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Travel Guide for Beijing

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This article highlights the major tourist attractions in Beijing. In 10 minutes we’re going to cover the following sites: We’ll start by visiting Tiananmen Square the center of the city and its the most important landmark. We’ll then visit the Forbidden City, home to the imperial court during the Ming and Qing dynasties. We’ll then go to the Temple of Heaven the symbol and Beijing surrounded by a lovely park. at Wong Fu Jing Beijing’s most famous shopping street we’ll visit two culinary attractions. First, we’ll visit Quanjude for Beijing’s best Peking duck. Then we’ll walk on over to Donghuamen a night market for exotic snacks like scorpion and starfish. And we’ll conclude with the Great Wall of China which needs no introduction. But before we begin our tour I’ll start with a few introductory points on Beijing. First the air quality yes it can be bad. On the left is a good day and on the right is a bad day. The best time of year to visit for clean air is spring and fall, April-May, August, and September.

 

Next up transportation. Beijing is famous for its awful traffic. So don’t even think about getting a rental car. Actually, as a foreigner, you need a special license to even drive. The combination of light vehicles like bicycles and big vehicles like buses makes for some awful gridlock at many of Beijing’s intersections. The freeway isn’t much better. luckily Beijing does have a very good subway system that’ll take you most places that you wanna go as a tourist. Taxis are an option but the taxi drivers generally don’t speak English so make sure you have your destination written in Chinese. If you’re going someplace far away, a guided tour on a tour bus might be great option. This was our tour bus going to the GreatWall. The bus driver had a grasshopper for good luck. A final note on transportation, when you’re crossing the street be careful. Cars don’t really yield for pedestrians here. Just kinda pick a constant speed and try to walk and the cars will hopefully drive around you. Okay! Now on to our first sight. Tiananmen Square, named after the Tiananmen gate to the Forbidden City to the north this is the world’s fourth-largest square. It measures 440,000 square meters and it’s a great place to come to just people watch and take in humanity here. The square is also home to several other important attractions including the National Museum of China and thedaily flag-raising and flag-lowering ceremony, here at the top of this flagpole.

 

If you want to see the flag-raising you’ll have to get up early because it happens before sunrise. Somedays as early as 4:45 in the morning. Next up is the Forbidden City. It was home to 24 emperors. It is the world’s largest palace complex and has over 8000 rooms. The main entrance is just to the north of Tiananmen square underneath the portrait of Chairman Mao the palace got the name the Forbidden City because in the past no one was allowed to enter or leave without the Emperor’s permission. But today, you can enter for the low low price of sixty renminbi. Just make sure you get here before four o’clock to buy your ticket. So after passing through three courtyards, saying no to about 10 tour guides saying no to 5 art students who want me to go to their art exhibition and not buying about twenty books that are put in front of me standing in line for ten minutes to get my ticket finally inside the Forbidden City. Now I know why they call it Forbidden. I feel like I’ve just run the gauntlet in American Gladiators. But let’s go check it out! With 8886 rooms to explore a visitor can be in here for a long time. If you’re just visiting some of the main squares and significant buildings, you could probably walk through it in about 2-3 hours.

 

But if you wanna visit some of the other museums and exhibits then allocate the better part of the day. Once you exit you can head up to this observatory at Jingshan Park and get a bird’s eye view of the massiveness of the palace. it’s really quite amazing! The Temple of heaven is a popular attraction for both locals and tourists alike. It’s a park and a temple and you have to buy a ticket to go in. At the ticket office, there are two different tickets available one for park entrance and the other one, the through ticket for 35 renminbi that’s the one you want to get that brings you into the park and the temple of heavenly heavens. A surrounding park is also a lovely place to go for a stroll a sit or to play mahjong with some of your closest Beijing friends. Quanjude is China’s most famous Peking duck restaurant. One of their main locations is located in Wangfujing, the main street in Beijing.It is a five-story restaurant that seats a ton of people. The menu is quite extensive but the main attraction of course is the”Beijing kaya.” Or the “Peking Duck.” Like any good duck restaurant when you order your Beijing Kaoya the chef comes out with a cart in front of your table and carves it right in front of you. The Peking duck is served in a few different ways: the skin here is served with sugar. that you dip the skin in the sugar. The rest of the meat with the skin here is served with the pancakes and the green onions and the hoisin sauce. The first one being made for you by the waitress. And as an extra bonus, they also bring out the duck head on a plate so you know it came from a whole duck. The final course is a bowl of duck soup. Which tasted kind of like chicken soup only more duck-like. And finally, they also provide a card that has a serial number up the duck that you ate. The Donghuamen night market is in Wangfujing off the main street.

 

Here is a collection of over a hundred specialty snacks from all over China. Though the predominant food seems to be meat on a stick. But you can get special things like a scorpion on a stick or snake on a stick. Some of the other tasty specialties here include starfish, sheep’s penis, centipede, silkworm stinky tofu, crabs, bird’s nest noodles, dim sum, potstickers pan-fried dumplings, iced tea, and soy milk to wash it all down and for dessert deep-fried ice cream. And now our final destination the Great Wall of China. And the first thing you need to know about visiting the Great Wall of China is because it is several thousand kilometers long there are multiple different locations that you can visit the Great Wall. In fact from Beijing, there are 8 different locations. One of the most popular is the Badaling, but I think the best one to avoid the crowds is Mutianyu. The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is located about 45 miles northeast of Beijing. And is known for its sweeping and panoramic views. So the best way to get up to the Mutianyu part of the Great Wall is to take the Cable Car or Ropeway. There’s two, one takes you to the Tobbagon and this one takes you up to the highest part. 65 Yuan for the round trip. Looks to be pretty Steep Hear we go! The rather nice thing about visiting this part of the wall is because its lesser-visited than Badaling, its relatively tourist-free. So you really feel like having the wall almost all to yourself. Though to walk theGreat Wall you do have to be able to take some challenging sections and some steep slopes and also some steep staircases this is one of the nicer ones but make sure you watch out because there are some guardrails if you’re not careful you might fall off! So this is an example of one of the staircases.

 

As you can see, pretty steep, and the handrails pretty low. I don’t know about you don’t know that anyone is that short A pretty cool thing about this part of the Great Wall are the watchtowers. I’m inside one of them now. You can see another little one down there You can pretend you were a person herein China shooting arrows at the Mongolians invading. This particular tower number 14 was actually used as a command center. Pretty high tech! Though the staircases up the watchtowers those are the most treacherous and only for the most adventuresome but I’m pretty adventuresome It’s like the top of the world and from the top of the watchtowers is where you’ll get some of the most rewarding views. You might even catch somebody getting married on the Great Wall of China.

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