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China - Beijing to be precise!

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1. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru 3546 posts) 10y

We have decided at last that it will be Beijing for about 7 nights in June, can l have some advice? Any hotel recommendations? What should be on our lists of things to go see and do? What about day trips out of town?

Purdy

2. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru 3546 posts) 10y

Another wee question - which would be better Beijing or Shanghai? Or which low cost carriers could fly us between the 2 cities?

Purdy

3. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 10y

There are lots of things to do in and around Beijing. The Imperial Palace is worth a full day. The Great Wall is an easy day trip out of town. Just spend a day wandering around the hutong in old Beijing and seeing the amazing shops and restaurants. If you are there for 7 days, you probably won't even make it through all the obvious things to see listed in your guidebook.

I stayed at the Bamboo Garden Hotel near the Golou metro stop. Amazing place! It was around $US 70 a night. It's a first rate establishment, built around a courtyard that once housed the Empress' eunuchs. There are quiet pools to sit by for reflection, a restaurant, tea room and bar, and (most importantly) hot water in the showers! The room is fantastic, including free HBO and a James Bond-like control panel to control and lights that folds up into the night stand to disguise itself as a drawer when not being used.

Ordering in restaurants can be a bit of pain, so if you speak no Chinese, look for places with pictures on the menus, or eat from stalls where you can see the food. I had no problems eating from the stalls, and it was very inexpensive.

Also, be wary of students practicing English with you. I meet a couple of students who wanted to practice English with me. They showed me around for a couple of hours, and then we went to see a tea ceremony. The bill came and it was for $330, which the students didn't have. I paid, and then we went out to dinner. I didn't even realize it was a scam until I read about it a few days later. They worked 5 hours for the money! Also, I was approached twice by English speakers who were "art students" and wanted to show me their work.

As for getting from Beijing to Shanghai and back, I don't know about airlines, but heard good things about the Z6 train between the two.

4. Posted by Zhou (Full Member 126 posts) 10y

Can`t be any more convenient to travel bt the two most important cities in China,either by train or air. Sometimes it costs even less to fly from SH to BJ than by train if there`s a discount(there often is). Besides Z6 as Greg recommended, there`s also T-titled overnight express.

5. Posted by Zhou (Full Member 126 posts) 10y

The styles of BJ and SH are very different. I was from BJ and now work in SH. All my SH colleagues are laughing at BJ for being so "out of date,unconvenient,and boring" ; however, sometimes I can`t help regarding SH as a place lack of historical and cultural background and resource. Being the most modern city in China, SH is rather a city of material. While BJ to me, is the city of soul and culture.

6. Posted by citybell (Full Member 419 posts) 10y

There are lots of things to see in Beijing...i think you will surely need min 4days.

There are many flights between Beijing and shanghai and often prices are discounted.but never travel during long public holidays as the fare tend to go up steeply including that of trains too!There are luxurious trains between these two cities!

Shanghai is like any other modern cities.You can have a walk near the bund or go up to the oreint pearl tower or visit the Jade Buddha temple. If you have more time you can visit Suzhou or Hangzhou cities near to shanghai.

Recommend to visit both cities.

Have a great time.

7. Posted by Apex101 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 10y

hey purdy!

me and my mate are doin exactly the same as you in hte summer, a week in beijing! we jus tryin to find out as much info too! soo much to see gonna have to choose where we wanna go the most i think!

8. Posted by kristing (Budding Member 8 posts) 10y

I traveled by train from Beijing and made my way down to Shanghai in 2002. I can liken the cities to D.C. (Beijing) and New York (Shanghai). Beijing seems imperative to visit if you're going to China, but it certainly isn't as glamorous as Shangahai. Spend at least 4 full days in Beijing. I would recommend taking a bus and going to a section of the Great Wall that isn't so touristy. You won't have to pay an admission price, and while it will be more challenging to hike, you won't have to battle big crowds either.
Have fun!

9. Posted by kucira (Full Member 61 posts) 10y

great wall, summer palace, hutong, forbidden palace, tiananmen square, the lama temple, temple of heaven... all worth to pay a visit.

for great wall, if u like to hike, i would suggest the "Ju-yong-guan". Simatai is not bad either but the Badaling one will be bug by ppl trying to sell u things along the way.

there are some restoration going on in forbidden palace.

if you have a student pass, bring along, u might get student fare for the tickets n will save alot.

whats your budget for ur accomodation? there are a number of IYH which is clean n affordable, approx 30Y/bed/nite.

spend 2 - 3 days in SH, chk out the bund, french concessions.

10. Posted by ellyse (Full Member 195 posts) 10y

What's your budget for the hotel? There're many hotels in Beijing, what to recommend will depend on what your budget is, among other considerations.
Must-sees: Yonghegong lamasery, Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Great Wall hike from Jinshanling to Simatai (I suppose this qualifies as a daytrip), and Panjiayuan market. These are my personal favourites. Other stuff that you should also include are Wangfujing, Summer Palace, Mao Zedong's Mausoleum, Old Summer Palace and a hutong tour. And of course, don't forget to get at least 1 good meal of Peking duck!
Daytrips: You could also try Tianjin and Chengde. If you can do an overnight, take the Z train to Xi'an and back.
For your timing, I think Beijing would be better than Shanghai, I guess. Although I do say that Shanghai's very interesting too! It all boils down to what you really prefer to see and do while travelling.