I start my RTW travel in Beijing in early Nov. Few queries.
Can anyone recommend a good hostel, and am I better off booking accomodation before I go?
I want to do a good Great Wall tour - can anyone recommend one? Don't want to be stuck in the middle of thousands of tourists though.
Also wondering what the weather will be like, approx. 10 degrees?
If anyone can advise on some good things to see/do in Beijing that would be great.
I'll be in Beijing for a week before flying down to Hong Kong, any advice appreciated
i used to stay in Feiying IYH in Beijing. Only abt Y30/bed... pretty pleasant and easy access to train station and the subway.
i wouldnt recommend Badaling coz is abit touristic. if u hv the stamina, take the "Ju-Yong-Guan" or else Simatai is good. Hostel often provide package, u can chk with them.
forbidden palace, bicycle ride around hutong area and summer palace is worth paying a visit. er... maybe temple of heaven.
the lama temple is not bad too.
have a wonderful RTW trip!
Thanks for the advice. Whats the general feel of Beijing is it an easy place to travel?
beijing is very big... air quality is not that good.
tourist spot are scattered.
oh, ya... try their peking duck.
if u r staying in Feiying, then there is this small lane has a Muslim restaurant, their bread and bbq is yummy
I got back from Beijing about a week ago now, and really wasnt that enamoured by the place. I dont know if its because ive been living in Japan for the last 6 months, or if its just Beijing, but i shant be going back. The people seemed quite rude (and i was staying in a 4 * hotel!) and not particularly keen to help. I saw 5 traffic accidents in the week i was there and my mum was caught up in 1. The roads are a total nightmare - f u take a cab or ne form of transport that takes u onto the roads then u r taking ur life into ur hands!! Also, be very careful when u try and cross the road. The cars will not stop for you, even if the green light is on to say pedestrians can cross. They just keep on going.
The sights were so so. The great wall was of course awesome - i went to Badaling, and even though it was touristy, i really enjoyed it. The forbidden city was not that great in my view. Lots of rooms to peer into and that was it. I enjoyed the Temple of Heaven park and Beihai park, though was a bit shocked i had to pay to get into both!
Air quality, def not that great, and many beggars around. The pavements are in need of some repair, and in my view a hell of a late needs to be done before the Olympics get there.
Of course, these are just my personal views. As i said, they may have ben skewed slightly by my living in japan - perhaps the cleanest country in the world, with very nice people.
I stayed in Beijing for 6 days and I stayed at the Far East International Hostel. The location was perfect- right in the middle of a real Hutong while being just 10 mins from the nearest metro station and about a 20 min walk from Tianamen Square.It was one of the best hostels I stayed in whilst in China.
I was there in early June and the pollution was unbelievable-everybody was complaining of a tickling/ itching feeling in their lungs!!Don't expect to see much sun- like most Chinese cities.
Most sights, and most people agreed when I was there, were over- rated and a bit of a let down esp The Forbidden City. The Great Wall Of China was spectacular- try and do the hike from Jishilang to Simitai- one of the best experiences of my life!!
Oh yeah, entrance fees to sights were very expensive, so if you have a student card ,bring it!
In Beijing, nobody can read maps - so don't expect much help in getting directions.Sure ,hardly anybody speaks English.Expect to be hounded by loads of hawkers( esp on the Great Wall), tuk tuk and taxi drivers etc!!Just ignore them and eventually they go away.Beware the tea room / art gallery scams and the English language students.
It's defintely a great city though ,once you get use to the hawkers and the overly enthusiastic Chinese tourist groups!!
Beijing's ok - true what you all said about it. Polluted and bad traffic, but it's worth a visit to see the sights mentioned: Great Wall at Simatai and Jingshanling for good hiking and great views; The Forbidden City - but you must take your time and not go in a tour group, look at the exhibits in the rooms, most especially the concubine room. Summer Palace is pleasant - they should have most of the restoration work done by the time you get there - it is bound to be sparkling! Definitely have Peking, or rather Beijing Duck - mmmmm. Don't talk to strangers, and be wary of Chinese who speak good English as most of them don't and those who do are "students" who are out to scam you. Though sometimes the scams are pleasant, they leave you with much less cash than you planned on. The best place to stay seemed to be in a small hutong area just north of the Forbidden City called Downtown Backpackers Hostel. We couldn't stay there because they were all booked up, but we used their internet service and the staff was very helpful.
Nov is likely to be chilly so bring warm clothes, esp for the hike on the wall as the elevation is quite high.
My top hostel recommendation would be Peking Downtown Backpackers Accommodation (http://www.greatwalladventure.com/hostel.htm). They're very popular, so definitely book in advance. They also run a good daytrip to the Wall.