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Old 02-25-2018, 02:09 PM
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So, I was seeking advice on what to do for our trip.

We are staying at the DoubleTree Hilton Beijing, which looks nice, and is relatively close to the city center however, it doesn't have great transit access, and there doesn't seem to be much to see immediately around there.

So, Night 1 (Arrival at 5:30): Organize some type of Airport Transfer (Good price like 20-30$?). Just relax in area somewhat around hotel.

Day 1:
Since it's a Monday (and a number of close to city attractions are closed), thinking I make this the day we do a Great Wall and Summer Palace tour, with perhaps a stop at Olympics Site too (though I wouldn't mind riding past that on Night 1, either.

Day 2: Today, I would like to see the Forbidden City in the morning, then perhaps grab lunch somewhere near Tiananmen Square, and then go to tour the Great Hall of the People (can someone do that? how would I go about advance registration, if that exists?) I saw it listed as something a person could do, but not a lot of information regarding actually doing so. Following that, if I'm tired, just returning to room, but if not, hitting up somewhere to eat/shop/hang out. Some of the places I had considered included Dongcheng (the lit up market, with hanging lights and stuff), Wangfujing Street, anywhere in the CBD (Galaxy Soho/Place/CCTV Building), 798 District (or somewhere similarly Bauhaus/communist in aesthetic closer in to the city), or somewhere I haven't yet listed. Obviously, I wouldn't actually see ALL of these places at once, I'm wondering which 1-3 might be best for an afternoon/evening. I also considered Jingshan Park at sunset and a nighttime walk in the Shichahai Lakes or NPAC areas. Bottom line is, one of the nights I'm here, I would like to experience Beijing by night.

Day 3: Last full day in town. So, I had thought about doing a day trip for at least part of this day (either to the mountains, Qufu, Cuandixia, Tianjin, even got as ambitious as looking at logistics of doing Shanghai or Datong. However, unless you convince me otherwise, I'm planning on just staying around and seeing more of town on this day. Some historic attractions that sparked interest include Temple of Heaven, Lama Temple, Confucius Temple and surrounding hutong districts within the city. Modern attractions include areas I may not have hit yet around the CBD, Wangfujing Street, etc. I'm not sure what I'd have time for, but I'd even be content to hit Lama Temple and Temple of Heaven, if time allowed for both, but it does seem like a number of things are quite separated by time/distance. In the evening, I'd like to have a Peking Duck dinner, and take in a Kung Fu show at the famed Red Theatre

Day 4: Flight is at noon, so I wouldn't have time for much at all, but it could be a good opportunity to hit the Temple of Heaven if I could figure out a way to cheaply get over there, or perhaps if there is anything happening at 798 in the mornings I could stop through/at least grab a coffee there en route to the airport.

Anyways, if you guys have advice for tour companies to book with, logistics, information on hailing cabs that are cost efficient, other suggestions, etc., it would be appreciated.
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Old 02-25-2018, 07:11 PM
Location: Miami-Jax
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You gonna be in Asia for a little while? I hope so...coming from FL is a long way for just 3 days haha!
I can't give you any specifics just well wishes! Would definitely suggest staying in the city for Day 3 as there is a lot to see. Enjoy!
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Old 02-25-2018, 07:46 PM
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With only 4 days, I don't think you want to go to another city.

If you go to the Great Wall, most itineraries will stop by the Ming Tombs as that is on the way there. The Great Wall and Ming Tombs are enough walking and time for most people to call it a day.

You can tour the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace in a day. Summer Palace is a bit further but the other 3 are near each other with the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square just adjacent to each other. If you eat duck and need to go to lunch there, I suggest Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant in Qianmen. Qianmen means front gate and is the southern gate of Tiananmen Square.
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Old 02-25-2018, 09:21 PM
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OP You need to do a lot more research on your own. Your asking people to put together your whole travel itinerary for you....lol

The Great Wall is almost an all day event. I would research how far everything is in realation to each other. Maybe search on Tripadvisor and Google for feedback.

Your hotel is somewhat far from the city center (Tiananmen Square) and taxis are rather difficult these days in Beijing, esp if you can't speak the language. You should look into taking the Metro (Subway) which is a 10 or 15 minute walk from your hotel.
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Old 02-26-2018, 12:21 AM
Location: Tulsa
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Beijing has a lot to offer, doing a day trip isn't worth the time and efforts.

You also need to keep in mind that Beijing is extremely huge and congested, getting around the city may take longer than you expect.
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Old 02-26-2018, 09:58 AM
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Hey guys, first, thanks for getting back to me!

P.M.: Yes, I will be in Asia for longer than that haha. It's still not as long as I'd like, but I think I'll have enough time to see the Big 3 on my list (Tokyo, Hong Kong and Beijing), and get a general idea while there.

General idea is:
Tokyo (June 4th-7th)
Hong Kong (June 7th-10th)
Beijing (June 10th-14th)

GT: Good to hear regarding the connection to Ming Tombs. I've seen both Ming Tombs and Summer Palace listed as attractions (along with some mentioning a pitstop at the Olympics Site). Which one is more worthwhile? Would I perhaps find the Ming Tombs more impressive than Summer Palace? I've done some research on both but would appreciate a firsthand perspective when booking.

Also, thank you for recommendations on central attractions.

JIC: I'm not completely doing that, but I see where you are coming from. I have done a lot of research on tours, logistics, etc., but to me nothing beats firsthand perspective in making ultimate decisions. And while reading reviews and blogs is helpful, there's nothing more helpful than hearing from someone directly IMO.

The tours that I have seen so far mention one of two options for an 8-10 hour day. 1) Would be to drive to a further flung (perhaps more empty and beautiful landscape tour, or to just spend more time hiking the wall from Mutianyu). 2) Usually involves spending what looks like 1-1.5 hours on the wall, and perhaps 1.5-2 hours at another attraction (Summer Palace or Ming Tombs, mostly). Perhaps they are undercutting it for tourist benefit, but I'm not really certain. When I look up driving it does look to be about 1.5-2 hrs. driving to Mutianyu, however, with that being said, I don't know if that is factoring for traffic which I'm sure can be significant.

Interesting... thanks for that input regarding taxis and metro. Would hailing taxi through the concierge perhaps help avoid things getting lost in translation (price, destination, etc.)? My concerns with the metro are (A): Navigation (it looks like getting to Tiananmen would involve 2 transfers) (B) That walking a kilo to start day when it's likely to already be quite warm-hot could leave less energy for sightseeing and (C) Time used (it looks like taking the nearest Metro from our hotel would involve perhaps an hour of travel each way. I'm definitely still looking into it and will research it more, but I want to weigh all options. I can more than live with paying more if it allows us more time enjoying attractions and less time figuring routes out (apart from walking routes once in the center, of course).

Though I posted a lot. That was mainly to get feedback, and show that I did have a plan in mind.

My only real questions were (1) Logistics of hailing a cab (which you answered) or getting around (2) Best/Most Impressive place(s) to wander independently (3) Recommended tour group to take, based on cost/quality and (4) Whether it was possible to tour the Great Hall of the People, and if there was some link to sign up which I was not yet privy to (this one I'm most concerned with, because 2 and 3, I can just go somewhere with relatively good ratings on TA, and I'm sure it will be good enough for me)

GH: Very true. Mainly, I just want to experience what the city is all about, the general vibe. If, in my 4 days, I can:
1. See the Wall, and spend more than 10 minutes on it (not all day, but I'd like an hour or so)
2. Get inside the Forbidden City, spend a couple hours, generally take in the vibe of Tiananmen area
3. Stroll independently around some food market street or hutong area.
4. Stroll independently in the CBD or Wanfujing area
5. See at least a couple of the other attractions on my list (Temple of Heaven, Olympics Site, Summer Palace, etc.)
Then I'll be a very happy camper and consider it one of my greatest trips I've taken.

Thanks again, all!
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Old 02-26-2018, 10:56 AM
Location: Tulsa
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Getting around isn't that hard.

You can print the destinations(in Chinese) on a piece of paper, and show the cab drivers. No need to negotiate price, they use taximeter. Even better, you can show drivers where you want to go using map Apps on your phone.

Tiananmen square is 100% touristy, I don't know what kind of vibe you are looking for.

Summer palace is pretty good. I lived in Beijing 4 years when I was a teenager, but I didn't go to many attractions then, lol. Temple of heaven was boring to me. I didn't go to any tomb.
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Old 02-26-2018, 06:05 PM
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OP, you have to read more regarding which place would most interest you. In my opinion, the Ming Tombs is worth a visit, but go to the Summer Palace if you absolutely have to choose only one. If it were my first visit to Beijing, and I have 3 to 4 days, I say make time for both. Both the Great Wall and the Ming Tombs are too far to get there by taxi are are near enough to each other that most tours go to the Ming Tombs before/after the Great Wall. The Summer Palace and Olympic Stadium are both accessible by subway (metro). If you're asking preferences of others, I would rather not go to the Great Hall of the People. You can visit there, as long as it's not in use, but it's just hit or miss for most people. You go to Tiananmen, and if you can get in there, then fine. If not, go somewhere else. I doubt there's any reservations or anywhere to sign up in advance. I don't think they even publicize it to everyone when it is available and when not. Another building in Tiananmen Square is Mao's mausoleum, which I had been once long long time ago and have absolutely no desire to look at an embalmed corpse again. It might be of interest to some though.
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Old 02-28-2018, 03:22 AM
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GH: Thanks, I will plan on doing that. I'll always keep a copy of my hotel address on a sheet of paper, with me when out.

As per Tiananmen Square, I get that it's touristy to be sure, but also just the fact of standing in one of the world's great squares (arguably it's greatest, at very least it's largest), and the center of both historic (Forbidden City) and modern (Government) China.

Thanks for thoughts on other attractions too!


I'll read up more, but thank you for your feedback. They do both look pretty cool. The fact that Summer Palace and Olympic Stadiums are both accessible by metro is certainly something I am weighing, because perhaps part of one of my days could involve hitting those two.

Fair enough re: Great Hall of the People. I'm not sure if it's personally actually that outstanding, but it's the center of government for what is currently one of the world's big 2 super powers, so in that sense (that stuff currently goes down there), it would be kind of cool. I won't make it an absolute must then, though. And Mao's Mausoleum, I may just take a picture of that from the outside since I'm down there, but I agree, it is not a high priority.

I'm definitely planning on bringing oxygen masks (perhaps purchasing at a store in Tokyo or HK earlier in the trip) to wear when out around town. Will people look upon that as odd if we do so? I want to make sure that AQI doesn't have a negative factor in enjoyment of the trip.
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Old 02-28-2018, 04:12 AM
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Originally Posted by cavsfan137 View Post

I'm definitely planning on bringing oxygen masks (perhaps purchasing at a store in Tokyo or HK earlier in the trip) to wear when out around town. Will people look upon that as odd if we do so? I want to make sure that AQI doesn't have a negative factor in enjoyment of the trip.
The air quality is usually not too bad in summer.
Very few people really have significant problems with it. I have never seen Americans living in Beijing wear masks regularly.
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