Beijing Journals

Five Roasted Ducks in Beijing

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A July 2007 trip to Beijing by midtownmjd

The Great Wall Photo, Beijing, China More Photos
Quote: A summer week in Beijing tested us and roasted us, but we couldn't help but love the city's dynamic history and present.

Five Roasted Ducks in Beijing

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Overview

Summer Palace Detail Photo, Chengde, China
Quote:
Beijing, with its 15 million residents and seemingly a highway for each one of them, is at first glance an overwhelming concrete jungle. It’s also ground zero for some of the world’s most fascinating history, so it was important to us to cut through the city’s modern challenges and explore its past and its role as an epicenter of Chinese culture. Most highlights, then, were areas and moments that transported us to a Beijing that felt light years away from ring roads and department stores, along with those that revealed the capital’s contrasts as both an ancient city and a modern Olympic host.My favorite neighborhood in Beijing was Houhai. Situated on a picturesque lake and lined with upsca...Read More
Far East International Youth Hostel Photo, Beijing, China
Quote:
The Far East International Youth Hostel was the perfect place for us to stay in Beijing. Established by the Far East Hotel in 2001, its dormitories and private rooms are lower-cost alternatives to the rest of the hotel, but share a very pretty lobby and a helpful staff.Our two rooms, #110 and #111, were a double and a triple on the first floor, and were about US$15 dollars per person per night. They were air-conditioned and included TVs, bureaus, chairs, and comfortable twin beds. Each also had a perfectly adequate private bathroom with a shower, and we received fresh towels each day. Our toilet had to be fixed twice while we were there, but the front desk was quick to send help....Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 14, 2007

Far East International Youth Hostel
90 Tieshuxie Jie
Beijing, China
+86 (10) 51958811

Li's Family Restaurant

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Restaurant

Li's Family Restaurant Photo, Beijing, China
Quote:
If there’s one spot to which I would send a friend visiting Beijing (outside of the obvious), it’s Li’s Family Restaurant.Nestled at #11, Yangfang hutong, the intimate, house-by-day-restaurant-by-night spot is run by Chef Li, with his family employed as servers. The story goes that Li’s relative was the Forbidden City’s last imperial chef, and that Li cooks using his handwritten recipes today. I’m not sure how accurate the tale is—I read one account where the relative was a dishwasher, and one where Li is a math professor—but the food and ambiance are the best around.Tipped off by a friend who’d eaten here, we called about a week ahead to make our reservation for five. W...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 29, 2007

Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant

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Restaurant

Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant Photo, Beijing, China
Quote:
I’m quite proud of one recent certificate of achievement: the seal of assurance that I ate a genuine Peking duck dinner in one of Beijing’s oldest duck establishments. Beijing's Quanjude Hepingmen Roast Duck Restaurant presented my friends and me with this diploma of sorts after our meal, and it included the number duck we had consumed—the count goes back to the first duck served here in 1864.The restaurant, one branch in the popular Quanjude chain, houses several floors of ballroom-size dining rooms and could probably seat 1,000 people. We were shown to the fourth floor, where most of the tables were full of local families, and some with American and Japanese tourists.For 120 ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 29, 2007

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

Great Wall at Si Ma Tai

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Attraction

Great Wall at Simatai Photo, Beijing, China
Quote:
Hiking the Great Wall takes a while when you stop every 2 minutes to exclaim, often with expletives laced in for emphasis, that you’re on the Great Wall of China (!!!). It’s one of those moments that you consciously commit to memory, but then by the next day you feel like it never even happened. I suppose it did happen, though, because I have the (sweaty, smoggy) photos to prove it. Despite the miserable July conditions, the trip was a highlight of my stay in China.We signed up for a 1-day excursion through the Far East International Youth Hostel and boarded a van at the crack of dawn for the 3- to 4-hour trip to the Wall. Two of my friends got off at the first stop, Jinshanling, to...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 14, 2007

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

Beijing Acrobatic Troupe

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Attraction

Unicycles! Photo, Beijing, China
Quote:
For someone who gets creeped out at the thought of Cirque du Soleil and looks away during The Late Show’s Stupid Human Tricks, I was surprisingly excited about seeing an acrobatic show in Beijing—and, sure enough, I loved it. The show was the perfect combination of a look back at a centuries-old tradition and a preview of China’s expected gymnastic prowess at the 2008 Olympics.There are several acrobatic troupes based in the capital. I wouldn’t have had any idea which to choose, but the tourist desk at our hostel organized tickets and a van for a small group of us to see the Beijing Acrobatic Troupe at the Tianqiao Theatre. It was a 15-minute drive from our hostel in the Qian...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 29, 2007