How to get there?
There are international and national flights to Beijing, check them out at here. In our case, we went from Shanghai by train, it took us 5 hours to get to Beijing Railway South Station. From this station, an official taxi to our hostel (downtown) cost around 40¥, an unofficial could charge you between 100-300¥ depending on the bargaining. It is a lot better to get in the queue at the train station and take an official taxi.
From the same hostel to the West Railway Station, taxi cost 28¥ with the “meter” on.
Where to stay?
We stayed at the Feel Inn Hostel, very close to the Tiananmen Square. It has private and shared rooms, it’s clean and very international. They offer you laundry service, tours, free wifi, they speak english, etc. Also it has a little restaurant for breakfast.
Where to eat?
- Quanjude roasted duck. Very particular place but good to try the roasted duck at a good price (around 150 yuan per person). They cut the duck in front of you and help you a little bit on how it is supposed to be eaten. Book first, because we waited around 30 minutes for a table for 5 on a Wednesday. They give you a ticket with a number to wait for your table. Address: No.9, Shuaifuyuan Hutong, Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng District
- Around Nan luo gu Xiang, lots of small locals restaurants can be found here, also galleries and coffee shops
- Wanfungji Street is a long pedestrian street where there are a lot of stores, malls and restaurants
- Da Dong Roast Duck. 120-200 Yuan per person. Also try to book first. Address: 1-2/F, Nanxincang International Plaza, 22A Dongsishitiao, Dongcheng District
- We hire a driver to take us to the Great Wall for 1200¥ for 5 person (without tickets). It took us around 1.5 hours to get to the Mutianyu entrance from our hostel. We paid 160¥ per person for the entry, including the bus to the chair lift station, the chair lift to go up to the point 6 of the Great Wall (see map here) and then the toboggan to get back to the bus station and to our driver. We walked from point 6 to point 1 of the map. It is all full of steps and some parts are very steep. The Badaling side of the Great Wall is the most visited side and also the most preserved. Even though Mutianyu requires a little physical effort, I prefer to work out a little bit and avoid the crowd. In Mutianyu you also have the option of not taking the chair lift and walk from the bus station to the Wall. I have to say we also had a lot of fun in the toboggan
- After the Great Wall, we went to the Summer Palace also with the same driver (same price). We paid 30¥ to get into the palace, then 15¥ for the boat to cross the lake and 10¥ to get inside of the palace. There was an expensier option to get to see some of the buildings around the palace (excluding the palace), but by that time we were tired and decided to visit only the main building of the Palace
- Our driver was highly recommended by some of our friends, and I’m gonna extend the recommendation. He helped us with all the instruction, he speaks english, points out the important buildings in our way to the Great Wall, the cars were very confortable and the price was fair due to the distance and the service. Feel Inn hostel offers the driver to the Wall for 260¥ and includes: entrance ticket, transportation, breakfast and lunch, from 7:30 to 16:30, but It doesn’t stops at the Summer Palace as we did, and our tour was privated so we controlled the timing
- We took Bus #2 from our hostel early in the morning (around 8:00am) to the Temple of Heaven to appreciate part of the Chinese Culture at the park of this temple where locals spend their mornings practising Tai Chi, dancing, singing, etc. We paid 35¥ to visit: The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest, The Circular Mound Altar, The Echo Wall and The Imperial Vault of Heaven. Beautiful
- From the Temple of Heaven we took the subway (Tiantandongmen Station) to the Lama Temple, also known as the Yonghe Lamasery (25¥ entrance; Yonghegong or Beixinqiao Subway Station of line 5), it contains the largest wooden Buddha in the world. It is also the most important tibetan temple outside the Tibet
- To visit one of the popular hutongs (narrow streets or alleys), we took the subway to Nanluogu Xiang Station (line 8) and walked from south to north this “traditional” street where lots of restaurants can be found
- Our plan was to go to the Forbbiden City and the Tiananmen Square, but saddly both were closed due to a military parade. It was unexpectedly closed. So we applied our backup plan in case of extra time
- We went to the beautiful Jingshan Park (tickets for 2¥) and saw the roofs of the Forbidden City from there (at least)
- In front of this park is the Beihai Park (20¥) with its famous bell, the lake and the 9 Dragon Wall
- The Silk Market, also known as Silk Street, is worldwide known for its imitated products. You can find fabrics, clothes, bags, watches, glasses, shoes, etc. Of course bargain is a rule inside of this building
- After this new experience, we went to the Donghuamen Market to live another experience by watching all type of animals that are cooked in this place (lizards, scorpions, etc.). I recommend to go to this place at least just for curiosity
- Read my post about “traveling to China”
- Buy water at the little markets or your hotel, it is usually expensiver inside the temples
- Avoid english speaker women on the streets who invite you to tea salons, coffee shops or stores, it is a scam
- Write down every address or monument name in Chinese to show it to the taxi’s drivers, only a few people in Beijing understand English
- Take cash with you, credit cards are rarely accepted
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