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Beijing Travel Advice

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Travel Insurance

We strongly advise you purchase comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. BME can recommend JS Insurance for travellers from the UK and AIG Travel Guard for travellers from the USA.

Learning Chinese Online

If you're interested in learning a little Chinese to make your trip easier, Beijing Made Easy highly recommends signing up to the *free trial* from Chinese Pod - all you have to give them is your name and email address.

Internet Access

Beijing Internet Access – how to get online in China

Availability of internet in Beijing has increased a great deal over the last five years or so and the city once boasted more internet bars than many European cities. Although the number of these bars was reduced by the government a couple of years back due to several much-publicised accidents, there are still enough hiding around the capital to provide a healthy fix for any internet-junkie.

Most hotels provide internet service, either in the hotel-lobby (where you can expect to pay anything from 10 yuan and hour to 30) or in your room (usually 100+yuan for 24 hours). However, if you are visiting Beijing on a shoe-string, don’t be discouraged from heading out onto the streets to search for a bar. Look for the characters 网吧 (wangba) on the signs on shop fronts and around the streets.

In most of these cafes internet should cost as little as 3 to 5 yuan an hour which will also include use of a plethora of violent and addictive computer games. Be prepared for some rather vulgar cussing from your Chinese neigbours who may be getting carried away in the heat of a particularly harrowing game of Counter-Strike.

If you are planning to stay in Beijing long enough to warrant renting accommodation then getting broadband internet installed into your residence is simplicity itself. Most modern accommodation will have internet connections installed. To be connected simply let your landlord or estate agent know you want to use the internet before moving in.

If you forget to do this then you will need to ring up the office of the apartment complex you are living in (or get your landlord to do this) and request the service to be installed.

The largest internet service provider in Beijing is CNC (中国网通). The company is usually very quick to send along a man on a bike to install your service. Expect to pay 80 – 100 yuan a month for unlimited internet access in low to mid-range accommodation and 120+ yuan a month for access in better quality apartment blocks.

The speed of the internet is very good, though understandably access to overseas sights is slower than it would be at home. Also, certain sites (BBC etc.) are permanently blocked. Although the service can be a bit temperamental and may cut out for periods of time, in reality it does this no more so than in the UK or US.

However be warned, there are just as many hackers in China as anywhere else so a decent anti-virus protection kit is a must. Happy surfing.

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