Hey guys! Yes I know that I’ve disappeared recently. Fret not, I’m back from my trips in Aussie and Beijing.
My post below will be on Beijing. Travelling or visiting Beijing? Your First time to Beijing and thinking of exploring the capital of China? Here are 10 things you may want to note if it’s your virgin trip there.
1. Get your Sim Card at Beijing airport
Just behind the baggage conveyor belt lies the only setup in the airport selling Sim Card from China Telecom, one of China’s biggest telco company. I’d recommend getting it here because it is hard to find these mobile plans elsewhere in Beijing. Also, you would be required to provide your passport for each sim card applied. If you don’t do it at the airport, you can only get your sim cards at those big branch outlets in the city, which are not very easy to find.
2. A Mobile world
In China, and especially in Beijing, your phone (a smart phone) can be your everything – your ID, your wallet, your communication, the connection to the city. I will in time, write another post on the few apps you’d basically need to navigate your way through this metropolis. If you do not have a smart phone here, you are in a serious disadvantage.
3. The art of pushing and not getting knocked over
Yes, the damming thing here which I simply detest is the lack of basic courtesy in this country. People are nice, but only if you know them, otherwise, it is every man for himself. Queuing for taxis, waiting for the subway or even buying food, you’d find people pushing, shoving and cutting your queue. Get used to it and follow suit.
4. Watch your steps on the roads
Especially in local neighbourhoods, it is advisable to watch your step while exploring the city. A puddle may not be water, it would be urine. Dog poo isn’t picked up and are normally left uncleared after their pets relieve themselves. Try not to sit on the floor or rest on walls because more often than not, someone has spit on that spot.
5. Look right, then left when crossing the road
Notorious for its traffic, motorists navigate Beijing’s roads almost lawlessly. That’s not the worst part. Coming from Singapore, or if you’re from a country with right hand drive, Beijing road system is the opposite. Hence, do look right first, and then left before crossing the road. I’ve been here for some time yet I am still not used to it when crossing the road.
6. Install your VPN
As we all might know, most western social / news are banned in China. Hence, before your trip, do check out on avalibale VPNs or you can purchase one for a the period of time you’re there. For me, I used a couple free ones like ArkVPN, Tianxing VPN and paid ones like Astrill VPN.
7. When the weather is great, it is indeed a sight
Well, this bolds down with your luck. In just my first week in Beijing, I caught the bright sun, a theunderstorm, haze, smog and a cold chilling windy night. The weather can change many times in a day and it really depends on the timing you’re visitng Beijing.
8. Traffic jam, jams and more jams
You would have heard beforehand and something for you to experience – being stuck in Beijing’s infamous traffic jams. The millions of vehicles ploughing those circluar roads can be a sight to behold, but if you are ever caught in one, you would be cursing and at times swearing. Do give yourself more time if you’re taking the roads.
9. The subway system
I thought we in Singapore had a very good rail system. However, with almsot 14 lines in Beijing city, almost all parts of Beijing can be accessible through the subways. Avoid the traffic above, but having such convenience mean underground, y
ou’ll also be squashed with people. One thing’s certain nontheless, the trains come and go on time. Do remember to check your exits before tapping out of the stations as the exits are not inter-connected.
10. Well, just enjoy the city. Every alley, every turn may throw up a surprise. There’s food at almost every corner and sights that will be hard to find elsewhere around the world.That’s it folks. I’ll be back with some recommendations of food to try in Beijing, maybe some apps that are useful and cafes to visit.