Beijing Journals

Beijing Now! Before The Olympics

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A July 2004 trip to Beijing by nmagann

Tiananmen Square Photo, Beijing, China More Photos
Quote: Beijing's getting ready for the Olympics. New construction and restoration are taking place. It will become too much soon. The unrestored Great Wall and Temple of Heaven should be seen now. The locals enjoying their activities on the street are sights I don't want to see "Westernized". If Beijing is crowded now, just wait and go later.

Beijing Now! Before The Olympics

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Overview

Subway Travel in Chinese Photo, Beijing, China
Quote:
As much as I enjoyed the sights and especially walking on the Great Wall before the hoards of tourism that the Olympics will bring, I really enjoyed the locals and their everyday life. In the evening you would find the sidewalks filled with people playing cards and checkers, taking their dogs and birds for a walk or practicing Tai Chi. By day you would find them inspecting fruit and vegetables at open markets, bringing out boom boxes to dance by with others joining in and playing variations of paddle ball. Nobody was concerned with what other people might think of them. Something I wish I saw in my own country. This seemed to bring people together to make new friends and get to know neighbors....Read More
Quote:
Both location and amenities made this a very good choice of accommodations. It was too early for the bank to be open so I paid a taxi $12 for a pleasant ride. A driveway off the a main street lead up to the hotel. On one side was a vendor selling a variety of fruits and vegetables each evening and the other side were two very reasonable basic restaurants. The building adjoining offered several types of body massages, foot massages, milk baths, salt baths and more. I opted for the full body Thai acupressure massage on my last day. Practically on the corner of the driveway and main thoroughfare was the subway. Everything I needed seemed to be on the very block on which I was staying. Tian...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 28, 2004

Fei Ying Youth Hostel
Beijing
Beijing, China

Great Wall (万里长城)

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Attraction | "The Great Wall Overall"

Great Wall (万里长城) Photo, Beijing, China
Quote:
The Great Wall is approximately 4000 miles long and dates back to the 5th century. It originally began as independent walls constructed by various states who believed they enemies or were having problems with neighbors. During the Qin Dynasty it became the "great" wall with individual walls be joined with the Huns being the foe after China’s unification. Badaling located 47 miles nw of Beijing is the most crowded. This section of the wall includes restored towers and turrets, a museum that shows a 15 minute video of the wall, and a cable car. Tours typically give you about 2 ½ hours to explore. The cost is Y40. Mutianyu was opened to relieve some pressure off Badaling although i...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 28, 2004

Great Wall (万里长城)
North Of Beijing City
Beijing, China
+86 (0)10 6912 1235

Great Wall at Si Ma Tai

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Attraction | "Simatai"

Great Wall at Si Ma Tai Photo, Beijing, China
Quote:
Getting to Simatai is by way of mini bus for Y80 round trip. The round trip is a total of six hours with one stop en route to Simatai for gas. This is your only chance for a restroom stop as awful as they may be, and considering rush hour traffic can cause your drive to go beyond three hours… At the entrance are a couple of restaurants, souvenir stands, a youth hostel and a small cable car that goes up to the eighth tower. The colorful buckets look they belong at Disneyland and probably came from there. The tour allows for 4 hours at the wall, which is plenty of time to hike up to the twelfth tower and back without using the cable car. Before some accidents the hike extended to the 16th tower, ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 28, 2004

Great Wall at Si Ma Tai
Si Ma Tai
Beijing, China 101508
+ 86 (0)10 6903 1051

Summer Palace

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Attraction

Summer Palace Photo, Chengde, China
Quote:
The Summer Palace built in 1750 was originally a royal garden. It was destroyed during the 1860 Opium War and rebuilt in 1888 by the Empress who used money intended for the Chinese Navy. Her extravagance included the reconstruction of a marble boat, which is still intact today. In 1900 foreign troops torched the palace and major renovations didn’t begin again until 1949. Such an incredible place with such and incredible construction and destruction history. The grounds are basically divided into 4 areas: court reception, residences, temples and finally the sightseeing grounds. The latter includes Kunning Lake, which comprises ¾ of the park and offers boat rides in the summer and ice-skating in...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 28, 2004

Summer Palace
Kunming Lake
Haidian, Beijing, China
010-6288 1144

Temple of Heaven

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Attraction

Temple of Heaven Photo, Beijing, China
Quote:
The Temple of Heaven is one of China’s largest temples. Built in 1420 it is one of the most photographed buildings, being of such incredible beauty. It sits on a 660 acre park where music plays in the background continuously. This is where emperors prayed to Heaven for a good harvest. The shape of the park in the south is square which represents Earth and in the north is round which represents Heaven. Entering the park from the south affords the opportunity to see the three main sites culminating with best at the end. The first sight is the Circular Alter consisting of three-tiered marble terraces with the lucky number "9" exhibited by the number of stones and other such items within the ar...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 28, 2004

Temple of Heaven
Tian Tan North Rd.
Beijing, China 100050
+86 (0)10 6702 2242

Tiananmen Square

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Attraction

Tiananmen Square Photo, Beijing, China
Quote:
Tiananmen Square was built in the 15th century and restored in the 17 century. October 1, 1949 Mao Zedong proclaimed the People’s Republic of China. In 1976 people paid respect to Mao here and then in 1989 tanks moved in on pro-democracy demonstrators. A bit of restoration in 1999 covered traces of the event. Five doors and seven gates lead to the square which can accommodate a million people and is the largest public square in the world at 99 acres. It is surrounded by many of China’s finer monuments such as the Monument to the Heroes as well as government buildings where guards stand at attention moving only their heads from side to side to watch around. It is located just across the stre...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 28, 2004

Tiananmen Square
Chang An Avenue
Beijing, China 100006

Great Wall (万里长城)

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Attraction | "Jinshanling Wall"

Great Wall (万里长城) Photo, Beijing, China
Quote:
Jinshanling to Simatai is a one way hike, where you are dropped off by mini bus at the entrance to Jinshanling and given four hours to reach Simatai where the mini bus picks you up to return to Beijing. I should have known from my experiences with other trips including a previous Great Wall hike that you are given more than enough time and that I could have stopped and eaten a sandwich or just taken rest. The entire hike took under three hours. Another unique aspect of this part of the wall is that you are starting at a point on the wall where you could actually go either direction. Others sections there is only one direction to go, either because the wall is not passable the other direction ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 2, 2004

Great Wall (万里长城)
North Of Beijing City
Beijing, China
+86 (0)10 6912 1235