Starbucks in a Day – Beijing Version

I am planning to visit all Starbucks in Beijing in one day. I did in Shanghai and will definitely plan it in Beijing. Due to the high pressure of my project, it seems not feasible to do it soon. Planning is sometimes more interesting in doing. Let me plan for it.


Hand drawing by Jian Shuo Wang, with the help of Starbucks Map which is available in many Starbucks shops in Beijing.

Each red dot on the map, large or small, represents a Starbucks shop in Beijing. The map was illustrated using a small pen on Tablet PC at the hallway of Microsoft China Technical Center. I work at that floor and often pass by the Tablet PC when I fetch water or coffee. Today, I used it to draw a map. It seems much better than this one since the stroke is more smooth, although I spent much more time on the Shanghai map.

The Starbucks Beijing Map helped me to draw this map.


The Map in courtesy of Starbucks and redBANG, the designer of the map

This small maplet are available in may Starbucks store. Just ask for it at the counter. It is very lovely map with clear mark of Starbucks stores. It will help me to visit them. Eric showed the map to me for the first time.

Why Starbucks?

The reason I wanted to visit every store is, I want to see this city. Starbucks helped me to choose the best place in the city. Their market research is good. If there is a Starbucks store, it at least gives two hints:

  • There are good customer base there (white collar, or tourists)
  • The place has good view

It is not 100% but pretty likely to be true.

By putting all the Starbucks store onto a route and you will find a very good route to see the best the city has to offer. It is the case in Shanghai and I believe it is true in Beijing. Just look at the map and you know it is true.

How Travel Works

Wendy and I share the same travel philosophy. She said in this article: “The most important word in travel is: MY. It is my understanding and feeling of a city that matters, instead of my foot-print.”

I don’t like to take picture of myself when I travel. I especially hate to pose before famous point of scene. I’d like to step into the city as the people in the city do. As Wendy said, it is MY feeling that matters.

Eric also thinks so. He said (Chinese page): “To learn a city, you have to abandon taxi, step out of your hotel. Carry a bag and walk or cycle. You should not see the city like a visitor. You need to set your foot into the city…”

It is the magic words that open a door to a completely new world in a city. This is what we believe travel should be.

Having that said, you may understand the reason behind my plan better. Setting a goal and go to do it. The journey is more important than the destination.

I may rent a bicycle to do it since Beijing is much larger than Shanghai and it is almost important for me to visit all by walk. The International Youth Hotel at GREAT DRAGON HOTEL (兆龙饭店) provides bicycle renting service at 10 RMB per day. Their breakfast is 10 RMB and their rate is 60 RMB per night (7 USD). Many foreigners are there. I like it. Maybe I will join them to climb the Great Wall at weekend. Only 90 RMB for the events.

The World is a Book

The World is a Book and those who do not travel read only one page.” — Saint Augustine.

This sentence on the first page of the room guide is one of the reasons I love to stay at Renaissance Beijing.

18 thoughts on “Starbucks in a Day – Beijing Version

  1. Do they provide wireless ISP in Beijing? That could add another reason.

    Any good blog from a Beijinger?

  2. Very good article, Jian Shou, quite inspiring.

    A question: are people in China adressed by surname or lastname and by title? Equivalent to the american Mr. Sir. Prof. etc.

  3. hi jianshuo, i agree with your view totally. this is a tourist vs. traveller thing.

    i hate taking pictures of myself (and others) during travel too because 1) i look ugly and will spoil the natural beauty of the scene 2) the photo conveys nothing except “look, i’ve been here”.

    i think to understand a city, taking the buses, reading the local newspapers, appreciating the exterior and interior design of public places are important. although i haven’t travelled a great deal, these are the things i tell myself to do.

  4. Hello Jianshuo,

    If you want to see people in everyday life and want to act like a traveller rather than a turist, you should probably avoid Starbucks. As you said, there are mostly just white colors and turists there. Haven’t you seen them enough in Shanghai and other major cities? ;-) Areas around Starbucks are most likely full of main-stream turists.

    Starbucks is just a coffee-shop-version of McDonald’s. It’s a fastfood-like coffee shop chain for pretentious people.

    Maybe you should visit all the Mcdonald’s in Beijing, you will have better chance to meet real people there. he he…

    If you really want to be cool, don’t go to Starbucks. Try the local tea house instead. ;-)

  5. I quite agree with tommy’s comments.. you’re much more likely to find “real” people in teashops, subway stations, wet markets etc.. the likes of Starbucks, McDonalds, etc, are just for snobs..

  6. Hi

    I have a question? How to reserve The International Youth Hotel at GREAT DRAGON HOTEL (兆龙饭店) ? Will you offer me a link or the Tel Num. please?

    as I known, Starbucks do not allow to take pics. They stopped me many times.

    I hate that. Good luck for you.

  7. Anyway, I am still looking forward to see the starbucks Beijing pictures. Local tea houses and bars can be another interesting target places to visit. But I don’t think Starbucks are just for snobs, I can say that you are more likely to see locals than tourists in Starbucks, you might see a lot of white-collars and students there, so what? That sounds interesting…

  8. Yeah you see local people in Starbucks too: local pretentious snobs and local pretentious-snob-wannabes. … But sure why not? If you find white colors and students in starbucks in Beijing are more interesting than other things Beijing offers …, just go ahead. :-)

  9. Hi my friends, I still think the trip is interesting since it is a great way to experience this city. Did I say what I wanted is only Starbucks? I won’t enter the shop and have a cup of coffee at each store. or chat with people in the shop. I just use the location of Starbucks as a route to tour the city – what I wanted to see is the city.

  10. Well. It seems it is not clear after I explain it many times. I do NOT enter the Starbucks shops or drink coffee there. I just use the shop as a “Point” in the game so it forms a route. Everything I see ALONG the route is more interesting than the POINT.

  11. Before I arrived in China I had seen on a website that the Forbidden City had a Starbucks, much to my chagrin. I was talking with a Chinese co-worker who also wondered why there were commercial businesses within the Emperor’s Palace. I met some art students there and we went to the Starbucks which is at one end of the museum shop. The price of coffee was maybe double what it would be outside the Palace I think. This was the only Starbucks I went to in China. I avoided anything foreign and instead enjoyed everything Chinese that I could! It was a wondeful month. Curt Nelson

  12. bonjour. I am a chinesse student in Paris. Your planning of visit all of starbucks in Beijing is a good idea. I am planning a projet of the market search of starbucks in Paris. So your idea help me. Thankz. Sorry for my chinesse english, because you know in Paris nobody speak English here. so despite i have learn English for 10 years but my french is better that English. so anyway i wish that your planning will come true^^

  13. I was born in Beijing, and live there more that 20yrs, in term of 2008 Olympic Games more closer, if any one wish to visit Beijing can email me with any question, I will glad to help, my email add is

  14. Hi. Love your map – it has real style !

    Only thing is – the landmark IKEA has moved. That one was big, but the new one is even bigger – out by the 4th or 5th ring now, towards WangJing (north east BJ).

    ~ Jo

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