Visiting Beijing

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  • Ginger 21 Feb 2005 15:58:54 7,246 posts
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    Hmm, seems we're missing a category for travel related discussions - Mod's, get to work...

    Anyway, I digress. I've got a business trip to China in a month or so, and I don't want to pass up the opportunity to see a bit of Beijing. However, I've got no idea how long I should spend there, and what to see.

    Luckily I got a valentines present of the lonely planet guide, but I wondered if any of the wonderful EGers had been and could point me in the right direction.

    I'm pretty keen on history, so I'll probably spend a bit of time wandering around looking at old stuff if that's helpful :)

    Finally, is there any good fiction that will give me a taste for the place/culture/history without bogging down too much?

    Don't ask much do I? ;)

    Piccies will be provided courtesy of the new digital camera when I get back.
  • Amajiro 21 Feb 2005 16:09:57 2,214 posts
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    I was in Beijing a few years ago. I spent a week there, and then a week in Hong Kong. It's not difficult to pick out the major sites in Beijing, but my top 3 were: Great Wall at Badaling, the Summer Palace and the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City is right in the centre of Beijing, so you won't need to plan ahead to see it. There are also dozens of fabulous temples which are well worth visiting in the city centre. For the other two, you'll have to travel a bit, but neither are too far from Beijing to make you need an overnight stay.
  • Deleted user 13 January 2013 19:01:46
    Thread necromancy!

    Can anyone make any recommendations for things to do in Beijing? I'll be there for three days and am planning to visit the forbidden city, Tiananmen Square and hopefully have a trip to the Great Wall. Any tips or recommendations? Cheers.
  • DaM 13 Jan 2013 19:05:12 17,040 posts
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    I'm off to China too, in March. Not sure if I'll be in Beijing, but other general tips would be welcome :)
  • RobTheBuilder 13 Jan 2013 19:17:13 6,976 posts
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    I doubt it's the same in Beijing, but when I went to Shaoguan I got stared at constantly!
  • Deleted user 13 January 2013 19:19:57
    I'm trying to prepare myself for that - I'm 205cm tall :/
  • elstoof 13 Jan 2013 19:23:45 19,626 posts
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    Is that you Brad Pitt?
  • Trowel 13 Jan 2013 19:24:13 21,919 posts
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    I know someone who moved to live near Beijing. They went to great expense to build huge botanical gardens nearby. When the gardens opened the flowers disappeared over the weekend... the locals ate them all.
  • RobTheBuilder 13 Jan 2013 19:27:53 6,976 posts
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    @RabidChild Shaoguan has very few western tourists, I literally was stared at by 50% of people.
    I actually had one girl come up to me for a photo.

    Oh and when I went into a hotel the lift porter saw me and shouted 'gweilo!' in surprise (means white ghost, slang for white person)
  • nickthegun 13 Jan 2013 19:43:30 72,997 posts
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    Take a gasmask
  • Load_2.0 13 Jan 2013 19:48:20 26,210 posts
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    Trowel wrote:
    I know someone who moved to live near Beijing. They went to great expense to build huge botanical gardens nearby. When the gardens opened the flowers disappeared over the weekend... the locals ate them all.
    The locals.

  • PazJohnMitch 13 Jan 2013 20:01:29 13,359 posts
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    If your business trips are anything like mine there is no way you will have time to see anything.

    Been through Beijing 12 times and will pass through it again two times in the next month.

    Seen most of Shanghai's sights now but never seem to get chance in Beijing.
  • Deleted user 13 January 2013 20:16:01
    Well, I'm there for 3 days for business and tacked on 3 days for tourism, so I'll definitely have the opportunity for sight seeing. I'm excited and a little bit intimidated!
  • PazJohnMitch 13 Jan 2013 21:28:49 13,359 posts
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    I did see Tianamen Square which is a tad underwhelming. The Forbidden City is good though. (They are in the same place).

    My trip was a very rushed though and I was very jet lagged. It would be better if I had spent half a day there instead of an hour.

    The Wall is the thing I would want to see if I ever get chance. Also I think the terracotta warriors are nearby? I have seen one complete on in the Shanghai Museum but would like to see the rest in their rows.
  • curtlikesmeat 13 Jan 2013 21:50:58 138 posts
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    I'd just have a wander round the hutongs north of the Forbidden City (if you're facing it they're directly behind it). If you like seeing old ladies sweeping their doorsteps / eating local food etc. you'll like that area - depends what type of tourism you like I suppose!

    There's a park directly north of the Forbidden City (before you get to said hutongs) that also has a nice little temple / good view / good sunset viewing spot too....
  • Tomo 13 Jan 2013 22:03:40 15,793 posts
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    Terracotta Warriors are an 18 hour train journey away from Beijing!

    Beijing things to do: other than the usual of Forbidden City and Tianamen Sq, I'd say you should definitely go to Beihai Park and also the Summer Palace. Both are absolutely beautiful. If you want to go to the wall, you'll probably get farmed off to Badaling. It's a tourist trap, but it's worth visiting nonetheless. You should probably go to the Da Dong Duck restaurant too. It's a world famous duck eatery and absolutely delicious.

    - the Bund
    - People's Square (good museum or two here. I remember one on the expansion of Shanghai which had an enormous scale model of the city now and 10 years from now or something. Quite a sight.)
    - Tianzifang (nice little secluded shopping area, although a bit touristy)
    - wander around the French Concession
    - Yu Yuan Gardens
    - the market beneath the science museum if you want a serious haggle
    - venture out to a canal town

    It's definitely worth checking out some of the acrobatic theatre in both. They don't have laws like we do with overworking children in theatre and it's quite incredible seeing a 6-year-old somersault onto 6 chairs balanced precariously one on top of another.
  • PazJohnMitch 13 Jan 2013 22:09:41 13,359 posts
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    If you are going to Beijing soon you should check out the local weather report. (It is very cold there at the moment).
  • DaM 13 Jan 2013 22:20:19 17,040 posts
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    Anyone been to Fuzhou? To see the famous lanyard factories?
  • monkehhh 13 Jan 2013 22:24:22 4,804 posts
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    -10C and a recommendation of not breathing, sounds sweet :)
  • Tonka 14 Jan 2013 06:50:02 27,470 posts
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    Forbidden City like you said.
    If you are clever you cross Tienanmen Sq from the south. Enter Forbidden City underneath the Mao painting then make your way through it and exit through the north gate.

    Across the street from that gate is a nice park that has excellent view of the forbidden city.

    If you like parks then Bei Hai is extremely nice. Don't miss out on the "park in the park" up in the north west corner.

    Now, I haven't been to Beijing for many years but the last couple of times there was a street called Nanluguxiang that was a bit of a hotspot. Lots of cool small stores and cafés.

    The best thing about China is the food though. And the best food is bought in restaurants where they don't speak english. Most of them have nice menues with big pictures in them so you just point at stuff that looks good.

    Here's a list of dishes I can recommend

    Chinese (english pronunciation ) what it is
    锅包肉 (go bow row) sweet and sour pork
    麻婆豆腐 (Mah poo doh!f) fried tofu with pork and chili
    地三鮮 (Dee sun chien]) fried potatoe, pepepr and eggplant
    宮保雞丁 (gongbow jee ding) Cashew nut chicken
    米饭 (me fun) rice
    炒鸡蛋西红柿 (you won't be able to say this) fried tomato and egg
    酸辣土豆丝 (you won't be able to say this either) hot n sour potato salad
    辣子鸡 [la si ji] very spicy chicken
    餃子 [jiao sur] Dumplings.
    啤酒 (pee joe) Öl
  • MrTomFTW Best Moderator, 2016 14 Jan 2013 06:59:00 47,491 posts
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    I reckon at least one of those phrases means something rude :p
  • Tonka 14 Jan 2013 07:16:01 27,470 posts
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    Having been at the but end of that kind of joke I've long since decided that it's a waste of time for everyone involved.
  • Deleted user 14 January 2013 07:35:08
    I think my pronunciation of any of those will get enough laughs whether they're secretly something rude or not ;)

    Thanks all for the great advice! Pretty excited now. I have a million things to do before my flight at 8pm - including trying to retrieve my passport from the visa place in Manchester.
  • Deleted user 14 January 2013 07:40:25
    This is comforting:

  • PazJohnMitch 14 Jan 2013 07:59:56 13,359 posts
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    The air quality in Beijing is much better now than it was before the 2008 Olympics.

    They do tend to burn coal in winter though.

    Having been to somewhere in Shaanxi that was so polluted I could barely make out the moon, Beijing seems ok. Even the city Lin Fen which was reportedly one of the most polluted cities in the world seemed to have clean air in comparison to that village 45 minutes drive away.
  • twelveways 14 Jan 2013 10:55:28 7,131 posts
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    If you want to see loads of fit Chinese girls then go to Suzy Wongs nightclub.

    The silk market is great for fake branded clothes, the girls who work there are really impressive with their language/sales skills.

    Beihai park is probably my favourite place to go, its better in summer though.

    The Olympic village is quite impressive too, if a little far out.

    The pandas at the zoo are very cute but the other animals are not so well looked after so be warned!
  • SClaw 14 Jan 2013 13:03:30 826 posts
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    Do not miss this:

    Not only is a really nice temple (if you like that kind of thing) but if you go in the afternoon it's a place where loads of the local old folk sit around playing chess or whatever in the park outside. Not so many tourists, so it feels a bit more local.

    Forbidden City is good but always busy. On the plus side, you'll mostly tower above the local tour groups so they don't get in the way!

    Summer Palace is cool, but remember to check out the buildings behind the main... eh... area... thing. There are a lot of separate building and some are high enough to give a stunning view as I recall. The stone boat - which everyone harks on about - is totally shit though.

    For my money, the great wall was wank. In my mind I was picturing it to be epic massive but it's actually... kinda small and stupid. I mean yeah... there's a wall going some hills. Great. Why? Seeing it in person was hugely disappointing.

    Tianamen Square is much the same. It's a square. That's it. None the less, you pretty much have to see it if you're in the area.

    Avoid the zoo as its really depressing.

    This doesn't help you, but Xi'an is a much nicer city (the walls of that place are epic - it's like a fuckin' road around the city) and the sights around the area are more interesting (Gaozong imperial tomb is particularly cool). As I recall... vaguely... there was a park somewhere there that a) let you bash a massive bell with a huge log, and b) sold carved wooden lady aids which were hilarious (but I might be mixing that up with somewhere else in China... more or less certain I'm not though).
  • PazJohnMitch 14 Jan 2013 13:07:22 13,359 posts
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    I love the silk market girl's mockney accents when you tell them you are British.

    It is actually important that they know you are not American otherwise they well scam you even more.

    If they are smiling when you shake hands then they made a huge profit. If they swear at you then you paid the going rate and if they are crying then you probably got a reasonable price.
  • Deleted user 14 January 2013 14:05:07
    Good advice. I'm shit at haggling so I expect to be fully ripped off!

    Visa has been successfully acquired (thank god for the 48hr service) so all I have to do know is kill time til my flight.
  • PazJohnMitch 14 Jan 2013 15:04:54 13,359 posts
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    I had the jabs for my next trip this morning.
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