A recent poll by Conde Nast Traveler ranked Beijing the 6th ‘unfriendliest‘ city in the world for 2014 based on a variety of factors including traffic, pollution, crowds. Yeah, sounds about right. CN Traveler said:
Though many readers find Beijing “fascinating” and “beautiful,” others believe that its “terrible pollution” dulls the city’s many charms. “It’s a smoggy, crowded city that detracts from the amazing sites,” one reader said, while another complained about its “dirty streets and hideous traffic.” For a guaranteed smog and traffic-free experience, might we suggest going off the beaten path entirely?
‘Terrible pollution’ might be the understatement of the century. Beijing’s smog is so airpocalyptic it will reportedly cost an estimated 1 trillion yuan to clean up, and has even made the Ministry of Environmental Protection consider closing schools, cutting working hours, and halting outdoor activities during loosely-defined ‘heavy pollution days.’ It’s come to the point where we’re starting to think that the song ‘One Night in Beijing’ refers to the amount of time you can spend there before getting emphysema.
Many complained that CN Traveler neglected to factor in the attitude of the actual people in the ranking. Fortunately, TripAdvisor users picked up the slack, voting Beijing the world’s second-worst city for friendly locals, best taxi service, and friendliest taxi drivers.
The five cities to top the Chinese capital were Johannesburg (S. Africa), Cannes (France), Moscow, Paris, and Marseille (France).
Though considering the Beijing police’s Orwellian drug-testing at bars as of late, we won’t be surprised if they top the rankings before long. It’s no wonder that not even the Great Wall and Forbidden City can prevent tourist arrivals from dropping ten percent per quarter.
Hey, whatever takes the spotlight off of Shanghai’s own Mordor-esque smog, cantankerous cabbies, and ridiculous traffic.