April 25, 2004


In progress...
Posted by john at 10:50 PM | Comments (0)

In Beijing

This page is under construction. It is intended to provide information about living and sightseeing in Beijing.


Obviously a chief concern about coming to Beijing is cost. The biggest expense, the plane ticket, is covered on the Getting to Beijing page. This page will provide information on expenses in Beijing.

In general, it's important to remember that Beijing can be both a very cheap and a very expensive city. You can stay in a 5-star hotel for hundreds of USD per night, or you can stay in a hostel for 5USD per night. You can spend as much as you would in New York on food, or you can eat incredible food in a small restaurant for a couple of USD per person.

That said, people generally find Beijing to be rather inexpensive. Below are some estimates of how much one might spend during a week in Beijing.

  • Housing
  • We haven't picked a hotel yet, but we'll likely be able to negotiate a group rate of about 40USD per night for a 4-star double room. The rate for a 3-star room will likely be 30+USD.

  • Dining
  • You won't have to pay for dinner on the night of the wedding (!), but don't worry, because it's easy to eat cheaply in Beijing. You can eat very well at nice, clean restaurants in Beijing for under 10USD per person per day. This is for Chinese food, and you can expect to pay Western prices for Western food.

  • Transportation/Sightseeing
  • You can travel from one end of downtown Beijing to the other in a taxi for less than 5USD. The subway, while not well-developed, costs less than .50 USD per trip. We estimate that you'll spend at least 15USD per person per day on transportation and admission tickets while in Beijing, not including a trip to the Great Wall, which would cost a bit more.

  • Overall
  • Given the above estimates, we estimate that you should expect to spend around $50 per day during your time in Beijing. That's not including any gifts/souvenirs you might want to buy.


We will be negotiating a group rate at a hotel. Although we haven't decided on the hotel yet, it looks like there will be 3 and 4-star options (with different prices, of course!). Of course, you may also arrange your own accommodations.

Our goal is to have more concrete information on living arrangements by mid-May. Please check back to this page for more information.


We will be helping to organize some sightseeing and tourist activities in the week leading up to the wedding. More details will be provided on this page in the NEAR future.


It's hot in Beijing in August. Hopefully it won't be too hot this year, but I'm pretty sure it'll be hot. The average high temperature in August is around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It's okay to wear shorts, though many people here don't, even in the summer.

More Info

Apologies for not having more info yet. If you'd like to know more about Beijing, check out The Beijing Page. It's a collection of links about Beijing.

You might also check out Beijing's entry in the Wikipedia.

In the future, we'll have more information about how much it costs to live in Beijing, but for now just suffice it to say that living, eating and travelling here is much cheaper than in the US.

As noted above, this page is incomplete, but still feel free to provide feedback or ask questions by posting on the discussion board or by emailing us at wedding @ riverbendfarm . org (remove the spaces).

Posted by john at 10:49 PM

Getting to Beijing

Getting to Beijing will be the most expensive, and perhaps complicated, part of the trip. However, it might not be as expensive as some think. If you want to come to China, there are three things you need:

  1. A plane ticket
  2. A passport
  3. A visa

You should also consider the following:

  • Health and safety issues
  • Money issues

Let's talk about each of these issues one by one...

WARNING: While we're doing our best to provide accurate information, we can't be held responsible for the material presented on this site.

A Plane Ticket

A plane ticket to China this August will likely cost you between $900 and $1200, depending on how cheap a ticket you can find. There are cheaper times of the year than August to travel to China, but the wedding's in August, so I recommend coming then.

Get your ticket as early as possible, because seats may run out! Here are some places you might look for tickets:

I'll be adding to this list if I find any other good options. If anyone finds any other good options, post them on the discussion board, or send us an email at wedding @ riverbendfarm . org (remove the spaces).

We'd thought about trying to negotiate a group rate for airfare, but it would have required around 20 people leaving from the same airport on the same day.

A Passport

You may already have a passport. If you don't, you should get one. Information on doing so can be found here.

A Visa

In order to enter China you will need a Chinese visa stamped in your passport. You almost certainly need an "L" visa (a tourist visa). Instructions on getting an L visa can be found here. You'll notice in the instructions that you may not mail in your visa application, and that you must go to the embassy or consulate to get the visa. This is actually quite convenient if you live near a consulate, but not if you live far away from one. Fortunately, there are mail-in services such as the following:

  • Travisa.com
  • This is the service that my sister used for her visa when she came over this April. It's particularly convenient if you also need a passport, because they can take care of the passport and visa applications in one fell swoop.

  • FlyChina.com visa service
  • While I've purchased tickets from FlyChina.com, I have never used their visa service. I'd imagine it's quite reliable.

  • Ideal Travel
  • 617-247-9898

    William Du at Ideal Travel is very helpful, and can often find good deals on tickets to China.

  • Many other services can be found by searching around online

There is, of course, an extra fee associated with getting your visa through these services. Let me know if you know of any other visa services that we should recommend.

Health Issues

China is a very safe country. I feel safer walking around the streets of Beijing at night than I do walking around the streets of Durham, North Carolina. That said, you should still be careful and aware. Pickpockets are common, and common sense dictates that it's best to travel in groups.

As far as immunizations go, as long as you are caught up with immunizations that you are supposed to have living in the US, and are not going to travel to rural areas in China, you're probably fine. The Center for Disease Control recommends that you get a Hepatitis A vaccination, especially if you plan to travel to rural areas in China. The complete CDC recommendations for travel in East Asia can be found here. Read their recommendations carefully, but also realize that Beijing, while in a "developing" country, is a very modern and developed city, and Western health facilities are readily available. You should talk with your doctor about the need for various vaccinations.

It's a good idea to bring a health information card to China with information about your vaccination history, any medications your are taking, and any allergies you have to specific medications.

Money Issues

The official currency of China is the RMB (renminbi) also referred to as Chinese Yuan. The exchange rate of the RMB is pegged to the US dollar, and is generally about RMB8.27 to $1. You can exchange traveler's checks at the Bank of China, which has many branches around Beijing, and can also use your ATM card (if it supports the Plus and/or Cirrus networks--look on the back of your card) to withdraw RMB from Bank of China ATMs.

As far as how much money you should bring, check out the In Beijing section.

Posted by john at 10:48 PM | Comments (0)

Schedule of Events

Here's the schedule so far:

Saturday, August 21
  • Rehearsal Dinner
Sunday, August 22nd
  • Location: Fragrant Hills Hotel
  • 4:30 pm: Wedding Ceremony
  • 6:30 pm: Wedding Banquet

We also plan to facilitate some events in Beijing during the week prior to the wedding. For more information, see the In Beijng page.

Posted by john at 10:46 PM