Ahead of a trip to China, taking in Beijing and Shenzen, one member seeks some advice. Although our member will be travelling for business, a number of “must-see” sight suggestions are given. Naturally the Great Wall just outside of Beijing makes the list, but there are also a number of interesting sights in Beijing itself.

Great Wall an absolute MUST – DO NOT MISS IT. Best 2 touristy things I have ever done in my life is visit and walk along Great Wall and helicopter trip down into Grand Canyon – I repeat – you are going to Beijing – DO NOT MISS A VISIT TO GREAT WALL…

Other touristy MUST DO’s are Forbidden City – again a MUST DO but also takes most of a day to take it in. Then make sure you visit / walk over Tiananmen Square – we all know how famous that is – just quietly walking over it and reflecting is a very sobering experience – then walk to far end of square and visit Mao Tse Tung’s / Mao Zedong mausoleum and see him quietly sleeping without a care in the world.

Our members offer mixed advice when it comes to eating. While they agree that there is some fantastic food to be found, food safety is a real concern. Most meals will be perfectly safe to eat, however regular precautions like not eating undercooked meat and drinking bottled water should be considered. One member points out that toilet facilities vary considerably and the last thing any traveller would want to do is to eat something that makes them sick if there are no toilets around.

Other members believe that as long as common sense is applied, even street food is safe to eat. A common piece of advice is to eat where the locals are eating as the food is more likely not only to be safe, but delicious.

Our member also asks about using credit cards in China. In most of our members’ experience, credit cards will work however this advice comes with a few warnings attached.

Australian credit cards work perfectly well in China whether for cash advances via any of the banks, or for point of sale. The one thing to be very careful of however is dynamic currency conversion. Many businesses, including hotels and international restaurants/bars will automatically select you to be billed in Aussie dollars… even if you explicitly tell them you want to be billed in RMB.

Many first-time travellers to China may also be surprised to discover the other great wall – the “Great Firewall of China”. The Chinese government still censors the internet and to this day, sites like Google and Facebook cannot be accessed from within China without a VPN. However our members will be pleased to know that AFF’s website still works!

So no google search engines, no google translate, no google maps, even gmail is blocked/banned. If it has a whisker connected to google, it will not work in mainland China. I am finding I use Yahoo for searches, and standard IOS maps app on iphone for maps. Also have VPN to check into facebook for work once a week/when I must – but speed on anything hosted outside of China makes it painful.

Add your advice to the mix HERE.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]