Beijing Journals

Beijing: The Usual Suspects

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An August 2007 trip to Beijing by phileasfogg

Tiananmen Square Photo, Beijing, China More Photos
Quote: Beijing, like every other city, has its must-sees. Some are worth the effort and the money; others don’t quite live up to the promise.

Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant

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Restaurant

Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant Photo, Beijing, China
Quote:
Among the experiences we’d promised ourselves in Beijing was a duck dinner. Since our guidebook suggested Quanjude Roast Duck as the place for this delicacy, we took ourselves off to the restaurant one evening. Quanjude has several outlets in Beijing, but the one closest to where we were was the Hepingmen branch. We arrived at the massive restaurant just around 6pm, arriving at the Hepingmen subway station (exit C from the station is labeled `Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant). The restaurant’s right behind the station, a sprawling edifice that spreads over four stories and seats 2,000. They say the location of the Hepingmen Quanjude was picked by Zhou Enlai; the list of patrons runs the gamu...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 8, 2007

Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant
32 Qianmen Avenue
Beijing, China 100051
+86 (0)10 6511 2418

Great Wall (万里长城)

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Attraction | "The Great Wall at Badaling"

Great Wall (万里长城) Photo, Beijing, China
Quote:
The Great Wall of China needs no introduction, but anyway: it stretches 6,700 km from the Yellow Sea to the Gobi Desert. It was originally constructed (the first sections built around the 7th-6th century BC) as independent walls between different states; later, it was consolidated to repel Mongol invaders. The last bit of construction happened between the 14th and 17th centuries A. D. The section closest to Beijing is Badaling, approximately 70km away. There are other sections too, most notably at Simatai and Mutianyu, but they’re farther out, Simatai being 3 hours one way. I’d been warned that Badaling was commercial, crowded, and not authentic (it was reconstructed in the 20th century, so what ...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on September 8, 2007

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

Tiananmen Square

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Attraction

Tiananmen Square Photo, Beijing, China
Quote:
Tiananmen –Gate of Heavenly Peace – is an inappropriate name for such a blood-soaked area. When I was drawing up our Beijing itinerary, I thought: not Tiananmen. Memories of the cold-blooded way in which protestors were massacred in 1989 were still vivid enough to make me regard Tiananmen with dread. Despite a resolve to not go to Tiananmen, we ended up visiting this vast central square – simply because it’s the heart of Beijing. In a city swamped by symbols of private enterprise, the forbidding expanse of Tiananmen Square, hemmed in by blocky Maoist monuments, is a very visible emblem of Communist rule. But private enterprise, from kite sellers and hawkers to McDonald’s, is alive and kick...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 8, 2007

Tiananmen Square
Chang An Avenue
Beijing, China 100006

Gugong: Forbidden no longer

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Story/Tip

Porcelain boss at the Forbidden City Photo, Beijing, China
Quote:
Gugong – the Forbidden City – was at the top of our list of must-sees in Beijing. Unfortunately, it seemed (though I must admit, with justification) to top everybody else’s list as well. We arrived at Wu men, the Meridian Gate of the Forbidden City, at about 10 in the morning, to find long queues snaking their way across the courtyard from the ticket windows. Working our way to the front, battling beggars, guides, and sellers of pamphlets, ice lollies and mineral water, we finally bought our tickets (a steep 60 RMB per person) and followed the crowds through the main gate. The Forbidden City was once taboo for outsiders; the imperial household led luxurious and often unbelievably osten...Read More

Summer Palace

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Attraction | "The Summer Palace: Pavilions and Picnics"

Summer Palace Photo, Chengde, China
Quote:
The trip out to Yiheyuan – the Summer Palace – is an expedition in itself: Line 1 of the subway till Xizhimen; transfer to Line 13 till Wudaokou; then a ten-minute trip by taxi to the Summer Palace. We did the trip on a Saturday, and discovered that most of Beijing seemed to be picnicking at Yiheyuan the same day. Just our luck, we thought – but decided bravely to toil on. The Summer Palace has an interesting history. Built across an area of 290 hectares along Lake Kunming, the Summer Palace was originally called the Garden of Clear Ripples and was built by Emperor Qianlong in 1750 to celebrate his mother’s birthday. In 1860 French forces burnt it down; 26 years later the Dowager Empress Cixi use...Read More

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