A little about Beijing...
Beijing is the capital of the People's Republic of China (PRC). It is also known in English as Peking. Beijing is also one of the four municipalities of the PRC, which are equivalent to provinces in China's administrative structure. Beijing Municipality borders Hebei Province to the north, west, south, and for a small section in the east, and Tianjin Municipality to the southeast. Beijing is China's second largest city, after Shanghai. It is a major transportation hub, with dozens of railways, roads and motorways passing through the city. It is also the focal point of many international flights to China. Beijing is recognised as the political, educational, and cultural center of the People's Republic of China, while Shanghai and Hong Kong predominate in economic fields.
Beijing is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China.
Culture: People native to urban Beijing speak the Beijing dialect, which belongs to the Mandarin subdivision of spoken Chinese. Beijing dialect is the basis for Standard Mandarin, the language used in the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China on Taiwan, and Singapore. Rural areas of Beijing Municipality have their own dialects akin to those of Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing Municipality.
The Siheyuan is a traditional architectural style of Beijing. A siheyuan consists of a square housing compound, with rooms enclosing a central courtyard. This courtyard often contains a pomegranate or other type of tree, as well as potted flowers or a fish tank. Siheyuans line Hutongs, or alleys, which connect the interior of Beijing's old city. They are usually straight and run east-to-west so that doorways can face north and south for Feng Shui reasons. They vary in width — some are very narrow, enough for only a few pedestrians to pass through at a time.
Mandarin cuisine is the local style of cooking in Beijing. Peking Roast Duck is perhaps the most well-known dish. The Manhan Quanxi ("Manchu-Han Chinese full banquet") is a traditional banquet originally intended for the ethnic-Manchu emperors of the Qing Dynasty; it remains very prestigious and expensive.
Teahouses are also common in Beijing. Chinese tea comes in many varieties and some rather expensive types of Chinese tea are said to cure an ailing body extraordinarily well.
The cloisonné (or Jingtailan) metalworking technique and tradition is a specialty of Beijing's cultural art, and is one of the most revered traditional crafts in China. Beijing lacquerware is well known for the patterns and images carved into its surface.
The Fuling Jiabing is a traditional Beijing snack food, a pancake (bing) resembling a flat disk with filling, made from fu ling (Poria cocos (Schw.) Wolf, or "tuckahœ"), an ingredient common in traditional Chinese medicine.
Transportation: With the growth of the city following economic reforms, Beijing has evolved as an important transportation hub. Encircling the city are five ring roads, nine expressways and city express routes, eleven China National Highways, several railway routes, and an international airport.
Rail: Beijing has two major railway stations: Beijing Railway Station (or the central station) and Beijing West Railway Station. Three other railway stations in Metropolitan Beijing handle regular passenger traffic: Beijing East, Beijing North, and Fengtai. There are also several other small stations serving suburban area.
Roads & Expressway: Beijing is connected via road links from all parts of China. Nine expressways of China (with six wholly new expressways under projection or construction) connect with Beijing, as do eleven China National Highways. Within Beijing itself, an elaborate network of five ring roads has developed, but they appear more rectangular than ring-shaped. Roads in Beijing often are in one of the four compass directions (unlike, for example, Tianjin).
Air: Beijing's main airport is the Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) near Shunyi, which is about 20 km northeast of Beijing city centre. Most domestic and nearly all international flights arrive and depart at Capital Airport. Capital Airport is the main hub for Air China. It is linked to central Beijing by the Airport Expressway and is a roughly 40-minute drive from the city centre during good traffic hours. In preparation for the 2008 Olympics, another expressway is being built to the Airport, as well as a lightrail system.
Other airports in the city include Beijing Liangxiang Airport, Beijing Nanyuan Airport, Beijing Xijiao Airport, Beijing Shahe Airport and Beijing Badaling Airport. However, these are primary for military use and less well-known to the public.
Public Transit: The evolving Beijing Subway has five lines (two above ground, three underground), with several more being built in preparation for the 2008 Summer Olympics. There were 599 bus and trolleybus routes in Beijing as of 2004.
Beijing has simplified its bus fare system from Jan 1, 2007 as follows: Pay by cash -
Lines 1-199 (Mainly operated in inner city) 1 Yuan(USD$ 14 Cents,EUR 10 Cents) per single journey.
Lines 200-299 (Night services): 2 Yuan per journey.
Lines 300-899 (Mainly operated in outer city / suburb): 1 Yuan for the first 12 km and another 0.5 yuan for each additional 5 km.
Lines 900-999 (Mainly operated from city center to rural area): 1 Yuan per 10 km.
Pay by prepaid Yikatong smartcard -
Lines 1-499: 0.4 Yuan (USD$ 5 cents, EUR 4 Cents)per single journey.
Lines 500-899: 0.4 Yuan for the first 12 km and another 0.2 Yuan for each additional 5 km.
Lines 900-999: 0.8 Yuan per 10 km.
3-day, 7-day and 14-day bus passes are available for travellers.
Surcharges of air-conditioned buses have been cancelled.
Since October, Subway tickets cost only 2 Yuan. No matter where you get on and where you get down. There is no discount for smartcard users.
Taxis are nearly ubiquitous, including a large number of unregistered taxis. As of June 30, 2006 all fares on legal taxis start at 10 Renminbi for the first 3 km (idling time is also a factor), and are 2.00 Renminbi per extra kilometer. Most taxis are a mixed fleet of new Hyundai Elantra and Sonata, Peugeot Citrœn(older models) and Volkswagen Jetta cars(mostly older models). After 15 km, the base fare is increased by 50% (but only applied to the portion of the distance over 15 km, so that the passenger is not retroactively charged extra for the first 15 km). Between 11pm and 6am, the fee is increased by 20%, starting at 11 RMB and increasing at a rate of 2.4 RMB per km. Rides over 15 km and between 11pm and 6am apply both charges, for a total increase of 80% (120%*150%=180%).
Peking University (founded in 1898), which is often regarded as best in humanities, natural sciences, business and law in China.
Tsinghua University (founded in 1911), which is often regarded as best in sciences and engineering in China.
Renmin University of China (founded in 1937), which is known for its law school, social sciences and humanities.
Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (Beihang University)(founded in 1952)
Beijing Normal University (founded 1902)
Beijing Institute of Technology
North China Electric Power University
Beijing Jiaotong University
Central University of Finance and Economics
University of International Business and Economics
University of International Relations
University of Science and Technology Beijing
China University of Political Science and Law
Beijing University of Technology
Beijing Foreign Studies University
Beijing Language and Culture University
China Agricultural University
Beijing University of Chemical Technology
Beijing University of Chinese Medicine
Beijing University of Petroleum
Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications
Capital Normal University
Beijing Forestry University
Communication University of China
Central Academy of Drama
China Conservatory of Music
Central Conservatory of Music
Central Academy of Fine Arts
Beijing Film Academy
Central University for Nationalities
École Centrale de Pékin