1. What is the daily budget when staying in Beijing?
The camp fee covers the majority of costs, such as accommodations, three meals per day and excursions included in the package. You may want to prepare $10-$20 per day per person to cover any personal purchase of food and drinks, cleaning service, souvenirs, etc. that are not included in the package. To give you a sense of the cost of various daily items:
Starbuck coffee: $5-$7
Public transportation: bus $0.2 subway $0.5 taxi $3 ($0.5/km after the first 3 km)
Laundry service: $1-$5/item, or $15/bag (about 15-30 items)
2. What is the tipping practice in China?
Generally, people do NOT give tips in restaurants, hotels, or for taxis and any other services, so you do not need to leave any tips. If you leave some tips on the table after you finish your lunch or dinner, you may see the waiter chase after you, who just wants to give you back the money that is you “accidentally left” on the table. However, most nice restaurants in Beijing usually charge 15% service fee, and they will be included in your bills automatically. Another case might be the human-powered tricycles. If you are going to hire one when you visit some local attractions, you may need to give them some tips, because they are “westernized” due to the large tour groups from abroad.
3. Do Chinese eat family style?
At Chinese restaurants, people usually do not order and eat their own dish (although it is more common than before). Instead the whole group will order enough dishes for everyone, and the dishes are put in the middle of the table and shared. The Chinese usually use chopsticks to eat directly from the shared dish. (family style) Using a serving spoon to put food on your own dish is not common, but is certainly acceptable. Another nice thing about ordering food in a restaurant here is that there are always pictures next to the name of dishes in the menu. Even you might be confused by the Chinese characters, the picture can be self-explained.
4. What is the public transportation like in Beijing?
In Beijing, there is a very good subway system with everything labeled in English, and each trip will only cost 2 Yuan, no matter how many stops or transfers you take. But be prepared the crowdedness if you are going to try one.
Bus will be crowded and slow, but most of them are with air conditioners. The fair is usually the same as the subway fair for people who are not local (local people pay about 0.4 Yuan). You can purchase a bus card if you plan to take bus very frequently. It is easier since you can just swipe it when you get on the bus without finding changes.
However, you might also want to take taxis from time to time. For the most part, taking taxis is a safe and cheap method of transportation. Taxis run on meters. Most taxi drivers in Beijing will speak some English thanks to the Beijing Olympics. You can easily get a taxi on a busy street by waving your arm to a taxi running towards your direction.