Ask Beijing Today is our weekly attempt to make life in China less confusing. Whether it’s tracking down the papers to apply for a Chinese green card, dealing with KTV-crazy neighbors or finding the best buy on saffron, we are happy to help.
Q. My parents, my younger brother and sister and my grandma are all coming to China in February, during Chinese New Year. We’re definitely doing Beijing and Xi’an. Any suggestions for two more cities that would be good to visit?
A. We would suggest you continue west to Chengdu and then south a little to Kunming in Yunnan province or Guilin in Guangxi province. But honestly, a lot of people will be traveling during the Spring Festival. Taking your family to travel during this busy holiday might be uncomfortable. You could alternatively take them to a small town or village and let them experience China the proper way.
Q. Can I do the whole “temporary residence registration form” at any police station, or are there special police stations for it?
A. As far as we know, the registration should be done at the closest police station to where you live. If they don’t do it there, they should tell you where to go.
Q. I want to watch a music concert here, but I don’t know what to prepare for it. Is there anything I’m not allowed to bring to a concert hall?
A. In general, you can bring a camera with lens, water and a glow stick to the hall, but you might need to leave your bag in a locker outside the concert hall at venues such as the Beijing Music Hall. The most important thing is to make sure your phone is kept silent during the concert, and try to be there on time.
Q. What is a good online radio station or show for learning Chinese?
A. Check out this one: cntv.cn/learnchinese. It’s an official platform set up to help expats learn Chinese.
Q. I’m looking to buy some alcohol (beer, wine, spirits) to stock up, and I would like some recommendations. I love a good deal as much as anybody, but I’m worried the cheap alcohol will be fake, so I’d appreciate some recommendations of places that you know are legit.
A. You can find a variety of imported beers in supermarkets. Buy cans instead of bottles because it’s more difficult to fake a beer can than a bottle.