A Travel Guide for How to Visit Beijing on a Budget
A visit to Beijing can involve a large investment. These tips will demonstrate how to visit Beijing on a budget. As with most major cities, Beijing offers plenty of easy ways to pay big money for things that won't really enhance your experience.
1.Where to Eat
Restaurant food tends to be relatively inexpensive here, so you can afford to splurge a bit. For years, restaurants tended to be rather bland and lacking in creativity. But China's more moderate privatization policies in recent years have resulted in a bright new selection of eateries. If you decide not to eat in a restaurant, be sure you stick with hot meals and well-cooked entrees. Avoid raw vegetables and water that isn't bottled. In fact, if you buy bottled water from a street vendor, be certain the seal is unbroken.
Some have made an industry of retrieving discarded water bottles from trash cans, refilling them from a tap and reselling them.
- Where to Stay
Beijing added hotel beds to accommodate the rush of visitors the city expected for the Olympic Games. This works to a budget traveler's advantage, because Beijing needed more mid-priced hotel rooms to offset the low-cost guest houses and the opulent grand hotels. BeijingHotelChina.com offers price ranges, pictures and maps to help with planning. A recent Beijing search on Airbnb.com turned up more than 300 places to stay for $50/night or less. Hostels.com shows 59 properties in the city, at prices ranging from $8-$59 USD/night.
- Getting Around
Mass transportation can be challenging in Beijing, but budget travelers often find it's worth the effort to learn about the Beijing subway system and avoid taxi drivers in Beijing, who have a somewhat deserved reputation for taking advantage of tourists. Subway fares are based on a zone system similar to London. Although it has been around since 1969, much of the system is new, and the government has ambitious expansion plans for the next few years.If your trip involves times and destinations that make a cab more practical, be assured you'll also find many drivers who are friendly and honest with fares. It pays to have someone write down your destination in Chinese characters on the back of your hotel's business card. At day's end, use the front of the card to help another cab driver get you back to home base.