Taking a Tour in China
When I had the tour business in Bangkok I spent six days in Beijing seeing the places I had on a proposed itinerary from Thailand because China was much cheaper to visit than Australia, just as it is today. The photos in the gallery show some of the places I visited in Beijing.
My recent stay in Qingdao on the coast of China on the other side of the sea to Seoul was to China's seventh most popular tourist destination for Chinese people, so there were always a lot of people from all over China in town; well, city, as it has over seven million people. It was here that I found written Mandarin is a problem for Chinese people. I had been given the address of where I needed to go to show taxi drivers but of the five I showed only one could understand what it said. With the other four I relied on my normal waving of hands combined with saying "left" or "right" to get to my destination.
On the news you can see that many dinosaurs have been found in China. When you are in Beijing you should visit the Natural History Museum to see the display. From the Internet you can see the subway train you need and the exit so you can find your way there.
The subway is completely different now to when I visited in 1998. All the places in Beijing I visited then can be found near a subway exit, or nearly all of them. You can take a train to see the Great Wall if you want to do your own thing.
These days with the Internet you can research your destination and if you do not find a suitable tour amongst those offered you can get the company to supply a guide and a vehicle to take you where you want to go.
Qingdao and Seoul are on the same latitude as Melbourne, but because they have a continent between them and the north pole rather than ocean like Melbourne they get much, much colder. When we were near Seoul it snowed a lot and the roads were sometimes icy. If you were catching a bus this could result in getting frozen as the bus would take much longer to cover its route and you were waiting standing on ice so the long time with frozen feet was a very uncomfortable experience. Also getting off the bus could be hazardous as on one occasion I walked quickly around the front of the bus because it was snowing only to fall on my back as my feet slipped on the icy road. Fortunately the bus driver was watching my antics and did not drive off until I had removed myself from in front of his wheels.
I had good weather in Beijing in April but you would not want to be there at Christmas because it also is icy cold at that time of the year. So when you use the search box make sure you are aware of the potential weather. Summer there is very hot.
Tour to China
If we assume you will start your tour in Beijing it will be possible for you to get by on your own and not need a guide to show you around.
The Beijing subway has improved enormously over the last few years.
This shows the subway in 2005.
The small central loop was all that existed in 1998.
This shows the subway in 2012.
You could have a paper copy of the map of the subway but you can download an app for your smartphone and use that for finding your way around the city.
If you look at TripAdvisor you will see many positive comments about the subway and why it is the preferred method of transport around the city. People also point out how easy it is to use.
The Beijing subway map or Beijing Metro APP or Explore Beijing subway map can be downloaded from Google Play.
For travelling on the Beijing Subway get the smart card.
This can be bought at your subway station in Beijing. It will be the most convenient way to pay for your travel around the city.