Interesting Initiative by the Beijing City Government

In the last couple of years I have observed multiple cities in Asia (e.g. Taipei, in Taiwan) and North America either deploying or planning wireless broadband networks for city-wide access. Today I came across such an initiative by the Beijing City Government as well. Here is a link (in English) to the form which was created to gather input from what it looks like mostly expats.

Of course until that city-wide broadband network is available, you may want to consider the hot-spots which are available across multiple bars, restaurants, etc. in Beijing. I have been compiling those in a list from various sources and personal experience.

Here are some currently active spots for Free WiFi:

Cafe Niro – near Tong Li Studio just off Sanlitun

Fruity Mix – Pacific Place

John Bull Pub – 44 Guanghua Road

Man Pen Xiang Restaurant – Basement of Times Square (Shi Dai Shang Chang)

O’Farrell Coffee – SOHO Block C, ground floor

S.I.T. Cafe – Hairun International Condo No. 2, Jiangtai Road (and other locations too)

Sculpting in Time Cafe == No.1 Building 12 Hua qing jia yuan.Cheng fu lu.
Haidian District. (West of WuDaoKou train station.)
All Sages Bookstore == near South gate of Tsinghua University.

Be There or Be Square Café == Beijing Oriental Plaza, No. 1 East Chang An Avenue , Dong cheng district.
Bar Blue == Tongli Studios, Sanlitun bei lu, Sanlitun bar area, Chaoyang District.
The Drum and Bell cafe == Located at the corner of the plaza between the Drum and Bell towers. 41 Zhong Lou Wan Hu Tong, East District, Beijing
Grandma’s Kitchen == Level B, Jianwai SOHO, Dong Sanhuan Zhong Lu, Chaoyang District

Steak & Eggs == 5, 6 Xiushui Nanjie, Jianguomenwai, Chaoyang District (favourite with the expat crowd for Sunday brunches)
Top Club & Lounge == 4th Floor of Tongli Studios (South Entrance), Sanlitun.

Cafe de Niro == 1 st floor Tongli Studios, Sanlitun north bar street, Chaoyang District.
The Den == Expat bar and club == 4A Gongti Donglu (next to City Hotel)
Fruity Juice == 107 PCCW Building, Gongti bei lu,Chaoyang District .
John Bull Pub == 44 Guang hua lu, Chaoyang District.
Mrs Shanen’s Bakery and Café == 5 Kaifajie, Xibaixinzhuang, Shunyi. (near River Garden and Capital Paradise housing developments)
Fishnation == 31 Nanluoguxiang, Sanlitun Area (the little alley between Poacher’s bar and Kai)

Man Pen Xiang Restaurant == Basement of Times Square (Shi Dai Shang Chang).

O’Farrell Coffee == SOHO, Block C, ground floor.

Le Petit Gourmand == South Bldg., 10 Sanlitun lu (North Bar Street), in alley just west of Skyline Bar)

SPR Coffee == Hairun International Condo No. 2. (near Lidu in DaShanZi area)
The Bookworm == Building 4, Nan sanlitun lu, Chaoyang District.
Touch Bar == 8 Qianhai Beiyan, Houhai Area, Xi cheng District.
Salud Cafe/Restaurant == 66 Nan Luogu Xiang.
There Cafe Salon & Restaurant == 97 Nanluoguxiang, Dongcheng.
The (new) Bookworm == Building 4, Nan Sanlitun Road, Chaoyang District.
Saveurs de Corée == Swish Korean bistro with free WiFi
Chazhenxiang Tea and Coffee House == Zhongguancun Nan Dajie, next to a KFC
Kerry Centre Hotel == No. 1 Guanghua Road,Chaoyang District, Beijing, 100020,
China World Hotel, Beijing == No. 1 Jianguomenwai Avenue, Beijing 100004, China
(The place itself is really nice, aside from the free WiFi — enjoy 🙂 )
Cafe Pause == 2 Jiuxianqiao Lu
The Pavillion == Opposite Workers’ Stadium’s West Gate
Sequoia Cafe == 44 Guanghua Lu (beside John Bull Pub)
Stone Boat Bar == Ritan Park, southwest corner
Browns == Sanlitun South, Chaoyang District (above The Loft)

Traveling from Taiwan to China – what are the options

You may or may not know that travelling between China and Taiwan is fairly complicated. There are no direct flights between the two countries (except for several days during the year — during the Lunar New Year / Chinese New Year festival (late January or February))

So if you are travelling form Taipei to Shenzhen one good way to make the trip cost effective is to purchase a flight from Taipei to Hong Kong on lets say Cathay Pacific then also at Taipei airport you can purchase a ferry ticket for Hong Kong to Shekou (in Shenzhen) for HK$200. If you have checked in luggage that luggage will be transfered to the ferry the same way it gets transfered if you switch between planes / flights.

Once you arrive in Hong Kong Airport, just ask for the gate location for the ferry services. The ferry company I used is CKS . The gate for the ferry service is located in the transit area of the airport so you do not need to go through immigration or customs.

If you have checked-in luggage make sure that you have at least one and a half hours between the flight and ferry otherwise the luggage will be late. If that happens the ferry service gate person will ask you to stay for the next ferry — they are every 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Once you arrive at Shekou harbour you can take a cab to Crowne Plaza Shenzhen (the Venetian Hotel), it’s about 20km. away.

I have found this to be a fast and cost effective way to get to Shenzhen.

If you need to travel from Taipei to Shanghai you could travel still to Shenzhen as I described above OR you could travel via Jeju island. The flights are Taipei to Jeju and then Jeju to Shanghai. That will save you at least 2-3 hours travel time (vs. a flight Taipei-Hong Kong – Shanghai)

Then if you are flying to Beijing you can take the Shanghai route above or the Shenzhen route or fly via Seoul (Incheon airport). The flight from Incheon to Beijing is less than one and a half hours duration.

Well, I hope this helps! Happy Travels and let me know if you have questions.

Places to Stay in Beijing

Lately I have seen on many forums questions about finding accomodations in Beijing in the range of US$100/night in a nice hotel (4 star +). So I decided to do a quick posting with my experience from Beijing and will follow with postings about Shanghai and Shenzhen (also frequented destinations). So here are my suggestions for Beijing:

  • You can get a good rate at the Holiday Inn near the Temple of Heaven. That hotel will also put you near the Hong Qiao Market. The hotel rate was for RMB800 on the executive floor (which includes breakfast plus food during the day on the Club floor lounge).
  • Hotel New Otani Chang Fu Gong == I have stayed in this one 2 years ago (when I was relocating to Beijing);
  • Traders Hotel == I have stayed here too (located behind China World hotel near subway station GuoMao)
  • Park Plaza Wangfujing == I have not stayed here but have heard it is OK;
  • Rosedale Hotel (located near the DaShanZi area – near Lido Holiday Inn) == also have not stayed here but have had dinner in one of its restaurants — it was good.
  • The North Garden Hotel == apparently good hotel with convenient location;