Archive for the ‘Beijing Travel’ Category

Gubei Water Town‍

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019
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Gubei Water Town (古北水镇)is officially known as Beijing Miyun Gubei Water Town (Simatai) International Tourism Resort (北京密云·古北水镇(司马台长城)国际旅游度假区). It is not a historical water town, it is a replica of  Wuzhen Water Town in the Southern China.

Gubei Water Town is built and managed by Beijing Gubei Water Town Tourism Co.,Ltd.which is jointly invested by China CYTS Tours Holding Co.,Ltd., Wuzhen Tourism Development Co.,Ltd., Beijing Energy Investment Holding Co.,Ltd.and Strategic Investor.

The Construction of Gubei Water Town
The water town is built on the former 5 sub natural villages of Simatai Village at the foot of Simatai Great Wall.  The displaced Simatai villagers have moved to the new apartments and townhouses in Simatai New Village, 1.5km west of the old Simatai Village.

This water town is situated in Gubei Township of Miyun County northeast of Beijing, hence the name of Gubei Water Town. It has a charming location with a massive backdrop of the world famous Simatai Great Wall with the romantic Yuanyang Lake ( Mandarin Duck ) below.

The Simatai village was developed from Simatai Castle built during the reign of Emperor Wanli ( 1573 -1620 ) in Ming Dynasty ( 1368 – 1644 ). So the Gubei Water Town resort is a rare combo of Great Wall, Mountains, Lakes and Ancient Villages.

The Gubei Water Town holiday resort  takes an area of 9 square km and the scenic area of the water town resort occupies an area of 0.43 million square meters that is composed of Ming, Qing and Republic era style courtyards, two 5 star hotels, 6 boutique hotels, 400 B&B, restaurants and shops, as well as over 10 cultural exhibition areas with good facilities.

It is not a historical water town, it is a replica of  Wuzhen Water Town in the Southern China.

Gubei Water Town Sightseeing & Leisure Area
The sightseeing and leisure travel area of Gubei Water Town basically consists of 6 areas including Old Barracks Area,  Minguo Street Area (Republic of China Street ),  Water Street Area, Wonglong  Fort Folk Cultural Area, Tanghe Ancient Castle Area and Food & Accommodation Area.

1. Minguo Street Area (Republic of China Street ) 民国街区
When you cross the stone bridge spanning over the Tanghe River, you will come cross an east – west street known as Minguo Street ( literally meaning “Republic of China Street”) which is designed to duplicate a street in the time of Republic of China ( 1912–49).

It seems to me walking on the Minguo Street reminds me of Qianmen Street south of Tiananmen Square. Minguo Street is an open street free of charge outside the paid area. You will see banks, posts, markets, drug stores, clinics, book stores and more on the street.

2. Water Street Area 水街风情区
The Water Street Area is the highlight of Gubei Water Town.  It  brings vividly to life the water towns in Jiangnan ( the south of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River) represented by Wuzhen Water Town,  Zhouzhuang Water Town  and Tongli Water Town.

It reproduces in the northern China  winding rivers, the waterfront houses, arch stone bridges, cobblestone and stone  slab paths,  old buildings and folk life.  On the Water Street Area, you will visit Simaxiaoshao Distillery and Yongshun Dyehouse and other attractions.

3. Wonglong  Fort Folk Cultural Area 卧龙堡民俗文化区
Along the Tanghe River after the Water Street Area is Wolong Fort Folk Cultural Area. This area is focused on the presentation and preservation of the Chinese folk culture, especially the folk culture in the northern China.

In this area you will appreciate the Chinese traditional houses, Yangwudi Temple, the village theater stage,  Yinghua Academy of Classical Learning and more.

Yinghua Academy of Classical Learning and more.

Yinghua Academy of Classical Learning and more.

4. Tanghe Ancient Castle Area 汤河古寨区
Built along the branch of Tanghe River the Tanghe Ancient Castle Area depicts the ancient fortress or castle life in Ming and Qing dynasties. In this area, you have the opportunity to experience the Eight Banner Guild and Zhenyuan Escort Agency.

Built along the branch of Tanghe River the Tanghe Ancient Castle Area depicts the ancient fortress or castle life in Ming and Qing dynasties

The Tanghe Ancient Castle Area

 5. Food & B&B Accommodation Area 民宿餐饮区
This is the Food & B&B Accommodation Area where you could find 400 B&B and bars.  Most of the B&B are built in the style of traditional hutong or courtyard in Beijing.

Most of the B&B are built in the style of traditional hutong or courtyard in Beijing.

Most of the B&B are built in the style of traditional hutong or courtyard in Beijing.

The interior of the Great Wall Bar at the foot of Simatai Great Wall.

The interior of the Great Wall Bar at the foot of Simatai Great Wall 11123

The interior of the Great Wall Bar at the foot of Simatai Great Wall 11123

6. Simatai Great Wall 司马台长城
The water town has a charming location with a massive backdrop of the world famous Simatai Great Wall. Simatai Great Wall is 5 km long with all together 28 watchtowers ( East 16 and West 12 ).

Simatai Great Wall

Constructed by the Ming Dynasty general Qi Ji Guang, it is one of the few stretches of the Wall that still preserve the original look of that period. It not only features unique points from other Great Wall sections, but also shows some features found nowhere. To the west there 12 watchtowers snaking on the sloping hills. To the east there are 16 watchtowers atop peaks up to 1,000 meters high.

The views are amazing. The wall at Simatai has received very little renovation. So Simatai Great Wall still retains all its original look. It is well beyond the reach of the great crowds of visitors who come to the more popular and easily accessible parts of the Wall.

7. The Old Garrison Town  老营区
The Old Garrison Town Area is outside the Guebei Water Town proper.  It mainly refers to the old fortress or castle area built during the reign of Emperor Wanli ( 1573 -1620 ) in Ming Dynasty ( 1368 – 1644 ).

The Old Garrison Town ( or popularly known as Simatai Castle)  was a small fortified city where the soldiers  and their family members stationed and lived at the foot of Simatai Great Wall in Ming Dynasty. They were responsible for guiding Simatai Great Wall and watching the movements on the top.

In Ming Dynasty, garrisons were required to be self-sufficient on food supplies through local settlements.  So less than a third of a soldier’s time was spent on actual military duties. Instead, most of his time was spent on working on the fields. The present Simatai Village was developed from the old garrison town or Simatai Castle.

The Simatai Castle is located on the west of the huge parking area south of the south entrance to Gubei Water Town.  The Old Garrison Town is under renovation.

8. Hotels within Guobei Water Town 酒店和客栈
The Gubei Water Town plans to build  two 5 star hotels, 6 boutique hotel and quite some guesthouses.  Some hotels have been opened to the public, such as Wtown Hotel,  Wuzhen Hui Boutique Hotel,  Baqi Guesthouse, Biaoju Guesthouse, Liyuan Guesthouse,  Wolong Guesthouse and more.

Wtown Hotel is a 5 star hotel sitting on a hillside and by the Tanghe River. Based on the concept of the European castle and Chinese Great Wall Watch Tower,  Wtown Hotel has been built into a modern and massive construction palace that can be  viewed anywhere in the resort. Wtown Hotel has over 400 rooms including standard rooms, superior rooms, Great Wall View rooms, suites and presidential suites.

Liyuan Guesthouse is a theme guesthouse based on the stories from Peking Opera. Each guesthouse depicts one act from the stories in Peking Opera. It has totally 15 rooms sitting in a two-storey building.

Each guesthouse depicts one act from the stories in Peking Opera. It has totally 15 rooms sitting in a two-storey building.

Each guesthouse depicts one act from the stories in Peking Opera. It has totally 15 rooms sitting in a two-storey building.

 Gubei Water Town Entrance Fee  门票价格

1.  Entrance fee: RMB 150
Senior over 60 years old: Half Price

2. Opening Hours: 8:00- 17:00 (  ticket  selling till 16:30)

2. Simatai Great Wall: RMB 40  ( You need to book your ticket by phone one day in advance)

Ticket Booking Phone Number: 010 – 81009999

Note:
1.If you buy the ticket for Gubei Water Town, then you don’t need to book your Simatai Great Wall ticket one day in advance.
2. Gubei Water Town + Simatai Great Wall Combo Ticket: RMB 170
3. Cable car at Simatai Great Wall: RMB 80 (single); RMB120 (return)

Gubei Water Town Transportation 交通

Self-driving: Driving along Jingcheng Expressway and get off at the 24th Exit of Simatai. Then drive according to the roadside direction signboard for 2-5 munites.

Fixed Departure Direct Shuttle Service:
Timetable for the bus service from Donghzimen to Gubei Water Town:
Mon – Fri: 9:00, 12:00 and 15:30
Sat – Sun: 9:00, 12:00, 14:00, 15:30
Location for Departure:
In Chinese: 出发地点:东直门外(公交站) 东直门公交枢纽站北侧 942、855路公交车场内
English: Departure: in the compound of Dongzhimen Wai Bus Terminal (also for Bus 942 and 855, and shuttles going Mutianyu Great Wall), 800 meters Northeast of the main building ( Dongzhimen Transport Hub).

Note: It is a bit tricky to find Dongzhimen Wai Bus Station. So how to get to Dongzhimen Wai Bus Station Compound ( 东直门外车站)?

The open-air Dongzhimen Wai Bus Station  Compound is about 800 meters away to the northeast of Dongzhimen Transport Hub. It is also a 10-minute’s walk ( 800 meters)from Exit E of Dongzhimen Subway Station.  You exit from Exit E of  Subway Line 2 at Dongzhimen, walk along Dongzhimen Wai Dajie (东直门外大街), then turn left and walk along Dongzhimen Wai Xiejie (东直门外斜街),  soon you will find the open-air bus station compound on your left side.

Timetable for the bus service from Gubei Water Town to Donghzimen
Mon – Fri: 12:00, 17:00 and 21:00 ( so the last bus leaving at 21:00 )
Sat – Sun: 12:00, 17:00, 19:00 and 21:00 (so the last bus leaving at 21:00)

Public Transportation:
Take public bus No.980 from Dongzhimen Transportation Hub and get off the stop of Gulou (Drum Tower) at Miyun County, then connect local bus  No.51 or 37 to Simatai Village.  Then walk to Gubei Water Town.

06611Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Beijing:

Simatai Great Wall & Gubei Water Town Day Tour   from US$85 p/p

Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)
Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)
Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)
Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.

Night View of Tiananmen Square

Monday, July 22nd, 2019
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Tiananmen Square is oft-lauded as the largest public square of this kind in the world, a geological center of Beijing as well as a  political barometer of China. Apart from the historical events and myths related to the square, Tiananmen Square has much to offer in terms of the significant buildings and solemn red flag raising and lowering ceremonies.

Visiting Tiananmen Square at different times of a day, you get  different views of the square  – Sunrise View of Tiananmen Square, Sunset View of Tiananmen Square. Today I’d like to present you the night view of Tiananmen Square.

Shortly after the sun is setting over Tiananmen Square,  most of the buildings in or surrounding Tiananmen Square will be lit up, turning the square a multi-colored wonderland. Plan your Beijing night tour? Tiananmen Square is an ideal place for a pleasant stroll.

North of Tiananmen Square is Beijing Tiananmen Tower ( Gate of Heavenly Peace ) . The tower sits on the platform which is a building with double-eave roof and yellow-glazed tiles. It has five archways with the middle gate used as the passage for Ming and Qing emperors.

Tiananmen Tower

Tiananmen Tower

The busy traffic before  Tiananmen Tower

The busy traffic before Tiananmen Tower

The busy traffic before Tiananmen Tower

A closer look at Tiananmen Tower

A closer look at Tiananmen Tower

A closer look at Tiananmen Tower

Standing in front of the Tiananmen Tower facing the south,  look at the center piece of Tiananmen Square – The Monument to a huge basket of flowers, People’s Heroes and Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum on the south.

The center of Tiananmen Square

The center of Tiananmen Square

National Museum of China sits on the east of Tiananmen Square

National Museum

National Museum

The Great Hall of the People sits on the west of Tiananmen Square, the meeting place of national people’s congress of the People’s Republic of China, a Chinese style of parliament.

The Great Hall of the People

The Great Hall of the People

Tiananmen Square is decorated with a huge basket of flowers and torch-like flowers

Monument to the People’s Heroes – There are eight white marble sculptures on the monument seat: including a series of important history events, Such as Opium burning in Humen, Jintian Uprising. Wuchang uprising, etc.

Monument to the People's Heroes

Monument to the People’s Heroes

Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum on the south. Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum started to build in November 1976 and completed in May 1977.

Chairman Mao's Mausoleum

Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum

The old building of Bank of China sits on the west of Tiananmen Square, a western style architecture.

The old building of Bank of China

The old building of Bank of China

Zhengyangmen Tower (Facing the Sun Gate), together with Arrow Tower is collectively called “Qianmen” (Front Gate), one of nine inner gates in the city wall built in Ming and Qing Dynasties. It is located south of Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum.

Zhengyangmen Tower

Zhengyangmen Tower

Arrow Tower, together with Zhengyangmen Tower is collectively known as “Qianmen”,  one of the nine gates in the city wall of Ming and Qing dynasties.

Arrow Tower

Arrow Tower

On the southeast corner of Tiananmen Square sits the old train station which has been turned into China Railway Museum.

 China Railway Museum.

China Railway Museum.

Add on
How to visit Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Sunrise View
Tiananmen Sunset View

 

06611Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Beijing:

Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)
Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)
Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)
Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.

Beijing Airport Departure Terminal 3, International Departure from Terminal 3 Beijing

Monday, July 22nd, 2019
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What does the terminal 3 international departure hall (boarding area) of Beijing airport look like and what kind of service and facilities can you expect from Terminal 3 departure section?

These are very common questions lingering in the minds of the first time foreign visitors who had no chance to have a close look at Terminal 3 when they arrived in Beijing.

Now you are finishing your Beijing Tour and going home by flight through terminal 3 of Beijing airport. Maybe you are thinking of doing some shopping at the duty free stores or sitting down for a coffee break or whatever, you want to know what Terminal 3 international departure waiting hall can offer.

Well, last May we flew out from Terminal 3 for London, we arrived a bit early at terminal 3 departure waiting hall and I did some research on Terminal 3 accordingly, writing down its facilities and process for check-in and waiting at terminal 3. Hopefully my post will be useful for planning your Beijing Trip.

Terminal 3 International Departure is mainly composed of two parts: Check-in counters and departure waiting hall (boarding area). The international flight check-in counters are on the fourth floor of the Terminal 3 building while second floor for arrival, first floor for Beijing Airport Bus, Beijing Airport Shuttle Bus, the underground floor for Beijing Taxi, Beijing Taxis and third floor for airline offices.

The fourth floor check-in area and international departure waiting hall (boarding area) is linked by light train lines running every minute or two. Once you are in the departure waiting hall, make sure which gate you will depart since there are totally 50 gates in the departure hall.

After your checking in at the departure counters on the fourth floor, you go through the international departure channel, and go down on an escalator to the second floor for customs and security check, then take a shuttle train to the second floor of the departure hall.

The first floor is for arrival passengers who will take a shuttle train in an opposite way to the arrival hall of terminal 3.

We are approaching the fourth floor departure area of Terminal 3.

We are approaching the fourth floor departure area of Terminal 3
We are on the car lanes by the gates of the fourth floor of Terminal 3.

We are on the car lanes by the gates of the fourth floor of Terminal 3.

The frequent shuttle trains run in two ways connecting the check-in area ( luggage claim area and customs as well ) and departure waiting hall ( arrival hall as well).

International departure waiting hall map (boarding area)

Wi-Fi is available in the departure waiting hall.

Drinking water is available in a short interval.

Toilets are available at a short interval.

International Departure waiting hall retail map

International Departure waiting hall retail map

Sunrise Duty Free

Sunrise Duty Free

Cathay House

Cathay House

Shopping at Cathay House

Shopping at Cathay House

Duty Free

Duty Free

Selling local products

Selling local products

A waiting BA plane by the boarding area

A waiting BA plane by the boarding area

Inside the cabin of the BA plane on an 10 hours 40 minutes flight from Beijing to London On May 14, 2011

Inside the cabin of the BA plane on an 10 hours 40 minutes flight from Beijing to London

06611Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Beijing:

Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)
Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)
Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)
Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.