Beijing’s contradictions are bound to create a rip-roaring adventure the city’s first-time visitors. Neon lights dancing on the lanterns, the catcalling city sellers, and lots of horns from the myriad of cars will create a perfect baptism and the right kind of welcome to anyone coming here for the first time. It is a city with intimidating structures, and it is so easy to get frayed within the first few hours of your visit. If you have gone for online passport renewal and Beijing happens to be on your list, here are a few things you should avoid for a pleasant Beijing experience on your maiden visit-:
Having a huge bucket list for Beijing
You have probably heard a lot of interesting stories about the city. You have also been told about the great temples, palaces and all the shopping malls you could shop in till you drop dead. So have hastily come up with a huge list of all the places you desire to visit on your very first visit to the city. Well, you should come slow and know that Beijing isn’t going anywhere, and the fastest way to ruin your visit is to try and visit all the places within one trip unless you have several months for the trip.
With all the security checks, human traffic and huge distances between attractions, it is advisable to make a realistic list of what you can see and do in Beijing, depending on how much time you have for the trip. Consider the distances between attractions and don’t strive to do more than three each day. Remember also that there is a lot you can do in Beijing other than just sightseeing.
Ignoring the smoke
Due to a lot of industrialization, there is a huge smog problem in Beijing, and most first time visitors usually got shocked how fast the quality of breathing air can change. It is common to find yourself sneezing and with teary eyes as you go past certain sections of the city. The smog will also have an effect on your views, including the photos you take and will also make you feel exhausted earlier that you had expected.
When you plan your activities, therefore, you should always take into account the effects of air quality. The thumb of rule is that when the day’s conditions are good, then you can wander the temples and palaces, but when a lot of smog is the forecast, you can stick to the galleries and museums. But when the conditions are too polluted, learn to adapt your schedule so that you can take some time off to just chill in a café.
Being shy at crossings and queues
For first time visitors in Beijing, you should know that being shy at the queues and the crossings will do you no good. You will just end up getting overtaken by those who came after you. For example, if you don’t show any aggression at the bathrooms, you will realize that you need to up your game after four people slip in front of you in the queue. In a city with more than 11 million people, you don’t want to be sluggish when dealing with the population. The life in Beijing is so first, and in order not to be overwhelmed as a first-time visitor, you need to learn quickly. Be tough, have a confident body language and do exactly as they do to you.
Faltering at the security checks
In most of the Chinese cities, security checks have become a way of life. You will encounter them and in their numbers. Expect your back to check at the railway station, it will then be x-rayed when getting into the subway and you will also be frisked when getting into certain major public places. In some cases, the security officers will ask to see your passport more than ones, and when you give it to them, they barely look at it before handing it back to you.
But don’t take anything personally. These are just some of the rules in the city and also part of your Beijing experience. Just make it easy for you and them by not resisting and always being ready to swing your bag at the scanners at the subway and nod gently. In this way, you will clear with the securities faster and you will not have any incidents with the security officers.
Thinking that you can walk to all places
You have heard times without count that the best way to explore a city is by foot. For Beijing, however, you will need to hire wheels or learn how to use the efficient public transport if you want to enjoy your sightseeing. If you want to avoid all those, then you should consider doing your exploration by bike. There are several hotels which offer bikes for tourists and there are also lots of bike hire shops around the city. To hire the bikes, you will need your passport and pay some deposit before taking off. But be sure to examine the bike and ascertain its exact condition before you take it for a ride.
Assuming everyone you will be talking to understands English
You will find English signposts in the subway and supermarkets and these will make your movement a bit easy. However, don’t think that English is widely spoken in Beijing. To ease your communication with the locals, get a decent language app or a phrase book to get you going with the attendants at the shops you will be visiting.
Being too fearful of the food etiquette
Most first time visitors to Beijing are always terrified about making mistakes at the dining table, and they are rightly so because dining in Beijing is somewhat a casual affair. If you have gone for online passport renewal to travel to Beijing and you don’t know how to use chopsticks, it is a good idea that you do some practicing so that you don’t get a lot of pitying stares. When all is said and done, you should always strive to enjoy your meals. Just be sure to not leave your chopsticks in an upright position in the bowl as this resembles a burial ritual. Otherwise, feel free to slurp your noodles, pluck bones from your mouth and use the serving spoons as you would normally use. Have fun and enjoy.