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北京中国

Beijing

China

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Beijing Gay Guide

Introduction

Beijing is the political, educational and cultural centre of China and therefore rich in historical sites and important government and cultural institutions. In other words, there is lots of sightseeing to do. The stunning Tempe of Heaven, the vast Tiananmen Square and of course the very intriguing Bird’s Nest Stadium just to name a few. Beijing has opened up quite a bit, especially since the 2008 Olympic Games. Just know that a trip to Beijing is mainly a cultural experience. In terms of nightlife or shopping, Beijing does have a growing number of gay spots that are actually quite fun. “Destination” is probably the largest gay bar in Asia. However, don’t expect the gay flag to fly over the Communist Party Headquarters anytime soon. Many gay sites and apps are blocked and so is Facebook. But China is a rising power and Beijing will soon be one of the most influential cities in the world. These are exiting times to be in Beijing. Be a part of it!

Getting there

If you are a train geek, there are direct trains from Moscow to Beijing. And there is also a new high-speed train line between Shanghai and Beijing. But most sisters probably want to fly and arrive at the new Beijing Capital International Airport (BJS). It is located about 26km outside the city and consists of three different terminals. But no matter in which terminal you arrive, just grab your Gucci bag and go to the official taxi queue. A taxi to your hotel will cost you around ¥80-120. Expect traffic jams during busy hours. And many taxi drivers don’t speak English so have your destination written down in Chinese. You can also take the Airport Express to Sanyuanqiao (connect to subway line 10) or Dongzhimen (connect to subway lines 2 and 10). A oneway ticket on the Airport Express will cost you ¥25 and the journey will take about 20-30min.

Please note that you will probably need a visa to enter China. Check with your nearest Chinese Embassy. Tourists are generally quite easy to obtain and are fairly cheap, unless you are an American sister.

Getting around

Beijing’s subway system is safe and efficient. It consists of about 15 lines and covers most of Beijing as well as surrounding areas. Line 1 will take you to Tiananmen Square, line 2 to the Temple of Heaven (Tiantan station) and the new line 8 stops at the Olympic Park if you want to see the Bird’s Nest Stadium. Fares are just ¥2 and you can buy the ticket with cash at any station. Instructions are available in English. Most subway stations have x-ray machines and you will be asked to have your bags scanned. So please leave you gay sex toys in your hotel room. The first trains start to run around 05:00. However, the system closes quite early at around 23:00. So if you want to enjoy the nightlife you are stuck with taxis.

Taxis are usually readily available but depending on the area and time of day, you may have to wait a while. Fares start at ¥10 and goes up from there. Of course more expensive than the subway but still quite affordable. Most drivers do not speak English so write down your destination in Chinese or ask someone from your hotel to talk to the driver. Some drivers refuse to turn on the meter, especially if you look like a tourist. And some drivers refuse to take any foreign passengers at all. But normally you shouldn’t have any problems.

The subway and taxis will get you almost anywhere. However, if you want to visit the Great Wall, it’s probably best if you book a sightseeing tour as it is about 70km away.

When to go

Beijing has a lot of attractions to visit so you will spend quite a lot of time outdoors. So spend some time to figure out when you want to go. Winters in Beijing are long and freezing. Expect temperatures to drop down to -10°C. So November to February is maybe not ideal if you plan to do a lot of sightseeing. Summers on the other hand can get very hot and muggy. June-August is also when it rains a lot. So we recommend spring (March/April) or autumn (September/October) as it is generally dry and the temperatures are a comfortable 15-20°C.

You also may want to avoid Chinese New Year which usually takes place in February. ”National Day Golden Week” kicks off on 1 October. Both these periods means that 1.2 billion Chinese people are on the move throughout the country. So it’s probably best to stay away. On the other hand, there are also lots of festivals and activities happening. Maybe a good chance to meet some sisters from the country side.

What to see

Tiananmen Square

Vast and impressive square, site of the 1986 bloody massacres

Temple of Heaven

Probably one of the most beautiful temples in the world

The Great Wall

Very impressive, a lot of history but a bit far from town

Bird’s Nest Stadium

Unique and stunning architecture of the 2008 Beijing Olympics

Sanlitun

Lively area with international stores and unique bars

Stay connected

The Communist Party still rules in China and they keep a close eye on internet access. Buying a local SIM card is not easy. Data roaming usually works fine. However, expect some sites and apps to be blocked, including Facebook/Twitter/Youtube as well as gay dating apps Jack’d and Grindr. One way around this is VPN (virtual private network). There are several providers but “VPN Fire” usually works fine for iphones. Just download their free app from iTunes and purchase a data plan (just about US$ 1 for 1GB). This doesn’t always work as the Chinese authorities try to fight it. But generally it does give you access. You can also use this when you connect to the WiFi network of your hotel. The popular gay club “Destination” also offers free WiFi.

Gay life

It was only in 2001 when China removed homosexuality from its official register of psychiatric disorders. So China is definitely not the most gay-friendly nation in the world. Most of the media is being censored and so far the government does not allow the topic to be discussed openly. Having said that, sex between two adult men is legal. And the police has rules not to harass law-abiding gay people. So in a major city like Beijing, there is no reason to feel unsafe. The same thing cannot be said for other parts of the country. And please note that prostitution remains illegal, both gay and straight. But of course you can find “massage boys” offering their services online and on mobile.

So while China is opening up, the government still restricts the people’s freedoms. The (unofficial) government policy towards homosexuality is “no approval, no disapproval, no promotion”. However, the population itself is more accepting of the issue. According to a survey in 2008, more than 80% of Chinese people agreed that heterosexuals and homosexuals were "equal individuals". And according to China Daily there are about 30 million homosexuals in China (2.3% of the population). However, the same report also admits that most remain in the closet.

 



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