Archive for the ‘London Beijing Travel’ Category

Symbols of Beijing and Symbols of London

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011
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Both Beijing and London are historic cities with long history. Each city has its own unique traditions with tangible symbols. If you are in Beijing on your maiden Beijing Tour, you will easily decern some Beijing local traditonal culture.
 
Among others, you will be amazed by the millions of cyclists on the streets in Beijing, more than any other place on earth, a sharp contrast to a city full of modern skyscrapers and technology. There are a grea number of bicycle parking lots in public areas and around the office buildings. You can’t imagine anyone in New York City, or London riding a bike in the middle of the busiest road in huge number.
 
Another tradition symbol of Beijing is the hutong backstreets. Behind the shining high-rises, you still see a lot of back lane hutongs and hutong pedi-taxis. All these uniformed pedicab drivers are there waiting to take you through the major hutong areas.
 
If you get up early in the morning, you will detect another Beijing unique tradition – doing morning exercises – many kinds of activities like playing Chinese Checkers, Singing, Dancing, Tai Chi, Card Games and many more.
 
Among other traditions, London has also kept its unique street culture – street symbols like Post Kiosks (Pillar Box ), Telephone box, black cabs and double-deck buses.

Red Post Box

 
Red Post Boxes can be found all around London and the rest of the UK. The most popular post box seen in London is the red Pillar Box, a free-standing post box. 

People using the Red Post Box

 
The red telephone kiosk was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott at the request of the London Post Office in 1924. Still seen everywhere in the city of London.  

The red telephone kiosk

A double telephone box

London’s distinctive taxis, black cabs, are as much a feature of city life symbol as its red double-decker buses.  

A black cab

Some black cabs are also being modernised and painted other colours with advertising.

A painted black cab

 
London’s red buses are world famous.

Double decker buses

Double decker buses are everywhere

Beijing Cycle Rental VS London Cycle Hire

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011
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Many foreign and domestic travelers are interested in an organized Beijing Bike Tour or independent Beijing cycle trips. Bicycles have the advantages of low cost and energy efficiency. It is also healthy, and easier and quicker to shuttle through Beijing’s hutongs.
 
For independent cyclists, they find quite diffucult to ride in Beijing mainly due to the lack of bike lanes and decreasing rental outlets. Many bicycle lanes have been eroded away to make room for cars and buses. Cyclists have to fight for their rights to the road at the resk of their life. Some private bike rental companies have been closed because of losing many mainly caused by the lack of a sound cycle rental business model.
 
Beijing government should learn about the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme in London, United Kingdom. Beijing government should guide and promote the development of the bicycle renting business. The Barclays Cycle Hire scheme launched on 30 July 2010 in London has set a good example for Beijing in developing a perfect public bicycle sharing scheme.
 
There over 5,000 bicycles and 315 docking stations (bike outlets or Bicycle rental kiosks) available in central London, covering the City of London and parts of eight London boroughs. The scheme is opened both to casual users and registered memebers. Bikes may be rented using a credit or debit card. It mainly goes like this:
 
Docking Stations (Bike rental outlets)
Docking stations are composed of a terminal and docking points where you pick up and return bikes
Docking points
Each cycle is locked and secured in a docking point. There are many docking points ( where the bikes are locked) at each docking station.
 
Use the docking point:
To open and lock cycles
Members: Insert your key
Casual users: Put in your cycle release code
Terminal at a docking station
Print a record of your journey
Find other docking stations – if one’s full or empty
Get extra time – if you need to return your cycle to another docking station
See a local street map, costs, Code of conduct and translated information
Buy 24-hour or seven-day access – for up to four cycles
Print cycle release code
 
Users of the scheme must pay both an access fee and usage charges
Access fee
Period 24-hour access     Seven-day access  Annual access
Cost   £1                 £5                £45

Usage charges
Usage charges are aimed at promoting the constant circulation of bicycles.
Time:  30 min   1 hour  13 30      2 h    2 h30      3 h     6 h           24 hour
Rate:  free       £1       £4          £6      £10         £15    £35           £50
 

 



Picking up and returning bikes at an Docking Station

A terminal at the docking station where people Buy 24-hour or seven-day access - for up to four cycles

People are learning how to use a terminal at a docking station

Rental information on the terminal

All cycle seats are easily adjusted higher or lower

The docking point where you pick up or return your bikes

A close look at a docking point. If then a green light indicating that the cycle can be undocked

A bike warden is making up for the used bicycles

All the bicyles are in position to be hired.

Ride on a cycle lane.

A bike lane on the street

Again a cycle lane

London Bus Tours VS Beijing Bus Tours

Monday, May 16th, 2011
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The city of London is rife with the red double-decker buses, one of the local cultural tradition of London. No wonder on the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games 2008 in Beijing a London double-decker bus became the main actor accompanied by the famous football David Beckhamon on the stage ushering the coming 2012 Olympic Games to be held in London. Now the red double-decker buses in London have become a national symbol of Britain.
 
There are two major London city bus tour companies, namely the Big Bus Company and the Original Bus Sightseeing Bus Company.  
Slightly different from normal public double decker buses, these tourist oriented tour buses are all open-top double buses running on the fixed itineraries taking you to all of London’s famous landmarks and reveals London’s colourful 2,000-year history.   

The Orignal Bus is passing by the Big Ben

The Orignal Bus is passing a bridge over the Thames River

The Bis Bus is passing by the Big Ben

The Big Bus is passing a bridge over the Thames River with the background of the Eye of London

The Bis Bus is driving by the famous Trafalgar Square

 

The Bis Bus is on the fanous Regent Street in the central London

 

The bus tours offer a choice of a recorded tour introduction or a live commentary offered by entertaining tour guides on the buses. Your bus tickets are valid for 24 hours. You can hop on and off the buses at the many palces of interest within your ticket availability. The 24-hour tickets do give you plenty of time to discover London’s highlights. 

Organized city bus tours are greatly favored by many first time travelers exploring a new city when they travel abroad. In comparison with the counterparts in London, Beijing bus companies or tour companies have been left far behind in offering these kinds of hop-on and hop-off double decker Beijing Bus Tours. 

It is good that the Big Bus Company has entered the Shanghai Bus Tour martket, bringing new live blood into the organized city bus tour business. Hopefully in the forseeable future, people will see these lively open-top double buses running all around Beijing, a safe and relaxed way to experience this great city.