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Author Topic: Beijing questions  (Read 2442 times)

Pashley

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Beijing questions
« on: May 22, 2012, 01:49:00 AM »
I am likely to visit Beijing for the first time late this year. There's a conference in December that runs for three days, but I'll try to spend a week or so. Various questions arise.

The conference is at Beijing International Convention Center & the organisers suggest staying at the Beijing Continental Grand Hotel. Location is described on their site (https://www.bcghotel.com/english/huiyi/dlwz.html) as "next to the Beijing National Stadium called the “Bird’s Nest”, and the Aquatic Center called the “Water Cube”.

Questions on that: The conference organisers give directions only for bus & taxi from the airport. Is there a subway stop nearby? Are there any decent cheaper hotels in that area? Or a short subway ride away? Good food or bars nearby?

More general questions: What should I see, and which tourist traps are to be avoided? Sanlitun? There's at least one flea market; what is that like?

Food: Where do I find good jiaozi and/or West-of-China kebabs etc. in Beijing? Are there any Western (or Mexican, Greek, Indian, ...) restaurants that are unusually good?

Historic sites: I suppose I'll visit a few but most are not priorities for me. One exception would be the old Summer Palace, not the rebuilt version but the one Lord Elgin burnt. Is there anything left of that to see?

The thing I'd most like to see near Beijing, though, is the Badger's Mouth Pass where one of Genghis Khan's great battles was fought.

Wikipedia on the battle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Badger_Mouth
and on the location: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wanquan_County

How does I get there from Beijing?
 
Who put a stop payment on my reality check?

fullricebowl

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Re: Beijing questions
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2012, 02:58:31 AM »
Pashley- the conference is literally being held across the street from my office. It's unfortunately a short bus ride from the subway. Apart from a really tasty Shanxi (Shaanxi?) restaurant, there really is not that much in the area apart from chain restaurants like dominoes and subway. I commute from Andingmen everyday- there's an express bus you can take up there and arrive in about 20mins- inside ring 2 there are a lot more choices for cheap hotels, restaurants, bars.

That part of town (to me) feels like it could be any city- spread out and expensive. I had a hole in a leather boot that cost 50rmb to repair near my office but only 3rmb to repair inside ring 2.

Although I've never been to western China, I've heard a lot of the provincial restaurants in Beijing have even better food than in their place of origin ;) Again, that part of Beijing seems to be lacking any small, mom-and-pop type of little regional restaurants. There's a Mexican and Greek restaurant near my home, but Sanlitun would have a wider selection of any type of foreign food you could want.

I've talked to my husband about taking a weekend trip to Zhangjiakou- I can't imagine you would have any problems finding transportation out there by either bus or train.

roadwalker

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Re: Beijing questions
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2012, 06:41:32 AM »
In December, it might be brisk or you may be freezing your nether regions.  If the weather is relatively cooperative, the Great Wall might be a good choice, but figure on half the day at least and a good portion of that getting too and from.  I liked the Tian Tan (Temple of Heaven) and Jingshan park overlooking the Forbidden City.  Jingshan is next to Beihai where touts will steer you into a rickshaw to see hutongs, but it's a nice walk and close in.  Lama Temple, right (2-300 meters or more) off the subway stop of the same name, is a nice temple to visit if you haven't seen too many in China. 

Personally, I'd avoid shopping at Silk Street where there are about 6 floors of booths with aggressive young salespeople all seemingly working for the same owner.  There is an interesting (read: probable fakes everywhere) outdoor flea market (was reachable by bus or taxi only last time I went) at Panjiayuan if it is open and the weather permits. Much more interesting imo.  I wouldn't say avoid Wangfujing since for example there are good bookstores, but it's full of scams, especially the "let's go to an authentic tea restaurant I know to practice my English" and the art student scam.  And if it is freezing out there, you can duck into the posh Oriental Plaza shopping mall adjacent.

Sorry I couldn't help you with food, as I'm no foodie, but you are sure to stumble onto something interesting in that department.  And my big day at the Summer Palace ended up being a run-through due to LONG traffic delays (before the subway expansion). Check wikitravel and That's BJ or whatever it's called these days, for more ideas of interesting places and the latter for western food. 

It'd be a good idea to have at least two itineraries for changes due to weather and more perhaps for time constraints.  A lot of the interesting places to go to in BJ are far from each other.  The subway has greatly expanded and that helps but it still takes time to get to places.  The taxis are good but too many rides will hurt your pocketbook and the traffic can be excruciatingly slow.

Stil

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Re: Beijing questions
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2012, 07:54:37 AM »

It'd be a good idea to have at least two itineraries for changes due to weather and more perhaps for time constraints.


A very good idea Roadwalker