Archive for the ‘Beijing Travel’ Category

Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing

Monday, May 16th, 2022
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Dear Travelers

We’d like to have the following travel guide to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors coming to Beijing.

If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!

Plan your Beijing tour? Most foreign travelers feel very safe when traveling in Beijing. But that doesn’t mean you should lower your vigilance on possible travel scams in Beijing.

The remark below is quoted from Percy from USA:
Thank you for having this site. As a traveler and student of human nature, I appreciate the scam warnings and the comments. I am a native New Yorker, and I feel it important to remind people that scams are not only in China.

Anywhere around the world where there are larger groups of humans, there will be more opportunities for scams. It seems the way of the Universe that these will be filled. You should always be aware, do research and remember that if it seems off, or too good, it is probably a scam. This is true in China, the U.S., or any other place where humans exist.”

Latest feedback from Denis:
Hi, you website is very helpful. I can share my experience about another scam:

We used an official taxi with the meter, so when the ride was over, we wanted to pay with 100 RMB, as we didn’t have any other bills. The taxi driver didn’t like the bill we gave to him and asked for another one. Then for another one and so on (every time giving back the previous one of course).

He was also friendly but insisted on the other bill and we couldn’t understand what’s wrong and what did he wanted, so we just kindly gave him different bills to try out. At some point we just decided to leave because it started to become annoying.

After some more negotiations he finally took one of our bills, gave us the change and left. The next day, when we tried to pay by cash at a grocery store it appeared that 4 of our bills are fake and I’m quite sure they were not fake before.

Not such a big amount for learning a new type of scam (I have forgotten already that there is such a thing as fake money on the streets) though.

Scam 1 Avoid KTV bars

Whether you enter on your own or taken by a Chinese “friend.”, in most cases you are in for a trap! It is a karaoke place. You enter the room to sing a few songs and have a few beers. Suddenly girls appear and want to drink with you. Then suddenly a cart appears with lots of snacks and beer.

The snacks are NOT free and they are expensive–but more on that later. The girl wants a brandy and you say okay. You will end up paying huge amount of money! Just avoid KTV!

Scam 2:  Tea Scam

At some heavy tourist areas (like Tiananmen Square, Wangfujing Street…),  you will be approached by one or three  attractive females or gentlemen, who are  willing to have a natural and nice talk with you or  even give you a free tour of hutong  in a polite way.  She or he will talk about the interesting things in Beijing, or talk about the culture or history of your home country and even world affairs!

Then if everything goes smoothly, then  invite you to a traditional Chinese teashops or ceremony. The whole ceremony proceeds then at the end of the ceremony your “friends” will ask you to pick out some favorite teas. So the scam start when it comes time to pay the bill, and it can again run into the hundreds or thousands of dollars. Simply don’t go for it!

To make the tea scam more natural,  they  pretend to be very friendly. They even don’t suggest you pay the whole amount. It is to be split between you and your “friends”.  So you  will see them pay their part. It is a scam!

It happens in central part of Beijing mainly, esp. in Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the surroundings.

Scam 3: “Art Student” Scam

Also at some big tourist destinations,  some young people,  disguised as ” art student’”,  will approach you. They offer you a free tour of an art show. Thus begins the “Art Student” scam.

Actually they will take you to an art shop selling all kinds of “art” stuff. This is just a waste of time. You can easily find these art pieces on the market. They sell the same “art” at higher prices. Simply say bye to them.
It happens mainly in historical sites, and public transport hubs. They are good actors(actresses) indeed. To us Chinese people they say they are out job-hunting and is penniless; to overseas travelers they say they are art students. Many of them are very properly dressed.

Scam 4: Rickshaw Scam

Some first-time oversea or even domestic travelers visiting Beijing fall into the traps of some seemingly “humble rickshaw drivers”. For example, let’s say, you and a rickshaw driver agree on a price of RMB 40 for a pedicab ride. It will turn out to be RMB400!. The trick is that your rickshaw driver will pretend to be ignorant and he will pull out a laminated price list and say it is 400 yuan instead of 40 yuan. Better take a taxi than a pedicab.

1) Rickshaw Scam at the North Gate of Forbidden City
There are two entrances to the Forbidden City – the south gate ( Meridian Gate – Wumen)  and north gate( Gate of Divine – Shenwu Men).  The south gate is linked to Tiananmen Square to the south. You have to enter Forbidden City from its south gate and exit from its northern gate, which is officially set as a one-way south to north travel route.

Make sure you are taken by your taxi to the south entrance of Forbidden City (better yet, take the subway line 1 –  its very nice and very cheap!). Don’t ever take a Rickshaw at the north gate of Forbidden City unless you feel like getting lost and extorted.

So if you visit Forbidden City by getting to a wrong gate (north gate), don’t use a local rickshaw to get back to the south gate, just walk to the right gate (south gate). For the same reason, if you exit from the north gate after visiting Forbidden City, don’t use a rickshaw for your next place.

2)  Rickshaw scams also occur at the entrance to the “Legend of Jinsha” which is performed at the Beijing Workers’ Club in Beijing.

3)  Rickshaw scams possible at any places in Beijing
Rickshaw scams could occur at any other places in Beijing. Be Vigilant!

 Scam 5: “Black” Taxis

When arriving at the airport, keep away from the taxi drivers who approach you in the terminal or outside the terminal as they will charge you much more than the actual price. Just following the sign pointing to the taxi line just outside the terminal. Taxi drivers should use their meter; make sure that the driver puts down the flag.

Taking a taxi from the airport to the downtown Beijing costs just over RMB 100 plus RMB 5 toll fee. Beijing legitimate taxi license plates will begin with the “Beijing B” otherwise it is possibly a black taxi!

After paying a legal taxi, you will get a legal computerized receipt in which you can find the taxi company’s phone number while a black driver only offers you a hand-written receipt with which you will never find him! A black driver would charge you RMB 400 – RMB 500 for the airport downtown drive! Normally a taxi ride from the airport to the downtown of Beijing costs you around RMB 120.

Black cars could be found around the subway stations, shopping malls, and also around some major tourist attractions such as Summer Palace, Forbidden City and Wangfujing Street and Beijing Railway Station as well.
By the way, your taxi driver may pull out a very official looking list of all hotels and official airport price. Never belive so-called official taxi-rate list of all hotels and official airport price. Never such a taxi-rate list!

It seems that there is a new kind of scam in Beijing when it comes down to the taxi’s.  Taxi drivers are asking their passengers to get out of the car and help to push it / close the trunk. When the passengers are outside, the drivers takes of with all their belongings.

For more information on taxi, please visit Beijing Taxi.

Scam 6:Outside Memorial Hall of Chairman Mao

When you line up for entering Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, you will probably meet some fake helpers or officials who are trying to “grab” some money from you.  To avoid being cheated, please read the following travel tips:

The admission to Mausoleum of Mao Zedong is free. No need for passport ID check and no need for buying shoes to replace your sandals (though not encouraged). As with most mausoleums, strict rules are enforced for visitors. No bags and cameras are allowed inside the hall. One locker is located 500m to the east of the mausoleum. The deposit is not free ( yes, a little strange)! The charges on deposit locker ranges from CNY 2 to 10.

Scam 7: Scams at Tiananmen and Forbidden City

The area around Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City is a favorite hangout for scammers.  Below is a trip by a scam victim named  Akalan:

In fact this was my 4th trip to China, but first trip to Beijing. Many a times many people, usually young ladies chatted with me and they helped me a lot. Even on the same day morning I went to the Great Wall and a young girl with good English walked with me. All those I met earlier were genuine people who just wanted to help a visitor to their country. Most of the time they did not even allow me to pay a bill, ticket price or taxi fare.

With that sort of experience, I had no suspicion on this woman. Still my priority was to get into the Forbidden city ASAP, as it was passed 3pm and I knew that the ticket sales would stop at 4 pm. This lady said that she would show me the “East gate” where I can enter without a long queue. Yes, there was a queue of people at the main entrance.

I simply followed her advice and she walked with me to “show” the entrance. On the way she said she is from Xi’An (a city I visited 1 month ago) and we had quite a good conversation on history, culture and languages. She also explained some history of the area.

She said her friends from another province are there and they will meet her in 10 min. If I can wait 10 min, they also can join me to go inside the Forbidden city. While waiting for them, she suggested me to sit some where and have a tea or fruit juice. In fact after walking and climbing whole morning in Great Wall area, I was thirsty and wanted to sit and stretch my legs. So I agreed.

I tried to sit on some chairs laid outside, but she suggested to go inside – less noisy, less dust and air-conditioned! I picked a Chinese tea and the scam began!

You know the rest. Yes, she split the bill, still I lost a few hundred! Worst thing was that she took me to a gate, assuring that I could enter from there, but obviously there were no ticket counters. I had to get to an electric car. The driver charged 20, instead of 2, as he sensed my urgency!

He actually did not take me to the ticket counters, instead, he stopped somewhere and a woman approached me. She was telling me that the ticket counters are closed and she would sell a ticket to me for 100 ! I did not want to let some one rip me off for 3rd time, within 15 min. Finally when I found the ticket counters, they were closed! So I missed the Forbidden City!

Scam 8: Scams from Itinerant Tour Companies at Streets

AVOID TOURISM COMPANIES, the ones who talk to you at street, promising a great price to go meet Great Wall (for example), they will make you pay more inside the bus, will take you to the worse section of the Great Wall, and prepare yourself for a long day stopping at market places, really awful experience.

If you want sightseeing, get a legal one, from important sites.

Scam 9: Scams at North Gate to Forbidden City

There are two main gates to the Forbidden City – the south gate ( Meridian Gate – Wumen)  and north gate( Gate of Divine – Shenwu Men).  The south gate is linked to Tiananmen Square to the south. You have to enter Forbidden City from its south gate and exit from its north gate, which is officially set as a one-way south to north travel route.

So don’t try to go to the North Gate to Forbidden City.  The North Gate now only serves an exit gate.  If you get to a wrong gate ( the north gate ),  just walk along the streets circling Forbidden City and move on to the south gate. In this case, you are not encouraged to use a rickshaw or a 3-wheel motorcycle taxi at the north gate of Forbidden City.  Some  of the rickshaw and 3-wheel motorcycle taxi drivers are just disgusting swindlers.  Avoid Them!  Below is the account by Bill of the victim at the North Gate to Forbidden City.

I was a victim of two scams in the same day! The first was with a 3-wheel motorcycle taxi at the north gate of the forbidden city. I was offered a ride to the south gate for 3 Yuan. The taxi drove through a maze of narrow alleys and he stopped at an isolated spot. Then he demanded 300 Yuan, about $48.

The second incident was the tea shop routine. A nice couple invited me to a local place near Tiananmen square. I told them about the taxi incident and they sounded shocked and empathetic! We were given snacks (2 Yuan per bag in the store), some high quality tea, orange juice, and about 1-2 ounces of wine. The bill was 1200 Yuan plus 100 for the tip. He paid half (money probably borrowed from the owner), but I was still squeezed for over $100.

The next day, near the same square, a woman began a nice friendly conversation with me and tried to do the same thing. The good-bye was very quick.

Scam 10:  The Counterfeit Money Scam

Hi there – another scam to add to the list is the counterfeit money. We used a standalone ATM at the silk markets and received many hundreds of RMB that was fake. We didn’t know of course – its nearly impossible to tell. Now we have some lovely souvenirs that look like 100 RMB notes 🙂
The advice would be to use a bank ATM I guess.

More Tourist Scams:

Tourist scam on Chinese Medicine ( Feedback from christian Holscher )
There is a tourist scam where people pretend to be part of the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences. They pretend to be doctors and ‘diagnose’ an illness just by taking the pulse. Then, they sell very expensive pills which are most likely just herbal remedies.

The company does not give receipts for their sale, and no address or contact number was provided. They clearly do not pay tax. All what they give to the customer is a worthless certificate with no address. The real of this company can be found on the credit card receipt.

Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours

If you don’t want to go for self-guided tours and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Beijing:

Beijing Day Tour
Beijing Tour Package
Great Wall Tour
Beijing Tour
Beijing Winter Tour
Car Rental in Beijing
China City Tours
China Tour

Further Readings


Best Time to Visit Beijing
How to plan a trip to Beijing

Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.

How to Visit Forbidden City (Tips, Photos & Map)

Friday, May 13th, 2022
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Dear Travellers,

We’d like to have the following quick guide to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors visiting the Forbidden City ( the Palace Museum) in Beijing.

If you have any questions or anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!

____________

Plan your Beijing tours? Visiting the Forbidden City ( The Palace Museum ) is no doubt one of your travel highlights in Beijing.  Then how to buy your Forbidden City entry ticket? When to visit? Which gate to enter? What’s the visiting line? How to beat the crowds?

Here we have a quick guide for you to grab some basic travel tips for visiting Forbidden City.

Tip 01: Try to Avoid Weekends or Public Holidays

Forbidden City is a must see highlight for every first-time visitor to Beijing. Be ready for crowds of people visiting this complex. Try to avoid visiting Forbidden City on weekends or Chinese public holidays.

On these tourist peak days, the hoards of tourists are thick. Many tour groups ( most domestic ones) seem to aggregate and move about with banners, and colored caps.

Very often you have to elbow your way to see and take pictures. We recommend you come here either early in the morning or in the later afternoon ( not too late to be allowed to enter the museum ) to beat the crowds, enjoy the Forbidden City as it once is before the masses turn up and ruin your photo opportunities.

Tip 02:  The Right Gate to Forbidden City In & Out

There is just one main entrance to the Forbidden City, namely the southern gate, or Meridian Gate, also known as Wumen (午门)in Chinese. To the south of Forbidden City’s Southern Gate lie Tiananmen Tower and Tiananmen Square.

The entrance  to Forbidden City, namely the southern gate, or Meridian Gate

There is one main exit gate to the Forbidden City, namely the northern gate, or Gate of Divine Prowess , also known as Shenwu Men (神武门)in Chinese.

Kinder Reminder:
Basically you enter the Forbidden City from its southern gate and exit from its northern gate, which is officially set as a one-way south to north travel route. You cannot exit from the Southern Gate again; you cannot enter the Northern Gate either.

Tip 03: How to get to Forbidden City?

When we ask how to get to the Forbidden City, we very often mean how we can get to the southern gate to the Forbidden City since basically we are supposed to enter the Forbidden City from its south main gate and exit from its north main gate, which is officially set as a one-way south to north travel route.

To the south of the Forbidden City’s southern gate lie the Tiananmen Square, the National Museum of China, the Great Hall of the People ( Chinese parliament), The National Centre for the Performing Arts (the Giant Egg), and Qiamen Street.

So if you have half a day available for your trip to the Forbidden City which basically takes about 2 hours, you may add some of the sights nearby to enhance your Beijing experience.

By Bus:
Arriving at Tiananmen East Station, take bus number:1, 120, 2, 52, 82, Night 1, Sightseeing Double-Decker Bus 1, and Sightseeing Double-Decker Bus 2.

Arriving at Tiananmen West Station, take 1, 120, 2, 52, 82, Night 1, Sightseeing Double-Decker Bus 1, and Sightseeing Double-Decker Bus 2.

Walking to the Southern Gate from the south via Tiananmen Square under the famous Mao portrait.

By Subway ( going to the south gate ):
Metro Line 1: drop off at Tiananmen West or Tiananmen East Station, walk north through the Tiananmen Tower (Gate of Heavenly Peace), and then you’ll find the Meridian Gate (south gate) to the Forbidden City.

Parking for Private Car:
The Palace Museum does not have a dedicated parking lot. The nearest public parking lots are just outside Donghua Gate and Jingshan Back Street. The nearby parking is quite limited. Visitors are advised to take public transportation to visit the Palace Museum.

Tip 04: Entry Ticket Information

The Palace Museum has cancelled on-site ticket sales. Instead you need to have online real-name ticket purchases.

Tickets are to be sold 10 days in advance until sold out. Tickets can be booked online at Forbidden City ticketing, or through the Forbidden City’s official booking page: https://gugong.ktmtech.cn/ ( only in Chinese).

Only one ticket per certificate (ID/passport) per day of admission is allowed.
On the day of visit, you can be admitted Forbidden City directly with your ID card or the original household register at any ticket gate. There is no need to exchange paper tickets.

People who buy tickets together on the Internet must check in at the same time and must not check in separately.

Gate of Supreme Harmony inside Forbidden City

April 1st – October 31 ( 8:30 – 17:00 )
Last Entry at 16:10
Tickets sold until 16:00
Entrance ticket:RMB 60

November 1st – March 31 (8:30 – 16:30)
Last Entry at 15:40
Tickets sold until 15:30
Entrance Ticket: RMB 40

There are some exhibits within the complex that require additional tickets to get access to the inside paid sights such as the Treasure Gallery and the Clock and Watch Gallery.

Treasure Gallery : RMB 10;
Clock and Watch Gallery: RMB 10

Note:
1. Forbidden City is closed for the entire day every Monday, except the Chinese national public holidays.
2. Forbidden City Ticketing Purchase is based on real name policy;
3. You need to show your passport to buy your entrance tickets;
4. Free of charge for children under 1.2 meters, each required to be escorted by an adult;
5. Special 20 yuan tickets are available for China’s elementary, middle school, and university students
(including foreign students studying in Chinese universities) with valid student I.D. or certified letter from school administrator (including students from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, excluding graduate and adult education students);
6. Seniors over 60 years old are entitled to half price by showing a valid ID or passport.
7. Forbidden City Customers Service Hot Lines: 010-85007057 010-85007058 010-85007062 (working hours:08:30-22:00)

Tip 05: Suggested Forbidden City Travel Routes

The Forbidden City is huge, covering an area of 72 hectares. Normally you should cruise through in two or three hours.

Plan this together with Tiananmen Square, Jinshan Park or Beihai park. Please keep in mind that Tickets sold until 15:30 (November 1st – March 31); Tickets sold until 16:00 (April 01 – October).

Classic Two-hour Axis Travel Route
1. The Meridian Gate (Wu men – the south gate) 2. Gate of Supreme Harmony (Taihe men) 3. Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe dian) 4. Treasures from the Qing Palace 5. Memory of the Old Palace 6. Hall of Central Harmony (Zhonghe dian) 7. Hall of Preserving Harmony (Baohe dian) 8. Gate of Heavenly Purity (Qianqing men) 9. Palace of Heavenly Purity (Qianqing gong) 10. Hall of Union (Jiaotai dian) 11. Palace of Earthly Tranquility (Kunning gong) 12. Imperial Garden (Yu huayuan) 13. Gate of Divine Prowess (Shenwu men – the north gate)

Forbidden City South-to-North Axis 2-hour Travel Route ( Map from dpm.org.cn )

Half a Day Travel Route
1. The Meridian Gate (Wu men – the south gate) 2. Hall of Martial Valor (Wuying dian) 3. Gate of Supreme Harmony (Taihe men) 4. Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe dian) 5. Hall of Central Harmony (Zhonghe dian) 6.Hall of Preserving Harmony (Baohe dian) 7. Hall of Clocks 8. Palace of Heavenly Purity (Qianqing gong) 9. Hall of Union (Jiaotai dian) 10. alace of Earthly Tranquility (Kunning gong) 11. Hall of Mental Cultivation (Yangxin dian) 12. Area of Six Western Palaces or Area of Six Eastern Palaces 13. Imperial Garden (Yu huayuan) 14. Gate of Divine Prowess (Shenwu men the north gate)

Tip 06: View the Turrets and the Moat

When touring the Forbidden City, don’t miss visiting the magnificent turrets of Forbidden City and its surrounding moat. There are four beautiful turrets of the same structure on the four corners of Forbidden City.

The Northeastern Turrets of Forbidden City and City Moat

Each turret tower has nine girders, eighteen columns and 72 ridges. The two turrets on the northeast and northwest corners offer the best photo opportunities. How to Take the Best Photos of Forbidden City Turret and Moat.

The turrets are inaccessible to visitors. People usually finish their visit to the Forbidden City and exit from its north gate. Then turn either right for the northeast turret tower or left for the northwest turret tower outside the Forbidden City.

Tip 07: A Panoramic View of Forbidden City

Jingshan Park is not to miss on your Beijing tour for a panoramic view of the Forbidden City and the city of Beijing as a whole. . Jingshan just sits across the north gate to the Forbidden City.

After finishing your visit of the Forbidden City from south to north, you exit from the Forbidden City’s north gate.

Jingshan Park

Exiting from the northern gate, raising your head, you will find a pavilion has three-layered eaves perched on a hill. The hill is called Jingshan Hill ( Coal Hill or prospect Hill).

Jingshan Hill is an ideal place to have a panoramic view of Forbidden City and the Beijing city as whole.  Click “Jingshan Park is not to be missed” for more information.

Have a panoramic view of Forbidden City from the top of Jingshan Park.

Tip 08: Public Transport after your visit to Forbidden City

It is a bit tricky to use the public transport back to your hotel or other attractions you continue to visit afterwards.

Public bus stations around the Forbidden City’s North Gate:
Public Bus Number: 101, 103, 109, 124 trolleybus and No. 58, Night 13, Sightseeing Bus 1, Sightseeing Bus 2.

Public Bus stations around Jingshan Park East Gate
Public Bus Number: No. 111, Trolleybus 124 and No. 58, Night bus 2

The North Gate to Forbidden City

After visiting the Forbidden City and exit from its north gate, most of the visitors want to continue their day trips to other attractions or destinations in Beijing like Park Park ( just opposite the north gate to Forbidden City), the nearby Beihai Park, Wangfujing Street, Beijing Zoo, Summer Palace, Fragrance Hill, Temple of Heaven, the Great Wall of China and the list is much longer.

Please read the following travel information to help plan your further day trip:

Jinshan Park ( Prospect Hill or Coal Hill )    ( How to Visit Jingshan Park )
Jinshan Park is just opposite the north gate to the Forbidden City, but you are not allowed to cross the street. To visit Jinshan Park ( Prospect Hill ), you are advised to use the underpass 20 meters in the west.

Beihai Park Beijing ( How to Visit Beihai Park )
This park is approx 800 meters west of the north gate to Forbidden City, just 10-minute walking.

Summer Palace ( How to Visit Summer Palace )
First take the underpass to cross the street and walk west to the Bus No.103 and get off at Beijing Zoo Station, then connect Bus 332 for Summer Palace.

Badaling Great Wall ( How to Visit Badaling Great Wall by train )
Walk westward and find the Bus No.5 and drop off at Deshengmen, then connect Bus 877 for Badaling Great Wall.

Temple of Heaven ( How to Visit Temple of Heaven )
Walk westward for 30 meters and take Bus 814 and get off at Dong Dan, Chongwenmen and Temple of Heaven.

Wangfujing Street or Beijing Railway Station  ( Wangfujing Street )  ( Beijing Railway Station )
Walk west for 30 meters and take trolley bus No.103 and get off at Wangfujiang or Beijing Railway Station.

Beijing West Railway Station ( Beijing West Railway Station )
Take the underpass to cross the street and Take bus 109 and get off at Xuanwumen, connect bus No.9 or 703 for Beijing West Railway Station.

Beijing South Railway Station  ( Beijing South Railway Station )
Walk west for 500 meters and take Bus No. 05 and get off at Qianmen, connect Bus 20 for Beijing West Railway Station.

Tiananmen Square or Subway Line 01  ( How to Visit Tiananmen Square )  ( Subway Line 1 )
Walk west for 500 meters and take Bus No. 05

How to take a Beijing Taxi ( Beijing Taxi )
Walk west for 50 meters and call a cab.

Taking a rickshaw at the north gate is a rip-off.
Don’t ever take a Rickshaw at the north gate of Forbidden City unless you feel like getting lost and extorted.

So if you visit Forbidden City by getting to a wrong gate (north gate), don’t use a local rickshaw to get back to the south gate, just walk to the right gate (south gate).

For the same reason, if you exit from the north gate after visiting Forbidden City, don’t use a rickshaw for your next place.

Tip 09: Hire a legitimate Tour Guide or Audio Guides

The Forbidden City is much worth visiting, but unless you know the history very well, you should use a Beijing tour guide. You are not advised to use the tourist guides around the entrance. Most of them are self-employed tour guides.

So, try to find a reliable travel agency for your tour guide services or the Recorded guide. The recorded audio guides: these are available for rent walking from south to north. There are many signs in English by each building. An actual book would probably better serve you if you want to understand what you are seeing.

Tip 10 : Dress for the Hot Weather

There are very few trees with little shade Forbidden City. It is super hot during the summer.

So if coming here in summer, be ready to bring an umbrella for sun protection, bottles of water, and comfy walking shoes. Check out: Beijing Climate for more information.

Tip 11: Wear Comfortable Shoes

There are lots of outdoor areas so you can’t do a lot of hiding from the sun or rain. Wear your most comfortable shoes.

It’s a long walk! strollers and wheelchairs are available for free at the tourist guide service at both southern gate and the northern gate.

Tip 12: Avoid Tour Vendors on the Street

There are some tour vendors at each entrance selling their excursions to the Great Wall. Just ignore all handouts that will be forced upon you. Especially bus tours.

They are all too good to be true, and you will be disappointed. See Top 10 Tourist Scams in Beijing for more information.

Tip 13: Be vigilant on Tea House Scam and Ticket Touts

A kind reminder that Tea House Scams and ticket touts could possibly pester you around Forbidden City area. Below is a trip report by a victim from Sri Lanka named Akalan ( click Top 10 Tourist Scams in Beijing for more information) :

———————————
I wish I read this page 1 week earlier! I was a victim to the “Tea House” scam. The scammer, a lady was very clever. I came to the Tiananmen area and was going to buy the ticket to enter the forbidden city. A lady who was walking besides me casually said “Hello” and started a chat while walking.

In fact this was my 4th trip to China, but first trip to Beijing. Many a times many people, usually young ladies chatted with me and they helped me a lot. Even on the same day morning I went to the Great Wall and a young girl with good English walked with me. All those I met earlier were genuine people who just wanted to help a visitor to their country. Most of the time they did not even allow me to pay a bill, ticket price or taxi fare.

With that sort of experience, I had no suspicion on this woman. Still my priority was to get into the Forbidden city ASAP, as it was passed 3pm and I knew that the ticket sales would stop at 4 pm. This lady said that she would show me the “East gate” where I can enter without a long queue. Yes, there was a queue of people at the main entrance.

Simply followed her advice and she walked with me to “show” the entrance. On the way she said she is from Xi’An (a city I visited 1 month ago) and we had quite a good conversation on history, culture and languages. She also explained some history of the area.

She said her friends from another province are there and they will meet them in 10 min. If I can wait 10 min, they also can join me to go inside the Forbidden city.

While waiting for them, she suggested me to sit somewhere and have a tea or fruit juice. In fact after walking and climbing whole morning in Great Wall area, I was thirsty and wanted to sit and stretch my legs. So I agreed.

I tried to sit on some chairs laid outside, but she suggested to go inside – less noisy, less dust and air-conditioned!

I picked a Chinese tea and the scam began! You know the rest. Yes, she split the bill, still I lost a few hundred! Worst thing was that she took me to a gate, assuring that I could enter from there, but obviously there were no ticket counters. I had to get to an electric car. The driver charged 20, instead of 2, as he sensed my urgency!

He actually did not take me to the ticket counters, instead, he stopped somewhere and a woman approached me. She was telling me that the ticket counters are closed and she would sell a ticket to me for 100 ! I did not want to let some one rip me off for 3rd time, within 15 min. Finally when I found the ticket counters, they were closed! So I missed the Forbidden City!

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Tip 14: Hail a Taxi on the Road

Please note that taxis are not allowed to stop either at the northern gate or south gate. Some people approaching you for taxi service after you finish your visit at the Forbidden City, may be black taxi drivers. Just avoid them and try to hail a taxi on the road.

Taxis are not allowed to stop at the northern gate (Shenwu men) according to the local traffic regulations. Visitors exiting from the northern gate need to walk further either east or west to hail a taxi or take a bus. Check out Beijing Taxi for more information.

Tip 15:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours

If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Beijing guided tours:

Car Rental in Beijing
Beijing Day Tour
Beijing Tour Packages
Great Wall Tour
Beijing Winter Tour
Beijing Tour
China City Tours
China Tour

Chinese version of the travel guide

故宫旅游小贴士

Further Readings


Best Time to Visit Beijing
How to plan a trip to Beijing

Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop line.

How to Plan a Trip to Beijing (Tips, Photos & Map)

Thursday, May 12th, 2022
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If it is your first time to visit Beijing, we hope, this short travel guide will help you plan your long-expected Beijing tour.

We try to offer  you some practical advice on when to go and where to stay, how to allocate your time and choose the major attractions in Beijing.

Forbidden City
Forbidden City

When to Go

Maybe “When to go” doesn’t seem a practical question since most of us are unable to match our visit time with the so-called the best time to visit Beijing or any other particular destination. But nevertheless getting ourselves well informed of “When to go” is very much useful preparing a coming trip.

Beijing has clearly cut four seasons with longer winters and shorter springs. Beijing’s winter lasts officially from November 15 to March 15 ( official winter indoor heating period) : dry and cold outside.  But visiting Beijing in winter is not a bad idea given the discounts offered by airlines, hotels and sites, plus numerous winter activities in Beijing.

Though Beijing’s official spring time starts from March 15 to May 15, its warmer springtime only lasts one month from early April to early May. Beijing’s March is very often chilly and sandstorm hits Beijing periodically in March. So traveling Beijing in early April through early May is relatively relaxing and comfortable. But try to avoid visiting Beijing during the 3-day public holiday May 01 to 03.
How to Visit Beijing in March
How to Visit Beijing in April
How to Visit Beijing in May

Beijing’s summer lasts from May 15 to September 15. The first two months ( May 15 – July 15) are a bit hot and dry with relatively comfortable weather, not a bad time to visit Beijing.

July and August are Beijing’s rainy season, hot and humid. July and August are also the school summer vacation season with lots of domestic tourists flocking major attractions in Beijing.
How to visit Beijing in June
How to visit Beijing in July
How to visit Beijing in August

Autumn (September 05 to November 15) is oft-lauded as the best time to visit Beijing, blue and clear sky and mild temperature. October 01-07 period should be avoided to keep from the hordes of domestic tourists on China’s National Holiday.
How to Visit Beijing in September
How to Visit Beijing in October
How to Visit Beijing in November

Beijing’s winter starts from December to February next year. The major attractions in Beijing are open all year around and basically you are able to visit Beijing at any time of a year. Choosing your own best time per your own time, budget and personal taste. For Beijing winter activities, check out Beijing winter tour for more information.
How to Visit Beijing in December
How to Visit Beijing in January
How to Visit Beijing in February

For information on Beijing Climate, please check out the link: Beijing Climate; for Beijing’s daily weather photos, past and present, please check out the link: Beijing timely weather photos.

What to See

It takes time to enjoy everything that Beijing city has to offer. If you only have a few days to spare, you can highlight your Beijing trip by visiting the major attractions in Beijing.

Check out the Top 10 Things to Do in Beijing based on our past 20 years’ travel data, just for your information.

Beijing Tour Maps

There are numerous scenic spots and historical sites in Beijing. Some of them are walkable. Some of the attractions are a little far from the city centre.

Around Beijing, there are eight major sections of the Great Wall, including Badaling, Juyongguan, Huanghuacheng, Jiankou, Mutianyu, Gubeikou, Jinshanling, and Simatai. All the sections of the Great Wall around Beijing fall into three categories – restored sections, partially restored and unrestored..

Beijing Great Wall Map

Check out Beijing tourist maps to get yourself familiar with the places you are going to visit or explore.

Where to Stay

Where to stay in Beijing? That’s a common question when you are planning your Beijing, considering that Beijing has hundreds of star-rated hotels, plus numerous hostels, courtyard hotels, B&B hotels and boutique hotels.

Generally, Beijing is divided into 6 areas – 1. Central Beijing; 2. Houhai & North Beijing; 3. South Beijing; 4. Northeast Beijing; 5. West Beijing and 6. Northwest Beijing, where you can find where and in which hotel you want to stay per your personal taste and budget.

Five Suggested Steps to finalize Your Hotel booking in Beijing
1. Choose the area where you want to stay
2. Compare the hotels and prices in the same area
3. Use google to map the exact address of the hotel
4. Use google and hotel review websites to assess the hotel
5. Book your hotel directly or use the hotel booking engines.

Check out the link: Where to Stay in Beijing for more hotel information in Beijing.

How to Get Around

Generally speaking, getting around or out of town, is quite easy in Beijing. In the past 30 years, Beijing transportation has been improved greatly – widened roads, lengthened subway lines, much cleaner buses, more environmentally friendly taxis etc.

But like any other metropolitan cities worldwide, you will hit a traffic snag in a peak hour. So try to avoid rush hours and well plan your airport transfer to keep from possible delay.

Check out the following links for more information on Beijing city transportation

How to take subway in Beijing
Beijing Public Buses
Beijing Taxis
Badaling Great Wall by train
Badaling Great Wall by Bus
Mutianyu Great Wall by Bus
Bus & Train to Gubei Water Town & Simatai Great Wall

How to Visit Beijing

We put together 4 options ranging from one day tour to four day tours which can generally meet the travel needs of the first time visitors to Beijing.

Badaling Great Wall

1) Beijing in One Day:
Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and  Mutianyu Great Wall  ( Or Badaling Great Wall )

Check out the link: How to Visit Beijing in One Day.

2) Beijing in Two Days:
Day 01: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace, Beijing Opera
Day 02: Ming Tombs and Badaling Great Wall ( or Mutianyu Great Wall )

Check out the link: How to Visit Beijing in Two Days.

3) Beijing in Three Days:
Day 01: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace
Day 02: Ming Tombs and Badaling Great Wall ( or Mutianyu Great Wall )
Day 03: Hutongs, Lama Temple and Olympic Sites, Silk Market, Beijing Opera

Check out the link: How to Visit Beijing in Three Days.

4) Beijing in Four Days:
Day 01: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace
Day 02: Ming Tombs and Badaling Great Wall
Day 03: Hutongs, Lama Temple, Olympic Sites, Silk Market, Beijing Opera
Day 04: Beijing Capital Museum, Panda House, CCTV headquarters Building, Grand National Theatre, 798 Space
Check out the link: How to visit Beijing in Four Days.

Where to Eat

The big difference between Chinese and Western eating manner is that in the West, everyone has their own plate of food, while in China people share the dishes placed on the table.

A typical Chinese meal starts with cold dishes. These are followed by the main courses, hot meat and vegetable dishes. Finally a soup is brought out, which is followed by principal food, usually including rice or noodles or sometimes dumplings.

Check out the link Beijing Dining for more information on where to eat in Beijing.

Where to shop

Shopping in Beijing is becoming more and more convenient. New shopping centers, plazas and malls have been sprouting up all over the capital. 30 years ago there were only a few department stores and small bazaars, but now there are many superstores, mega-malls and markets and boutiques where you can buy just about anything you need.

Check out Top 10 Markets in Beijing and Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing for information.

Ruifuxiang Traditional Chinese Gown

There are many places to go for shopping in Beijing, depending on what you expect and the prices you are prepared to pay; there are a rich variety of things waiting for you to explore and buy.

Beijing Nightlife

Beijing nightlife is very colorful. Beijing nightlife has more to offer! If you travel with your kids, then enjoying Kung Fu show in the evening is a must.

If you are young and energetic, you may go to disco or live jazz. If you like to know more about old Beijing and enjoy Chinese tea, you can go to tea houses.

Check out the link: Beijing Nightlife and Top 10 Things to Do at Night in Beijing for more information.

How to Visit the Great Wall

Visiting the Great Wall is a delightful must for the first-time visitors to Beijing China. The Great Wall was built in different times and dynasties, largely constructed in the three dynasties – Qin Dynasty (221 B.C to 206 B.C); Han Dynasty (206 B.C.– 220 A.D ) and Ming Dynasty (1368 A.D – 1644 A.D).

The most powerful Yuan Dynasty (1271 A.D – 1368 A.D) and the last Qing Dynasty (1644 A.D – 1911 A.D) did nothing about the building of the Great Wall since they were “barbarians” against whom the Great Wall of China had been built.

For historical and geographical reasons, the Great Wall of China doesn’t form a continuous line and in fact exits in different sections. The official survey shows the Great Wall now totals 21196 km long with the Great Wall built in Ming Dynasty ( 1368A.D – 1644 A.D ) as long as 8851 km.

Check out the link: How to Visit the Great Wall of China.

144 Hour Visa Free Transit in Beijing

For Beijing airport transit passengers, basically you need a Chinese visa to enter Beijing if you want to exit from Beijing Capital Airport for a few hour’s layover tour or 2 or 3 days short stay in Beijing. But currently, 51 countries are entitled to 114 hours free visa transit stay in Beijing. So Visa-free travel to Beijing is possible now!

1. Prerequisites for getting the 114 hours transit free visa
The Eligible 51 nationalities include:24 Schengen Countries in Europe:

A. 24 Schengen countries in Europe:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovak, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

B. 13 other European countries:
Russia, Great Britain, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania.

C. 6 American countries:
The United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile.

D. 2 Oceanian countries:
Australia and New Zealand.

E. 6 Asian countries:
Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

2.Travelers must have valid passports.

3. Travelers must have confirmed tickets to a third country or regions (Hong Kong and Macau).

Check out Beijing 144 Hours Free Visa Transit for more information.

Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours


If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Beijing:

Car Rental in Beijing
Beijing Day Tour
Beijing Tour Packages
Great Wall Tour
Beijing Winter Tour
Beijing Tours
China City Tours
China Tour

Further Readings


How to Plan a Trip to Beijing
Best Time to Visit Beijing

Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.