I moved hotels today and went from a suite about the same floor area as my whole flat to a room in a Hutong area with the bedroom and bathroom about the same size as my main bedroom at home. Clean and tidy with power and a subway station at end of street I will be there for four nights. Hutongs are famous for courtyard houses The Rough Guide to Beijing says “go courtyard if you want atmosphere and local colour” but not tea making facilities lol.
The subway is a mix of London and Edinburgh colour coded and easy to understand like London but you have to be brash and pushy like driving in Edinburgh to get anywhere. The stations and trains are clean and the platforms have glass screens running thier length with automatic doors which open when a train has arrived. I travelled to the zoo using the subway today a journey of 10 stops, 30 mins at a cost of 40p! I normally wouldnt go to a zoo as I dont agree with caging wild animals but the chance to see pandas was too good to miss however the pandas looked as whacked and apathetic in the heat as I felt.
The rough guide is getting a fair amount of thumbing but has left out, what for me was a vital bit of info Subway line 7! Yes a whole subway line which just happened to be at the end of my street luckily I stumbled upon it first thing today and it saved me a walk to the station I had planned to use. So beware rough guides!