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1) Why visit Beijing?

As one of the world’s great ancient capitals, Beijing is a must see. It is the third most populous city in the world, and it is one of the most populous capital cities. Beijing is located in northern China, and it’s home to many headquarters of China’s largest state-owned companies. This city is a great example of the transformation that China has gone through as its history dates back three millennia; you can compare the crimson palaces with the city’s skylines side-by-side. Beijing has seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites that are on all visitors’ to-see list: the Forbidden City, Temple of Heave, Summer Palace, Ming Tombs, Zhoukoudian, parts of the Great Wall, and the Grand Canal. Beijing is considered as one of the safest cities in Asia. Nearly all neighborhoods are safe, even for tourists.

2) When is the best time to visit Beijing?

The best times to visit Beijing are from March to May and from September to October. These temperate seasons provide the best climate, not to mention colorful scenery. In contrast, summer brings sweltering heat, and winter ushers in cold temps and sometimes snow. While you should be mindful of the weather, you should also steer clear of national public holidays. Millions of domestic tourists flood Beijing's historic and sacred sites. The surge pushes room rates through the roof. (Note that Chinese workers will receive the two days following major holidays off work.)

3) How's the air quality in Beijing?

In Beijing, December is generally considered to be the worst month in terms of air quality.

If you haven't booked your trip yet, the past few years May has been the best month, which is also when the weather is best (warm, not too dry nor too humid, with the occasional little bit of rain). When summer hits after May, you'll find more rainfall, and a higher chance of pollution, too.

Ironically, the time periods least recommendable to visit Beijing because of the crowds and prices, like the Chinese New Year holiday and the October National Holiday, are when the air tends to be the best. During this time, the local province's surrounding governments are more likely to crack down on factories, and many of them shut, leading to air quality improvements.

Other times that are great to visit Beijing is when there are official state visits from other heads of state (this can be a little tough to plan, though, but is still an interesting fact), when the city is known to show its best side.

Thankfully, when the air in Beijing is good, it's really good. Winds coming in from the north and northeast, especially in winter, bring chills but amazing blue skies that are much better than Europe's grey lasting winters.

4) Is USD accepted in Beijing?

The official currency of China is the yuan, otherwise known as RMB or colloquially as ‘quai’.Notes are available for 1RMB, 10RMB, 20RMB, 50RMB, and 100RMB. There are also 1RMB coins available, as well as smaller fractions of known as ‘Mao’ for the Chinese leader who adorns them.

Chinese businesses do not accept any other currency, including the US dollar or Hong Kong dollar.

Although more and more businesses (particularly large hotel chains and upscale restaurants) now accept Visa and Mastercard, the most widely accepted card scheme is UnionPay. However, for the most part, when you are traveling in China you’ll need to pay with cash!

5) Is the tap water in Beijing portable?

One of the things NOT to do in China is drink the water. For the most part, tap water in China is not drinkable. Bottled water can be purchased very cheaply at most restaurants and stores.

6) How do i stay connected in Beijing?

China’s major carriers include China Telecom and China Unicom. SIM cards can be purchased at the airport or at most corner stores, and credit is quite affordable. Most Chinese SIMs are locked to the province in which they are purchased, so you’ll pay roaming charges when texting, calling, or using data outside of this province. Even then, the rate is far cheaper than international roaming.

Most importantly, get a VPN! When you visit China keep in mind that their ‘Great Firewall’ blocks sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and most of the Google selection. If you want to access these while you’re visiting China, you’ll need to purchase a VPN. When shopping for VPNs, check that they cover China – as many free options do not.
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