Beijing Travel Advice, Information and Directory

Health Care Accessing Money
Book Shops Visa Extensions
Internet Access Postal Services
Phone Services Online Resources

Health, Doctors and Pharmacies in Beijing

There are plenty of pharmacies around Beijing and there shouldn’t be any trouble finding one (although communication at pharmacies can be difficult).

There are a range of medical centers in Beijing that boast English-speaking doctors. If you need medical attention some of the options include International SOS and the Bayley and Jackson Medical Center.

Beijing International SOS Clinic
Features English speaking doctors and offers a range of services including emergency care.
Address: 16 Xinyuanli, Kunsha Building, Wing 1, Suite 105 (Subway: Agricultural Exhibition Center)
Tel: (010) 6462 9112.
Open: Mon-Fri 8:00-18:00 (24 hour emergency care)
Website: www.internationalsos.com
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去新源里16号琨莎中心一座105室,谢谢。

Bayley & Jacskon Medical Center
Has English-speaking and some western-trained doctors. Does general health care and can also assist in emergencies.
Address: 7 Ritan Dong Lu  (Subway: Yong’anli)
Tel: (010) 8562 9998. (24-hour emergency line: 8562 9990)
Open: Mon-Fri 9am-6pm, Sat 9am-6pm.
Website: www.bjhealthcare.com
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去日坛东路7号,谢谢。

Accessing Money in Beijing

ATMs that accept foreign cards are plentiful in Beijing and ATMs almost always have a choice between English or Chinese operating language. Occasionally you will encounter an ATM that doesn’t accept foreign cards, but you can always rely on Bank of China or ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China) ATMs which are plentiful enough. Just look for the logo of your particular card (Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, etc) on the ATM.

The Bank of China can always exchange money. There are numerous branches in central Beijing.

Western Union Services are offered at many China Post outlets, including the one listed under Post Offices and Courier Services (below).

Book Shops in Beijing

Beijing Foreign Languages BookstoreThe Foreign Languages Bookstore on Wangfujing Dajie has a fairly extensive but run-of-the-mill selection of English reading material. The Bookworm Cafe has a small bookshop where you can find a good selection of English fiction, while they also have an extensive lending library.

Beijing Foreign Languages Bookstore
As usual, this shop is mainly set up for Chinese wanting to learn English. However, it does have an extensive range of classics, some travel guides and plenty of maps of Beijing and elsewhere in China, including the excellent Insight Guides maps. There is also a range of fiction and DVDs on the fourth floor.
Address: 235 Wangfujing Dajie. Subway: Wangfujing. Tel: (010) 6512 6911. Open: 9-22.

The Bookworm
This cafe, restaurant and lending library has thousands of books for browsing and a decent selection for sale.
Address: 4 Nan Sanlitun Lu. Tel: +86 (010) 6586 9507. Website: www.beijingbookworm.com

Visa Extensions in Beijing

The Public Security Bureau that handles visa extensions in Beijing is at #2 Andingmen Dong Dajie (Subway: Yonghegong [Lama Temple]). Tel: +86 (010) 8401 5300. Open: Mon-Fri 9:00-11:30; 13:30-16:30. Wesbite: www.bjgaj.gov.cn/eng/
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去安定门东大街2号,谢谢。

Internet Access in Beijing

All hotels and hostels in Beijing will have some form of internet access. Almost all hotels of 3 star or higher classification have in-room internet access, which can be used if you’re traveling with a laptop. Many hotels provide this service for free while others charge anywhere from $5-$15 per day, depending on the hotel. Hotels will also have a business center with internet access as well as a printer.

Internet cafes are common in Beijing, however, most have no English signs to identify them. Internet cafe is ‘wangba’ in Chinese and luckily these characters are quite distinctive (网吧). Keep your eye out for those characters when seeking an internet cafe.

Post Offices and Courier Services in Beijing

The Chinese postal service is generally quite efficient. Postcards or letters sent from Beijing will usually take around 5 or 6 working days to reach North America, Europe or Australia. Parcels will take a bit longer. If you need things to be sent urgently then you can use one of the international courier services.

There are plenty of post offices around Beijing. The Beijing International Post Office, which offers many services including Western Union transfers, is on Jianguomen Be Dajie, about 200m north of Jianguomen subway station. China Post also offers an Express Mail Service which is a cheaper alternative to using international courier companies.

A number of international courier companies have offices in Beijing. With a courier service, a letter will take about three or four days to reach North America, Europe or Australasia and cost around $50 to send. Packages will cost more, depending on their weight.

TNT
Address: No. 9, Street 8, Airport Logistics Park, Shunping Lu
Tel: +86 (010) 6947 7060
Website: www.tnt.com.cn/en/index.asp

DHL
Address: 18 Yuncheng Jie, Xing Wang Logistics Center
Tel: +86 (010) 6787 3322
Website: www.cn.dhl.com/en.html

UPS
Address: 8 Dongda Qiao Lu, SOHO Shangdu Building, North Tower, 1st Floor
Tel: 800-820-8388
Website: www.ups.com/content/cn/en/index.jsx

Fedex
Address: 5 Wan Hong Lu, Lonsdale Center, Tower C, Room 101 (several other locations – see website for details)
Tel: +86 (010) 6434 8999
Website: www.fedex.com/cn_english/

Phone Calls to and From Beijing

The international phone code of China is “86” and the area code of Beijing is “010”.

If you call to Beijing from abroad, you should dial the international access number (usually 00 or “+”), then the code for China “86”, then the code for Beijing without the ‘0’ (10), and then the 8-digit city number.

If you call to Beijing from inside China, then dial the full Beijing code (010), and then the 8-digit city number.

If you dial a Beijing number inside Beijing, just dial the 8-digit number, without any prefixes. Note that if you call a Beijing landline from a mobile phone while in Beijing, you should include the ‘010’ prefix.

For international calls, IP (Internet Phone) international calling cards can be bought at most small shops, newsstands and hotels in Beijing. Just look for a sign saying “IP”. A card with ¥100 credit actually sells for about ¥35 (some vendors will try to charge you ¥40). Rates vary depending on what country you’re calling, but a card with ¥100 credit will generally buy you about 20-25 minutes talking time when calling to the US, Europe or Australia.

If you plan to stay in Beijing for a longer period it is reasonably cheap to buy a SIM card with one of the local operators: China Mobile or China Unicom. A SIM card usually costs around ¥100-120 and generally includes ¥50 credit. You also pay more depending on how ‘lucky’ your phone number is. Average call charges are ¥0.6 per minute and ¥0.15 per SMS. Once you move outside the city where you bought the card you have to pay slightly higher ‘internal roaming’ charges.

If you already have a Chinese SIM card with one of these networks then it will also work in Beijing, though you will be charged slightly higher ‘internal roaming’ tariffs.

Beijing Online Resources

The Beijinger: This is the website to go to for restaurant and nightlife listings. The format is irritating and they’re more interested in their classifieds than anything else, but it’s the best such website around. Of course, it would be better to pick up a copy of the monthly “The Beijinger” magazine that they publish, which has listings organized in a more sane manner.

China Daily: Beijing’s English language newspaper naturally suffers from censorship constraints, but what can you do? It’s not like they have any competition.

eBeijing: This would have to be the most helpful government website in all of China, with lots of information about living, working, studying and traveling in Beijing.