1. BE SAFETY AWARE ALL THE TIME
· Many of the cars don’t stop on ‘zebra’ crossings.
· Don’t drink the water from the taps. Make sure you buy lots of bottled water, especially in the hottest seasons but make sure the bottles are sealed properly.
2. WRITE DOWN YOUR DESTINATIONS IN MANDARIN
· This helps when booking trains, taking taxis etc, as communicating where you want to go can sometimes be difficult. English isn’t widely spoken so it makes your life and their life easier!
3. USE THE METRO AS YOUR MODE OF TRANSPORT
· The metro in both Beijing and Shanghai is very cheap, safe and organised. Tickets were approximately 50p for a 3-5 stop inner city journey. The metro maps were very easy to interpret and were in English as well as Mandarin. Also, every station had a security screening where you had to put your bags through a scanner which made you feel very safe.
4. TAKE A GUIDED TOUR
· Having a tour guide allowed us to experience so much more of Beijing as our tour guide organised and facilitated our visits to the tourist destinations. Having a tour guide also removed the problem of the language barrier which again made the experience easier.
· Tipping was difficult as we had no idea how much to give/what was respectful as we had never been to Beijing and had a tour guide before. It is very important to note that tipping is expected in most places and not giving a certain amount can be highly disrespectful and can be assumed that you were dissatisfied with the service. Therefore, as we were not 100% sure of what was the correct amount to give, we realised soon after that what we had given was very generous!! It is advised to give approximately £8 a day for 2 people for a tour guide and £4 for a driver. In restaurants, it is typical to give a tip of about 10-15% of the bill.