Normally, I would not write an entire blog post about riding the subway. However, riding the subway in Beijing actually needs its own post. I am writing this to help people understand what I go through on a daily basis, as well as some tips for how to have the most enjoyable experience possible when riding the subway.
If I could compare the subway in Beijing to anything in the world, I would compare it to a jungle full of wild animals running around. Now, this probably sounds super scary to you, but with the right attitude you can make it to your destination safely.
My 10 Tips for riding the subway:
1. Always know which exit you need to get off at. This is usually marked by letters A-G or by direction. (Trust me you want to be as close to where you need to go as possible.)
2. You will have to put your bag through a security machine or show the workers what is in your bag. This always adds a few minutes to your subway travel, so factor that into your time frame. (P.S. No food or drinks are allowed in the subway or you may get a fine) (P.P.S. No one follows the rules in China)
3. Try to find a platform entrance that is the least closest to the stairs. The less crowded your journey will start the better.
4. In most cities you wait for everyone to get off the subway before you enter. In Beijing, it’s basically a free for all. Try your best to make it inside the subway before the doors shut. (Warning: this involves A LOT of pushing people.)
5. People will push you. People will even elbow you in the face. Accept it. You will most likely push people too and they have accepted it.
6. When the subway doors open at each stop it may seem like the world is about to end. People who were completely calm and collected will fight for their lives to get out that door as fast as possible. This involves pushing, shoving, sometimes yelling and even running during rush hour. Get out of their way if it is not your stop. If it is your stop, join in the fun and push people until you make it out the door!
7. You will lose all sense of personal space. Be prepared to be touched, fell on top of, and kissing distance away from strangers on a daily basis.
8. People will stare at you if you are foreign. If you stare back, they will stare even longer. Just look away or embrace it and keep staring into each other’s eyes!
9. People are going to take pictures of you. Just accept it.
10. Lastly, don’t let the subway get the best of you. Get from A to B and try not to lose your subway card.