What should you know about Beijing before moving to Beijing ?


For a Westerner, Beijing is quite an impressive cit in its way, so you will love it but you might encounter harsh disapointments as well. The city itself is huge, crammed with cars, sometimes dirty, sometimes very clean, with 7 ring roads, close to 20 million inhabitants, heavily polluted but with some magnificient monuments, little aleys with a lot of charm where you can lose yourseld, the Hutongs, some amazing avant-garde architecture. This is a city full of contrast, undergoing massive change, with many opportunities to go out, meet people; This is the capital city of China, home of the country’s best universities, central administrations but full of nice people you may meet.

What should you know more precisely before you get there :

  1. Cost of living

You might have people that told you that life is cheap in Beijing, but things are changing fast with the ongoing Chinese growth. Now, Beijing is far from being cheap, actually it depends on the way you live. Chinese restaurants and food can be quite cheap, at least for the most current type of retaurants with the Chinese familial dishes, but if you want to live as a westerner, imprted food can be really expensive and your food budget can even be higher than at home.

Electronic devices, computers are more exensive than in the west and car’s price are 20% higher.

  1. The weather and the pollution

Beijing has a continental weather, quite harsh: summer is hot, but unlike south China, there is not much rain and winter is very cold and dry. It depends if you like or nor this kind of strong contrast between summer and winter.

The big issue that everyone is talking about now about weather and living conditions in Beijing is air pollution. It is quite impressive and it seems that it will last for a while despite the municipal bureau’s efforts. Some expatriates cope with it and actually thee is fine sunny days where you can enjoy hiking in the areas surrounding Beijing, nice mountains and really beautiful landscapes.

  1. where to rent an apartment

You’ll soon want to find an accomodation, and Beijing is really a large city. Still, the places where more expatriates live are more limited, even if now you can bump on a westerner or any nationality everywhere in the city. The areas with the highest concentration of foreigners are in the east of Beijing, centered on the district of Chaoyang and with new developemnts occuring in the northeast, a large suburban area called Shunyi. This is probably where you’ll rent your aartment, even if many foreigners live as well in the east, close to the university area, a place called Wudaokou. The prices vary a lot.

  1. About the food

You’ll soon enjoy the northeastern China’s food, with dumplings, noodles and iconic dishes such as the Beijing duck, but you can find any kind of restaurant in Beijing, from the most simple ones to the fanciest ones with cooks from all over the world.

  1. International Schools

Other parts of this blog have long development about international schools. They exist in Beijing for long time, for the diplomats’s son and now for expatriates business people or corporate people. You have a large choice of schools, depending on your natioanlity, your objectives. Have a look on our developments. Please note that now most of the schools are located in the Shunyi district.

  1. Transportation

Public transportation is really working fine, developpeing at fast pace and almost free. This is a big advantage. The car traffic is often jammed and you’ll soon learn to avoid peak hours.

  1. Social life

Beijing is a welcoming city. Cotact is quite easy with Chinese people although cultural differences are sometimes puzzling, but this is part of the adventure. You have many opportunities to go out in Beijing: music, restaurants, Beijing and western opera, some musicals, galleries, nightclubs, bars… the city is full of people you want to meet, you won’t remain alone a long time in Beijing.

There is many things to enjoy and you’ll soon love the city.

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