Thursday, August 30, 2007

Construction Continues

Bird's Nest Stadium Construction

Stadium workers on top
Bird's Nest Stadium
As August 2007 ends, construction of the Olympic venues continues in full. Venues within the Olympic Park area are the scene of much activity. This morning workers had climbed on top of the Bird’s Nest Stadium as they carried out their jobs, adding some of the smaller pieces to the puzzle.

Hotels in Beijing

Books on China and Beijing

Book the Capital Hotel Beijing

Book the Beijing Downtown Holiday Inn


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Beijing Population

Beijing Population

According to the official Chinese Xinhau News Agency the population of Beijing has risen to 17,140,000 inhabitants.

The total includes 12.04 million permanent residents holding the Beijing hukou (户口) household registration permit and 5.1m migrants. Beijing has approximately 50,000 births each year, expected to rise this year due to the belief that the "Year of the Pig" is an auspicious year for having children.

Beijing Station

The local authorities have set a ceiling of 18 million for Beijing's population from 2020. Beijing's large population is straining the city's natural environment and resources with 14 million people quoted as the figure that the city can feed.

Beijing's canine population is also on the rise along with China's growing middle class with a total of 703,879 registered dogs, despite expensive licensing fees and a limit on one dog per household in the city.

Beijing is China's second largest city after Shanghai.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Beijing Smog

Beijing Air Quality

There has been a lot of press in foreign newspapers about Beijing’s air quality and Beijing's ability to provide clean air for the Olympic Games in recent weeks.

Smog hangs over Beijing

The Beijing government has just these last 4 days trialed a system of restricting traffic on the city's roads, using the odd and even number plate system for cars on alternate days. The campaign has worked very well to reduce the amount of traffic on the roads. Travel times around the city have been significantly reduced.

Whether the Beijing government wanted to use the campaign to study the impact on air quality of to simply trial their ability to improve commuting times around the city is open to question. If the government wanted to see the effect on air quality, it will have undoubtedly noticed visual air quality within the city has taken a marked turn for the worse during these 4 days where traffic volumes have been halved, using the odds and evens system. The smog has been the worst seen in the city during the last week!

Olympic Stadium, Beijing

Traffic appears to have minimal effect on the amount of air pollution within the city. It is much more likely that the pollution is coming from industry in and around the city, and from outside of Beijing Province. Knowing China's marvelous ability to 'pull rabbits out of hats' there is little doubt the air quality for the Olympics will be at the very least fair, if not very good. Visits by the Olympic committee or other important foreign leaders on official visits regularly bring significant improvements to Beijing's air quality!

Beijing Smog

There have been conflicting reports in English language media about the government's plans for the use of bicycles during the Olympic Games. Some magazines have featured articles saying that bicycles will be banned from many roads during the Olympics. Other media, like local television news have focused on the increased numbers of bicycle hire businesses both downtown and around the city. The hire bicycles being featured in news reports are new and have been available to members of the public during the recent campaign to reduce vehicles on Beijing's roads.

Whatever happens there is no doubt that China will rise to the occasion and make the 2008 Olympic Games one of the most incredible spectacles the world has ever seen!


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Great Wall Hiking and Camping

Great Wall Hiking and Camping

Tour companies offer a range of hiking and camping tours on the Great Wall.
China Adventure Tours is one such company, see or call 51669102.

Sunrise at the Great Wall of China.

Hikes are run on various sections of the Great Wall including Gubeikou, Jinshanling and Simatai. A 5 day camping trip can cost about 1700rmb while a day trip may cost 420rmb, including transfers, guide and entrance tickets.

Great Wall Hiking and Camping

Great Wall




Saturday, August 18, 2007

Hotel Accommodation In Beijing China

Hotel Accommodation In Beijing China

Examples of accommodation and rates available are listed below. Hotels charge 15% surcharge on top of the quoted rates.

Hotel rates are constantly changing and are likely to increase closer to the Olympics.

Hotel Accommodation In Beijing China

Peninsula Hotel, Beijing.
Peninsula Hotel, Beijing
There are hundreds of hostels and hotels available in Beijing, so those listed below are only the 'tip of the iceberg.

Further examples can be found by visiting some of the following sites:

Hotels in Beijing - Booking
Hotels in Beijing - Agoda

Remember to ask for cheaper rates than those first quoted to you by the hotel, if you simply walk in off the street to book accommodation in any hotel.

Budget Accommodation

Hotels in Beijing - Swissotel
Red Lantern House
Found in Zheng Jue hutong, guests will find a relatively new and clean guest house with shared facilities. Red Lantern House is a 15 minute walk from Jishuitan subway station. Expect to pay 60rmb/bed, or doubles 180 – 240rmb.
5 Zhengjue Hutong, Xingjiekou Nandajie
Red Lantern House
Telephone: 6611 5771

Qianmen Chang Gong
The 200 year old courtyard style hostel offers a 6 bed dormitory.
40rmb/bed, triple 220rmb
11 Yintao Xiejie,
Xuanwu District
Telephone: 6301 5088 or 139 0112 3938
Email: jian_min[at]

Peking Down Town Backpackers Accommodation
A trendy hutong neighbourhood setting with good service and a café/library attached. This hostel is also close to the Houhai area. You can even rent bicycles for 20rmb per day!
85 Nanluogu Xiang, Dongcheng District
Telephone: 8400 2429
Email: downtown[at]

Youyi Youth Hostel
If you enjoy partying, this could be the place for you! Annexed to Poachers Inn of Sanlitun area, there are 20 twin rooms and 15 quad rooms. TV, phone and A/C are all included.
Single beds 70rmb, doubles 180rmb
43 Bei Sanlitun Nanlu, Chaoyang District
Telephone: 6417 2632

Zhaolong International Youth Hostel
The friendly service of this Sanlitun area hostel has made Zhaolong popular amongst its guests. It offers a self catering dining room, library, games room and laundry, all with A/C. Bikes can also be rented.
Doubles 170 – 300 rmb
Quads 70rmb/bed, six person room 60rmb/bed
Hostelling International members receive 10rmb discount
2 Gongti Beilu, behind Zhaolong Hotel, Chaoyang District
Beijing Zhaolong Youth Hostel
Telephone: 6597 2299 ext 6111

Far East International Youth Hostel
South of Liulichang in an interesting hutong area teeming with activity. Split into two compounds, the south building is somewhat uninspiring, while the north building is centred on a traditional courtyard. There is a dumpling restaurant and bike hire can be found nearby. This hostel offers free use of their kitchen. Laundry service is available.
Dormitory style beds 50 – 60 rmb
Single room 240 rmb
Double room 300 – 400rmb
90 Tieshu Xiejie, Xuanwu District
Telephone: 5195 8561, 5195 8562

Mid Range Accommodation

Red Wall Hotel
Red Wall Hotel
Home Inn
Home Inn hotels can be found in 16 different parts of Beijing. They usually provide a restaurant, café, KTV and tennis courts. They are relatively new, though they are built along the style of the 1970’s.
Prices range from 150rmb – 300rmb.
A2 Xinzhong Jie, Dongcheng District
Telephone: 5120 3288

Red House
An excellent location providing easy access to many parts of Beijing, located near Dongzhimen subway.
Singles 250rmb
Doubles 400rmb
Suites 400rmb
B10 Taipingzhuang, Chunxi Lu, Dongzhimenwai Dajie, Chaoyang District
Telephone: 6416 7500

Lusongyuan Hotel
This traditional courtyard style hotel is centrally located in a hutong north of Ping'an Dadao, close to Houhai and Nanluogu Xiang. The hotel is built around a number of courtyards and offers bike rentals, internet and tourist booking service.
Rooms 650 – 1200rmb
22 Banchang Hutong, Kuan Jie, Dongcheng District
Telephone: 6404 0436
Book the Lusongyuan Hotel

Super 8 Hotel
From America, this hotel chain offers simple, inexpensive accommodation. English speaking staff, major credit cards accepted, satellite TV, and A/C.
These hotels can be found in three different areas in Beijing.
Rooms 370rmb – 500rmb
10 Tuanjiehu Beitouitao, Chaoyang District
Telephone: 6582 1008

Qomolangma Hotel
Close to Houhai and the Drum Tower, this recently renovated hotel has a restaurant with a Tibetan theme, but also offering Han style food.
Rooms 460rmb – 700rmb
Courtyard rooms 1200rmb
149 Gulou Xidajie, Xicheng District
Telephone: 6401 8822

Bamboo Garden Hotel
Another traditional courtyard style hotel located near the Drum Tower and Houhai area. Ask about the rooms or visit the rooms before checking in, as the standard of décor and facilities varies.
Rooms 670rmb – 1780rmb
24 Xiaoshiqiao Hutong, Jiugulou Dajie, Xicheng District
Telephone: 5852 0088
Book the Bamboo Garden Hotel

Deluxe Accommodation

Prime Hotel, Beijing
Prime Hotel, Beijing
Crowne Plaza Wuzhou
This is probably the classiest hotel closest to the Olympic Park area. It offers a wide range of amenities including a very popular Brazilian restaurant. Access to this hotel in Yayuncun is easy from the airport, via the Airport Expressway and North Fourth Ring Road.
Rooms 1350rmb – 5050rmb
8 Beisihuan Zhonglu, Chaoyang District
Telephone: 8498 2288
Book the Crowne Plaza Wuzhou

Grand Hyatt
This is one of classiest hotels in Beijing. The indoor swimming pool resembles an idyllic tropical setting. Great shopping is easily accessed in the adjoining Oriental Malls. Also included is the highly regarded Chinese restaurant, 'Made in China'.
Rooms 3500rmb – 34 500rmb
Telephone: 8518 1234
1 Dongchang'an Jie, Dongcheng District
Book the Grand Hyatt

China World Hotel
Another luxury hotel in the centre of Beijing. This hotel features the award winning restaurant Aria. The hotel is linked to many luxury brand name shops in the adjoining shopping centre.
3000rmb -31 000rmb
Telephone: 6505 2266
1 Jianguomenwai Dajie, Chaoyang District
Book the China World Hotel

Holiday Inn Lido
Easily accessed from the airport, this hotel has long been popular with business travelers. It has a good range of shops including Starbucks, bank services, clothing and Watson’s drugstore. It is approximately 15 minutes taxi ride from the Olympic Park area, depending on traffic conditions.
1250rmb – 2050rmb
Telephone: 6437 6688
6 Jiangtai Lu, Jichang Lu, Chaoyang District
Book the Holiday Inn Lido

Red Capital Club Residence
A unique stay in this boutique style hotel will surely allow you to take away special memories. The Red Capital Residence is set in a courtyard home with five suites. The décor is antique and 1950s in style.
Suites USD150 – 200.
Telephone: 8403 5308
9 Dongsi Liutiao, Dongcheng District

Peninsula Beijing
Close to Tiananmen Square and Wangfujing shopping mall, this luxury hotel is very well appointed. Jing restaurant provides fusion style cuisine.
Rooms 2800rmb – 50 000rmb
Telephone: 8516 2888
8 Jinyu Hutong, Dongcheng District
Book the Peninsula Beijing Hotel

Other Hotels

Top choices are the resored Qing Dynasty style compound house Spring Garden with only 8 rooms or the 17 room Zhong Tang which dates from the Ming Dynasty.

Beijing New World Apartments
Swissotel Beijing
Red Wall Hotel
Boutique Beijing Fortuneland
Capital Hotel
Prime Hotel
Fujian Hotel


Friday, August 17, 2007

Internet Access in Beijing

Internet Access

Internet cafes can be found around Beijing. The local term is "wangba". Prices vary between 5 – 10rmb per hour.

Large hotels also offer internet access through their business centres, at a much higher price.

Internet Access

Cafes and coffee shops like Starbucks offer Wi-Fi access, some even for no charge, on the assumption you will buy their drinks.

You may also choose to connect using the GPRS network via mobile phone or computer. This is much faster, but prices are much higher.

China Mobile has counters in the airport as you arrive, or call them on 1860 or China Unicom Service Center on 1001 for more information.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Beijing Olympics - One Year To Go

Beijing Olympics - One Year To Go

It is exactly one year from today that the 2008 Olympic Games will begin in Beijing.

The city still faces problems of possible air pollution for the Games as construction of many new buildings and skyscrapers continues apace, some of them new stadiums for the Games themselves.

Beijing traffic

Temperatures in Beijing today were around 34 degrees Centigrade with 89% humidity - tough conditions as it is for athletes competing outside, not taking in to account pollution as well.

Surging economic growth across China and a spectacular rise in car ownership has lead to a worsening in air quality in China's main urban areas.

Despite Beijing's many parks, car exhaust emissions remain a problem especially in the summer and autumn.

When Beijing officials ordered about 800,000 cars off the road for three days in 2006, nitrogen oxide air pollution fell by about 40%. Vehicle bans are expected during the Games next August.