As one of China’s six ancient cities, Beijing displays an incredible historical panorama. For centuries the city was considered the heart and soul of China, and that has not much changed in modern day Beijing.
Today, this home to the world-wide famous Great Wall is the capital of the People’s Republic Of China, and the nation’s economic, cultural and political center. Beijing city’s unparalleled ancient history and modern day excellence have made it into one of the world’s most visited destinations, attracting millions of tourists and business travelers alike. If you happen to be one of them, our Beijing city guide will ensure that you are prepared before making your trip to one of the world’s most popular cities.
So what makes Beijing special?
The list of things that make Beijing a special place is almost endless. Popular sights of the Forbidden City, filled with landmarks from the Ming and Qing dynasties, worldwide favorites, like the Great Wall of China, the Summer Palace and Hutong, will surely leave you speechless. For business travelers, the enormous thriving economy of Beijing city is an obvious draw. As the capital city of the world’s most populous nation, there is a seemingly unlimited number of business opportunities to immerse yourself in.
The best way to get from the airport into town
Beijing is China’s second most populous city, with around 21 million people calling it home. With this amount of people residing in Beijing, and millions of tourists that visit each year, the city is a crowded place. That means that the public transport networks are likely to be busy at most times of the day.
Getting from the airport to your hotel or office is not as easy as it would be in western cities. Whilst the idea of calling a taxi as soon as you step foot outside the arrival hall may sound like the most convenient option, that’s often not the case. Taxi drivers in big cities like Beijing often avoid picking up foreign passengers, citing the language barrier as too great an obstacle to overcome. Foreigners using taxis are also subject to a number of scams by unlicensed, and sometimes even regular taxi drivers . If you plan on using a taxi it’s good to do the following:
- Have your destination is written down beforehand in Mandarin: to hand to your driver. This eliminates any language barrier confusion, most hotels, and airport help desks will be happy to write it down for you.
- Avoid getting in taxis without a running meter: all licensed taxi drivers in Beijing should begin the meter once you get inside the vehicle. If the meter is not running there is a great chance of getting overcharged for the trip.
- Pay in small bills: drivers are unlikely to keep large amounts of change on them. Make sure to swap out larger bills at the airport before getting inside a taxi.
- Keep your receipt: when paying for your ride, always keep the receipt that the driver prints from the meter. It has all his details on it if you need to report an incident or track down lost luggage etc.
If taking a taxi seems like too much of a hassle and stress, arranging your Beijing airport transfer with a reputable car service is a far better option. Flexible arrangements that accommodate flight delays, and safe and reliable vehicles with English speaking drivers, is what most experienced travelers through Beijing chose to make use. This hassle-free transport on offer is by far the most expeditious and comfortable way for Beijing airport transfer, available 24 hours a day.
If you plan on avoiding the roads altogether, the airport express train is also a viable option. The express train departs from terminals 2 and 3 between 6:30 AM and 11:00 PM each day and runs directly into the Sanyuanqiao districts, where you can find a taxi or get a car service to your final destination.
Where to stay for business?
With public transport options often being overcrowded and a hassle to use on a business trip, staying close to your office or an area of interest can save valuable time. The Chaoyang district is widely regarded as the biggest, and busiest CBD of Beijing city. It is filled with big brand names and high-end hotels located close to the financial districts. If you consider to stay in this area the best hotels on offer are:
The Westin Beijing Chaoyang
Westin has everything you would expect from a big name 5-star hotel in a major city. With all the usual luxury comforts in each room and high-speed internet throughout, there is little wonder why it’s a popular choice.
Perks for business travelers: The business facilities on offer are located near the lobby. There are workstations, meeting rooms and conference facilities which provide every office comfort you would expect. The executive lounge on level 34 is very well known as a great place to host an after-work meeting or to unwind with a drink.
TripAdvisor rating: Over 1200 views prove that the Westin is consistently great at 4.5/5.
The Sofitel Wanda Beijing
Another centrally located five-star offering, where the staff is renowned for going the extra mile. With a beautiful setting in central Beijing, and surrounded by some of the region’s most sought-after restaurants, the Sofitel offers 5-star comfort on the doorstep of cultural Beijing.
Perks for business travelers: There are plenty of great restaurants nearby which are frequented by both business and leisure travelers. The hotel is equipped with high-speed internet making it easy to get work done from the comfort of one’s room. On top of that, the hotel offers a popular conference center, which offers work pods in its lobby when needed.
Tripadvisor rating: Over 1500 reviewers consider the Sofitel Wanda to be a great stay with an average 4.5/5 rating.
The Ritz Carlton Beijing
There is probably no surprise in knowing that one of the world’s biggest luxury hotel brands is present in Beijing. The hotel is centrally located with amenities including spas and incredible restaurants, as well as beautiful and comfortable rooms with stunning views.
Perks for business travelers: Whilst a number of their high-end counterparts also offer business facilities, the Ritz Carlton is popular for the secretarial and full office suites it offers for its business guests. Every amenity you can think of is offered.
Tripadvisor rating: Over 1000 reviews later and the Ritz is still rated at an average of 4.5/5.
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Best restaurants to hold a meeting
Much of Chinese culture revolves around the exquisite food. Beijing is a true representation of just that. With hundreds of incredible restaurants on offer boasting the best of local cuisine and international favorites, conducting business meetings over lunch or dinner is a common practice in Beijing city for good reason! If you’re looking to meet your clients over a meal, the most recommended restaurants are:
Located in the heart of the Chaoyang district, home to most of Beijing’s biggest companies, Mosto is popular venue amongst business travelers. The European themed dishes include a Cantonese flair that never disappoints. With private dining booths on offer, Mosto is well equipped for business meetings over lunch or dinner.
Recommended Dish: The lobster or goose liver risottos are regular favorites and sure to wow all the guests.
Tripadvisor rating: When browsing through the reviews, it’s hard to find a poor one. Rated at an average of 4.5/5.
Famed for its impeccable service and incredible meals, the French cuisine on offer at this Michelin star restaurant is on par with any restaurant you may find in London or New York.
Recommended Dish: There are so many to choose from but the beef fillet is possibly one of the best dishes you can find anywhere in Beijing!
Tripadvisor rating: It’s hard to fault the TRB Hutong and the reviews make that clear, with most reviews averaging 4.5/5.
鼎泰丰 Din Tai Fung
If you’re in the mood for authentic Chinese cuisine prepared exceptionally well, Din Tai Fung is one of the best restaurants found anywhere in China. The private dining rooms are used every day by businessmen and women holding meetings and impressing their clients.
Recommended Dish: The pork dumplings are hard to resist and as good as you’ll find in China.
Tripadvisor rating: Another of Beijing’s finest where finding fault is hard, testament to that is it’s 4.5/5 rating on TripAdvisor.
General safety tips
Beijing is considered fairly safe for all visitors. Aside from the taxi drivers who often look to scam passengers out of extra money, the city in general is safe and well policed. It’s still advised to beware of pickpockets and thieves especially along public transport routes in trains or taxis who will happily remove your travel documents or wallet and phone without you even noticing.
Best times of year to travel
Beijing experiences a wide range of temperatures throughout the year. Summers are known to be hot and dry with the mercury often reaching 40°C, while Winter can be just as difficult to manage at nearly -20°C at its worst. The best time to travel to Beijing, or most of mainland China really, is during the Spring and Autumn seasons.
The apps you’ll need in Beijing
Whether you’re visiting Beijing city or any other mainland Chinese city, getting a working and reliable VPN is a must. Beijing is not only home to the great wall of China, but also the great firewall. To access most famous Western applications like Gmail, Facebook, Skype, etc. you’ll need to connect to a VPN before getting access.
The other essential app to carry on your phone when in China is WeChat. Available on both iOS and Android, WeChat has become an integral part of everyday Chinese life. Along the years this app has gone from being used as just an instant messaging platform, to being used for business purposes as well. Mobile payments and document transfers are just a few of its many useful features.
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