Going to BEIJING CHINA from MANILA PHILIPPINESThursday, December 04, 2014
Ooooh BEIJING, you don't know how happy I was to see you!!!
I've been wanting to visit this city ever since the travel bug bit me. Being the type of traveler who's fascinated about history, grandness & doing everything for the first time, the trip to Beijing made my 2014 complete! I'm soooo excited to share with you my fun-filled- freezing- 4-day trip to Beijing & Xi'an, China.
|Walking at Forbidden City|
But before anything else here's a quick guide to Beijing from the eyes of a Filipina wanderer.
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE GOING TO CHINA
1. China is the largest country in Asia
Beijing is the capital of China and is located at the upper part while Shanghai and Xi'an is situated at the lower part. Travel time from Manila to Beijing via plane can take up to 5 hours while Manila to Shanghai can take up to 4 hours.
Process your visa ahead of time as the consulate sometimes request additional documents. Read my post to help you more: How to apply a Chinese Visa for Philippine Passport Holders
|My Chinese Tourist Visa|
Philippine Airlines & Cebu Pacific Airlines service direct flights to and from Manila-Beijing /Shanghai/ Guangzhou/ Xiamen. While Air Asia services direct flights to and from Manila-Shanghai.
Kindly take note that when you are coming from Manila to Beijing via Cebu Pacific you will land at Beijing International Airport Terminal 2 and if you are traveling via Philippine Airlines you will land at Terminal 3.
5. Currency in China is Chinese Yuan Renminbi
The Chinese Yuan sign can either be CNY or RMB, both are just the same.
As of this writing, the exchange rate is 1 RMB/CNY = P7.26
6. China experiences four seasons
Like what I had experienced in my recent trips in Japan and South Korea, China also experiences winter, spring, summer and fall.
Winter is experienced from December to early March. This time China becomes veerrry cold! If you are in for a snow scene and winter activities such as skiing going to China during winter maybe fun for you. Don't forget to bring winter outfits with lots of layerings.
Spring occurs from late March to May. It is best to go here probably late spring where flowers are in full bloom. The weather is pleasant and cold during spring so wear lightweight clothing, long sleeves tops, jackets or cardigans.
Summer which occurs June- early September where it gets overly hot. If you are from the Philippines and want to experience a different weather avoid going here during these months. Also, summer in China is a rainy season.
Autumn is the most attractive season in China which occurs from late September- November. It is a wonderful time to see autumn leaves and has plenty of sunshine and cooler temperature. It becomes cooler and cooler as winter approaches.
|Autumn in Xi'an|
We were there late November so the sky was gloomy and the temperature dropped at 0C. We saw very few autumn leaves but we were able to witness wonderful foliage in some areas. If you like to know what I wore during that time...
|#OOTD in Summer Palace|
Bottom: 2 layers- leggings/thick stockings and jeans
Shoes: Boots with 2 layers of socks
Other Accessories: gloves, earmuffs and shawl/scarf
7. Note down the Philippine Consulate in China
Address: 3 Xiushui N St, Chaoyang, Beijing, China, 100600
Phone:+86 10 6532 1872
WHAT TO EXPECT IN CHINA
1. Beware! There are a lot of swindlers everywhere
This has been my 'bubog' when we first went to Shanghai. China is a safe country for most tourists but I guess it has been the Chinese nature that they tend to rip off tourists. Jusko! I've experienced this not only once, twice, thrice but for a number of times! Take for example when we were at Jingshan Park a local Chinese approached my parents and started engaging in a conversation. The local was articulate in English and seemed very kind, he claimed that it was just his day off and tomorrow he will go back to work as a businessman selling retail clothing, my mom even asked for his email address for possible tie up with my sister's online business. So after a few minutes of chit chat he started inviting them to visit a famous site near the park, when he was about to convince us to go with him we asked if there was a certain fee for the tour and he said 'a little' and then we instantly knew he was trying to scam us. When we said we're not interested he immediately left without even saying goodbye.
|The local Chinese who tried to scam us|
You have to be very keen in asking for discounts around street markets in Beijing like Wangfujing and Nanluoguxiang because at first they will overprice the amount (more than half of the original price) for example a tourist shirt was priced at 60 CNY (P440) then when we started haggling they ended up giving us a price of 23 CNY (P166)- CRAZY!!! Kaya nga ang mga Chinese kung makakauto, manguuto! Don't let them fool you, be very wise, careful and NEVER TRUST A STRANGER! Taxi drivers usually ask for an unbelievable fixed rate for tourists that's why it is better to travel around via subway, which leads me to my second pointer...
2. Subways are really cheap, fast, convenient and practical
I love riding the subways! Especially in Beijing where they have a fixed rate of 2 CNY (P15) one way to anywhere you go- Now that's cheap! I also noticed that restaurants and shops are not allowed in their stations unlike in Japan, Hong Kong and Shanghai. The subway stations in Beijing are mainly for transit.
The subway lines and route are very easy to understand. I printed out a subway map so I won't get lost.
|Beijing Subway Map|
You can get your subway ticket through a ticket counter or automated ticket machines.
3. Expect to encounter squat toilets
I've encountered this one in Shanghai so this was not a shock for me. If you are doing it for the first time, it might be difficult for you but as for me I somehow adapted to it. Though it is not as hard as it looks, it might be a problem for most adults [like my parents] who have difficulty in bending their knees, .
|lucky you if you encountered this normal toilet|
|But if you see this sign...|
|prepare to SQUAT!|
4. There are very few locals who speaks in English
It was awfully hard trying to communicate with them. Even if we were around famous tourists spots, very few locals knew how to speak in English. The restaurants usually do not have english menus so we relied on the picture of the food.
5. No Visa and Mastercard Credit Cards
It was quite a surprise that most of the shops in Beijing do not accept Visa and Mastercard credit cards (Unlike in Shanghai that most of the stores accepts it). Good thing I had ample pocket money so it didn't become a problem. Make sure you have extra cash to survive Beijing =)
6. No Facebook, Twitter and other popular sites but there's Instagram
About 2000 websites are blocked in China under the country's policy of internet censorship. I already experienced this is in Shanghai - there is no Facebook, Twitter, Google (and all its properties), Yahoo (and all its properties) and Youtube although when I went to Beijing there were instances that I accessed my gmail and even reply (not sure with Yahoo though). The good thing is Instagram is accessible so you can post your Beijing photos anytime :)
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