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The Beijing Apartment Blog

Wherever you travel around the world, you are bound to come across scams, and make no mistake, some off these will be incredibly smart and hard to detect, put together by crafty individuals who know what they’re doing. This practice almost ranks as an unofficial “career”, and some practitioners are consummate experts when it comes to defrauding the innocent. What should you do to avoid being the next victim?

Remain alert and aware at all times.

Always hold in mind that wise old adage that tells us, “If it seems to too good to be true, it probably is.”

If in any doubt, simply walk away, because this makes it impossible to end up out of pocket.

Allow me to start this article with a definition of the word “scam”. Scam: a fraudulent business scheme; a swindle; a deceptive act to embezzle an innocent victim.

I doubt there is a person on the planet who hasn’t suffered a scam of some sort, and these usually strike when we are least expecting them to. Scams here in China are no exception. You need to be on guard, particularly if you are a foreigner with little knowledge of different cultures - or your surroundings.

China is among the world’s oldest civilizations, quite some achievement when you consider that so many others that have come from and receded back into the mists of time. Known today as the People’s Republic of China, this vast country also happens to play the role of economic engine for much of the rest of the world, and it continues to expand even as others plateau or decline. If you are considering moving to China, this article should make good reading for you.

Moves are hard. Even a move across your own neighborhood represents a challenge, as you dump the familiar in favor of the unknown. Moving overseas is stressful for sure, but when it involves new cultural experiences and unfamiliar languages, it can prove imposing and even threatening. Being properly prepared is the only way to manage a move of such magnitude.

moving to china

In today’s article, I’m going to give you the tools you need to be as prepared as you can be for a major move across countries, seas, and continents.

So you're in Beijing, and you want to go shopping.

But where do you go and how do you start... and what should you spend your hard-earned money on?

Beijing shopping

Fortunately or not, a metropolis as vast and culturally diverse as Beijing offers a panoply of different shopping opportunities. Everything from dirt-cheap wares to expensive luxury items is available for the discerning shopper, at a range of different venues covering the gamut from tiny shops and makeshift street corner stands to large, gleaming, extravagant malls.

A move to a new country is exciting, challenging, and can even be intimidating. When that move involves a change of cultures, different languages, and rapid adaptation to an unfamiliar environment, this can be a lot to take on. When first making your new home in China, a host of new and fascinating experiences awaits you on arrival.

It’s always mesmerizing, intriguing, and really rewarding when you step out from an airplane into the great unknown of somewhere totally new and different.

life in china

In this article, join me on a virtual tour of what life in China is really like, as we consider everyday experiences, and how these affect you when you decide to live in China.

To keep this write-up interesting and informative, I’ll be reviewing the most important aspects of daily life in China from a new arrival’s point of view. Any newcomer is soon going to realize that there's a big difference between being a tourist and being a resident.

So you're in Beijing, or you're moving to Beijing, but an unanswered question for you remains: where and how do you find work in Beijing?

find work in beijing

I've tackled this article more as a "how to" for foreign and expatriate workers - I'm sort of assuming here that you're not local (however, if you are, just ignore the parts on visas and other government requirements). For the purposes of this piece, then, we're assuming that things are a little more complicated for you than simply needing to find a job - there are work permit restrictions and other regulations to worry about, too.

Finding a job in Beijing is a little different from finding work in the Western world in the sense that, many times, companies function more organically and less mechanically - whereas a Western company may decide it needs a specific role, and then begins looking for people to fill that role, a company in China may not have specific roles it's looking to fill - but if people from that company meet you, and like you, and think you'd be a good fit for the business, you may just be extended an offer.

Not too far back in time, the Beijing café brigade was limited to big shopping stores, leaving coffee connoisseurs little in the way of choice.

Perhaps it was the arrival of the Olympics that changed all that... or maybe it was down to Starbucks setting up shop in the Forbidden City at the launch of the new millennium – it certainly created some controversy then. An overseas chain store in the heart this most iconic of Chinese pieces of history! It took seven years for the famous coffee chain to note the objections, shutter the branch, and move elsewhere in the teeming metropolis of Beijing.

Beijing cafe

Maybe Starbucks should have realized that tea, rather than coffee, was the way forward at the time... who knows? No matter, at least it created awareness, and the City Fathers seem to have a more relaxed approach to cafés and coffee shops these days. Good thing, too, because many Western visitors and more and more Chinese can’t go very far or wait too long between the next good brew of coffee.

Beijing has a staggering number of restaurants for its 20 million citizens. This headcount excludes an impressive number of visitors and tourists, as well as an increasing number of expatriates from every corner of the world. That's many active people then, and each of them with an insatiable appetite and need for food... good food.

beijing restaurants

Today I've put together a list of the top restaurants in Beijing; time and space have limited us to covering the 25 best Beijing restaurants to dine at today.

How you use this list will be up to you - you may pick and choose what looks and sounds good, or you may look to go through this list and knock out every restaurant that's one it - assuming you have the time and inclination, of course! There are some really great places to try here, and they are liberally scattered right across this tireless city.

Newcomers and seasoned travellers alike to China’s capital city face a number of options on how to spend their time and what to see during their stays. Choosing between must-have and nice-to-have experiences can be a bit much to bite off alone, so this post is here to come to the rescue, lining up some spectacular landmarks for you to enjoy around town. Although I limited the choice of just eight things to see in Beijing, there could well be over a thousand things to track down in this mega metropolis - we’re only just focused on the most (rightly) famous in this article.

things to see in beijing

These recommendations are in no particular order, so read the whole thing before you go rushing out the door, lest you miss killing two birds with one stone (like the Great Wall and the Ming Tombs!); and, each of these selections is offered with a first time visitor in mind (as opposed to a subject specialist - if that’s you, you might want to see "5 Things to Do in Beijing (That You Probably Don't Know)" for a sampling of some of the city’s less well-known - but still spectacular - attractions).

No two travellers are ever going to have identical needs when it comes to seeing what Beijing has on offer... but this list gives you a jumping off point for your trip (or even a full trip in its own right, if you don’t have much time) that will make sure you see some of the most impressive things the city has to show - the ones that people around the world think of when they think "Beijing."

When you move to Beijing as an expatriate from overseas and you're bringing your family in-tow, one of the first questions you end up asking yourself is, "Where will my child go to school?"

The likely answer, of course, is an international school in Beijing. You're not, after all, going to put your son or daughter in a Chinese public school, right?

You want a familiar environment, and a Western education, and those are things you simply won't find in an ordinary Chinese learning institution - but you will find in an international school.

But what exactly is an international school? How does it work? Which one should you choose, and why?

Those are the questions I address in today's article - your guide to finding your international school of choice, right here in Beijing.

Doubtless one of the more daunting tasks in planning a move to Beijing is that of finding Beijing housing. How do you even know where to begin?

beijing housing

You're relocating to an unfamiliar city and country, don't speak, read, or write the language, and hardly know anyone there... and if that wasn't enough, you're not even sure what kind of housing exactly you should be looking for, what area you want to put down roots in, and what kind of prices you're looking at for your new home.

There's a lot to decide and a lot more to figure out. Fortunately, you're neither flying blind nor solo - I'm here to help you through the process of finding and selecting your new housing in Beijing, every step of the way.

We'll review three things in this article:

  1. The 4 Kinds of Beijing Housing
  2. The Major Expatriate Housing Areas
  3. The Cost of Housing in Beijing

Let's begin by going through your options on the kind of housing available for your selection.