Two free days in Beijing, what to do and how bad is the smog and where is it in china?

Will be on the May 1 trip and wondering about the smog I've been hearing about in the news? Is it everywhere, or just Beijing, Shanghai areas?

Any suggestions for Beijing? We will have two full days and would like to see what the tour doesn't include.

And is wifi still free like last year?

Thanks for the help!


  • You should definitely see a Peking Opera one evening, and on another you should go out for Peking Duck. We went to Duck de Chine and it was fabulous.
  • Looks like the original poster is already on his or her trip, but here are some thoughts for others reading this forum:

    We experienced some smog in Xi'an as well as Shanghai and Beijing. Hong Kong was a bit smoggy, too. Beijing was the worst, though it varies by weather conditions. The worst we saw in Beijing was like LA on a bad day. The worst in China is in the winter. so you should avoid the really awful days you see on the news.

    One more vote for Duck de Chine, it's an easy walk from the hotel. Set menu is a bit pricey (about $90 per person for the less expensive set menu) and is way too much food, but it solves the "What do we order from the huge menu?" problem. The lemon chicken is to die for (as is the duck, of course).

    I found that the tour of the Forbidden City was too short for me and just touched on it. It's a reasonable walk from the hotel. You could definitely spend more time there on your own. It gets really, really crowded, so show up when it opens to avoid at least some of the crowds.

    Wifi is free in all the hotels. Wifi is free in the bar on the boat, but almost unusable.
  • "The Fog", as the local Tauck Guides referred to the smog, was everywhere when we took this tour in October 2013. Some days better than others. As there is nothing to be done about it, all I can really offer are a couple of resources if you are interested in monitoring the Air Quality Index being reported. If you have an Apple product you can go to the App Store and type in China Air Quality and you can download an app that reports both the AQI reported by the Chinese Government and that reported by the US Embassy for the same cities. The Chinese usually report far better air quality than does the US Embassy. Another site that does not require an Apple product is AQICN.Org which will show the AQI over the last couple of days as well as current conditions.

    Since you will only be in China for a short time, I would not worry too much about the smog. Our group was primarily senior citizens and no one had a respiratory problem with the activities on this trip. There was walking but it was not strenuous and it was broken up. You will have a great time on this tour!
  • edited August 2014
    Thanks for the smog info.. I'm very interested if you could give me some advice about money meaning what is the best way, credit cards bring enough cash and exchange them at hotel ??? Also did you use the hotel laundry service. I want to try and pack light , not what I'm good at. If using the hotel laundry service will they do a one day tuen around. That would make packing so much easier.
    In regards to dinner attire for men, casual collared shirt or ???
    Thank you to everyone who will responf

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