Am spending 7 days in Beijing in August and was hoping to get some suggestions about things not to miss. I am deeply shallow when it comes to seeing / doing stuff. I want to see all the major tourist things and dont mind doing a whirlwind tour in order to get everything in.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
I`m also staying in Beijing in July/August for 7 days. The trips/excursions I plan myself. I have read a lot about Beijing in the Lonely Planet and on internet. So I just make a plan before I go to China. I`m going on the Transmongolian Railway from Moscow to Beijing. So there`s plenty of time to choose some objects I wanna see.
The following places I deffintly wanna see in Beijing:
- Forbidden City
- Tian`anmen square
- Summer Palace
- Beihai Park
- Modern Architecture throughout the city
- Temple of Heaven
- Lama temple
- The Great Wall in Jinshanling/Simatai
- Ming City Wall ruins
- Jingshan Park
[ Edit: Edited at May 27, 2006 5:18 AM by pingman ]
- Jinshanling-Simatai Great Wall
- Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square
- Yonghegong Lamasery
- Temple of Heaven
- Peking duck dinner
- acrobat performance (the one at Chaoyang Theatre is especially recommended)
other places u might wanna go:
1. for shopping
- wangfujing and xidan are the main shopping areas (very accessible by the beijing subway - wangfujing and xidan stops), very near to tian'anmen. u can get goods ranging from brands (real goods) like prada, ballenciaga, CK, etc. all the way to local-brand stuff, which are pretty good as well.. cheap too!
- silk street - fantastic imitation goods (bags, coats, shoes, luggages, wallets, etc) - accessible by subway (yong an li stop). u need to have fantastic bargaining powers so as not to get ripped off. they will quote u a fantastically high price for an item. offer one-sixth of the price they are asking. stand firm!! the maximum u shd pay for the item is one-fifth of the asking price. just go up bit by bit til that ceiling price. i went there with my boyfriend (who is a local beijing-ian living overseas now) n his tactic:
shopkeeper: 600 yuan.
shopkeeper: too low! cannot. go higher. how much can u pay? u say.
shopkeeper: cannot... too low too low. i will lose money...
boyfriend: 100. i won't pay any more.
the shopkeeper will say that she can't give u this price, it goes on for a couple of minutes... then my boyfriend walks away. if he gets called back, he'll usually get it at 100 (his ceiling is probably 120). otherwise, at the next shop (they all sell basically same stuff) he will offer abit higher for that same item.
many tourists from europe / USA think that if they reduce the price by 1/2, they get a good deal already. the shopkeeper will make it look like he's making a big loss, but actually, even after u reduce the price by 1/2, he makes a hefty profit of a few hundred percent!!
another tactic we used in haggling:
say that u are helping someone back home to buy this, n this is the budget he gave u. u can't pay more for the item cos u can't afford it. they may give in.
Please note that at other places, the haggling ratio is NOT one-sixth the price offered. ask for prices at a few shops to get an idea of the worth of the item before bargaining.
2. the great wall
- i guess the most popular one is at Badaling, which is really quite crowded, but has the best views (i feel) and it is the longest stretch of the great wall that has been restored. it is also the most accessible section from beijing, and there are tour guides at every tourist place, asking u "want to go great wall? tomorrow?" u can take up one of those tours. it would be inconvenient to try to get there by urself. anyway, for the price of the day tour, it's worth it. i only wish they'd spend more time at the great wall (usually 2.5 hrs is allocated) instead of all the other rubbish places that they bring us to during the rest of the day...
about the tours which bring u to Badaling:
a tour package will cost you RMB 100-150 (no more, but u can bargain for 100), inclusive of:
- pick up by van from ur hotel to tian'anmen
- a chance to watch the sunrise Flag Raising ceremony at tian'anmen (it's free, but time is allocated for it anyway), good because they /know the exact time, n transport is provided early in the morning
- coach from tian'anmen to Badaling, with tour guide (usually an irritating one: see reasons below)
- entrance fee to badaling (he will tell u it's actually 100 but he can get it for you at 60, which is why they only charge so "little")
- lunch (at a lousy restaurant. food is inedible cos they aren't looking for returning customers anyway. so bring ur own food if u can, drinks too)
- "admission fee to Ming tombs" (which is bullshit because the section they bring us to is free entry
-free trip to some unknown temple (which requires no entrance fee anyway, because they expect u to buy some merchandise or make donations there)
on the bus, on the way to Badaling, the tour guide will tell u, they are bringing u to a section of the great wall which has a tram ride up to the 4th fort (out of 8) and it is very steep if u were to climb from the first, n the first three forts are not through-pass to the fourth, bla bla bla, so you HAVE to take the tram ride, which costs another RMB 100.
in other words, expect to pay between RMB 200-250 for the whole trip. don't feel that u've been "ripped off / cheated" because that's the way it is (and i'm warning u beforehand anyway). u wld be surprised that majority of the tour groups on these day trips to Badaling are local Chinese (from other parts of China) and hey, they don't complain, so i guess u know that this kinda things happen throughout China, and they already expect it.
about the irritating tour guide:
he will most likely yak the whole way (in mandarin usually, some speak english too) to Badaling (some 2 hours by coach from Tian'anmen), telling folk stories and such. it is amusing for a while, but don't take his word for it. he will be telling u about some mythical creature, likely, and u will understand why later.
a portion of the time on this 'day trip to Badaling' will be devoted to visiting places which aim to con tourists, i.e., places where u can buy jade, tourist souvenirs, bla bla bla. they give u a colored number tag before u enter the "shopping place", their reason? to identify the tour groups so u wont get lost. the real reason? so that they can give commission to ur tour guide when u guys buy stuff.
i'm not saying the jade / pearl products are fake - they probably are real - but they are also not worth the price that these sales people ask. if u REALLY REALLY want to buy, haggle with them for a price that u r comfortable with.
u might find urself slightly wavering after hours of the tour guide's incessant yakking about the protective powers of this so-called mythical creature (if u understand mandarin). it's fine to pay a little to buy some small jade souvenir if u want, but please don't even consider buying statues, or whatnot. they are too costly!!
- u can visit beijing university
by the way, beijing public transport is fantastically convenient and cheap. u can take buses and trains, and save alot of money (a bus ride is about RMB 0.20 and a subway ride about RMB 0.60, if i didn't remember wrongly. the new prices were implemented only this january 2007)
i always believe that to really experience a place, u have to indulge in its public transport system (even if it sucks) because only then u can learn alot about the place. u will also see places along the way (if u take a bus) which are not 'touristy'. mostly homes, offices, banks, libraries, etc., which will give u a better idea about life in beijing for a local.
the subway map is here: http://www.beijingmap.us/city/subway/maps/desktops/beijing_subway_map_800_600_desktop.jpg
u might wanna consider staying around the xidan / xicheng / tiananmen districts, it's very convenient and many tourist attractions are near these places, plus transport is convenient.
taxi fares generally aren't expensive either, so u may wanna indulge on days that are abit packed for you. saves time.. but then again, beijing traffic condition is horrible so u might save more time taking the subway after all. haha!
the subway isn't particularly clean - it's also crowded at most times of the day haha, but experience it if u have the time - even if it's just for a couple of stops. i like standing in the front most carriage, and looking through the glass window to see the drivers operate the subway.
i know i'm weird. anyway. u can tell i'm really bored, by the amount of things i've typed here. feel free to ask for more info if u need any!!
hey daphnemania, i love your comments !!
haha, yeah, i am not very in favour of travelling to those very touristy places and i love exploring. but cos i will be going to beijing with my parents so i gotta follow the stupid tour package.....
I will be having free and easy on 19 or 20 Feb.
Any nice pubs in beijing where i can check out the nightlife there ?
it's winter now...so i reckon the dress code will be like winter wear ?
I was thinking if we could meet up or something ... haha...
or do you have anything else which u think is a must-do/see/eat ?
Thanks for the tour info to Great Wall at Badaling and around Beijing. I might need more info as I'm going to Shanghai from Singapore to meet my Chinese colleague in Jiangsu, Changzhou on 21 Feb. After visiting him about 3 days for Chinese New Year, I'll continue my journey to Beijing. He says he wants to go to Beijing too but not confirm yet. If he is going together with me then it would probably be much easier to get around cause i'm not quite fluent in mandarin but if he can't make it, I'll be going alone. Which is a better way to go from Jiangsu to Beijing? By train or by plane? Any suggestion on budget accomodation to stay in Beijing for probably 5-6 nights? How do I get to the accomodation from Beijing Airport? Any idea accomodation in Beijing might be full or not during CNY period? Are the great wall and other tourist attractions centre opens during the period from 24 Feb - 1 Feb as they are still CNY period? I'll be coming back to Singapore most probably on 1 Feb. Do hope you could reply early as it's only 5 days away before I fly. Thanks and God bless
[ Edit: Edited on Feb 16, 2007, at 7:23 AM by jlovebroj ]
I don't think there's an airport at Changzhou, and it's NOT easy to get train tickets in this season. Best bet would be to go to Nanjing to try and get a train to Beijing, or fly from Nanjing to Beijing.
No, the sights are definitely all open, they'd have to be mad to close now and lose all the potential business.
Go look at http://www.yhachina.com for hostels in China.