Category Archives: Beijing

Beijing Apartment for Olympic

From time to time, I am posting small “ads” for my friends, and for things I feel of great value.

Olympic Game is coming to Beijing in 14 days. Housing can be a very hard problem for visitors (visa is another one). Hotel has reached to ridiculous price, like 1000+ USD per night for hotels like Hilton in Beijing, and higher for more fancy hotels. The problem is, even with the high price, not many hotel still has rooms available…

I am sharing one apartment from my friends, and think it is best for a family stay in Beijing in August.

Location: Sanyuanqiao

It is just at the San Yuan Qiao area, the east and north corner of the 3rd Ring of Beijing – the backbone transportation line.

It is just at the terminal station of the Beijing Airport Express – take the Airport Express and you can directly get there.

The Building

I have some photos of the building:

The Room

160 sq meter, 3 bed rooms, 2 living rooms, and 2 restrooms, on the 11th floor of the building. Well equipped with gas, broadband, cable TV….

Contact

Please send email to sarilalala AT gmail.com

Bus from Beijing Airport to Tianjin

A picture is worth of thousands of words. Look at this big sign at the Gate 5 of Terminal 3 of Beijing Capital International Airport.

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You can take bus directly from Arrival gate of Beijing airport to Tianjin.

The bus starts from 9:00 AM to 22:00, and interval is 30 minutes. Ticket price is 70 RMB (or 10 USD) per person.

You can also take the bus at Gate 11 of Terminal 2 of Beijing Airport

The departure and arrival station in Tianjin is at the corner of Nanjing Road, and Shanxi Road

Beijing Airport Express Train

An airport express train line will be opened in Beijing before Olympic Games this year. I traveled to Beijing on March 27, 2008, and saw the train station at T3 of Beijing Airport.

Location of the Train Station

The train will run from Dongzhimen Station (at the northeast corner of 2nd Ring Road and connect to Subway #2 Station), and via Sanyuanqiao (where it connects to future Subway #10), and directly get to Airport T3, and T2.

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The Airport Express Station at T3 (New Terminal 3) is exactly south of it. As this un-updated satellite image shows, it is the big oval at the south of it.

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Outside the Train Station

The big "turtle" is the train station. The bridge connecting the terminal and the train station are the train level, and the level with the cars parking there is the ground floor. Under that are B1 and B2 parking level.

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Inside the Airport Express Station

This is the new Airport Express Station. The roof is a little bit similar with the Maglev Station in Longyang Road in Shanghai, but much bigger.

The construction of the station is already completed, but they are still testing the line and it will take some time to open. BTW, the train on the track are automatic train without a driver.

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After you leave the train, you can directly to go the terminal. There are four big gates at the north exit of the train station: left and right most two are for departure, and the middle two are for arrival.

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The bridges are very long, so sloop is mild. The following picture is taken on the 4th floor (The Departure Level) of the station. As you can see, the far-most bridge connects the taxi drop-off area to the lower Departure Level, and the nearer-two bridge go to the Airport Express Train station. 

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The good thing about the Beijing Airport is, although the bridges are all pretty long and are sloops, there is a way for people to WALK through all the levels. If you imagine people flow as water, and the waterfall flows from the top to the bottom of the station:

  • From taxi and car drop-off level to the Departure Level
  • From Departure Level to the Train Station
  • From the Train Station to the Arrival Level

On the bridge, via the big window, you can see the parking lot entrance and the taxi pickup area.

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Lower Floor of the Train Station

At the lower floor of the train station are a big shopping center. The stores are not opened yet – pretty empty there, but I guess when the train station is officially put into use, and T3 starts to attract more passengers, these are the good place to have  a shop.

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B1 and B2 of the Parking Lot 

As you can see from the picture above, there are some glass windows on top of the Parking Lot. They are actually the roof of the parking lot – I love this design a lot. Standing at the bottom of the parking area – B2, it is like a big in-house garden.

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The B2 has not been put into use yet, so it is pretty empty. If someone put some coffee tables there and open a coffee shop, it will be great. (Although at second thought, I realized it is not possible to have a coffee shop in garage.

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Beijing Airport Terminal 3 (T3) Opens

With the opening of T2 of Pudong Airport, today, another terminal, T3 of Beijing Capital International Airport also opens.  I am also lucky to experience the new terminal today.

Overview

The first impression of T3 is, it is HUGE! Look at the Google Satellite image below: T1 (opened in 1959) and T2 (opened in 1999) look so tiny compared to the big T3. The Google image is not updated yet. On the image, it is not completed, and now, it is open, and 60% of flights have already transited to T3.

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Today, it is the largest terminal in the world, larger than the combination of the current four terminal in London’s Heathrow airport (the world largest airport).

By building area, it is also almost the largest building ever on earth, bigger than Pentagon in Washington D.C. More notable, it is completed within 4 years, which is pretty astonishing. According to Matt, one of the designer, their firm got the job to design the terminal 6 months before the construction actually started. Considering the Beijing Railway Station (Asia’s largest) took one year to built, and the city’s tallest building, World Trade Center, took only 1 and half year to complete, the short schedule of the airport seems OK in China’s standard.

Outside the terminal

The terminal is not very tall (at least seen from the runway), and you can hardly see them from the plane. It does not look very big from outside, does it? However, you will quickly find out you are wrong. It IS tall and it IS huge when you take a closer look.

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The first impression of the terminal for me is, it is a pine apple!

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Another pine-apple picture:

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Inside the terminal

To be honest with you, the dark orange color plus white is a little bit shocking for me. I didn’t expect Beijing to have an airport with this color. I don’t know why, but it reminds me of the airports in southeast countries – Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia…

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I am in the big curve of T3-C section.

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Looking back:

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The package picking area is also pretty amazing. The hall is high and with strong ceiling decoration.

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The direction board, as always, is pretty clear in Beijing Airport.

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This is the diagram of the terminal.

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This is the most amazing part – the departure hall – the biggest inner space in the airport.

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Look at the orange and reddish roof – what it reminds you? I thought about sky and galaxy when I first saw it.

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Parking 3

This huge architect is a parking building. It has more than 6000 parking space there. I have several photos of it. I also have a special entry on it: this huge project is not only a parking space, it is also the Beijing Airport Express Train station.

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Summary

I didn’t have time to explore the Beijing Airport T3 as much as I did for the Shanghai T2. I will do more research and take more picture when I get back tomorrow. Beijing’s T3 is huge, out of my imagination.

With the completion (after four year’s construction) and open, it is another solid milestone for Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Beijing Metro Ticket is As Low As 2 RMB

Beijing’s Metro network expands these days. The Metro Line #5 just opened. Along with Metro Line #1, Line #2, and Line #13, there are four lines in Beijing.

The difference between Beijing and Shanghai is, Beijing Metro charges 2 RMB per ride in the whole system. 2 RMB = 0.27 USD.

This way, the government is trying to get people to ride Metro, and other public transportation. This seems to be a wise decision. Although it cost tax payer’s another several billion RMB every year to fund the Metro, the benefit from it should be much more than that number.

Why You Like to Write Blog?

In an email interview from Publico in Spain, a Spain newspaper, I found this FAQ for me in the questions.

Why do You Like to Write Blog?

Frequently asked enough, right? My simple answer

Writing daily forced me to think daily

This is really what I thought.

Beijing Impression – Part II

Link: Beijing Impression

I happen to pass by the Main Stadium of Beijing Olympics.

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

You may see the top and main part is hiding behind the billboard:

Photograph by Jian Shuo Wang

There are many better photos than mine. Like these:

Photography by John

New Impressions

Beijing changed a lot, I would say.

One year ago, I asked: Is Beijing Ready?

Today, with less than one year to the Game, my answer is, maybe.

The infrastructure is much better. Also, there are huge amount of office buildings, and everyone of then is huge. Like the Tsinghua Tech-Park – there are 9 – 12 buildings of the same size (any of them can be an independent tall building in Shanghai) in the same area! The complexity of the buildings is much more than Shanghai. I didn’t take a good camera with me (the previous two was taken by my mobile phone), so I didn’t capture it, but when you see all the glass-walled building in Beijing, I just feel that it is like what Wendy told me about Munich – everything destroyed and rebuilt.

I do regret why I came to Beijing when the VIPs are holding the important congress – the Chang An street was locked up for VIPs, and it turned into a big parking lot. Drivers start to gather out of the road to chat and leaving their cars on the street, and sometimes people protest by horning together – huge noise. I was seated in the taxi for 20 minutes without moving an inch, then I gave up taxi and took subway. This is like that last time when Nanpu Bridge was Closed Shortly. But people in Beijing see it much more frequently, and take it for granted that there is a concept of “Right of Road”.

In Beijing – Love Beijing

If at the time of Olympics, Beijing’s weather is the same as today (I assume it will), and traffic is like today’s noon time (I assume it will), it will be fantastic place for the game. You got what I am saying? Beijing is very beautiful today with high visibility in air, and there is almost no traffic – my car didn’t stop fast running from airport to Tsinghua area for just one minute.

It is said that two months before the Olympics, most of the factories near Beijing will be paused, so the air quality should (pretend to) be better.

Beijing is the place for Internet companies. Lot of resources, and lots of ideas. I met more N (Intuition type in MBTI test) in Beijing – who are optimistic about technology’s future, and more intuition driven.

Shangri-la is a great hotel. They built a new wing. As always, I get two big red apple, and one small green apple, and a written welcome letter by their general manager. The pity is, every time I stay in Shangri-la, I don’t have too much time to sleep. The big bed does not secure enough sleeping time. 1:30 AM now. I think it is the time to go to bed.

I hope Yifan does not wake up at night, so wake Wendy up.

Beijing Develops Faster than Shanghai

My recent trips to Beijing gave me the impression that Beijing develops and changes much faster than Shanghai in the recent 2 years. Here are some evidence.

1) The third terminal is almost completed, with the third air-control tower, preparing huge traffic for 2008 Olympics.

2) Beijing airport to Downtown train under construction all so many metro lines

3) Not to mention the Olympics village area.

4) There are many HUGE complex completed. Like the one I visited – Huamao – near the China Trade Center – they have about 20 high-raised buildings for office and residential, and connected with underground garage.

5) Shangri-la will open its new tower, and Ritz Carlton, JW Marriott opens near East Third Ring.

6) The Tsinghua area boosted with Stanford/Valley returnees, and a new round of Internet startup boom emerges.

There are many other evidence that Beijing is in the fastest development stage I have ever witnesses. Olymipics is just a little bit than 400 days away. I asked Is Beijing Ready? last year. Now, I still don’t it is completely ready, but clearly on the path.

Perfect Beijing Trip with CA933

This is how my typical Beijing trip starts:

There is a great flight called CA933 (Air China).

It left Shanghai Pudong Airport at 8:50 AM to Beijing and arrives at 11:20 AM. The good thing for Air China is, based on my own experience, the on time rate is much higher than China Eastern.

I should call a taxi to arrive at 7:30 AM the previous night. Do call early since last night I tried many taxi company and all their taxi were booked. The only one still have taxi is Bashi (Tel: +021-96084).

I should set my alarm clock to 7:00 AM sharp.

Get package and get to taxi at 7:30 AM.

Arrives at the airport at 8:07 AM (from 7:29 to 8:07 AM, 32.8km cost 100 RMB, and almost 40 minutes)

Check in and pass the security, and when I arrive at the gate 54, it started boarding.

Get onto the airplane, settle down. Before it took off, I fell asleep.

Wake up in the middle to have breakfast, continue to sleep, and was wake up again by the shock and noise when the airplane landed. It is 11:20 AM sharp.

Grab a taxi and visit places near Guomao. Arrived 11:57 (11:31 – 11:57 AM, 26 km, 70 RMB, about half hour).

Meet whom I am going to meet and have lunch together.

See! What a perfect schedule – wake up on time, arrive at airport just in time, and arrive in Beijing just in time for lunch.

What is bad though, I lost completely one morning on taxi or airplane.

P.S. There are many passengers for Paris, since CA733 will stop at the airport for about one hour and leave for Paris at 12:30.

From the Hottest to the Coldest

I am in Beijing today. It snows in Beijing – heavy snow yesterday, and by the night time, snow went away. I was sitting at the lunch table before the nice Chinese garden in the Shangri-la hotel. I see the snow melt down by my own eyes – every 30 minutes, you can observe more grass (yellow grass of cause) came out, while snow fade off. It is 4 degree C. Not too bad for Beijing. It is not as cold as a snow-melting day should fee like. Yesterday, I was still in Shanghai, at around 16 °C, and the day before yesterday, I was at a hot place of 33 °C. This is maybe the most interesting experience for me in terms of temperature change. I am lucky that I don’t feel uncomfortable.

When it is approaching the 2008 Olympics Games in Beijing, the date seems not so far away. Imagine how it feels when it was announced almost 7 years ago! Now it is only 1 year left. Is Beijing ready? Well. I am so sure.

From the airport, the train to the city is under construction – so it let people smell the change. However, when the taxi turns from the Airport Highway to the 3rd Ring Road, there was a big pool of water – due to the lack of equipment to get rid of the water from the snow. The taxi driver risked to run into the water, and keeps the engine running. The driver said: if you just keep spraying gas into the engine and don’t stop, you are fine although the water is almost higher than the tire.

The city is still the same city. Beijing does not look good in winter (OK. It is beginning of Spring. But the same), as any of northern China cities. There are not so many green trees there. Well, I don’t complain because Shanghai does not give me any sense of “Winter”, when yellow plants are rare. Snow is good, but melting snow is not. You see the dirt mixed with snow and turn yellow, then black – everywhere.

I took all the trouble to open my laptop and find out my Air China mileage number. I have like 20,000 points in the account. I don’t travel with Air China often. It is not so much, but it seems I can get a free single trip flight to some place like San Ya.

I never claimed any free ticket so far, just keep accumulating… Hope one day I have the “TIME” (this is the really important thing for me) to claim some free tickets and travel around.

Is Beijing Ready?

Every time I am back from a U.S. Trip, I have to pause my blog for some days, even without an OOB (Out of Blogging) notice. Time difference is one reason (that I may miss one or two days during the flight), jet lag is another but most importantly, there is always too much stuff for me to catch up. This typically takes two days or three. So 3 days after arriving in Shanghai, I am almost back to normal life (except another travel to Beijing), and is ready to keep the blog running. (It is always a good idea to explain a little bit why I skipped some days in blogging when I am back, isn’t it?)

Is Beijing Ready for the Olympics?

6:00 PM, I got on board flight MU5121 from Shanghai to Beijing. I noticed that the seats of business class in front of the airplane was changed (I fly economy). It is very like those on ANA – with automatic controlled position adjustment system. I remember in Pudong Airport, there was an advertisement that Air China has upgraded its first class from Beijing/Shanghai to Chicago and Europe flights. It seems the airlines are getting ready to the Olympics.

Airport and from Airport to Hotel

Beijing’s Airport finally started construction. The square before the airport is a construction site now. I don’t know what they are building, but it seems to be a big project.

Along the Airport Express, I noticed on the right hand (west of the express), walls have been built. They are those walls to separate the construction site. Near the Ring 4 Road, I found out new poles of via-duct is under construction. It seems to me that a railway from downtown city to Beijing airport. I searched and confirmed that a city link will be built, just as the one used in Vancouver in Canada.

OK. OK. I saw some construction with my own eyes in Beijing, anyway. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying Beijing is not under construction. I mean, I was not able to go to the Olympics Park near the 5th Ring Road by myself, and I didn’t see the almost-completed stadiums and other facilities. I am always a quick passenger of Beijing, and it always means Airport and hotel for me. Finally, I see huge construction related with Olympics.

The taxi driver is still the same. He was in exteremely bad mood when I get on to his taxi and told him I am just going to the 3rd Ring Road. I hate to get on board a taxi when I am going to place near the airport, but do I have other choice? I always took airport bus before to save the life of a taxi driver, but today, there was no airport bus, and it was too cold. See the description of the situation in this entry:

To take a taxi in Beijing is often embarrassing, especially when the destination is just at the other end of the airport expressway. They waited for 4 hours and 55 RMB trip obviously cannot satisfy them. The difference between taxi drivers in Beijing and Shanghai is, in Beijing, taxi driver will explicitly complain about it on the whole way while in Shanghai, the taxi driver just keep silence…

OK. I am in Beijing, and ready to go to bed. I will meet with many journalist tomorrow morning, and “seem you tomorrow” if any of you are reading my blog.

Need to Go to Beijing Some Time

I haven’t been to Beijing for quite some time. I need to get to Beijing sometime soon. The IT, especially Internet, center is in Beijing. The media center is in Beijing. To run Internet business, it is wired that we don’t visit Beijing often. I also have a lot of friends (web 2.0 friends) in Beijing that we haven’t chatted for a long time. I feels the winter of Internet is not far. The momentum changes slightly since May and now it is obviously that people are not so excited about new ideas. No evidence, just some feeling about the industry.

Beijing Winter 2006

Ice field of the Summer Palace.

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© Jian Shuo Wang. Winter at the Summer Palace.

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© Jian Shuo Wang. Winter at the Summer Palace.

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© Jian Shuo Wang. Trees at the Summer Palace

Thanks Che Dong for bringing the USB cable to me. That helped me a lot. Otherwise, I couldn’t take pictures at the Beijing Airport today.

P.S. I am happy to have dinner with my friends in Beijing again. Che Dong, Ada, An Ti, Lu Liang, Ming Zhu… (Finally, I found we represented many High-Tech companies: Baidu, Yahoo!, eBay, Microsoft, New York Times, and Bokee…)

Back from Beijing Trip

I am back from a short business trip in Beijing. I slept a little bit on the Boeing 777-300 aircraft – very nice seat + a little bit tired Jian Shuo = a good sleep.

The two airports in Beijing and Shanghai are obviously busier than before. The Pudong airport expansion project is undergoing and very soon, after the second runway completed, the second terminal will be put into use soon. It is the same in Beijing – the second runway is under construction after the second terminal put into use some time before.

CTRIP or eLong

At Shanghai airport, when we stepped into the airport, someone (people call them farmer sellers) approached me and sent me the CTRIP booklet and a card attached to it. We have been so familiar with it but this time, I took one. 3 minutes later, a person from eLong comes and give another one. 5 minutes later, when I passed the security inspection, my ticket and boarding passes was returned with my national ID, AND another booklet from eLong.

The two booklet (or three to be more exact) looks so similar, and it is interesting that they both announced they are U.S. NASDAQ company with code CTRIP and LONG. They announced they are Internet company in U.S., but actually, they are still very traditional company and the biggest revenue still comes from the farmer selling at the airport. The CEO of CTRIP claimed that if you travel by air, they are 100% sure you will see CTRIP card.

Taxi in Beijing

To take a taxi in Beijing is often embarrassing, especially when the destination is just at the other end of the airport expressway. They waited for 4 hours and 55 RMB trip obviously cannot satisfy them. The difference between taxi drivers in Beijing and Shanghai is, in Beijing, taxi driver will explicitly complain about it on the whole way while in Shanghai, the taxi driver just keep silence…

Overpriced?

I saw the discussion about overpriced brands in China. There are some on the list:

Häagen-Dazs

Starbucks

IKEA

I agree that they are over priced. But the market votes. The recent Haagen-Dazs accident in Shenzhen (where they were caught to process the ice cream in dirty local workshops) not only put Haagen-Dazs into a position not easily recover, but also put Haagen-Dazs fans into very embarrassing situation. The same for Starbucks fans…

Traveling in Beijing

I stay in Shangri-la Hotel in Beijing this time at the west of Beijing. To stay in a hotel is of cause not to comparable with staying near the real Shangri-la in Lijiang during the trip, but the worst thing is, I only had 2 hours in the hotel last night.

Beijing is the heart of IT industry, and the media industry in China. People ask me about Where to Start an IT Company? in 2004, my suggestion is Beijing. If the confidential level is 6 out of 9 last time, my confidential level is almost 8 out of 9 after sometime. It is the easiest place to get noticed from media, get support. There is great circles here. I have decided to spend about once every month in Beijing recently.