Archive for the ‘Beijing Travel’ Category

Jingshan Park not to be missed

Monday, July 15th, 2019
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 Plan your Beijing tour? A visit to Jingshan Park is not to be missed during your tour in Beijing. Jingshan just sits across the north gate to Forbidden City. After finishing your visit to Forbidden City along the south to north official visiting route, you exit from Forbidden City’s north gate.

Exiting from the north gate and raising your head, you will find a pavilion with three-layered eaves perched on a hill. The hill is called Jingshan Hill ( Coal Hill or prospect Hill). The Jingshan Hill and its surrounding complex is known as “Jingshan Park”.

Jingshan Park add: No.44 Jingshanxi Street, Xicheng District, Beijing 北京西城区景山西街44号(故宫后门对面).

A pavilion with three-layered eaves perched on Jingshan Hill

 

The main road between the north gate area of Forbidden City and the south gate of Jingshan Park is fully blocked. To get across to the south gate to Jingshan Park, you just turn left for 20 meters and take the underground pass.

Line up for the tickets: RMB 2 per person (RMB10 per person during Peony Festival April and May). Opening hours: 6am – 9pm all year round.

Wanchun pavilion perched on the hill

Enter the south gate and follow your nose up the top of the hill and get to the pavilion named Wanchun Pavilion perched high on the hill.

It takes you about 5-10 minutes’ walk along a zigzag stone steps up to the summit. Standing on the pavilion, you are able to have a bird’s-eye view of Beijing city at a great distance.   

A Panoramic View of Forbidden City

  Look north to view the Central Axis of Beijing.

Look north to view the Central Axis of Beijing

Looking down east to view Beijing Business Center (CBD)

Looking down east to view Beijing Business Center (CBD)

After enjoying the exciting panoramic view, you don’t have to go back the same road. Instead, you follow the throng down eastward to see the place where the last Ming Dynasty Emperor Chongzhen hanged himself.

Since the hanging spot is close to the east gate to Jingshan park, you may exit from the east gate.

The place where Emperor Chongzhen who hanged himself

The story of Emperor Chongzhen who hanged himself

The story of Emperor Chongzhen who hanged himself

 
Add On:
See the sunrise from the hilltop of Jingshan Park
See the sunset from the hilltop of Jingshan Park
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Tip:  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.

Tips for visiting Summer Palace

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019
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Plan your Beijing Tour? Summer Palace was a royal palace in later Qing Dynasty, only secondary to Forbidden City ( now the Palace Museum ).

Summer Palace is actually not just a royal palace where once Princess Dowager Cixi and the emperors lived and handled court affairs, accepted laudation and received foreign diplomats during their stay in Summer Palace.

It also epitomizes classical Chinese architecture, in terms of both garden design and construction. It is the largest royal garden in Beijing, now a good retreat for holiday makers.

Summer Palace Tourist map from willgoto

Tip # 01: How to schedule your visit
Normally it takes about 2 or3 hours to walk around Summer Palace itself. With your time on the city transportation included, you are advised to allocate at least half a day here. Summer Palace presents itself with different views for different seasons.

Winter sees people skiing on the Kunming Lake; Spring time finds people breathe under fresh trees and flowers; Summer time often sees Summer Palace set in a foggy day like a beautiful “water and mountain” Chinese scroll painting and Autumn is the best time walking around Summer Palace, clear and blue sky with comfortable weather.

Tip # 02: How to get to Summer Palace
Summer Palace has three major entry gates:
1) East Gate ( Main Gate ), also called “East Palace Gate” 东宫门
2) North Gate, also called “Beigongmen, or North Palace Gate” 北宫门
3) South Gate, also known as “New Palace Gate” 新建宫门

By Subway
1. Subway Line 4:
Take subway line 4 to the northwest direction and get off at the last but one station — Beigongmen Station ( or North Gate 北宫门) and exit from Exit D and walk to the west, soon you will see the north gate ( Beigongmen Gate )to Summer Palace 颐和园 (entrance fee:RMB30) on your left side.

2. Subway Line 10
Take subway line 10 to Bagou station at the end of Line 10, and then get a taxi from outside the station to the South Gate, or also known as New Palace Gate (新建宫门). Or you may just walk for about 1.5km from Bagou Station to the New Palace Gate.

Get off Bagou Station, follow your nose, you will meet a river, then turn right and walk along the river bank till the New Palace Gate of Summer Palace.

If confused upon which way to go upon leaving the subway, just follow the crowd.

Public Bus:
Buses via the East Gate ( Main Gate) to the Summer Palace (颐和园正门, 东宫门)Bus 330、331、332、346、394、712、718、726、732、737、801、808、817、826

Buses via the North Gate to the Summer Palace (北宫门)Bus 303、330、331、346、375、384、393、634、716、718、737、801、808、817、834、Express 5

Buses via New Palace Gate ( or South Gate) to the Summer Palace (新建宫门)Bus 374、437、481、952、704、992

Taxi Fare
A taxi from Beijing city center will cost about RMB 80 and take about 50 minutes without much traffic.

As you finish your tour and exit, you will find some taxi drivers are reluctant or even refuse to use the meter, only do a set rate, and most don’t want to go all the way back to Beijing at all, so this can be troublesome.

Tip # 03: Buy a correct entrance ticket
There are two kinds of tickets – 1) Entrance ticket for the garden-like complex 2) through-ticket both for the complex itself also for the pay attractions inside the Summer Palace complex. Also the ticket prices are divided onto two categories – Low Season ad Peak Season.

Ticket Price

Ticket Types Unit: (RMB ¥)
Low Season
Nov – Mar
High Season
April – Oct
Entrance Ticket RMB ¥20 RMB ¥30 Entrance Tickets don’t include the admission to some paid attractions inside the compound of Summer Palace
Half Price
Entrance Ticket
(for students)
RMB ¥10 RMB ¥15
Through Ticket
(Including the admission to some paid attractions inside the compound of Summer Palace)
RMB ¥50 RMB ¥60
Admissions to the paid attractions  inside the Summer Palace Garden of Virtue and Harmony RMB ¥5 RMB ¥5
Tower of the Fragrance of the Buddha RMB ¥10 RMB ¥10
Wenchang Gallery RMB ¥20 RMB ¥20
Suzhou Street&Hall of Serenity RMB ¥10 RMB ¥10

Note:
1. You are advised to buy entrance tickets instead of through-tickets.
2. Once you enter the park of Summer Palace and are also interested in some of the paid attractions inside the park, you may purchase a separate admission ticket one by one on the spot.
3. Students enjoy half prices.
4. Children under 1.2m high are free of charge.
5. Basically there is no limit to the purchase of entrance tickets due to the fact that the park is sprawling and spacious.

Tip # 04: Opening Time:
High Season (From April 1 to Oct. 31)
Open: 6:30
Tickets stop selling at 18:00;
Close: 20:00

Low Season (From Nov. 1 to Mar. 31 next year)
Open: 7:00
Tickets stop selling at 17:00;
Close: 19:00

After the tickets stop selling, the visitors are not allowed to enter, and to leave on time.

Tip # 05: Tips for People with Walking Difficulty
Summer Palace is a huge landscape park. If you can’t walk too far, or have some walking diffuclity, you can hire a wheelchair free of charge from the entrance gate with a deposit of 500 yuan.

Alternatively, you can take the boat from the marble boat after walking along the long corridor and back to New Palace Gate if you enter the park through the gate. And you don’t have to retrace.

Tip # 06: English-speaking tour guides in Summer Palace
As for English-speaking tour guides in Summer Palace, you have the following three choices:

1. Hire the official tour guides attached to Summer Palace at East Palace Gate (the main gate) 东宫门.
2. Hire recorded audio guides at any of the three major gates to Summer Palace. You can return the audio guide at any gates.
3. There are some self-employed English-speaking tour guides by the entrance gates who will actively come up to you and ask you to buy their service. Not advised to use their service.

Summer Palace offers english guide , the price are triplex,

180 yuan, an hour and a half

240 yuan, two hours

320 yuan , two hours and a half

within five people , include five peoples , plus one people , 10yuan extra

Tip # 07: Choose the right entrance gate and tour route
So there are three main entrances to Summer Palace – East Palace Gate (the main gate), North Palace Gate ( Norrth Gate )  and New Palace Gate (south gate).

You should get to know the gate you will go through, especially when you take a taxi or bus. Entering Summer Palace via the different three gates, you will have three different tour routes visiting Summer Palace.

Three Visiting Routes starting from the three gates:
Starting from New Palace Gate  ( South Gate):
Walk north along East Dyke – the former Court Area (the East Palace Gate, the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity…) – Long Corridor – Longevity Hill – Marble Boat – Ferry Boat  and back to New Palace Gate (loop line).

Starting from East Palace Gate ( Main Gate)
Walk from East Palace Gate: the former Court Area (the East Palace Gate, the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity…) – Long Corridor – Longevity Hill – Marble Boat – Ferry Boat – New Palace Gate ( South Gate )

Starting from North Palace Gate ( North Gate):
Walking from North Palace Gate: Suzhou Street – Marble Boat – Longevity Hill – Long Corridor – the former court area – East Palace Gate ( Main Gate). 

Kunming Lake

Kunming Lake taken from Longevity Hill in Summer Palace

Tip # 08: Boating on Kunming Lake
Taking a boat ride starting from the Marble Boat across the lake to the beautiful 17-Arch Bridge is a fun way to have more stunning views.  Boat Ride:10 yuan.

Boat Ride on Kunming Lake

Boat Ride on Kunming Lake

Tip # 09: Familiar with its 3-part layout
The three tour routes are centered around the three main parts in Summer Palace:

The Former Court Area:  a royal palace where once Princess Dowager Cixi and the emperor lived and handled court affairs, accepted laudations and received foreign diplomats during their stay in the Summer Palace.

Long Corridor and Longevity Hill: The second part features the Long Corridor, the Hall of Dispelling Clouds, the Tower of Buddhist Incense, the Hall of the Sea of Wisdom, the Back Lake, the Suzhou Market and Longevity Hill.

Kunming Lake and Nanhu Isle: The last part is Kunming Lake, which consists of the Marble Boat, Nanhu Island, the Bronze Ox and the beautiful 17-Arch Bridge.

the beautiful 17-Arch Bridge.

The beautiful 17-Arch Bridge.

Tip # 10: Prepare for a 2-3-hour outdoor sightseeing
Visiting Summer Palace needs some a little bit strong legs with a lot walking since Summer Palace is huge. Dress for the Hot or cold weather. The summer in Beijing could be humid and closed, sometimes extremely hot.

Also winter could be very cold. So well prepared for the uncomfortable weather both in winter and summer. You are advised to wear your most comfortable shoes.

It’s a long walk! Food choice in the complex is poor – typical fast food and snacks. So bring your own.

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

Tip # 11: Get to know the official notice to the visitors
1. No visitors are allowed to cross, climb, smoke, swim, skate, fish, spit, foul and litter and so on.
2. No visitors are allowed to camp, cook, fish, capture animals and dig plants inside.
3. No visitors are  allowed to paint and carve on the buildings, ground, stone, facility and tree, and to pick the flowers and spoil the lawn and trees.
4. The north of pavilion of Wenchang and the east of Jiehu Bridge are fist-level fire-proof non-smoking
5.  Expect for hand-powered wheelchairs and baby carriers used by the aged, the disabled, and children, any other vehicle are not allowed to enter without any permission.
6. The professional camera equipments are not allowed to use inside without any permission.
7. Without any permission, don’t perform, sing and make a noise so as to influence and disturb other visitors.|
8. The tour guides inside must have guide qualification.

Tip # 12:  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 Beijing guided tours:

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


Winter Skating in Summer Palace.
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 line.

Dongzhimen Public Transport Hub

Sunday, July 7th, 2019
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Situated in the northeastern Beijing, Dongzhimen Public Transport Hub is one of the important transportation hubs in Beijing Transportation. The hub’s Chinese name is called “东直门交通枢纽”, which is often translated into different versions in English on the internet such as Dongzhimen Transit Hub, Dongzhimen Transportation Hub, Dongzhimen Public Transit Hub, Dongzhimen Transport Hub.

Dongzhimen Public Transport Hub (东直门交通枢纽) is mainly composed of three forms of public transport  – Dongzhimen Bus Station ( or officially called “Bus Transfer Hall”), Dongzhimen Subway Station ( Subway Line 2 and 13) and Dongzhimen Airport Express. These three forms of public transport are connected underground as a whole.

Dongzhimen Public Transport is housed in a huge business complex building lying on the northeastern corner of Dongzhimen Bridge. When talking about Dongzhimen Public Transport Hub (东直门交通枢纽), we very often refer it to Dongzhimen Bus Station ( Bus Transfer Hall of Dongzhimen Transport Hub).

For many passengers coming to Dongzhimen Public Transport Hub, they would go to Dongzhimen Bus Station that brings them to Huairou District (Mutianyu Great Wall), Miyun (Jinshanling or Simatai Great Wall), Pingu District  (Glass Sightseeing Platform) or Shunyi District since Dongzhimen Bus Station covers the public bus transport in the  northeast suburban area around Beijing.

There are mainly two entrances – the South Entrance and North Entrance to the Dongzhimen Public Transport Hub.

The South Entrance to the Dongzhimen Public Transport Hub

The Bus Transfer Hall ( Dongzhimen Bus Station ) is on the first floor of the Dongzhimen Transport Hub Building.

The Bus Transfer Hall is mainly composed of two parts – North Platform and South Platform.

The Bus Transfer Hall ( Dongzhimen Bus Station ) is on the first floor of the Dongzhimen Transport Hub Building

The Bus Transfer Hall ( Dongzhimen Bus Station ) is on the first floor of the Dongzhimen Transport Hub Building.

Bus Schedule at North Platform of Bus Transfer Hall (Suburbs)

All buses at North Platform go to the suburbs of Beijing including Huairou (Mutianyu ), Miyun (Simatai and Jinshanling), Pinggu, South Railway Station and West Railway Station.Click “How to Get to Mutianyu Great Wall by Public Bus” for more information.

Bus 916 Express to: Huairou Bus Station, then connect to Bus Dongtai (洞台) 23 or 24 for Mutianyu Great Wall)
Bus 915 to: Nancai Bus Station in Shunyi
Bus 852 and 918 express to: Pinggu Bus Station
Bus 980 to: Miyun Bus Station, connect a local van for Simatai Great Wall or  Jinshanling Great Wall )
Bus 823 to: Beijing West Railway Station
Bus 106 to: Beijing South Railway Station

Bus Schedule at South Platform of Bus Transfer Hall  ( Outer Suburbs)
Bus 401 to: Jiuxianqiao Department Store
Bus 132 to: Dongkou, Wanjingbei Road
Bus 404 to: East of Wanjing Beilu
Bus 123 to: Jinxing Department
Bus 418 to: Jinzhuang

How to get to Dongzhimen Bus Station ( Bus Transfer Hall ) by subway:

It is convenient to take subway line 2 and get off at Dongzhimen Subway Station, where you walk through the underground passage leading to Dongzhimen Bus Station, or interchange for Subway Line 13 or Airport Express.

Get off the Dongzimen Stop of Subway Line 2, walking through underground passages to the Bus Transfer Hall, Airport Express and Subway Line 13.

To the Bus Transfer Hall, Airport Express and Subway Line 13.

Public Bus 916 for Huairou ( further to Mutianyu Great Wall )

On the first floor – by the side of Mcdonald’s on the Bus Transfer Floor is the Bus 916 Express for Huairou.

Mcdonald’s

Line up for the Bus 916 Express at the bus fare of CNY 12 ( If you have a transportation card, you will be entitled to half price.).

Line up for the Bus 916 Express

There are totally 20 stops for Public Bus 916 and you get off at the 15th stop of Beidajie ( North Street – 北大街 in Huairou District ).

Then connect a local taxi ( about 50 yuan ) or connect the H23,or H24 for Mutianyu Great Wall.  The Bus Stop for Bus H23,or H24 is just across where you get off at Beidajie ( North Street in Huairou ). The bus fare is 5 yuan ( If you have a transportation card, you will be entitled to half price.).

Click “How to Get to Mutianyu Great Wall by Bus” for the latest Mutianyu bus travel information.

Do you pay for your ticket while boarding the buses or do you need to buy them in advance?
1. Public Bus Service within downtown Beijing
Basically two options:

1) Buy a Beijing bus IC card, a kind of transportation smart card. Boarding a bus, you swipe your card at the front door and swipe again at the back door again when you alight.

2)Be ready for coins and drop the coins or some value paper money into the slit of an iron box standing at the front of the bus by the driver.

Note: Tell your driver where you are going and he will tell how much you should pay.

2. Suburban Buses going to the outskirts of Beijing
Basically you also have the same two options:
1) Buy a Beijing bus IC card, a kind of transportation smart card. Boarding a bus, you swipe your card.
2)Be ready for coins and drop the coins or some value paper money into the slit of an iron box standing at the front of the bus by the driver.
Note: Tell your driver where you are going and he will tell how much you should pay.

3. Long-distance buses going to other cities
Basically you also have two options:
1) Buy your bus ticket at a ticketing office
2) Or you pay while boarding the bus to make up a ticket, but this option can not secure you a seat if your bus is overloaded.

For more information in public buses, check out the link: http://www.tour-beijing.com/public_bus/

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

Mutianyu  Great Wall Join-in Tour ( No Shopping )
Mutianyu Great Wall Private Tour ( No Shopping )
Jinshanling Great Wall Private Tour ( No shopping )
Simatai Great Wall Private Tour ( No Shopping )