What can I do in Beijing if I am on a business trip and only have an evening or two to myself and maybe a Saturday and half a Sunday?
Posted on Dec 08, 2010
If you care to check-out the trendy night life with locals and foreigners, go to the Park Hyatt in the Yintai Cenre on Chang'an Avenue. Its top floor has a very nice bar with live music that allows you to get a great view (360 degrees) of the city skyline. Its second floor is one of the nicest and classiet clubs you will find in Beijing called Xiu.
Very close by the Park Hyatt, is Silk Road mall where you can also buy Chinese traditional souvenirs. Make sure you bargain down at least 30% of the asking price and stay away from the electronics. Inside the Silk Road mall is also another famous Peking Duck restaurant Quan Ju De on the top floor.
On your saturday, definitely ask your hotel to arrange a driver to take you out to the Great Wall whom will wait for you while you climb the wall. It's impossible to find a taxi to get back if you don't have one arranged. You could go to Badaling (the most popular section) or Mu Tian Yu (less crowded but also a great view of the wall). There is also a day trip bus to Mu Tian Yu. See http://www.mutianyugreatwall.nets
The good thing about hiring a driver is that you can leave whenver you want and I don't think it takes a whole day to see the great all. You could leave in the early afternoon and then stop by the Summer Palace on your way back into the city. It's not as beautiful in the winter as it is in the summer but still worth your visit to see the architecture of the summer resourt the Empress Dowager Ci Xi built herself.
Sunday morning you should visit the Tiananmen Square and Imperial Palace. There entrance to the Imperial Palace is at Tiananmen Square. If you enter through one of the other entrances, make sure you exit through the Tiananmen Square exit so you kill two birds with one stone. All taxi drivers will be able to take you there if you say "Gu Gong".
Enjoy your trip and bundle up!
Posted Dec 09, 2010Add a comment
My first trip to the PRC was in 1988. It was a totally primitive third world country with few roads and fewer cars. What a TOTAL contrast to today.
Here are a two thoughts for Beijing. Take enough extra money to, literally, invest at Suzanne's in the Pearl Market (Hongqiao Market). You will blown away at the prices for strands of pearl necklaces, bracelets and gold items. Plan to do all your Christmas, even for next year, shopping there and bargain.
Don't even think of paying the asking the price. This is one amazing opportunity, so PLEASE don't miss it. Next, be sure to dine at the oldest Peking Duck restaurant, located near Tiananmen Square. There are two other famous duck restaurants, one near the city's largest cemetery, one which is the newest in town and then the oldest off Tiananmen. The Chinese say "Old duck, New duck, Dead duck" then laugh hysterically. Dine at the Old Duck restaurant.
Very Happy Travels, Lance Johnson / Oklahoma City
Posted Dec 09, 2010Add a comment
Echoing the above, I would definitely hit the Great Wall. Hire a driver and go early in the AM to the Mutianyu section. It will be MUCH less crowded than the slightly closer Badaling section.
I'd also see the Temple of Heaven, perhaps instead of the Forbidden City. Definitely go to Tiananmen Square and see the walls of the Forbidden City (across the street), but the Forbidden City is a significant time investment. The Temple of Heaven is just as beautiful and much more manageable in a short time.
Also, don't miss Wanfujiang Street, one of the main commercial areas in Beijing. Maybe even try some of the snacks on the nearby carts.
Posted Dec 13, 2010Add a comment
I studied in Beijing 3 years ago, and from what I hear, it's completely different from what I remember! A few of my favorite things included:
-Summer Palace - it's a little out of the way, but it's gorgeous! If you go early in the morning, you might be able to catch the community of elderly people painting poetry on the ground with giant brushes dipped in water. It's magical to see the characters come to life and then evaporate!
-There are some great parks tucked away - YuYuanTan, ZiZhuYuan, and LingLong park were my favorite spots for people watching.
-Definitely see a Chinese opera if you're able to!
-Hop into a local tea shop and see if they can give an impromptu tea tasting
-As mentioned above, don't ever think of paying the asking price in any of the markets! The markets are great for holiday and gifts in general.
Posted Dec 16, 2010Add a comment
I definitely support the Summer Palace - not as overwhelming as the Forbidden City.
Posted on Dec 22, 2010
Looks like you got a lot of great answers. Since you're on a business trip you might want to get some suits made (even if you weren't on a business trip I'd recommend it!). I got 3 suits and 4 shirts made in about 24 hours from the Yashow Clothing Market. After a few recommendations we went with guy named "Sunny" and I believe he was part of Susan Tailor Shop. I believe he was more expensive then other tailors, but he was worth it. I got the shirts and suits made when I was at the Olympics and still wear them whenever I can get a chance (perfect fit and great materials). After some digging here is the address:
No 3156 3/F Yashow (ya xiu) clothing Market
Sanlitun, no. 58 beijing Gongti North road
Tel 64179467 mob 13601157588
On top of all the other great suggestions that the AFAR crew has recommend, I'd take a stroll down the Wangfujing night market. Lots of crazy food things for sale. If you're brave...eat the scorpion!
Posted Dec 19, 2010Add a comment
That is such a great answer! I had a tailored suit made in Columbia once and I love it. Thanks so much!
Posted on Dec 19, 2010
No problem and have a fun trip!
Posted on Dec 19, 2010
We spent a day touring studios in an "art village", Song Village (Guang Village), outside the city but you will need a local guide/driver to do that. In the city, visit Art District 798 which is an industrial complex that has been turned into studio and gallery space. Their contemporary art is interesting and often political. Also, visit Houhai Hutong (old quarters) near Beihai Lake and take a rickshaw ride. Also visit the various markets - silk alley, and pearl market. Finally, walk through the gardens around the Temple of Heaven one morning and watch the locals (and participate in) tai chi, ballroom dancing, ribbon dancing, tai gi badminton. There are thousands of locals and it is fun to watch singers, musicians, comedians, and card players enjoying the park. This park is one of the happiest places we saw in China.
Posted Jan 01, 2011Add a comment
That all sounds much less touristy. Much more my style. Thank you!
Posted on Jan 01, 2011
If this is your first visit and you have some funds, then hiring a guide might be your most efficient way to get the most of your time. Could do a good tour of Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Great Wall and some of the newer sites from the Olympics. Traffic can be a bear so a guide can help figure this out for you. Have never hired a guide myself but imagine that it might be reasonable but not cheap. Other things to do: Get a chinese foot or body massage at a legit place (ask your hotel for recommendations), take an impromptu walk and if you have a guide, see if s/he will take you to a real chinese market and get a sense of the food, goods (and prices) that locals pay, find a place that serves great dumplings or other chinese food that you can't get easily in North America.
Posted Jan 02, 2011Add a comment
Forbidden City takes about 2 hours, Great Wall takes a bit longer.
Go up the TV tower for great views.
Shop at the Silk Market ( indoors, thousands of stalls, 4 or 5 floors, sells everything from food to fans, watches to glasses - and so much more).
Da Dong Roast Duck is the best in the world - has 2 branches, one in the Hayatt (ask your hotel for addresses).
Posted Dec 14, 2010Add a comment
To make the most of your short time, hire a guide. Get a recommendation for a mature one. Traffic is tough in Beijing, so use the metro or a cab with the guide. Try to take in the Forbidden City or Temple of Heaven, the Great Wall, walk through the hutong with the Bell and Drum Tower; it's touristy, but you can see its old bones. Summer Palace is great, but it's time consuming. Personally, I would skip the Opera. Try to go to the night market ; it's great fun, good food and weird stuff, too. To plan ahead, read Peter Hessler's "Oracle Bones" and "Rivertown."
Posted Dec 17, 2010Add a comment
"The National Museum of China is located on the east side of Tian'an Men Square in Beijing. It is the largest comprehensive history museum in China. ..."
If you're interested in knowing more about Chinese history, there's an amazing collection of artifacts here.
Posted Dec 22, 2010Add a comment
Hop on a bike and ride around the outside of the Forbidden City. There is a park on the backside with a hill you can climb to get an outstanding view of the Forbidden CIty. It really shows how immense the FC is, a perspective I didn't really get when actually walking through it.
I also really enjoyed going to a Chinese Acrobatic show...wow!
And don't miss the Peking duck.
Posted Jan 08, 2011Add a comment