Ctripper: Essentials for extended stays in Beijing

by Intern Diaries
Posted: August 27th, 2010 | Updated: July 25th, 2012 | Comments
Ctrip Ctripper posts come to us directly from the good folks at Ctrip, China's top online travel agency (and proud sponsor of ChinaTravel.net). Stay tuned for Ctrip special offers, travel tips, news on new travel deals, tours and activities, and slices of life-in-China from Ctrip staff and interns.... >>>

Editor's note: Our newest intern, Tia, is a Stanford biz school student who we've brought out here to sink her teeth into a few big projects at Ctrip HQ. We've only got her for a few weeks, so make sure you check out what she has to say about some of her China experiences and lessons learned.

I'm Tia, an MBA student from Stanford, and have just arrived at Ctrip after working in Beijing for the past few months. If you're anything like me, you'll shortly discover that there's a learning curve to working and living in China. While the city may seem overwhelming at first, after a few months of living there, I've picked up a few tricks that makes getting things done a little more convenient than what originally appeared. Access Facebook As many of you know, the great firewall of China blocks access to popular social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Foursquare. Luckily you can get around this by investing in a VPN. Many western corporations provide VPNs to their employees, but one can also purchase a personal VPN for as low as $8.99 a month. Check out SwitchVPN, StrongVPN, or Freedur as potential options. Getting Lost Keep the business card of your destination (hotel, office) with you at all times so you can hand it to the taxi driver when you get lost. Beijing is a massive city, and surprisingly the cab drivers don't often know your exact location (apt building, restaurant). In Beijing, there's a 1RMB fuel surcharge added to all fares for rides over 3km, so remember to pay the extra yuan. Rush Hour Commute The subway is convenient and affordable (2RMB flat rate), especially during rush hour. Riding a taxi from opposite ends of town could take over 2 hours during rush hour. I'd avoid wearing open toed shoes on the subway, or else, be prepared to be stepped on by some pretty sharp heels. Avoid the Nightmare Haircut Hairstylists will enthusiastically cut your hair to the latest style of the season whenever they get the chance. For example, last summer the flip was in (thick hair on top, and thin on the bottom). This summer, bangs are back. Unless you are comfortable sporting the style of the season, be very specific when describing what you want to the stylists. (Editor's note: Better yet - bring a picture!) Buy Shoes If your shoe size is over a men's size 10.5 or above a women's 8.5, you are likely going to have a rough time finding shoes in Beijing. If you get desperate, try ordering a pair from Amazon.cn. Networking Events Want to meet more people? Here are a few expat networking venues: Newsletters www.thebeijinger.com www.cityweekend.com.cn Group dinners: Monday Night Group Dinners: http://jiaozimonday.com NGO Community Dinner: beijingcommunitydinner.org Trivia Nights: The Bookworm: www.beijingbookworm.com/bookshop.php Tim's Texas BBQ: http://www.beijingboyce.com/category/tims-texas-bbq/ - Tia
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