problems include: 1. 2. 3. Sixteen of the world’s twenty most polluted cities. Acid rain and smog in these cities not only destroy buildings but also shortens the lives of an estimated 750,000 people each year. Erosion and desertification of hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland. This leads not only to reduced harvests but also more frequent dust storms traveling from North-Central China and the Gobi desert to eastern cities such as Beijing. Pollution of an estimated 70% of rivers and lakes that limits access to drinking water in rural and urban areas.

China estimates that it spends $64 billion each year addressing pollution problems and environmental damage.


Under the banner of the Green Olympics, China plans on spending over $6.6 billion in the next few years to improve the environment through recycling, reforestation and conservation programs. Moreover, China plans to rely less heavily on dirty coal plants for power and to increase its usage of environmentally friendly fuels such as natural gas, solar, hydro and other renewable energy sources. Beijing was also The High Tech Olympics. Amidst the massive construction projects to build the new Olympic stadiums, brand new broadband, GPS and mobile communications networks have been installed throughout the capital. Technologically advanced Multilingual Translator Machines were also available to spectators. All of these conveniences illustrated China’s commitment to transforming from the world’s factory to one of the world’s high tech economic centers. The final concept of the Games, The People’s Olympics, reminded spectators that China hopes not only to spread the Olympic Spirit through the Games but also hopes to spread understanding of China and Chinese culture. The Chinese government has recently announced a series of new programs to teach Chinese art, language and customs in preparation for the Games. One part of Chinese culture that these programs will have a difficult time teaching, however, is an appreciation for the past. China's all out effort to modernize has destroyed many of its historic monuments – from the hutongs in Beijing to the archeological sites near the Three Gorges Dam. Recognizing that foreigners often come to China to see ancient China, not skyscrapers, the government has announced that it has redoubled its efforts to protect and refurbish ancient structures and cultural relics. I hope they're successful.

The Opening Ceremony of the Games of the XXIX Olympiad was held in the Beijing National Stadium at 8 pm on August 8, 2008. Designed by the award winning Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron at a cost of $500 million, the stadium made no distinction between structural elements and the building’s façade. This gave the stadium a web-like appearance and a very apt nickname, the Bird’s Nest. 100,000 spectators piled into the Bird’s Nest to join in the celebration of the Opening Ceremony, that famous director Zhang Yimou helped to produce. It was a spectacular show carried by CCTV and NBC to viewers across the globe!


The Chinese consider the number “8” to be the luckiest of all numbers, so the starting date and time of the Opening Ceremony was specifically chosen to bring good luck and good fortune to the Games. The numerical representation of the date illustrates why the Opening Ceremony was so lucky: 08 – 08 – 08 – 08; this is the 8th hour of the 8th day of the 8th month of the 8th year since 2000. The Chinese character for the number 8 is “&,” which you pronounce as “b!”. This character sounds very similar to the Chinese word for prosperity, “ ' ,” roughly pronounced “ba” in Cantonese and pronounced “f!,” in Mandarin. Since the pronunciation of the Chinese word for “8” sounds just like the pronunciation of the Chinese word for “prosperity,” “8” is a very lucky number in China. Therefore, Chinese try to maximize the number of 8’s in everything from phone numbers, to car license plates and even the starting date of the Olympic Games. The more 8’s in a number the better. The date and time of the Opening Ceremony show that the Chinese hoped the Beijing Games would be very lucky for spectators, athletes and China. And the Games were.

Over the past year, you’ve seen many advertisements for the Beijing Olympics. Whether on billboards or TV, all of these advertisements have been colorful. Colors are important in Chinese culture, and the colors used in every advertisement, sign and banner have been chosen for specific reasons. Colors can have many different meanings. Westerners associate green with “go” in some circumstances and “envy” in others. Red sometimes indicates “stop” and other times it represents “anger.” Chinese are very sensitive to the significance of using certain colors in certain situations. Colors are intimately intertwined with Chinese history and culture, and China gave special attention to designing the color scheme for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This section gives a brief overview of the special significance the 6 official colors of the Games. Each description contains the common name of the color, the official Olympic name for the color and then a short discussion of the color’s importance in the Games and Chinese culture. WHITE: Jade White: In ancient times, Chinese intellectuals wore jade to show their honesty and suggest that they were clean, pure-hearted and unselfish. Jade, which the Chinese use to make jewelry and sculptures, is also a symbol of luck. GREY: Great Wall Grey: Grey is the tone of traditional Beijing architecture and can be seen everywhere from the grey Great Wall in the mountains to the


grey siheyuan courtyards, which lie in Beijing’s hutongs. Grey symbolizes maturity, and a man will wear grey to suggest that he is wise. BLUE: Blue-and-white Porcelain Blue: The shades of color in the blue – and – white porcelain bowl match the shade of Beijing’s bright summer and golden autumn. The blue relates to the city’s history and creativity. GREEN: Chinese Scholar-Tree Green: This green tree represents the image of Beijing, the harmony between man and nature and also symbolizes China’s hope for a “Green Olympics.” Chinese associate green with the springtime, and thus the color is a symbol of life, the hope for new things to come. YELLOW: The Glaze Yellow: Roof tiles in Beijing, tree leaves in autumn and farmlands ripe for harvest in late summer are examples of the golden color of the glaze that covers China’s landscape and history. This rich yellow and gold color also represents nobility: During ancient times the Emperor would wear beautiful yellow garments from head to toe and prohibit peasants from wearing anything of a similar color. RED: Chinese Red: Red is the most famous color in China. Red lanterns, red weddings, and red palatial walls (just look at the Forbidden City) illustrate that red colors all aspects of the lives of Chinese in Beijing. Not only is red the most prominent color of the official Olympic Emblem, “Dancing Beijing,” but red is also the color of Beijing and China, as the red flag of China demonstrates. (Red is also the color of Communism, and this is another reason for the color of the PRC flag.) Red symbolizes everything good: happiness, joyousness, and good luck. Almost all festival and celebrations will contain something red. For example, during the massive Chinese New Year celebration, families will give their children small red envelops filled with money as good luck gifts for the year.

Remember reading about ancient Egypt, Greece and Mesopotamia in school, and finding out how advanced these civilizations were thousands of years ago? In order to begin to understand Chinese culture, you can’t lose sight of the fact that China was and is one of those great, ancient civilizations. In more than 5,000 years of recorded history China has changed and evolved but still remains China. The Chinese are very proud of their history, and a strong sense of this history permeates Chinese culture. LANGUAGE: When people say they speak Chinese, they usually mean Mandarin Chinese, the official state language. That said there are many types of Chinese. Nearly every place you go in China has its own dialect. For example, people in Shanghai will speak Shanghainese just as those from Guangdong, formerly known as Canton, speak Cantonese. Although each dialect relies on the same set of characters for written expression, when spoken the dialects are very different. If someone who speaks only Shanghainese meets someone who speaks only Cantonese, they won’t be able to communicate.


This was the situation in China for a long time. Although there was a written standard, there wasn’t a spoken standard for all Chinese for thousands of years. As you can imagine, this made ruling the country difficult. How can a government make laws and issue commands when everyone speaks a different language? In order to unify the nation and also create a more viable political and economic environment, when Mao and the Chinese Communist Party came to power in 1949, they made Mandarin the state language. Today Chinese still often speak their local dialects but they all also know how to speak Mandarin. Chinese language has an intimate relationship with Chinese culture and with a careful eye you will be able to spot the intersection of language and culture throughout the Games. The first thing to understand is that the Chinese language is over 5,000 years old, originally appearing as engravings in turtle shells. Chinese developed into characters that represented simple nouns like “sun” or “mountain” or verbs such as “cry.” Many of these characters have changed over the years but some remain strikingly similar to their original forms. Language is one of the defining aspects of culture, and the Chinese take great pride in preserving their language as a means of preserving their culture and history. They place great value on the ability to speak and write well. For example, in ancient China, those who held the highest rank in society were the intellectuals, the people who could read and write. Below the intellectuals were peasants, then workers and finally businessmen. The amount of money that you had mattered little because it was your level of education that determined your social rank. Another modern example of the emphasis the Chinese place on careful language study is Chinese TV. The government, which controls all TV and radio broadcasts, only allows people who speak flawless Chinese to hold jobs as TV news anchors and reporters to ensure all Chinese hear nothing but perfect Mandarin. Written Chinese has tens of thousands of characters, and is a very difficult language to learn how to read and write. Chinese children spend years practicing and memorizing in order to recognize the roughly 2,000 characters needed to become literate. Remarkably, over 90% of China is literate. Whether an elementary school student in Beijing or a college student in New York, both begin studying Chinese by writing out individual characters over and over. There is no substitute for rote memorization. Gradually the characters work together and form words and sentences. Much later it becomes clear that many characters have a history or a pattern that gives clues to the character’s origin, meaning and perhaps pronunciation. For an example of how some Chinese words are built, look at the word for China’s currency, the renminbi or RMB. It is written ()*. This is a simple


construction because ! means man or a person, !" means the people, and * is currency; hence, The People’s Currency. Here’s another interesting example: Look at the relationship between the words for “tree,” #, “mù,” and “wood,” $, “lín” and “forest,” % , “s"n.” Two trees together make wood and a collection of three trees make a forest. Pretty cool. These patterns and more detailed versions abound in Chinese. Chinese is also a tonal language: The inflection that you place on each individual word will change its meaning. This is often what makes learning Chinese so difficult for foreigners. For example, Mandarin Chinese has four tones: 1st tone is a high and level; 2nd tone rises; 3rd tone descends and then rises; and 4th tone falls sharply. The tone you use to pronounce a given word will change its meaning. Look at the wide range of meanings that the word “ma” can have just by changing the tone: 1st Tone m! + “mother” 2nd Tone má , “hemp” 3rd Tone m# “horse” 4th Tone mà . “to scold”

If you aren’t careful with your tones, you might call your mother a horse in this situation. With other words and tones, imprecise pronunciation can be even more embarrassing with other words and tones. FOOD: I will talk about food in greater detail in the “Food” section but here let it suffice to say that food is a vital aspect of Chinese culture. Sharing meals together is one way for families to preserve traditional Chinese values – rent Ang Lee’s film Eat, Drink, Man, Woman, /012, to see an example of this. But food does more than just unite families: It sends signals to others. For example, enjoying certain foods in public, such as a simple bowl of noodles, can indicate that your family might be poor – a bowl of noodles is one of the cheapest foods in China so poor people eat more noodles than wealthy people. Ordering a particularly spicy dish or sweeter dish might lead others to believe you are from a region where that food is most common: spicy in Sichuan and sweeter dishes in the south. Many foods have their own historical significance, like a particular Hunan pork dish that was Chairman Mao’s favorite. Finally, ordering expensive, exotic dishes for friends is often a sign of respect. Much can be learned about a person and a situation from what is eaten in China. ART: The Chinese place great value on art of all types. Chinese calligraphy and painting, for example, are intimately related art forms because of the similar skills and years of practice required to produce each type of art. Calligraphy and paintings are produced by hand with a variety of inks and brushes. The Chinese emphasize writing characters with the proper technique and the correct strokes in order to write fluidly and beautifully. It is easy to see how the same strokes that combine to create characters can also be used to paint trees or bamboo. Many times Chinese paintings will


have short poems written in one of the corners, combining calligraphy and painting. The most well-known and expensive styles are the hu!ni#ohuà, 345, which contains birds and flowers and the sh!nsh$ihuà, &'(, which is a landscape painting. (The previous painting is an example of a sh!nsh$ihuà and below, next to Confucianism, is a hu!ni#ohuà. You can see calligraphy, paintings, and other traditional Chinese crafts at the Liulichang culture street and Panjiayuan market. In both places you can purchase pieces for relatively low prices, and in Liulichang you can even watch artists practice their calligraphy and painting. Performing arts are also very important in Chinese culture. I hope you’ll take the time to listen to music created by traditional Chinese instruments like the erhu and guqin. Martial arts are still taught and practiced widely and it will not be uncommon to see Chinese people practicing Taichi in a park – it won’t be as much fun as watching people fight in mid air like in the movies Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon or Hero, but these public exercises are very cool to watch. An interesting way to enjoy both of these disciplines is to attend the Beijing opera. Beijing opera or "6, j%ngjù, combines brilliant martial arts, gorgeous costuming, abrasive singing and an overly dramatic style of acting to create a show that I promise you won’t forget. Chinese have performed Beijing opera for over 200 years and it is one of the highest expressions of Chinese culture. For more information, look at Beijing opera under the “Places to See” section. CONFUCIANISM: Confucianism has existed in China for over 2000 years, and it is the most important Chinese philosophy for Westerners to understand. Confucian thinking influences the behavior of the individual in order to create a stable society. By practicing “loyalty, piety, kindness, love, reliability, and righteousness” the individual can lead a good life – it’s kind of like a more complicated version of the Golden Rule. These individual qualities form the basis of the five relationships that govern Confucian society: master and subject, father and son, husband and wife, elder brother and younger brother and friend. When the individual leads a good life and respects these five relationships, a stable hierarchy will be established between friends, through families all the way up to the Emperor. All members of society will be in harmony, and this is the highest goal of Confucianism. In Confucian thinking, the individual is not as important as the collective well-being of society. This understanding of the individual’s role in society still exists in China. The “One Child” policy, where in order to control population growth the government only allows families to have one child, is a rough example of this thinking in action. Furthermore, one of President Hu Jintao’s trademark slogans emphasizes a “harmonious society,” which reminds Chinese of, among other things, the Confucian view of society.


One of the most important Confucian concepts is filial piety, 7. Although the basic notion is that children need to respect and honor their parents, filial piety cuts much deeper than that. Many Chinese feel that they owe so much to their parents that they can never do enough for them; children can never pay back their debt. One product of this feeling is that in their own homes Chinese often take care of their parents into old age. Sending parents to a retirement home is unthinkable. IMPORTANT CONCEPTS: The Imperial Examinations from Confucian times influence Chinese culture and society. In ancient China Imperial Examinations were given to determine one’s level of education and ability to serve in the government. Theoretically, regardless of one’s wealth, social position or family connections anyone who did well on the Imperial Examinations could rise to the highest ranks in the government. Because government officials were in charge of the collective wellbeing of society, the Emperor gave them the power to tax. This made government officials incredibly powerful and often very wealthy. Therefore children studied diligently for the exams, hoping that they would do well and become a high-ranking government official. The Imperial Examination system was the only hope for social mobility in ancient China. In practice the Imperial Examination system did not completely level the playing field. People of high standing in the government with many connections could from time to time get their children preferential treatment or at least give them a better chance of doing well on the exam. This system of connections, relationships, prestige and clout has a name in Chinese: guanxi, 89. Today in China, guanxi can be a product of party membership, family status, career success, access to power and old friendships. Instead of using guanxi to gain an advantage on the Imperial Exam, people with strong guanxi can often get the best apartment in a neighborhood, the best table at a restaurant, and ensure that their children attend the best schools. Guanxi still permeates all facets of Chinese society, particularly in Beijing, and is sometimes far more valuable than money. Using guanxi to gain an advantage on the Imperial Exam centuries ago or using it today to make sure a business transaction goes through also has a name in Chinese: houmen, : ;. This literally means “back door.” A product of one’s guanxi, homen means the ability to use special privileges or an alternative path to secure desirable commodities or opportunities. For example, high-level officials will “use the back door” or<:; in order to get their middle-of-their-class children into the best universities. The extension of this point is that without guanxi and the ability to use the back door, smart, well qualified students might not be able to get into the best universities or have the same privileges as their well connected but less gifted classmates. These are two fascinating yet fundamental concepts in Chinese society. Most societies have some variation of these ideas; however, in Chinese they have specific names that everyone knows because they govern so many daily interactions between people



Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language on earth! Unlike English or other Romance languages, which spilled out of Europe, Chinese does not have an alphabet. It has characters – tens of thousands of them. The good news is that you only need to learn a handful to get around Beijing. I’m going to teach you what you need to know. The standard form of spoken Chinese, )*, in China is Mandarin, =>, which, in pinyin, is hàny$ – meaning the language of the Han people, China’s ethnic majority. It is also called ?@A, p$t&nghuà – meaning the common language. Pinyin is the most widely used Romanization system. Other systems, such as the Yale and Wade-Giles, are slightly different but also quite effective and typically found in other Chinese speaking destinations such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. Here is the abridged pinyin system that I will use as a crash course in reading and speaking Chinese for all of you that can’t wait to try. Three things to remember: (1) pinyin has fixed rules. The ‘ch’ pinyin Romanization always sounds like the ‘ch’ sound in American English; (2) pinyin pronunciations do not always perfectly correspond to true Chinese pronunciations. The system uses an English base to teach non-English, non-Romance language, sounds; (3) Chinese is a tonal language. There are four tones and above each pinyin Romanization appears either 1st tone “-,” 2nd tone “/,” 3rd tone “v,” or 4th tone “\.” These tonal marks are called diacritics and they help you to begin to differentiate between the many Chinese words that have the same pronunciation. For example the pinyin word “ji” will sound very different with a 1st tone, which is a sustained flat tone, versus a 4th tone, which is an angry sounding descending tone, similar to the sound you'd make when shouting, “Hey!” to get someone’s attention. Moreover, these different tones give the words different meanings. Many times Chinese teachers use hand gestures to help students visualize and remember their tones and perhaps these gestures will help you learn the tones. For example, flat, palm down hand moving evenly across an imaginary line perpendicular to the floor will indicate a 1st tone, “-.” This 1st tone is very flat, almost like you are singing and trying to hold a pitch. Starting from the same position, usually chest height at the left shoulder, and gradually raising the hand as it moves left to right will indicate a 2nd tone, “/.” The 2nd tone is similar to the sound of an inquisitive “Hello?” 3rd tone, “v,” is more challenging and shown by making a ‘v-shaped’ motion with the hand starting at the left shoulder, dropping toward the bellybutton, and then rising again to finish at the right shoulder. Finally, sharply moving the hand from the left shoulder down to the right hip will demonstrate a 4th tone, “\.” Again, this tone should sound as if you’re yelling, “Hey!” to get someone’s attention. Please keep these tones in mind as you practice your Chinese. The following crash course should allow you to get around in a pinch in China. Below are the phoneticized sounds and the tonal marks will be included later.

If you see:

Say the Underlined letter combinations


a c e i o q u x z zh

ah, the sound when a doctor wants to look down your throat ts as in cats, therefore ‘can’ is actually ts ah-n her, just like the “uh” sound in “duh” he, like knee or, or like more chin, so ‘qing’ is just like ch-ing and ‘quan’ becomes chew-ah-n too, not the same as ‘you’ show, but this ‘sh’ sound should come from closer to the front of your mouth than the English version seeds drew

Most of the other letters and corresponding sounds are very similar to their English versions: ch, b, d, f, g (like the ‘g’ in ‘game’), h, j (as in “john”), k, l, m, n, ng (as in “song”), p, r, s, t, w (as in “want”) and y (as in “young). Vowels will combine but you should read them one at a time using the pronunciation key from above: ao, ai, iu, ou, etc. Finally, the following letter combinations are a bit tricky: If you see: zi, ci, si, zhi, chi, shi, ri Say the following For zi, ci, and si you need to mimic the sound of a buzzing bee, “zzz.” zi = dszzz, ci = tszzz, si = szzz. For zhi, chi, shi, and ri, when you make the buzzing sound try to touch the tip of your tongue to the front part of the roof of your mouth – curl your tongue upward in what's called the retroflex position. The “u” in these cases is a rounded vowel coming from the front of the mouth and lips. It doesn't exist in English. The best way to figure out how to pronounce, for example, the word “xu” is to start by saying the word “she” and rounding your lips as you hold the word. Add each consonant in front of your newly discovered vowel and you're on your way. The “a” is not the typical ah sound but instead sounds like "and." Just add the "ee" sound of the letter "i" in front and you can then pronounce words with "ian" in them. For example, "xian" is "sh-ee-an."

ju, qu, xu, yu

yan, ian


ang, iang

Unlike the previous rule, the "a" vowel remains the same as before, sounding like "ah." Therefore, "yang," for instance, sounds like, "y-ah-ng." “ow” like allow or bow “ay” like in bay or way The “e” sounds like yes. “eo” like Leo or Theo "oh" like hoe “oh-h”a little softer than Noah

ao ei ie, ue, ye iu ou uo

Although this list doesn’t cover every variation you might encounter, it gives you what you need to know to try to pronounced most of the pinyin Romanizations of Chinese words in this guide. Here's how to use these rules to pronounce the names of the Fuwa, roughly pronounced, “foo-wah” with these guidelines: Beibei BB bèibèi “bay bay” Jingjing CC j%ngj%ng “jing jing” Huanhuan ## hu!nhu!n “hoo-an hoo-an” Yingying $$ yíngyíng “yingying” Nini DD n%n% “knee knee”

Let’s keep going and expand your vocabulary with a few of the phrases that you can use on a daily basis.

Greetings and Basic Words
English English Chinese Beijing Hello/How are you? Very Good. Good Bye. Yes/Correct/Right No/Incorrect/Wrong Thank you. My name is______ Where is the bathroom? Left Chinese EF GF !" !+ ,+ HI JK LJ MM NO______ PQRST? U Pinyin y%ng wén (ing when) zh&ng wén (dr-ong when) b'ij%ng (bay jing) n( h#o (nee how) hén h#o (h-uh-n how) zài jiàn (ds-eye j-ian) duì le (d-way le) bú duì (boo d-way) xiè xiè (sh-e sh-e) w) jiào ______ (w-o j-ee-ow) cè s$o zài n#r? (ts-uh s-oo-o ds-eye n-ah-r) zu) (z-oh-h)


Right North South East West Front Back Inner Outer

V ! W X Y : Z [

yòu (yo) b'i (b-ay) nán (n-ah-n) d&ng (d-ong) x% (sh-ee) qián (ch-ian) hòu (h-oh) néi (n-ay) wài (w-eye)

NUMBERS: The Chinese numbering system is similar to the English system. In order to say numbers 11-99, all you have to do is combine the characters that you already know. For example, 29 is two 10’s and one 9: èr shí j(u or ./0. The same pattern hold for number 101-999: 357 is three 100’s, five 10’s and one 7; s!n b#i w$ shí q%, 123/4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 100 1,000 10,000 \ ] ^ _ ` a b & c d e f g y% èr s!n sì w$ lìu q% b! j(u shí b#i qi!n wàn

You will be able to find food from across the globe in Beijing. From linguini bolognaise to double quarter pounders with cheese, you’ll be able to get any variety of food that you want. However, you have to try real Chinese food while in Beijing. Food in Beijing is delicious. There is no comparison between Chinese food from Golden Panda Express down the road and the Chinese food in Beijing. In fact, you probably won’t want to eat at your local Chinese take-out place after your trip to Beijing. And the dining experience in Beijing, just like the food, will be different from what you’re used to at home. When you walk into a Chinese restaurant you will often see a wall of fish tanks teeming with all types of live seafood. That is just to show you that your food is fresh!


Don’t be alarmed. As you are staring at the fish tanks your hostess will ask you how many people you have and then take you to your table. Tell her your newly learned Chinese or just show her on your fingers. As you approach your table, you need to be conscious of four things: 1. Showing respect for age and rank or, as the Chinese say, giving someone face, 5 6, “miànzì,” is very important. Although there are many ways of giving someone face, the easiest way at dinner is to give the seat at the head of the table to the eldest member of your party. When ordering, you order to share. You don’t order an appetizer, entrée and dessert all for yourself as you do in the US. Everyone can discuss the dishes and order a variety of items and share them. It's family style. This is a great method because everyone can enjoy a wide variety of tastes throughout the meal. In more formal settings, however, the host will do all of the ordering for the table. Food in China may look a bit different than what you are used to seeing at your Chinese restaurant at home. You will see new meats, (the Chinese will eat all parts of an animal), vegetables and preparation styles. If you order a fish dish you will probably get an entire cooked fish on your plate. Just try it! It won’t bite you and I know that you’ll find that the number of dishes that you enjoy will far outweigh the number that you dislike. If you are out with Chinese, once the meal is over the real fun begins. The concept of everyone paying for his or her own share of the meal, 787h, “gèfù gède,” is foreign to Chinese – well, they know it but it’s not practiced. Everyone offers to pay because they want to treat the others with respect – it is similar to being a kind and generous host when friends visit you at home. Shouting and arm waiving might ensue in extreme cases but finally someone will win and pay the bill. The person paying knows, however, that the next time the group goes out someone else will pay the bill. Everyone should take turns paying and everything will even out. (If you are not out with Chinese, pay the bill as you would in any other restaurant.)




Now that you know the basic principles of Chinese table etiquette, it’s time to learn how to read a menu so that you know what you’ll be eating. In order to get you started on your culinary adventures in Beijing I’ve included a list of dishes to which you’ll easily adjust and find very tasty. After the short list of dishes, I’ve included some key Chinese words or characters such as i, “j%,” which means chicken, so that you can try to identify what you’ll be eating as you expand past the selections that I’ve offered. Don’t be afraid to try something new!

Beijing Roast Duck or Peking Duck !"jk B'ij%ng k#oyá


A must try Beijing specialty! Slices of roast duck that you roll in a small pancake with green onion and hoisin sauce. Kung Pao Chicken lmin Diced pieces of boneless chicken cooked with peanuts and hot peppers. The real thing. Diced Chicken & Green Peppers opin This is a mildly hot, simple chicken dish. Beef Cooked in a Skillet qrst Large pieces of boneless beef cooked and served in a hot skillet with onions. Noodles with Braised Beef uvstw A very simple but tasty noodle dish containing a few pieces of braised beef and some vegetables. A little hot but you worth trying for the noodles. Shredded Pork in Garlic Sauce xytz Long, thin shredded pieces of pork Covered in a garlic sauce – the same sauce found on the eggplant. Basic and Delicious. Sweet and Sour Pork {|}~ Sweet and Sour Pork Tenders Deep Fried Sweet and Sour Pork •€t A collection of deep fried pieces of pork with a sweet and sour sauce and pineapples. Typically a southern dish. Scrambled Eggs and Tomatoes •u‚ƒi„ Scrambled eggs with stewed tomatoes. Simple and delicious! Eggplant in Garlic Sauce xy…p Outstanding! An eggplant dish of some type will become a staple at your table. This eggplant will be very different from that which you grill at home or even have at a local Chinese place. Eggplant is prepared in nearly any style and is one of my favorite foods. You have to try it! Spicy Tofu with Diced Pork ,†‡ˆ Japanese Tofu ‰Š‡ˆ Very delicate balls of tofu, almost like a custard, in a light sauce. Chinese Broccoli ‹Œ A leafy broccoli that lacks the head of its US counterpart. Often served slightly salted. Mushrooms & Bok Choy •Ž•• Bok choy means “vegetable Heart” and it is easy to see the resemblance in these small, Chinese cabbages. The center of the plate will have a pile of mushrooms

g&ngb#o j%dìng

làzì j%dìng ti'b!n níuròu

hóngsh#o níuròumìan

yúxi!ng ròus%

t!ngcù l(j( gùlàoròu

x%hóngshìch#o j%dàn yúxi!ng qíezì

máp& dòuf$ rìb'n dòuf$


móg* càix%n


braised in a brown sauce and the light, crisp and slightly salty bok choy will circle the mushrooms. Stir Fried Mixed Vegetables Sugar Fried Bananas/Apples A pile of small pieces of banana or apple fried and covered in melted sugar. To eat, you grab one of them with your chopsticks and quickly dunk it in a bowl of water that is provided. You will notice as you pull the piece of fruit away from the pile, long, sticky skeins of sugar will trail off of your bite-sized piece making it impossible to eat. Once you dunk the fruit in the water the sugar hardens and the strands break away. You’re then left with a sugary, fruity treat. Be careful because the inside will be very hot! Fried Doughy Bun w/ Condensed Milk Small doughy buns that you dip into a sweet, condensed milk sauce. Great stuff. Boiled Dumplings Steamed Buns White Rice Scallion Pancake Look for roadside carts with black skillets to find these tasty, authentic Beijing snacks. They are thin, egg based pancakes with scallions, a slightly sweet brown sauce and sesame seeds. Some people call them Chinese crepes. Meat on a Stick If you’re looking for snack food that’s a little more adventurous than scallion pancakes, you should try sh!ok#o. You will find little roasting stands on the side of the road and built in to the walls of alleyways. They are easy to identify because you will see a series of tiny wooden sticks with small chunks of spiced meat roasting on them in the front of the stand/store. You tell the ‘chef’

ƒ‘’• “zy” “z•–

ch#oshi j(ncài b!s% xi!ngji!o or b!s% píngg$o



šp ›p œ• žŸ

jiàozi b!ozi m(fàn ji!nb(ng



what type of meat you’d like to try, anything from bits of lamb to chicken hearts, and he roasts it right in front of you for 1 or 2 RMB per stick. Be careful of these if you have a weak stomach.

Coca-Cola Sprite ¡ £¤ ¢ k'k)u k'le xu'bì


Bottled Water ¥¦§ It’s a good idea to drink bottled water while in Beijing. China does not have the same water sanitation systems that we have in the west and it’s better to be safe drinking bottled water than sorry and resigned to spending a day or two in the bathroom. Green Tea ¨© The Chinese will serve tea at almost every meal. The great advantage of tea is that it is natural, delicious, and safe to drink because it's made with boiled water. Jasmine Tea ª«3© Chrysanthemum Tea ¬3© Bubble Tea -®¯© Coffee °± Beer ²³ You can get some of the more popular American and European brands of beer in China. However, you should try Tsingtao, (´µ), one of China’s better known beers. It is brewed in Qingdao, where the Germans taught the Chinese how to brew the beer when they occupied the territory at the beginning of the 20th century. Qingdao is also the location of some of the water-based Games for the 2008 Olympics. Chinese Liquor ¶³ You should try it, but probably only once. It’s terrible. Most famous brand of Chinese liquor ·¸³

kuàngquán sh$i


mòlìhu! chá júhu! chá zh"nzh* n#ichá k!f"i píj(u


máotái j(u

If you go out to dinner with Chinese, they will most likely encourage you to have a few glasses of beer, "9, and Chinese liquor, ¶³. Glasses will be raised, toasts will be made, and the cheer “G!nb"i!” “:;!” will be heard by all. “G!nb"i!” is the Chinese version of cheers but seems to have a little more enthusiasm surrounding it than what is common in the US. Here are some key characters that you can try to spot on the menu that will help you divine what is inside some of the dishes on menus in Beijing.

Meat t ròu




Pork Beef Fish Shrimp Bone

»t st x ¼½ ¾™

j%ròu¹This, as you can see is the combination of the character for chicken, iºand the character for meat, t. They are paired together on the menu to indicate what part of the animal you are eating – remember the Chinese generally eat the entire animal, all the way down to the feet of the chicken. The same character pattern will follow for pork and beef.) zh*ròu niuròu yú xi!rén gútou ¹If you don’t want to deal with chewing around bones as you eat make sure this character is not in the name of the dish that you order. Instead, order something that contains one of the following two characters:)

Shapes of Food
Thin narrowly sliced meat z or tz Cubed/Diced n Slices ¿ Strips À Pieces/Chunks (generally with bone) Balls Âp s%, ròus% d%ng pìan tíao Á wánzi

The Five Flavors
Sour Sweet Bitter Spicy Salty Ã Ä Å o Æ su!n tían k$ là xián

Preparation Methods
Stir-fried ƒ ch#o


Steamed Prepared in a spicy sauce

ÇÈ ,o,

Braised in a brown sauce Deep fried Prepared in a garlic sauce Roasted or baked

uv — xy j

q%ngzh"ng málà ¹o means spicy and is a good character to identify when ordering depending on your preference for spicy dishes.) hóngsh#o zhá yúxi!ng k#o ¹As in Beijing Roast Duck: Beijing = !" and duck = kº so if you put everything together you get !" jk.)

Menu Divisions
Category Cold Dishes Seafood Vegetables Stir-Fry Dishes Poultry Fish Meat Soup Beverages Starches Drinks É Ê•É ËÌÉ Í•É ÎƒÉ ÏÐÉ xÉ tÉ ÑÉ ³§ Ò0 /Ó leì líangcaì leì ha(x%an leì sùcaì leì l%uch#o leì j%aqín leì yú leì ròu leì t!ng leì j(ushu( zh$shí y(nlìao

If you’re a vegetarian you can alert your waiter by saying “w) ch% sù,” and/or pointing to this: “NÔÍ.” Although there are tons of vegetable dishes in China, many delicious and unusual varieties not found in the US, sometimes it’s hard to keep them completely free of meat. Often little bits of meat are incorporated to add flavor. In addition, and this is important for vegetarians to keep in mind, cooking oils are typically recycled so your plate of broccoli might have been cooked in the same oil as the pork that’s at a neighboring table. If you haven’t found a good meal in a few days, just visit a Buddhist vegetarian restaurant where you will be guaranteed a meat-free dining experience. Finally, in order to bring your delicious meal to a close simply say “mai dan” or point to ÕÖ, which means “Check, please!” Try telling your waitress MM, “xièxiè,” which means “thank you,” or ×Ô, “h#o ch%,” which means, “the food was very good.” You don’t need to tip. It’s not common practice in China.


Beijing is a sprawling city with the Forbidden City, ØlºG$g&ng, and Tiananmen Square, ÙÚ;, Ti!n!nmén, are the center. Beijing is laid out in a huge grid and there are six main roads that circle the city called ring roads. You’ll most often use the second ring road, known as Érhuán l+ or ]ÛÜ, and the third ring road, S!nhuán l+, ^ÛÜ, to get to the different regions of the city. From time to time you'll use the fourth ring road, but you'll seldom get out to numbers five and six. The remainder of the roads go north-south or east-west. These roads, which are typically smaller than the ring roads, will take you directly to your destination. The grid is easy to understand and navigate. The only difficult part comes in remembering road names which usually relate to the landmarks and former city gates of Beijing. However, in the "Taxi" section, I'll teach you how get deal with this problem. You're going to have to use public transportation. Beijing's public transportation system is adequate and steadily improving for the Olympics; additional subway lines, new busses and faster trains are being added. Moreover, although Beijing’s roads are typically incredibly congested, China plans on reducing the number of cars on the roads by half for the Games in order to make traveling around the city easier and also to reduce pollution. A combination of riding the subway, taking a bus and walking can get you almost anywhere within Beijing; it’ll just take you longer to travel in Beijing than you’d normally expect. If you want to leave Beijing, it’s most common to use the train system. You can take an airplane for longer distances but if time is not an issue, just take a train and enjoy the countryside. As a Westerner in Beijing, you’ll most likely be taking taxi cabs for convenience when returning to your hotel or heading down to Panjiayuan to shop. Therefore, I'm going to teach you how to use a taxi first, and then cover the other methods of transportation in order of the likelihood that you'll use them. TAXI: The first time riding in a taxi in Beijing can be a likened to non-New Yorker's first time riding in a taxi in New York City, just slightly more harrowing. The cabs are generally not well maintained and, when they can, fly in and out of traffic with complete disregard for road signs and normal traffic patterns. Most times, however, they are stuck in the congestion of Beijing’s main roads. For all of the drawbacks of taking a cab, it is by far the most convenient way to get around the city, and you are going to be taking cabs while in Beijing. When hailing a cab in Beijing, stand on the side of the street, and look for a cab that has its meter light on, signaling it’s open to pick up passengers. Extend your arm, and look at the cab. The driver should respond by coming over and picking you up. Cabs sit 3 comfortably and 4 with a little effort. Once you're in the cab tell the driver exactly where to go. The best way to give driver your destination is either to try to tell him the name of the place in Chinese or to


write the Chinese characters of the place on a piece of paper and hand it to the cab driver. (For example, just writeØlfor the Forbidden City.) Another method for communicating with your taxi driver is to use your cell phone to call your hotel and put them on the phone with your driver. However you choose to communicate, you should have an idea of where you are going and how you will get there before getting in a taxi or else the driver might take you for a scenic tour of the city in order to charge you more than he should. Everyone is looking to make some extra money off of foreigners, and this is an easy way for cabbies to do it. After telling the cabbie where you want to go, you MUST make sure he puts his meter on! Say "d# bi#o” ÝÞ to remind him to start the meter in case he forgets. Without the meter running, the cabbie can charge you whatever he wants at the end of your ride. Remembering to force the cabbie to use the meter will save you money. The typical rate for cabs is 10 RMB for the first three kilometers, and then 2 RMB for every km after that. Surcharges will be assessed for long distance rides and the starting rate jumps up to 11 RMB after 11 pm. Once the cab ride is over, check the meter, pay your fare and hop out. There is no need to tip, as tipping is not a common practice in China. You're going to be taking a lot of cab rides during your stay in Beijing. Just remember that you have to be an active rider and pay attention to what's going on. With these tips in mind you'll be fine. Important language for cabs: Put on the meter Turn right Turn left Go straight Stop the car ÝÞ Vß Uß à< áâ d# b(ao yòu gu#i zu) gu#i zhi z)u ting ch"

WALKING: Beijing is an easy city to negotiate by foot. It is, however, somewhat dirty. Don’t be surprised if light colored shoes become a few shades of gray darker over your time in China’s capital. Also, I typically avoid wearing sandals, as Beijing streets are pretty dirty. Finally, Beijing is a very large city so you will not be able to walk everywhere. You’ll need to take public transportation to specific areas and then walk around on your own once you get there. SUBWAY: The Beijing subway system is easy to use and has been expanded in preparation for the Olympics. Be forewarned, it will be very crowded! In general, the subway runs underneath the major roads and follows the grid layout of the city. In order to find the subway look for the blue ãq signs or ask someone, “Dì ti' zhàn zài n#r?” Alternatively, you can have them look at your book and point to the following, ãqäRST? The subway fare is 2 Rénmínbì, RMB, ()*, the equivalent of roughly $.35 and allows you to go wherever the subway runs. You can pay in cash or with a prepaid transportation Smartcard that can be purchased at the subway station and used for subway, bus and taxi rides. Swipe your card and head down to the platform. (If you're using a single ride card, keep track of it because you'll need to swipe it again to exit the subway.) On the platform you will see maps, in Chinese and pinyin, outlining the route of the respective lines. Once on the subway you will also see a map of the subway’s route and hear an announcement of each station’s name as you arrive. It’s a very easy system to understand.


There are three important things to remember, however, when riding the subway: 1. When buying a card or boarding the subway or bus, the Chinese do not stand in line. They simply rush for the counter or entrance in an “every man for himself” fashion. Just be prepared to hold your own. The subway operates from 5 am until about 11 pm, so plan accordingly if you’re going to use them for late night excursions in the city. Beijing has constructed four new subway and light train lines for the Olympic Games. Get a subway map from your hotel as soon as you arrive.

2. 3.

BUS: In an attempt to uphold its Green Olympics motto, China hopes to have 5,000 brand new, natural gas powered busses on the roads by the start of the Olympics. It will cost 1 RMB to ride them, just as it does now for their older counterparts, and they will take you all over the city. These new busses will not change the harsh reality of taking the bus in Beijing: Bus routes are hard to figure out; passengers will push and shove to get on the bus; and once you do fight your way on, it will be overcrowded, hot and sweaty. You’re much better off taking a cab. TRAINS: Trains will take you outside of Beijing and allow you to explore other parts of China. Hopefully you'll have time to do this either before or after the Games. The Chinese rail system is extensive and ever-expanding. Train stations are giant, imposing buildings that have hoards of people in front of them jostling for tickets. Inside it's more of the same only here people will also be sitting and sleeping in groups. It will seem as if people live on and inside of the rail system, and many times this isn’t far from the truth. Despite these inconveniences, the trains can be a great, comfortable way to see the countryside, talk to people, and experience China. You have four different options for train tickets: hard seat, soft seat, hard sleeper, soft sleeper. Short train rides will give you the two sitting options, and you should choose the more comfortable soft seat. For longer trips, you'll you need to decide whether you want to sleep in a 6-bunk car (top, middle, and bottom bunks on both sides of the isle) with other passengers milling about or a slightly more private, slightly more comfortable 4-bunk soft sleeper car. You'll probably want the soft sleeper.


Please also remember to keep your ticket with you throughout your ride, as you’ll need to display it to leave the train station at your final destination. Without a ticket to prove that you were in fact legally on the train, you may be forced to buy a second ticket to leave the train station. BICYCLES: There are many types of bicycles in Beijing - classics with baskets in front of the handle bars, collapsibles that professionals take to work, motorized rides that look like they might grow up and become real motorcycles and, of course, just plain, old pieces of junk. But as a foreign traveler, you probably won’t need a bike. You will see people riding their bikes everywhere in Beijing, but particularly in the less developed areas of the city. Cyclists have a tendency to travel in packs, so you’ll have to be equally mindful of bikes and cars as a pedestrian. TRAFFIC: You need to be careful crossing the road in Beijing. Cars WILL NOT stop for you. Always have your head on a swivel and be ready for cars, bikes and busses to appear out of no where. Roads converge on vast intersections from every conceivable angle and crossing the street requires more than the simple look left, right, and left again approach. Just be patient, stay alert and keep your party together until you’re used to the traffic patterns.

Shopping in Beijing is what Westerners call bargaining. Only in expensive stores, hotels and restaurants where the prices are fixed and the items are genuine, or can't be faked as in the case of prepared food, is bargaining not allowed. In all other places, particularly markets such as Silk Street and Yaxiu, all of the items are fake and bargaining is a must. The Chinese call their bargaining method “ji#ngjià,” (åæ). Learn it and get ready to use it. Don’t get ripped off! Learn how to bargain: 1. 2. The customer approaches the vendor on his own volition, or the vendor barks out advertising slogans and pulls, sometimes physically, the customer to her stand. While the customer looks at the merchandise, a T-shirt for example, the vendor compliments the customer on his potential selections and offers other items to the customer to consider/purchase. (During this step of the bargaining process it is helpful not to show too much enthusiasm for the item that you eventually want to buy. If you are really excited about one particular item the vendor will be inflexible in the bargaining process betting that your desire for the item will force you into buying it at a high price. Be discrete and then attack with your bargaining skills!) Once the customer selects something that he likes he turns to the vendor and says, “How much does this cost?” “D*o sh#o qián?” “çèé?” The vendor will punch a few digits into her calculator and show it to the customer to give a price – all prices during the bargaining process will be typed into the calculator. This price will be much too high, often 15 or 20 times the cost of the item. For this T-shirt example, let’s say the vendor offers 150 RMB. The customer must say that the T-shirt is too expensive, “tài gùi le” "êëK", and ask the seller to offer a cheaper price, "pián yi di#n" "ìíî". Don't offer a 28

3. 4.



7. 8. 9.

price yet. Let the seller keep coming down. Tell her the shirt is fake by pointing at it and saying "ji# de" "ïh", and then ask again for a cheaper price, "pián yi di#n". This will bring the vendor down to 100 RMB. She will again as you for a price. When you feel that simply asking her to reduce the price of the shirt won't work anymore, make an offer. Offer a price perhaps 1/10th of the current price: 10 RMB. The vendor will say that the customer’s price is far too cheap and she can’t sell it to him for that much. She will then make counter offer of, say, 85 RMB and say she can’t go any lower. The customer once again says, “No, too expensive. 20 RMB.” (“tài gùi le” "êë K") This process will be repeated multiple times with the vendor saying things like, “Fine! I’ll give you a friend discount. This is a very good price.” Other phrases vendors use to maintain high profit margins are, "good quality" and "real (insert any brand name here)". Don't believe them. Once the vendor will no longer reduce her price with this casual bargaining, the customer must WALK AWAY. If the customer wants to get the best price possible he must walk away. The vendor will follow after the customer after a second or two and then offer a lower price. (If she doesn't follow, go to another stand and try the process over again.) Another round of more agitated bargaining might ensue but the sale will be made. The Western customer must go through this process if he does not want to pay a premium for everything that he wants to buy. Remember, the Chinese feel that Westerners can afford to pay more and want to get those extra RMB out of them.

Two additional tips: 1) Be friendly throughout the process. Smile as you demand a lower price and you'll improve your chances of getting it. Don't make it a personal dispute. It's just business. 2) Everything at the popular clothing, jewelry and antique markets is fake. It's not a Gucci bag so don't pay for a Gucci bag.

Below is a list of some of the most famous places to visit in Beijing. They are divided into “Places to See”, “Places to Shop” and Places to Eat and Drink.” Following this list of the most historic sites in Beijing, will be my list of recommendations of restaurants and bars, along with a suggested itinerary for your stay in Beijing. Let the adventures begin!

Places to See
THE GREAT WALL, ð ñ, “chángchéng” The Great Wall is the symbol of China. You must see it! The most well known section of the Wall, Badaling, is about an hour and a half by bus away from Beijing. This site is often overrun with tourists and a little too commercial. A better option, one that's in fact closer to 29

Beijing, is the Mutianyu portion of the wall. Only about an hour from the center of the city, Mutianyu offers an original, 300+ year old section of the Wall and a small village with a variety of restaurants and stores. If you can spend a whole day at the Wall, try going to a less well restored, less touristy and less polluted section that's between 2 and 3 hours away, such as Jinshanling or Simatai. Both are beautiful. No matter where you go, you'll see that the Great Wall is absolutely breathtaking. Although the pollution from Beijing has cut down on some of the views that you will see from atop the Wall, it still remains one of the most spectacular places on earth. Just remember to bring water and proper shoes because it's built on the crest of a mountain range and hiking up to the Great Wall and walking along it during the summer will be a serious workout! How to get there: One way to do it is to pick the section you want to visit and have your hotel arrange the trip for you. On the other hand, if you're traveling with a large tour group, just go along for the ride. But the best way to get out to the Great Wall is to go through the Beijing Downtown Backpacker's Hostel. These guys run day trips to all different sections of the Wall. You'll be in good hands and have a great time! Tel: 86-10-84002429 FORBIDDEN CITY, Ø l, “g!g"ng” The ancient home of the Emperor and one of the most famous places in China. You will see the large picture of Mao greet you at the entryway and then walk through wall after wall, courtyard after courtyard to witness the grandeur of Imperial China. Today the Forbidden City stands as in interesting juxtaposition between old and new China. You’ll see a Starbucks hidden inside and construction cranes dotting the skyline outside of the ancient palace. The Forbidden City will be swarmed by tourists, particularly on the weekends, but remains a must see! How to get there: You can do this one on your own. Simply write down the charactersØl on a piece of paper and show them to a cab driver. Everyone knows where the Forbidden City is. Have an idea of where you're going so you don't waste time and money on the cab. Alternatively, you can take the subway and get off at Tiananmen East or West Gate. TIANANMEN SQUARE, Ù Ú ; “ti#n#nmén”


Tiananmen means “Gates of Heavenly Peace.” This square, which was enlarged under Mao’s rule to become the largest square in the world, with the capacity to hold over 1 million people, is located in the heart of Beijing. Here is where the infamous student protest of 1989 took place and where the Chinese flag raising and lowering ceremonies take place every day. Mao’s tomb is at the far end of the square. The Great Hall of the People and the Chinese National Museum form the other sides of the square. You should go, if you still have energy, after you see the Forbidden City, which is right across the street. How to get there: You can do this on your own. Write down the charactersÙÚ; and show them to your cab driver. Have an idea of where you're going so you don't waste time and money on the cab. Alternatively, you can take the subway and get off at Tiananmen East or West Gate. SUMMER P ALACE, ò ó ô, “yíhé yuán” Located in the north west of Beijing, the Summer Palace is the former summer retreat of Emperors from the Ming and Qing dynasties. The most well known former occupant of the park is the Empress Dowager Cixi. She reigned at the very end of the Qing dynasty, roughly the 1890’s, and diverted the country’s money from the army in her own pet projects. One of the largest of these projects was the reconstruction of the Summer Palace. Included in the reconstruction was the fabrication of a lavishly expensive boat made of marble, which she kept for personal enjoyment. Needless to say, Cixi didn’t do much sailing with this craft. Today, partly due to her reconstruction efforts, however, temples, pavilions, towers, halls, and bridges surround the park’s large central lake. It’s a beautiful place to walk around. Make sure you see the boat! How to get there: Show your cab driveròóô. All of them will know that the Summer Palace is in north west Beijing. Make sure you know this too! Because the Summer Palace is pretty far outside of the city, many cabs will take circuitous routes to get to there in order to make some extra money. Don't fall for it. Know where you're going. It might be helpful with this one to ask someone at the front desk of your hotel tell the cabbie where you want to go, and tell him not to trick you. TEMPLE OF HEAVEN, Ù õ, “ti#ntán”


Built in 1420, Tiantan served as a ceremonial temple throughout the Ming and Qing dynasties. You should go and see the Echo wall, which allows a whisper on one end of a long wall to be heard clearly at the opposite end. The Three Echo Stones produce a similar effect. Also take time to stroll around the grounds. How to get there: Tell your cabbie that you want to go to Ùõ!;. 798 ART DISTRICT, b c& ö ÷ ø“q$ ji! b# yì shù qù” Out of run down Great Leap Forward-looking factories comes Beijing’ù well-known contemporary art district. Take a trip up here and get ready to spend the day. There are many galleries displaying a wide range of cutting edge art forms: painting, photography, sculpture and others. When you get hungry or just want to rest your feet, there are also plenty of cafes and bistros that make great places to grab a bite and recap what you’úû seen. Definitely worth your time. How to get there: You’ll have to take a cab, because 798 is out in the north east of the city. Tell the driverbc&ö÷øand if he doesn’t get it right away, you can try 798’s other name üýpö÷øþÿÿ ÿ ÿ THE PLACE, ! " Ù# “shì mào ti#n ji%” ÿ The Place is a huge, brand new shopping center in the heart of the CBD or central business district. There are a smattering of decent shops and places to eat. The main reason to go to The Place is to see the world’s 2nd largest LED screen, which forms a glowing canopy over the shopping center. Just how big is it? It hangs 80 ft. above the shopping center, spans the 88 ft. width of the center walkway and stretches an entire city block. Check it out at night. How to get there: It’s over in the CBD not far from the Central Park and Fortune Plaza apartments. Tell your cab driver $%ø&'Ü9()"Ù#


Places to Shop
LIULI CHANG, * +, ! -, “líulích&ng shìch&ng” This is the best place to buy traditional Chinese handicrafts, paintings and calligraphy. You will walk down old alleyways and wander into shops that catch your eye. Inside of many shops you will see art from around China and also things being done by hand, right in front of your eyes. Certain shops will allow you to pick from an English list of Chinese sayings for anything from family happiness to lasting friendship and have one of the calligraphers in the store make your calligraphy to your exact specifications; saying, size, paper color, etc. Here you’ll get great prices by using the aforementioned “Shopping” techniques. (If you like Liuli Chang, also check out Panjiayuan, Beijing’s huge flea-market, where you can buy all of the art and antiques that you want.) How to get there: Show your cab driver a piece of paper with the following characters: * +,F./. The address is ó0;Ü¡W100 œ, if he is confused. Liuli Chang is south and west of Tiananmen square. If you want to take the subway, take Line 2 and get off at Hepingmen. Walk south for 100 meters and you'll be there. WANGFUJING SHOPPING CENTER, < = > ? @ , “wángf!j'ng yèshì” Famous for its modern style and flashy signs, Wangfujing is one of the best places to go for high end shopping in Beijing – you can find almost anything that you’d find in NYC right here. It is a pedestrian only avenue that allows you to wander back and forth between stores. It’ll probably be very crowded on weekends so try to go on a weekday afternoon. If you're looking for an adventure, go to the Wangfujing snack street, 1234Ô /. It's at the far end of the shopping plaza, walk away from Changan jie, and has all sorts of fun foods: scorpions, silk worms and more. Grab a few beers or maybe some baijiu for a bit of liquid courage and go prove to your friends that you are all that is man How to get there: Show the cab driver<=>ü/, and he should know where to go.


Wangfujing is on East Changanjie, XðÚ/, not too far from the Silk Street Market.

SILK STREET, A ' B , “xiúshu' jíe” Jump off the subway at the Yonganli stop and you’ll be standing in front of the bargain shopper’s Mecca. Silk Street is a gigantic store and inside you can find anything from custom made suits and jewelry to digital cameras and artwork. It’s a wild time with vendors trying to sell you their products around every corner. Get ready to bargain before going and just remember: If you can fake it, they will sell it. Have fun! How to get there: Show your cab driver 5§/!-. Silk Street is on Jianguomen wai dajie, 67;[ü/, just across from the Twins Mall, 8 p9ü:, two big, green cylindrical towers. You can also take the subway to the Yonganli stop on Line 1. PANJIAYUAN ANTIQUE MARKET, ; Ï ô < =! -“p#n j$a yuán jiù mào shì ch&ng” If you’re looking for little Chineselooking trinkets to bring back to friends or even pieces of furniture to send back to your home, Panjiayuan is your place. There are thousands of merchants selling antiques, jewelry, calligraphy, clothes and more. Bring your barging skills and see what you can find. It will be hard to leave without buying something. How to get there: Best to just grab a cab. Your driver will certainly know where to take you ;Ïô<=!-

YASHOW MARKET, > 5 ! - “ya xiù shì ch&ng” Next to Silk Street, this is the most famous place to buy knock-off brand name clothes, bags, shoes and everything else under the sun. There are a handful of tailors on the third floor that do a decent job for a reasonable price, as long as you bargain hard. Go wild, spend those RMB.


How to get there: You’ll need to take a cab, and, again, most cabbies will know right where this place is. Tell them: >5!-?%;[ü/99(.

Places to Eat and Drink
HOUHAI, :Ë, “hòuha'” If you’re looking for more bars than clubs for your slice of the nightlife, you should head over to HouHai. Here you’ll find a beautiful lake surrounded by many upscale restaurants and bars. If the spirit moves you after spending time at the bar, you can always take a boat out onto the lake to continue the night. Although this is one of the best places in the city to walk around at night, it’s also great during the day. A daytime walk around the lake will allow you to avoid the nighttime crowds. How to get there: Every cab driver should know where :Ë is, but just to be sure, tell them to go to the Houhai Lotus Market, :Ë@3!-!"which is the most well known entrance to the park."" NAN LUO GU XIANG, WABC "nán luó g! xiàng" Please don't miss this 700 year old, beautifully restored hutong, DE, which is not far from Houhai. What's a hutong? A hutong is an alley between traditional courtyard houses known as siheyuan, _FG. The siheyuan and the hutongs formed the center of daily life years ago. They are a vitally important part of China's culture and history. Unfortunately, the government has bulldozed many of the hutong areas to make room for office buildings, malls and everything else that makes up modern Beijing. In the Nanluoguxiang hutong, you'll see refurbished, traditional dwellings and get a taste of what old Beijing might have looked like. Small stores, restaurants, bars and even a few hotels line the street, but they do their best not to spoil the atmosphere. Food and drink typically have more character to here than they do in other parts of the city where people also go out to enjoy themselves at night. After exploring Nanluoguxiang for a few hours, make your way over to the Drum or Bell towers (shown on the left). Built in the early 1400’s these towers once kept time for the city; the bell rang during the day and the drum sounded at night. For a small entrance fee,


both now afford great views of this well-preserved, historic section of Beijing. As the sun sets, head toward Houhai where you can grab a 3RMB beer on the street and enjoy the lake and the lights at night. How to get there: Tell your cab driver you want to go toWABCDE. This is the southern entrance of the hútòng. Once you finish walking north through the hutong, hang a left to go toward the Drum and Bell Towers.

SANLITUN NIGHTCLUB DISTRICT, 1 C D 9# B, “s#nl'tún j'ub# jíe” This is one of the most famous bar, restaurant and club districts in Beijing. There are plenty of watering holes that cater to western tastes but you can also find a handful of distinctly Beijing establishments in the area. It’s a lot of fun to just have your cabbie drop you off on one edge of Sanlitun and then walk around for a while until you find a place that suites your tastes. Once you decide on a bar, you might try a Beijing special, green tea and whiskey. Ganbei! How to get there: Cabbies know where this is. Have them drop you off at the corner of Sanlitun nan jie and Gongren tiyuchang beilu / ^}HW/ ó IJJK-!Ü and walk north. KARAOKE BAR, KTV, “KTV” There are many fun Karaoke Bars throughout Beijing. You can rent rooms fully equipped with huge flat screen TV’s, plush leather sofas and an array of microphone and speaker equipment to accommodate any party. You typically rent the room by the hour, and the rates become much cheaper after midnight. Attendants are generally helpful when figuring out how to select songs and will bring you food and drink upon request. Go to sing and drink and enjoy friends. A must try while in Beijing! How to get there: You have to be a little careful when selecting KTV sites. Some of them offer girls and other value added services. Stick to PartyWorld, formerly known as Cashbox, venues. This high quality, reputable Taiwanese company won't put you and your friends in any awkward situations. Show the cab driver: éL KTV. There are two locations. The first on Chaowai dajie in the Prime Tower: $%;[ü/22( MNü:1O. The second at Xiwai dajie in Teng Da Plaza: •[ü/168(PQü:. Go to the closer one.


[One Child Policy?]

You only have a few days in Beijing, so a large catalog of restaurants, bars and clubs won't do you much good. Big lists also tend to lead to indecision, and you’re not here to waste time.

DA DONG PEKING DUCK RESTAURANT EF$kG Nobody does Peking duck like Beijing. And nobody in Beijing does Peking duck like Da Dong. Head to the well designed Dongsishitiao location for a classic Beijing meal. The duck will be the highlight of the meal, but there are plenty of other dishes on the beautiful, coffee-table book of a menu that are outstanding in their own right. Must go in Beijing! How to get there: Dongsi shi tiao: XH/IJ22KLMRNSEO1-2T (5169 0328 ) This one! Tuanjie hu: UVPQR3KS, X1ÛTðUWXLV (6582-2892W



With three locations across the city, Xiao Wang Fu's is a growing success in Beijing. Décor varies by location, from Guanghua lu to Ritan to Hou hai, but the food remains the same: classic, home-style dishes that locals and foreigners love. I've eaten more lunches at the Guanghua lu location than at any restaurant in Beijing. I hope you'll stop by at some point. How to get there: Guang hua lu: Y'TXC2K (6591-3255) Ritan Park: Zõ[%\ (8561-7859) Houhai:]^_`@- (661-5558) DING TAI FENG ab& Forget your leathery, steamed or pan fried appetizers from back home, this world famous Taiwanese chain has the best XXc (little soup dumpling) that you'll ever have. The menu isn't expansive, but you won't go wrong with a single dish. Very clean with outstanding service, this is a great place for lunch or dinner, particularly for less adventurous eaters. How to get there: Shin Kong Place (big mall): dNT87KMYef6S (6533-1536) Dongzhimen: Mg-C)B24K (6462-4502)

HATSUNE YhZijk The only pure play non-Chinese restaurant that I'm recommending, Hatsune serves up some of the best Japanese food in town. The menu contains a wide range of high quality and creatively presented sashimi, sushi and rolls but also has plenty of really tasty cooked dishes for those who don’t want the raw stuff. The lunch box deals are a steal for a filling mid day meal. Check it out! How to get there: Guanghua lu: Y'XTJ8KlZEOCm2T (6581-3939) THREE GUIZHOU MEN 1nëo! Three guys from Guizhou, a province in the south of China, came to Beijing a few years ago hoping to make it big in the blossoming modern art scene. They opened up a small restaurant to support their fledgling painting careers. Although they never made it as artists, their restaurant, Three Guizhou Men, turned into one of the best places in town and has grown to 5 locations across Beijing. Guizhou food is very distinctive, a bit spicier and heartier than what you find in other areas. There's also a really interesting sour flavor found in a few dishes that's definitely worth a try. Two thumbs way up! How to get there: Gongti Xi lu: pq-T8KS (6551-8517) Guanghua xilu: Y'-T6K (6502-1733) Guomao/Jianwai SOHO: drSOHO7KS1-2T (5869-0598)



What a beautiful place. Bamboo and peony flowers, glass and dark wood, Kong Yi Ji creates a peaceful, courtyard setting around a pond in the center of the restaurant. The pond is tasteful and appropriate (unlike so many ponds and streams found in other Chinese restaurants) as Kong Yi Ji is a Zhejiang style restaurant. The Yangzi River flows through Zhejiang Province on its way toward Shanghai providing much of the food for the region. The pond and décor pay homage to the restaurant!s roots. And so does the food, which is authentic and outstanding in every respect. If you enjoy tea, Kong Yi Ji also has a very nice selection. Last but not least, the wait staff is kind and helpful, truly first rate. How to get there: West Gate of Chaoyang Park: v'[%T8K[[\ (6508 2228) BAO YUAN DUMPLING HOUSE wg!6x The combination of beer and dumplings is hard to beat, and one of the best places in Beijing to enjoy it is the Bao Yuan Dumpling House. Cheap and delicious. The menue is in English and Chinese and offers a range of dishes in addition to dumplings, but focus on what the restaurant does best - !!. You can have the cooks vary the color of the outter skin of the dumplings to match what's inside of each. A plate of steaming purple and green dumplings is at least good for a conversation starter, so give the colors a try. How to get there: Maizidian: Just north of building 6 on Maizidian street:y6GB6KSQ" (6586-4967) HAN CANG z{9S Very good Hakka food, a style of cooking from southeastern China that is a little vinegary and salty but not at all heavy, next to Houhai. Dark, unadorned wood tables and chairs make for simple décor. Emphasis is on the food. The 2nd floor offers a nice view of the lake. How to get there: Houhai: Go to the main entrance and bear to the right of the lake. It's a very short walk. ] ^ |}^X~ (6404-2259)

Bars and Clubs
LAN CLUB Œ\Q A very sophisticated night on the town must include substantial time at Lan Club. The fantastic interior design by Philippe Starck, attracts almost as much attention as the couture-clad clientele. This place is one of a kind in Beijing. You're welcome to do dinner, but drinks and the live music are probably more than enough. How to get there: LG Towers: 67;[ü/º8pü:4T SUZIE WONG'S ]^_`¢a The most well known club in Beijing, each year Suzie Wong's puts another collection of Beijing's best (fill in the clubbing superlative here) awards on its mantle. Self billed as 1940's Shanghai meets 1920's New York, Suzie Wong's decor alone makes it worth the trip.


Multiple levels, a couple of bars and one pretty popular dance floor give you plenty to do at Suzie's. How to get there: Chaoyang Park West Gate:$%bô•; Q BAR Some of the best drinks in town. As you take the crummy elevator to the 6th floor of the Eastern Hotel, you might be thinking, “Where the heck am I going?” But this comfortable bar with outstanding drinks will reward your patience. A great place to meet friends for a drink, Q Bar only gets better when it's warm and you can sit outside on the rooftop. How to get there: Eastern Hotel on Sanlitun nanlu: ^}HWܺ cd³e6T FACEBAR This Southeast Asia themed lounge is a place to relax with friends. It has large comfortable sofas and chairs as well as a few pool tables and bar areas. Very cool antique-looking furniture. Sometimes a little older crowd, it’s not a place to get rowdy. How to get there: 26 Dongcaoyuan Gongti behind the Cervantes Institute: IJWÜXfô26( CENTRO If you're looking to have a scotch and soda with the business travelers, then Centro is your place. Live music starts most nights at 8, and the bar’s pretty loud by that time. But there are also sofas and armchairs around the perimeter of this sizeable bar and lounge if you don't want to be in the midst of the action. You won't feel like you're in China when you're here, but that might be just what you want. How to get there: Kerry Centre Hotel lobby:g}G••e

Below I’ve set out a 5 day itinerary for Beijing. Each day is packed with activities, maybe more than it'd be possible to do at a comfortable pace. These are just suggestions. Use them as starting points for planning what you want to see while in Beijing.
Day 1 – Traditional Beijing MORNING: Breakfast at your hotel. Take a cab to the Forbidden City. Plan on arriving around 9:30 to give you plenty of time to walk around the area before lunch. LUNCH: Cab from Forbidden City to Dadong for Peking Duck. Have your hotel call ahead to make sure you have a table.


AFTERNOON: Cab from Dadong to Nanluoguxiang. Walk north from the southern entrance to the hútòng. Shop a little bit, maybe grab a snack along the way. Exit the hútòng and turn left on 鼓楼 西大街 and walk down to the Drum and Bell Towers. DINNER: Walk or Cab over to Houhai and eat at Han Cang, a delicious Hakka restaurant just to the right of the lake. NIGHT: Pick up an RMB 3 beer from one of the little stand on the side of the street, and go for a walk around Houhai. Plenty of bars to stop in if you’re looking for some action. Day 2 – Old and New Beijing MORNING: Breakfast at your hotel. Cab to the Temple of Heaven. Arrive around 9:30 so you can take your time walking around the temples and through the gardens. LUNCH: Cab to Xiao Wang Fu’s at Ritan Park. AFTERNOON: Shopping at the Silk Market. Don’t forget to bring your bargaining skills. You’ll probably want to stop by your hotel to drop off your bags of clothes, pearls and trinket and shower. Get ready for a fancy night on the town. DINNER: Kong Yi Ji. NIGHT: Lan Club, not far from People 8. Day 3 – Great Wall ALL DAY: Trip to the Great Wall. Get up early to make it out to the Simatai section or take your time and head out to Mutianyu. Both will be great. Bring lots of water, a few snacks and your camera. And don’t forget, climbing the wall is pretty good exercise. Wear something comfortable and athletic in order to climb up and down hundreds of stone steps. Day 4 – Shopping and Art MORNING: Breakfast at the hotel and then cab down to Panjiayuan. Pick up all sorts of traditional Chinese arts and crafts. LUNCH: Ding Tai Feng in the Shin Kong Plaza. AFTERNOON: Cab up to the 798 art district. Explore the galleries and stop for a drink or a snack at any one of the cafes. Head back to your hotel to relax and shower before dinner.


DINNER: Hatsune for Japanese NIGHT: Suzie Wongs, not far from Hatsune, for another high class night out. Day 5 – Hutong and Palace MORNING: Breakfast at the hotel, and then cab down to Liulichang. Stroll around the hútòng and perhaps pick up a few pieces of traditional Chinese art. LUNCH: Guizhou Men Three

AFTERNOON: Cab out to the Summer Palace. Make sure to bring your camera and walking shoes. Return to your hotel to shower and rest. DINNER: Bao Yuan Dumpling House for local dumplings and beer. NIGHT: KTV

CABS Drivers will try to over charge foreigners. Tell the driver where you want to go and have an idea of how you should get there. Use your Chinese if you’ve been driving around the city for a while. Rides within the city should cost between RMB10-25 on average. A long ride out to the Summer Palace might cost up to RMB 45-50. The most expensive ride you’ll take will be to or from the airport, which will be just about RMB 100. ART EXHIBITS


Near many of Beijing’s most famous monuments you’ll encounter young Chinese who speak pretty good English inviting you to see their art exhibits. Although they will tell you that they are college art students who just want to give you a free showing of their work, don’t follow. Wave your hand and keep walking. This is a scam whereby the young Chinese take you to a small, makeshift gallery and then pressure you into buying something of low quality that you probably don’t want. Save yourself the hassle and keep walking when they approach. TICKETS Many of Beijing's historic places require that you buy a ticket to enter. Although there may be long lines and it may be a pain to deal with the pushing and shoving required to get to the ticket counter, do it yourself! There will be friendly Chinese who speak good English ready to "help" you purchase your ticket. They will invariably charge you a higher price than the regular ticket price and probably hassle you to purchase other services from them as well. Don't deal with these unofficial vendors for tickets, English speaking guides or anything else. In addition, when you buy your ticket to an historic place, buy one that will allow you to see everything. You're going to want to look around, and the cheapest tickets don't give you access to everything. You'll be forced to buy separate tickets at the entrances to the places you want to see inside of the monument, and their total cost will be higher than the cost of the "everything included" ticket. FOOD When out to eat, your waitress will try to help you select a few dishes. Chances are good that she will first introduce you to the most expensive items on the menu. If you want to try them, by all means go for it. But if you want something a little less expensive either say “ê ë K ” which means "too expensive", or just pick something yourself. ENGLISH SPEAKERS In Beijing there are two types of people who speak English well: educated professionals who work in multinational companies and salesmen who hang around tourist areas looking to make some money off of foreigners. Who do you think you'll run into most often? For example, if you are standing outside of the Summer Palace and someone offers in English to give you a ride to your hotel in his van, be alert. You won't be in any danger if you do business with him, but it might be an expensive exchange. Best bet is to just take a taxi home. Whether shopping in a market or walking around a temple, be on your guard when a Chinese English speaker comes up to you offering special services " they will be overpriced.



Again, near some of the most famous historical sites in Beijing, Chinese have been known to invite foreigners to come to a shop off of the beaten path to view some tradiational art. As the “host” begins talking about the artwork, he or she pours the foreigner a few cups of tea. After a few stories, the “host” will ask the foreigner to buy a piece or art. If the foreigner refuses, the “host” will demand a that the foreigner at least pay for the very expensive tea that he as just (unwittingly) consumed. Be on the lookout for free tea when it’s not served in a restaurant or a real tea house.

How can I call friends and family at home and also in Beijing? If you want to call home you’ll need to use the international dialing code 001 for the United States. (00 is to get out of the country and the US code is 1.) If friends want to call you in Beijing they will need to dial the China code 86 and then 10 for Beijing. Cell phone service in Beijing is very good and your own GSM phone or a locally purchased phone will put you on the network. It will probably be most convenient to just bring your GSM phone to China and then buy a SIM card in order to avoid the expensive roaming costs. (See below for how to buy a SIM card.) If you’re bringing a computer, think about using Skype to keep in touch with people from back home: It’s free to download, and lets you call anywhere in the world for a pretty low rate. How do I buy a SIM card? SIM cards, can be found in convenience and phone stores all over Beijing. All you have to do is point to your cell phone and say “Sim Ka” and the attendant will quickly produce a number of cards. You’ll then choose which phone company you want to use. A safe bet is China Mobile which will provide great coverage in Beijing and throughout China. After that select the prepaid time for your card, generally either 50 or 100 RMB. Then you’ll be all set to call your friends. Can I use my credit card in Beijing? Almost all day-to-day transactions rely on cash in Beijing. Big purchases, such as your hotel room, can be put on a credit card but you’re still going to have to carry cash. ATMs (•€•‚tíku,nj%) from both Western and Chinese banks are all over the place, and most accept foreign credit and debit cards to withdraw money. What are the emergency numbers in Beijing? Police: 110 Fire Department: 119 Ambulance: 120 Tourist Hotline: 6513-0828 Local Directory Assistance: 114 (Chinese); 2689-0114 (English)


Where can I find more information on traveling to China? The parent site of your guide! The State Department’s Travel Site for China – Good for travel safety CIA World Fact book – Good for general country info China National Tourist Office – For the Chinese perspective on things How can I get internet access to check my email or use Skype? Internet access is available in most hotels. You can bring your laptop, pay a small fee at the front desk, plug into the Ethernet connection in your room and you’ll be ready to check your mail. If by chance your hotel doesn’t offer internet access there are plenty of internet cafes throughout Beijing where you pay a few RMB for a couple of minutes to surf the web. What should I do if I get sick? You should head to one of the clinics or hospitals listed below with your passport, health insurance ID and some cash. Doctors at these locations should speak English. Keep in mind, as ambulance services are not particularly reliable, taking a taxi might be the fastest way to get to the hospital. The word for hospital is y%yuàn, hGi Zh!ngrì Yóuh"o Y#yuàn (6422-1122 or 6422-2949): a good hospital that many foreigners rely upon. Go to the “Foreign Guests” (wàib#n [j) section for quicker, better service. Foreigners’ Clinic of the Peking Union Medical Center (B$ij#ng Xiéhé Y#yuàn, 6529-6114): One of the most well regarded hospitals by expatriates. The staff is well trained and the prices are cheaper than at the Western clinics (about 150 RMB for a checkup and one or two common prescriptions). Beijing International SOS Clinic (B%ij#ng Guójì Jiùyuàn Zh!ngx#n, 6462-9112): Perhaps the best facilities in Beijing. Many Western doctors are on the staff. Expect to pay U.S. prices. Can process insurance claims for some U.S. health insurance companies—so you don’t have to pay the full amount up front. The International Medical Center at the Lufthansa Center (Y&nSh& Y'uyì Sh&ngchéng, 6465-1384/1394/1328): Resembles a Western clinic in every respect. Expect to pay U.S. prices.




During the summer between sophomore and junior year of college, I came to Beijing for the first time to study Chinese through the Princeton in Beijing language program. Even though I was surrounded by friendly teachers, support staff and classmates, I felt terribly lost and overwhelmed by Beijing in those first few weeks. I did everything a first-timer in China was bound to do. Because I couldn’t read the characters I threw darts at menus not knowing what would arrive on the table. Because I didn’t know the city I went on 30-minute scenic tours of Beijing by taxi when my destination was no more than 5 minutes away. I became violently ill from food that came from a back alley. I took the subway east when I should have gone west. I ran and dodged cars coming at me from all directions as I played Frogger with my life crossing the street. I misspoke and said inappropriate things in Chinese to people that were being friendly to me. And I overpaid for everything! Although I now live in Beijing and work for an American law firm, I couldn’t have started farther from China only a few years ago. I grew up in tiny Orefield, Pennsylvania. My time at public high school was invested in family, sports and classes. At 18, I didn’t know a thing about China and neither did anyone around me. That all changed when looking for something challenging and new freshman year, I took Chinese 101. Chinese studies became my passion and shaped nearly everything I did at Princeton. After four years I had been to Beijing to study Chinese, taken every course on China that I could fit into my schedule and become the guy who my friends asked thoughtful, China-related questions, such as, “Can I get General Tso’s in the Forbidden City?” After graduating I joined the Princeton in Asia fellowship program on a post in Beijing, and I've been here ever since. I created this travel guide with the kind help of Princeton in Beijing (PiB), Princeton in Asia and the Princeton Chinese department. The head of this department and founder of PiB, Professor Chih-p’ing Chou, was a great resource throughout the writing process. Professor Ed Zschau's lessons on entrepreneurship kept me motivated to finish the project. My family and friends, particularly Liz and Christine, helped me edit and improve the content. Thank you all for your help. Warm Regards,

Michael Collins



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