Dating in Beijing is hard, that’s a given. The stress of being in a different country, a place where you might not be able to speak the language, with a new and seemingly strange culture all just add to the daily experience. Factor in a smaller than usual support network (and who can forget about the pollution) and it is easy to see why many aspects of our lives get neglected in the megacity that is Beijing.
Perks and pitfalls of dating in Beijing
1) People, people, people
One of Beijing’s biggest untapped assets has to be its people. The city presents you with a great opportunity to meet people you would otherwise have not met back home (both foreign and local). You have an opportune chance to broaden your horizons and even learn or practice a new language. Apart from the wealth of expats across the city (think BLCU, the many English schools and just about any foreign company), there is another side. Koreans actually make up the largest expat community in Beijing; they’re especially concentrated in the Wudaokou and Wangjing areas.
2) Beijing’s a mother to get around
Geography – this has to be one of Beijing’s less fortunate attributes. Even if you have found that perfect someone, dating might present you with one giant commute. I knew a girl who used to travel the whole of pre-extended line 10 from Jinsong to Bagou to meet her prospective love interest. While I respect her dedication, someone is bound to get bored of the situation and look for options closer to home eventually.
3) Hello, how are you, I love you
Yes, we have all had those experiences where a relationship moved way too quickly in Beijing, but why is that? Have you fallen into holiday romance mode where love interests you encounter quickly progress to full blown relationships in the space of a few weeks, even days in some cases? Or are you in it for the long haul? It is very easy in a place like Beijing to lose your grip on reality. If what you are both looking for is something to pass the time here then go for it. But just because you are both American and share a common hatred of the Beijing Subway and the pollution does not guarantee a fairy tale ending once transported back home.
It’s a date
I called in reinforcements and asked people to suggest some of the places they had the most memorable (and successful dates) here in Beijing.
1) CrepaniniView In Map
Small and intimate, this Sanlitun spot offers a selection of crepes, waffles and cupcakes (try the red velvet) at affordable prices – 10 or 20 RMB per cupcake and 32 RMB for a basic crepe or waffle. Definitely recommended!
Add: Room A110, 1F, Nali Patio, No. 81 Sanlitun North Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel: 010 5208 6093
2) Great Leap BrewingView In Map
Okay, so you have all been to Nanluoguxiang more times than you can remember, but have you ever considered a date there? Great Leap Brewing is a courtyard bar offering drinks at affordable prices, approximately 25-40 RMB.
Add: 6 Doujiao Hutong, off Dianmenwai Dajie, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Tel: 010 5717 1399
3) Viva Coffee BarView In Map
Viva Coffee Bar offers more than enough for any date! From good food and local beers to a painting studio upstairs and a karaoke system downstairs, surprise your love interest with your, ahem, “skills”.
Add: 55 Dongmianhua Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Tel: 010 6400 6476
4) Head outdoors!
Take your special someone somewhere you’ll also enjoy; dating isn’t supposed to be some sort of chore. One friend took his girlfriend camping on the Great Wall (she loved it) and a girl last week told me she had a romantic picnic in Beihai Park – the choices are literally endless!
5) Speed Dating
Bars and clubs in Beijing aren't the only way to meet people, friends are often the best source of potential love interests, so is starting a new hobby. Don't despair! For those of you requiring a little more direction, help is at hand. Check out Fishbowl Events (http://fishbowlevents.com). They offer a variety of dating services from conventional speed dating to bachelor auctions and dinner parties. Prices and locations vary (check website regularly), but a bout of speed dating can set you back around 150 RMB.
So that’s it people! Beijing in all its glory can be more than a hazy memory (drunken and smog-filled). Being away from home doesn’t have to be a life of unfulfilling romantic encounters and bad dating experiences. Remember, have fun and be safe!
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Keywords: dating in Beijing Beijing dating tips
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