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Travel Guide in Beijing
Travel in Beijing
Tian an men

Beijing, the capital of the People's Republic of China (zhōng huá rén mín gòng hé guó 中华人民共和国) is the nation's political, cultural, scientific and educational heart as well as a key transportation hub. Beijing has served as the capital of the country for more than 800 years dating back to the Yuan Dynasty. The city has many places of historic interest and scenic beauty, including the Forbidden City -- the largest and best preserved ancient architectural complex in the world; the Temple of Heaven - where Ming and Qing emperors performed solemn rituals for bountiful harvests; the Summer Palace  -- the emperors' magnificent garden retreat; the Ming tombs -- the stately and majestic mausoleums of 13 Ming Dynasty emperors; and the world-renowned and genuinely inspiring Badaling section of the Great Wall. Large-scale construction has brought great changes to Beijing since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 which has added many new attractions to this mysterious old city.

The Best Beijing Attractions

Badaling Great Wall: Changcheng

Badaling Great Wall, is located more than 70 kilometers northwest from the center of BeijingCity,with more than 1000 meters above sea level, occupies a commanding and strategic position. Badaling is the best-preserved section of the Great Wall. 370 foreign leaders and very important persons have come to climb Badaling successively.

For More Information: Badaling Great Wall

Forbidden City:

altThe Forbidden city situated exactly in the heart of the municipality, was home to 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The construction of the grand palace started in the fourth year of Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty (1406) and ended in 1420. In the ancient time, the emperor claimed to be the son of the heaven and therefore their supreme power was conferred upon them from the heaven.

For More Information: Forbidden City

Summer Palace:

altThe Summer Palace is located within the Haidian District, northwest of Beijing. It is the best preserved imperial garden in the world and the largest of its kind that still in existence in China today. It is mainly composed of the Longevity Hill and the Kunming Lake. The huge garden boasts about 3,000 garden architecture and is broken into three zones: office zone, living quarters and sightseeing area.

For More Information: Summer Palace

And More Beijing Attractions:
Travel in Beijing

Beijing Restaurants & Food
Beijing food or Northern food is a collection of varieties from Hebei, Shangdong, Lower Yangzi River, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang. Methods of cooking include barbecuing, deep-boiling, roasting, smoking and braising. Local products such as garlic, ginger, leeks, pork, spring onions, bean sauce, different spices, chilies and vegetables, particularly the Northern white cabbage, together with duck, pork, chicken, seafood, beef, and lamb are used to make many varieties of gourmet dishes.

altBeijing Roast Duck – Peking Duck

Beijing Roast Duck is the epitome of Beijing cuisine and is well known both at home and abroad.The dish is mostly prized for the thin, crispy skin, with authentic versions of the dish serving mostly the skin and little meat. Beijing Roast Duck

Quan Ju De Beijing Roast Duck

  • Address: 14 Qianmen Xidajie
  • Phone: 010-6302-3062
  • Fax: 010-6303-6134
  • Open: 10:30am-2pm, 4:30pm-9pm
  • Price: 150 - 200 RMB per person

Mongolian Hot Pot

altNext to Beijing Roast Duck, Mongolian Hot Pot is another great example of traditional Beijing cooking.The slices of different meats are dipped in boiling water with various kinds of vegetables until they're done, and then eaten with special sauces and side dishes.This dish is especially favored during the cold season.

Yang Fang Mongolian Hot Pot

  • Address: Yang Fang Da Du Hotel , Commercial Street , Changping District , Fourth Floor
  • Phone: 010-69768838
  • Price: 50 - 80 RMB per person
  • Beijing's most famous hot pot restaurant
  • Bifengtang Prawns

This dish is prepared by frying prawns in oil until golden red. Then they are cooked with Hong Kong's Bifengtang special techniques. This dish is delicious and slightly spicy, with a pungent garlic aroma.

altGong Bao Ji Ding

Gong Bao Ji Ding is a spicy chicken dish with peanuts and other vegetables. For some reason this dish is never the same from one restaurant to another. Perhaps this adds to its appeal as it is very popular with foreigners.

Beijing Shopping

altThe metropolis of Beijing has several shopping districts offering a mind-boggling variety of goods. The traditional shopping districts have been always Huangfujin Street, Qianmen Street, Dongdan and Xidan Commercial Street but now it seems that Jianguomen Wai Street and Chaowai Street have risen to the top for the latest and most luxurious items. Shopping at outdoor markets remains not-to-be-missed experience for foreign travelers. Check out the Panjiayuan Collection Street, Xiushui Street and Liulichang Street for local specialties such as cloisonné, ivory carvings, jade pieces, lacquer carvings, antiques and fresh water pearls.

Liulichang Culture Street
The Liulichang Culture Street, a few minutes' walk from the south of Hepingmen Subway Station is a great place for shopping in terms of both variety and atmosphere. The street is thought to have originated from Qing Dynasty, which is evidenced by the ancient wooden architecture lining either side of the street. Products sold here include jewelry, antiques, and ancient calligraphy and paintings. Enjoy the pleasure of bargaining when you decide to buy something.

  • Location: Outside Hepingmen
  • Opening time: From 9 am to 6 pm
  • Route: Bus 14, 15 ,16, 25, 45 get off at Liulichang Station

altPanjiayuan Collection Market

Panjiayuan Market is an open-air holiday market selling old arts & crafts. Over 4000 stalls offer abundant old merchandise including old books published during the Culture Revolution, Jade bracelet, ancient furniture, hand-made porcelains, calligraphy, paintings and Cultural Revolution propaganda posters. All the thing you can imagine and many thing you can't imagine are available. But most of things on the shelves are fake.

Every weekend, millions of visitors come here looking for treasure. Serious collectors are the early birds. Although it is very rare, people have been reported to find priceless ancient treasure. Perhaps that's the real reason why so many people gather here to try their lucks each weekend. You may not be lucky enough to find the Ming Dynasty vase or jade pieces from the Qing Dynasty but wandering around watching the locals doing their business is a fascinating experience.

Please Note: The market can be chaos and usually very crowded. Please keep an eye on your properties in the chaotic crowd. Make a few rounds and compare price before buying anything. Bargaining is expected.

  • Location: 18, Huawei Li, Panjiayuan Road, Chaoyang District
  • Opening time: Monday Friday 8:30 - 18:00 Saturday Sunday 4:30 - 18:00
  • Route: Bus 639(From Beijing Railway Station) , Bus 802(From Chang An Road) , Bus 300(On Third Ring Road) , Get off at Pan Jiayuan Station

Xiushui Street
altXiushui Street( Silk Market) is replete with some of the finest silk products, as well as an amazing arrays of name-brand clothes, bags such as Reebok, Adidas, Gucci. But very few of these top labels are the real thing despite their uncanny resemblance. This is probably the reason that serious shoppers usually avoid this market but there is still a lot of interesting things to see and to do. The fun of the place may not come in searching for the perfect bag or best shirt, it comes in the haggling. It may yield a feeling of accomplishment when you purchase an item at maybe 30 percent of the original price. No price is fixed is the golden rule there. The more you haggle, the better price you may get. Xiushui Street is the one of the few places in Beijing where foreign can purchase clothes and shoes in large sizes.

  • Location: in Xiushuidong Jie (East Xiushui Street) off Jianguomenwai Street, near the US Embassy.
  • Opening time: 9:30 a.m. - 21:00 p.m.
  • Route: Bus 1, 4, 9, 28, 37, 43, 120, 126, 403, 639, 640, 668, 673, 728, 729, 802, 810 get off at Yong Anli Station

Beijing City Transportation
When in Beijing, you have many different choices to get around.

altBy Bicycle
China used to be called the sea of bicycles and in Beijing today the bike is still a convenient vehicle for most people. Renting a bike may be a better way for you to see this city at your own pace. You can rent a better bike in your hotel and pay 20-30RMB for a day's rent. A deposit will be required. You can also rent bikes at some bicycle shops for repairing bikes and inflating tires. Their charge for renting bikes there is lower as the bikes are not as new. When needed, you park your bike in a bike park, which can be easily identified by the large amount of bikes on roadsides. The charge is less than 1RMB.Pedi-cab is a good choice for sightseeing, especially for visiting Hutongs on your own. You will find Pedi-cabs on the street. You should agree on a price with the driver before starting the journey. Payment in RMB or US$ will be acceptable. The legally registered Pedi-cab can be identified by a certificate attached to the cab and the driver has a card hanging around his neck.

altBy Bus
City public buses run from 5:30 till 23:00 daily. Taking buses in Beijing is quite inexpensive but less comfortable than a taxi or the subway. The flat rate for an electric car and ordinary public car is 1RMB. Buses equipped with air-conditioning or of special line are charged according to the distance. Few foreigners like getting around by bus, because it is always crowded, especially during rush hours (6:30-9:00 and 17:00-19:00). Some conductors give the stop's name in English but they can’t speak any more English. Write down some commonly used sentences in Chinese is quite helpful. Minibuses, serving from 7:00 to 19:00, charge the flat rate of 2RMB guaranteeing a seat. They are faster and more comfortable.

  • Please Note: when squeezing in a bus or on a bus, take care of your wallet.

altBy Subway
Most visitors, Chinese or foreigners will find the subway train clean, fast and relatively comfortable, except during weekends or rush hours, when the subway train is very crowded. The subway runs every 4 or 5 minutes daily from 5:00 to 22 or 23:00, according to different first stations and the fare is 3RMB per ride for any distance. There are two subway lines in Beijing: one runs under Chang'an Avenue and its line extends from Sihuidongzan in the east to Pingguoyuan in the west; another one circles under the northern part of the Second Ring Road. You can transfer between these lines at Fuxingmen station and Jianguomen station with no transfer fee.

Beijing Weather

altThe weather in Beijing is of the continental type, with cold and dry winters, due to the Siberian air masses that move southward across the Mongolian Plateau. The summers are hot owing to warm and humid monsoon winds from the southeast bringing Beijing most of its annual precipitation. January is the coldest month and July is the warmest. Winter usually begins towards the end of October. The summer months, June to August, are wet and hot with about 40% of the annual precipitation.

altTips for Travelers
Best season to visit Beijing: Summer (June to August) is considered peak season, when hotels typically raise their rates and the Great Wall nearly collapses under the weight of marching tourists. The autumn months between September and November have the best weather and fewer tourists. Spring is less pleasant - not many tourists but lots of wind and dust. In winter, you'll have Beijing to yourself and many hotels offer substantial discounts - just remember it's an ice box outside. Everything is chock-a-block during the Chinese New Year (usually in January or February).

Clothes for traveling:

altIn autumn, jeans and a sweater are usually enough. In the warmer months, T-shirts and light pants or shorts are the best bet. In the colder months, it is wise to dress in layers: long underwear and jeans, shirt, sweater and down jacket. If you want to go local, you can buy a thick cotton army coat (jun da yi) for less than 100 yuan (12 bucks). Rain gear is necessary, especially during the summer months.

altAvoid Peak Holidays :
It is not a good idea to travel in China during Chinese holidays when it is the time Chinese people are traveling around. The most hottest three national holidays in China are Chinese Spring Festival (usu. in late Jan or early Feb.), International Labor Day (May1 to 7)and National Day(Oct 1 - 7). Spring Festival is an especially Crowded time to travel. The advantage of being in China at this time is that you will get the opportunity to experience "first hand" the significance of these celebrations in Chinese culture.

Others Tips:
An umbrella should be taken with in case the unexpected rainfall especially in summer. Sun glass and sun cream are needed to protect yourself from being hurt.