This guide is a collection of resources and practical advice for living in Beijing. These are the subjects we will cover:
Peking University (Beida)
If you are planning to study Mandarin Chinese in China, you probably thought about coming to Beijing. The goal of this article is to help you to understand whether Beijing is the right destination for you or not. You’ll find out:
- The pros and cons of studying Chinese in Beijing.
- The best universities for studying Chinese in Beijing.
- A short list of well-known agencies and private schools for studying Chinese in Beijing (under construction).
If you’re interested in a more general overview, you can read Studying Chinese in China: What’s the best choice for you? [Read more…]
I’ve always been fascinated by the Great Wall of China (长城, Chang Cheng in Mandarin). The first time I had enough time and money to afford an intercontinental travel I took a flight from Paris to Beijing and I went straight away to see the Great Wall section of Mutianyu.
This was in February 2008 and since then I’ve visited the Great Wall other three times, once per year.
Where to visit the Great Wall of China?
The Great Wall has often been compared to a giant dragon that stretches for about 8,850 km. The dragon has its head in Beijing and its tail in the desert of Gansu Province, along the silk road.
Even if it’s possible to visit many sections of the Great Wall, each one with its own characteristics, most of the people end up at Badaling, Mutianyu or Juyongguan.
In my opinion this happens because it’s not always clear which are the differences between the sections. Also, few travel agencies go beyond Badaling and Mutianyu. [Read more…]
Before we get started with our guide…
Are you looking for a Trans-Siberian Tour?
If you are looking for specific information about Trans-Siberian tours, click here to read our guide. You can also click here to send a message to us and we’ll be happy to suggest an honest and reliable agency to you.
Do you want to check the price for a train ticket on the Trans-Siberian railway?
Click here to find out how much your train tickets are going to cost. Just select the starting date, the starting city and the destination to get your quotation.
Note: Some trains don’t have daily service, including, for instance, the direct Moscow-Beijing train and the Ulan Bator-Beijing train. Once you perform the search, you’ll see the closest dates on which there are trains available.
OK, let’s go!
The aim of this article is to share my experience and provide all the practical information that you may need to enjoy an unforgettable trip along the Trans-Siberian or Trans-Mongolian railway.
Here is a short outline of the article:
In 2009, I travelled on the Transsiberian Railway from Moscow to Beijing. In addition, since 2010, I have been living in Beijing, so the majority of the information that you will read in this article comes from personal experience.
In this article, you will find out:
If you have already decided that you want to travel on the mythical Transsiberian Railway but aren’t sure which travel agency to choose, we can recommend you a trustworthy agency. Click here to contact us and we will contact you as soon as possible.
If you prefer to join a small group tour (maximum 16 people) we recommend that you take a look at these three proposals.
This guide contains pretty much all the info that you’ll need to prepare your trip to China: VISA requirements, travel insurance, vaccinations, guidebooks, planes and trains, hotels, internet and phone cards.
Also, you’ll find tips on where to eat, what to bring to China, when to travel to China, how to avoid the most common scams and how to bargain.
You can jump directly to the section you’re most interested on by clicking on one of the items of this index: [Read more…]
View of the Forbidden City from the Coil Hill
The first time I came to China, I only had one week. I had never left Europe before and I could barely speak English. So, I contacted a travel agency and took a tour. If you are looking for general information about China tours, click here (you’ll learn how to spot an honest travel agency, what you need to come to China and much more). In this article you’ll find out:
- When to take a tour to visit Beijing (and and when not to).
- How many days you need to visit Beijing.
- The best time period to visit Beijing.
- The most popular tours that include Beijing.
- Things to see and do in Beijing.
In this article you’ll learn:
- What are the most popular China tours.
- How to spot an honest travel agency.
- What you should look at before booking a tour to China (visa arrangements, past customers’ referrals and so on).
- When you shall book a tour and when you shall travel by yourself.
- What are the pros and cons of private and group tours.
- How to prepare your trip and what to bring to China.
In the past, I have bought two China tours (in 2008 with a French travel agency and in 2010 with a Chinese travel agency, when I went to Tibet). I’ve also been invited to join two “free” tours (from a local Chinese government and a local travel agency, who were both seeking feedback from foreign tourists).
IIf you’ve already decided to book a China tour but you aren’t sure what travel agency to choose, we can suggest a reliable agency to you. Click here to contact us and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. [Read more…]
The Forbidden City as seen from Coal to the south.
The residences of kings, sovereigns or emperors that we’re used to seeing in Western countries, though being rich and opulent, are the size of a large palace or at most, especially from pre-Renaissance times, a castle.
In China, starting in the late Medieval period, when the darkness of the Holy Inquisition dominated the scene in Europe, and up until the early years of the 20th century, the emperor lived in a true fortified city constructed entirely around him and designed to allow him to carry out his public functions, and at the same time, take care of his human and personal needs.
In this citadel you could come and go only with the permission of the emperor. Those who disobeyed this rule paid with their life.
This is the origin of the name “Forbidden City” (“Zi Jin Chen”, in Chinese), a historic place, perfectly preserved, that hosted the emperor of the Middle Kingdom for about 500 years, from 1420 up until 1912, when the last emperor was forced to abdicate to the forces of the first Chinese revolution.
From that point on the name was changed to what it is called even today on maps and directions: “Palace Museum”.
The term “Museum” is there to underscore the fact that this is a historic relic and no longer the seat of any political power. [Read more…]
Teaching kids in China
This is a complete guide to finding a job as an English teacher in China. It’s around 10,000 words, so take your time to read it. You can also click on one of the links below to jump directly to the sections that most interest you. Here you’ll find: