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JBR-My Beijing Trip (quite long)

Melbourne, Australia
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for Philippines, Kuala Lumpur
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JBR-My Beijing Trip (quite long)

After reading a lot of posts on T/A on guides I decided to hire a guide for 3 days whilst in Beijing. I agree that this is not necessary and you can do it yourself but I found the convenience of having a guide to translate, explain the sites and assist in transportation was extremely benefitial. The cost was insignificant at 200RMB per day. It certainly didn’t break the bank and the benefits outweighed the cost. The guide I used was Peter Zhao who spoke English quite well and he also had a great sense of humor. He can be contacted at iampeter518@yahoo.com

Day 1 We arrived quite late on this day and checked into the Joy Hotel and Apartments in Xidan. This hotel is attached to a multi level shopping centre which has a few floors of restaurants. It’s a very lively area and we were happy with the choice of hotel and the location. English was spoken at this Chinese Hotel. After checking in we headed off to Dong An Men Street Market where you can eat or just view all the exotic types of street food such as snake, silkworms etc. After wondering around this area we headed off to Shun Feng Wangfujing Fishing Village Restaurant which was across the road from this market. All I can say that the food was very average and that we were expecting more on our first night. This restaurant was recommended by a local we met at the market.

Day 2 We headed off with our guide and visited Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City Hou Hai Lake area ,and the very interesting Nan’luo’gu’Xiang street. As there was rain on and off that day we were slowed down and didn’t see all we wanted to see. We did have lunch at Dali Courtyard Restaurant to experience Yunnan Food and must say it was one of our best meals in Beijing. No wonder it it currently rated No 1 on T/A. Dinner was at Dadong Roast Duck in Wanfujing. The restaurant is upscale and not cheap but the food was delicious. We also wanted to try Quanjude so we could compare but unfortunately ran out of time.

Day 3 We headed off with our guide to visit the Mutianyu Section of the great wall. Peter was encouraging us to visit the Huang Hua Cheng section of the wall which is in a more natural state and requires hiking. A driver was arranged at 600RMB for the day. It was great value as we used the driver for probably about 10 hours that day. The wall was one of our highlights of our trip. We took the chairlift up and wondered around the wall for several klms and returned to take the toboggan down the hill. Peter then took us to a local Muslim Restaurant in the Sumer Palace area. The food was delicious cheap and fresh but my wife found it hard to eat much due to the very rustic environment. After lunch we explored the Summer Palace. In the evening we headed off to Ghost Street to check out the many 24 hour restaurants and the lanterns. The place was packed and buzzing but we never had a meal there.

Day 4 We headed of again with our guide and explored the Temple of Heaven. After this we headed across the road to the Pearl Market but ended up shopping next door where the prices were cheaper. We then headed off to Jinshan Park and had a great view of the Forbidden City. In the evening we headed off to the Sanlitum area to experience where the expats and young Beijingers party. This area was great and we had a meal and a few drinks at a pub.

Day 5 Shopping Day. We went to the Beijing Zoo Markets and the Silk St Market. We did quite a bit of shopping and got some good bargains at the Silk Markets. We knew we had to bargain hard and for example where the prices were starting off at 280RMB we were offering and paying about 50+RMB. That is how much the prices are inflated. Walk away if you are not happy with the prices and I guarantee they will call you back. Its not for the faint hearted. We had female sales girls chase us abuse us throw items at us if we didn’t buy. The girls at this place must be the most agressive on the planet. I found if you are not interested in a store you are walking past just avoid eye contact and keep walking. Dinner was at Bellagio Café in the Shopping Centre next door to our Hotel. Very good food here.

Day 6 We headed off to Tianjin Airport for our flight to Kl.

The places on our list that we wanted to visit which we never got to due to time constraints were Underground City,Benhai Park, Drum Tower, CCTV Tower and Lama Temple.

We also would have liked to have eaten at Bai family Mansion. We booked this restaurant on our last night but were too tired to go out and ate local to the hotel.

All in all a great trip and I loved Beijing. Will definitely be back.

Tommo

Melbourne, Australia
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for Beijing, Lijiang
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1. Re: JBR-My Beijing Trip (quite long)

Hi Tommo,

So glad you enjoyed Beijing and great trip report :-)

The Silk market is not for the faint hearted - the sales girls are very aggressive. Sometimes it is a huge relief to go places out of the market environment where you do not have to haggle. Sometimes prices can be just as good and the quality better. That market is really getting a bad reputation so thank you for commenting.

Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: JBR-My Beijing Trip (quite long)

Another comment is that the spitting whilst it occurred is not such a big deal. I was expecting to be confronted with this more often than it actually happened. Cant recall seeing any public urination etc.

From my observations China in general is a lot cleaner than I expected.

Tommo

Indonesia
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3. Re: JBR-My Beijing Trip (quite long)

Tommo, did they actually throw stuff at you in public in the middle of the market. Compared to that Petaling must be mild :)

How does the cleanliness and bargain shopping compare to KL or Penang?

midlands
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4. Re: JBR-My Beijing Trip (quite long)

Found your post very interesting, since we are going soon. Espeically the bit about the the Dali Courtyard - did you get any really odd food there? I'm wondering if we should try to get a guide also - but may be too late now.

Melbourne, Australia
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5. Re: JBR-My Beijing Trip (quite long)

Yes they did actually throw clothing in anger due to my persistant bargaining and refusal of their inflated prices. She actually calmed down and chased us asking if we still wanted to buy. Needless to say the answer was no. They blew their chance but my wife really wanted those silk scarfs.

I think you cant beat Beijing as far as choice and price is concerned compared to KL.

As far as Dali Courtyard no odd food was served. All was very delicious. Though almost all the dishes had chili which I love.

Tommo

Caloundra, Australia
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6. Re: JBR-My Beijing Trip (quite long)

Sounds like you had a good time Tommo, I actually got lassoed by a silk scarf at that market and my bruises from being grabbed have just about gone now, you will find the markets in KL less agressive and very friendly.

have fun Carole

Sherbrooke, Canada
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7. Re: JBR-My Beijing Trip (quite long)

Remember that these girls are just putting up a show. They will complain they are losing money. They never sell at a loss. You have to keep smiling and joke with them. Fake a heart attack when you hear their prices.

These girls are trained and speak several languages on a basic level. Their initial prices will vary based on where they think you come from. If you are with a tour group they will start higher and be firmer as they know you don't have much time to bargain, the bus is waiting.

I have been there often enough with friends to know some of the prices. If I don't know the real price, my strategy is to start real low. If they don't bother to make a counter-offer and pay no more attention to me then my price is below their cost. Then I move to another both selling the same thing and slightly increase my price. Once they make me a counter-offer it means my price is good enough so I ignore their counter-offer and stick top my price as I know it is good already. I never increase my initial price except maybe 5rmb at the end to get it over with.

Melbourne, Australia
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for Beijing, Lijiang
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8. Re: JBR-My Beijing Trip (quite long)

I use JP's strategy - Keep a smile on my face, be friendly & vaguely uninterested. Must be boring for them so if you joke (their heart does not melt haha ) but it makes it more pleasant.

Nothing is ever a one off - if you see it once you will see it 10 times over so start off with the lowest price you can and then you can start to get an idea of an accurate price. Keep in mind that quality does vary so minutely inspect everything.

Totally agree that the sales people at the Silk / Pearl market's are full on & it is annoying when they pull you and are in your face. Haggling really annoys me when you are in a hurry. For some set price shops the quality is better and you are only paying a fraction more if you pick the right stores.

The arguing at markets is not restricted to foreign tourists. It also happens with Chinese customers & there can be lots of yelling because no one wants to loose face. If you ever go shopping with a Chinese friend it quite often happens because they want to get the best price for you but the seller spies a foreign face - the best strategy is to point out what you want to your friend and then disappear so they can haggle. I must have failed haggle school because if we go with a Chinese friend they always get a lower price ;-)

Melbourne, Australia
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9. Re: JBR-My Beijing Trip (quite long)

I love JPs strategy. Unfortunately when my wife saw something she really wanted we haggled at that store and thought we got a great price. Im sure we got conned. I will try to keep this strategy for next time now that we are more street smart.

I got sick of the following phrases:

Ive sold to you today at a loss....yeh right.

Your wife is so beautiful why dont you buy her....

Your bum looks so good in those jeans...I really know she is lying as I not the smallest persons around.

Tommo

Sherbrooke, Canada
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10. Re: JBR-My Beijing Trip (quite long)

Yes, showing your interest will make the price go up. Act like you don't care if you don't buy it.