I'm going to be in Beijing early April, 2012. Suggestions for things to do aside from the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, etc?
Posted on Aug 28, 2011
You will find these things on most tourists lists, but they are worth doing none-the-less. The Lama Temple and don't just stop there, there are several wonderful temples in that neighborhood. The Temple of Heaven is just that- heaven. Beihai Park is a nice relaxing get away. The Ming Tombs and the Summer Palace are both out of the way and worth the trip.
If you are into art don't miss Area 798. If you think you want to purchase art, take cash, you are way out of the city with no real way to get cash, and most of the artists don't take credit cards.
the Red Gate Art Gallery which is housed in an old guard house on the Ming Wall is worth the visit. The history and views are fascinating, you will find It on the south side of the train station. The walk along the outside of the wall is a lovely park and respite from the city.
The Beijing Ancient Observatory is absolutely fascinating, and worth the difficulty to get there.
Posted Aug 29, 2011Add a comment
All the suggestions from Ms. Casey! A fun way to get to the Summer Palace is by boat. It's a tad tricky to find, but I managed with my rudimentary Mandarin, so probably anyone can. The launch is behind the exhibition center. I read about it in Frommer's Beijing (3rd edition). Another place I enjoyed was Prince Gong's mansion. Strolling around the Back Lakes or driving a little boat around is pleasant. Try some Hakka food! Fragrant Hills are relaxing, too. Really depends how much time you have. I've spent a total of about 15 days there and still so much I didn't see. For the Great Wall, I recommend getting out of Beijing. Many hostels will offer bus rides out to Jin Shan Ling or Simatai. If you're interested, you can read about some of the things I did and see some photos on my travel blog for inspiration. Beijing is at the beginning and end of 2005 and the end of 2006. SKJtravel.net. (see archive on right-hand side of home page) Have fun!
Posted Aug 30, 2011Add a comment
John, ask your hotel to arrange a driver/guide to take you to one of the artists villages outside of the city. Some old farming villages have been bought by artists who have studios behind the farm walls. You might try an online search for local guides and query them by e-mail about these art villages. We did such a tour a few years ago and were welcomed by artists...some exhibit all over the world. Sorry, I can't find the name of our guide.
Posted Aug 31, 2011Add a comment
Just to add some advice about the Great Wall from Skj Traveler, I was in Beijing May & June. Simatai was closed. I don't know if it still is, but I went to Mutianyu (less crowded than touristy Badaling) and it's gorgeous. Most hostels will arrange for you to get out to whichever part of the wall you want to see. Also, Mutianyu has a cable car up the mountain (if you don't want to hike it), and a toboggan on the way down (if you're interested).
Posted Sep 08, 2011Add a comment
Although you listed Forbidden City already, but I want to emphasis that April is a great time to visit Forbidden City because all the flowers in the royal garden are at their peak season, that's the most beautiful time for the Forbidden City.
A different night life view will be the Lotus Market - some calls it the "back sea (hou hai)", the area built around the water, and shops, restaurants and bars are along the water, there is a Starbucks in very traditional Chinese building.
You can also go visit the Olympic village - take some good photos of the architectures.
The newly built/opened Beijing Opera House is a great place to visit - doesn't matter you are into opera or not, the building itself is a piece of art inside-out.
For shopping, you can go Xi Dan or Wang Fu Jing, either places will keep you busy shop after shop, mall after mall for whole day. Especially in Wang Fu Jing, there is a street full of local bites - if you want to get an idea of all kinds of old Beijing food, that provides you a very good view.
If you are into cameras, there is a huge Camera City in Beijing, ask any Taxi driver, they will bring you there.
Feel free to ask me if you want to know more...
Posted Feb 14, 2012Add a comment