Information for visitors

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Getting to iTcs

The easiest way to get to iTcs from the airport is by taxi. You can find plenty of taxis outside the airport. It costs 10 Yuan (1.25 USD) for the first three kilometers and other 2 Yuan (0.25 USD) per kilometer thereafter. It will cost about 100 Yuan (including the Airport Highway fare, that is 10 Yuan ) from Capital Airport to your hotels. But it may cost more during the rush hours (8:00am-10:00am and 5:00pm-7:00pm). This trip usually takes 45 minutes. There are few taxis drivers could speak English, so it is strongly recommended to have destinations written out in Chinese.

To get to iTcs, ask the driver to take you to 清华大学东门 (Tsinghua University East Gate). The FIT Building is the first building on the left after you enter through the gate. The main office is in 1-208. To get to the Wenjin hotel, please refer to their website.

Alternatively, the Airport Bus provides a cheaper way to get to your destination. Please take the No.5 Bus (costs 16 CNY = 2.5 dollars) outside the airport and get off at the Zhongguancun Bridge station of this route. After you get off, you need to take a taxi (10-20 yuan) to get to iTcs or the Wenjin Hotel.

Another option to reach iTcs from the airport (if you dont have much luggage to carry) is to use the Airport Express to get to the main subway lines in the city. Airport express (costs 25 RMB = 3.5 USD one way) connects Terminals 2 and 3, to subway stations Dongzhimen (in the loop line) and Sanyuanqiao (in line 10). The closest subway station to Tsinghua university (and Wenjin hotel) is the Wodaokau station on Line 13 (see beijing subway map). One useful warning here is that changing over at the Xizhimen station (from the loop line to line 13) takes a much longer walk than what one might expect. Changing over at Zhichunlu (line 10 to line 13) is easier. So the recommended route from Airport by subway is Airport - Sanyuanqiao (to line 10) - Zhichunlu (to line 13) - Wodaokou. The institute is close to the east gate of Tsinghua university, and is at a walking distance from the station. Walk towards the big "Microsoft" Building that you can see (if the visibility is good!), take the second right turn and you can see the east gate just about 700m away. The FIT Building (where ITCS is on the 2nd and 6th floor), is the big building located just on the left when you enter through the east gate.

Restrooms in FIT Building

There are western style restrooms on the second floor of the FIT Building in the southwest corner (close to iTcs general office).

General Tsinghua Info

Food and Restaurants

Driving in Beijing

You can't rent a car in China without a Chinese driver's license. It is easy, however, to get a car with driver. You tell the driver your plans for the day/weekend and agree on a price (this includes gas, tolls etc.) You can get the name of dependable drivers from Yuying or one of the postdocs. It should cost about 400-600 RMB for a day, depending on how far you want to go. If you live in a building with many foreigners, there may be unmarked cars waiting in front of your building that you can hire for the day. We don't recommend using these -- use a marked taxi for short drives and get a known driver for longer trips.

Traveling in China

Day trips and weekend excursions

As it is not hard to find information on day trips and excursions (for instance on the web), this section is mostly here to highlight some that seem particularly interesting or are less well known. The information in this section is not meant to be exhaustive, but merely meant to give an idea of what keywords could be used when Googling for a day trip.

Great Wall

One of the most famous places to see the Great Wall (and relatively close to Beijing) is Badaling. The wall has been extensively restored here and you should not go here if you expect some peace and quiet. A great walk on the Great Wall which is offf-the-beaten-track is to walk from Jinshanling to Simatai. The walk takes about 4 hours and can be quite challenging in some places where the wall is crumbling. At Simatai there is a friendly guesthouse right next to the wall called Dong Po where you can eat/drink/sleep.

Hiking

Beijing has some great companies that organize trips to the mountains and countryside around the city. Beijing Hikers goes out every weekend for hikes. U-DO Adventure (click on 'News and Events') organizes day hikes and longer treks that are a bit more challenging.

798 a.k.a. Dashanzi Art District

This is Beijing's rather famous art district: it is housed in old factories, which are interesting by and of themselves. It is a large area full with museums, galleries, studios (less and less), shops and restaurants, most of which serve Western food. I especially recommend going to Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Iberia and Faurschou, to name just three museums.

It should take about 30 minutes to get to 798 by taxi from Tsinghua University.

Datong: Yungang Grottoes and Hanging Monastery

This makes a very nice weekend trip. Datong is about a 5 hour's drive from Beijing, and it has very nice hotels. The Yungang Grottoes are a bit outside the city (a car/drive is handy), and are nothing short of amazing --- they contain Buddha statues of all kind of sizes, ranging from a couple of centimeters to more than 15 meters. The trip can easily combined with a visit to the Hanging Monastery, which is exactly what the name promises it to be.

Cuandixia

Cuandixia (爨底下村) is an old Ming and Qing Dynasty village in the mountains to the north of Beijing. You are encouraged to walk into the different courtyards and see what food people are preparing. Almost every house is a restaurant and a guesthouse. Note that there is no heating: in winter people stay warm by making a fire under the bed before they go to sleep.

By car it takes about 2 hours to get to Cuandixia. For the adventurous-minded: there is also a public bus that goes there from Pingguoyuan subway station (end of line 1). Be ready to fight for a seat though.

Chengde

A little less than four hour's drive from Beijing towards the northeast is Chengde, which offers Bishu Shanzhuang, an imperial summer resort of the emperor, as well as lots of temples.

Jingtaishan Pagoda Forest

Pingyao

Traveling farther afield

Flights

It is easy to buy air tickets online. Here are a few good websites.

Note that you can often have the ticket delivered to the iTcs office free of charge (delivery happens within a few hours of booking), which you can then pay for in cash on delivery.

Trains