Archive for the ‘ZZ – China Inbound Tour’ Category
Taking a pedicab traveling around the old residential area in Beijing ( Beijing Hutong Tour ) is one of the highlights for the many first time foreign tourists visiting Beijing. The old Beijing residential areas are mostly composed of Beijing Hutongs which form and contain the traditional living houses locally called “Siheyuan”, a kind of vernacular courtyards.
Foreign travelers normally prefer to take a walk or a rickshaw around the Shichahai area north of Beihai Park, where the old hutongs and courtyards have well been kept.
Hutong tours are greatly promoted and incorporated into a complete Beijing sightseeing picture. There are several rickshaw tour tour companies providing pedicab service both in the Shichahai area north of Forbidden City and Qianmen area south of Forbidden City. Most of the rickshaw rides are restricted to the these hutong and courtyard areas.
Through years’ hectic competition, the hutong rickshaw market has been controlled and operated by several huong tour companies which have a clear code of conduct for their pedicab drivers to follow. The code of conduct include the follow:
1) Their pedicabs are painted with their company’s name
2) Their rickshaw drivers wear the uniforms with their company’s brand
3) Their rickshaws are in good shape
4) The rickshaw fares are fairly transparent
Tips for taking a rickshaw in Beijing
1) It is better to book a rickshaw tour through a hutong tour company or a local travel agency
2) Avoid directly negotiating the prices with individual peidicab drivers
3) Keep from using independent rickshaw drivers. There do exist a few illegal pedicab drivers without any company background.
Rickshaw has filled up a hole in the transport market in the hutong areas where normal cabs are found clumsy and useless. The hundreds-year old rickshaw ride in Beijing has become a popular and nostalgic mode of moving around in the fast developing metropolitan Beijing. Rickshaw rides are greatly favored by foreign visitors in Beijing and has also won the full support from the local government.
The rickshaws in London don’t have the same luck and privilege as the rickshaws in Beijing have enjoy. The rickshaws in London first appeared around later 1990s with the intention of creating environmentally friendly work for unemployed youngsters.
The pedicab drivers are mostly young foreign students who are going to make some money to help fund their studies. Many of them are independent rickshaw drivers though there are some registered rickshaw operators in London.
From the very beginning, the pedicabs in London have faced the question of existence due to the strong opposition from the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association which has vowed to fight them off the streets.
The pedicab fare is a matter of negotiation between the driver and the passengers. How much you pay is largely dependent on your negotiating skills and how far you are going. It’s daunting physical work.
Pedicabs in London are generally used by visitors for short journeys. Most of the rickshaw drivers look for their business in the West End Londdon, the most commercial and sightseeing area, posing a safety problem.
A few day stay in London gives me an impression that the richshaws in London are not well organized with little management and support from the local government.
Years ago using public toilets in Beijing was an experience not for the faint-hearted, dirty and smelly, a major tourist complaint from international tourists on their Beijing Tour. In the past 6 years Beijing has allocated over 400 million yuan (approx. 40 million GBP) investment to upgrade its public toilets. It has adopted a toilet star-rated system ranking the public toilets from one to five stars.
Now Beijing, with over 5,000 public toilets built and renovated, has become the world’s No. 1 metropolitan city in terms of public toilets. All the public toilets are free of charges. Most of the public toilets are equipped with remote-sensor flushing, automatic hand drier…
The squat toilets are widely used in Beijing and other parts of China, which are considered more hygienic for there is no body contact in comparison with the condition of some public toilet seats. But a squating culture of China clashes with that of seated toilts preferred by the Westerners, which are more comfortable and convenient for the elderly.
In recent years an increasing number of seated toilets have been available in the public toilets in Beijing. When you have sightseeing around the City of Beijing, it is very convenient for you just walk around 5 minutes to fnd a toilet.
You are kindly reminded that many of the public toilets in Beijing are short of toilet paper, especially for the low-rated toilets hutong areas, which are mainly used by neighborhood residents.
How to find the public toilets in Beijing?
1. Star-rated toilets in attractions
2. Residantial areas in hutong
2. Residantial areas in hutong
3. The main streets
4. Shopping centers and department store
5. Hotel lobbies
4. Shopping centers and department store
5. Hotel lobbies
In London, it is quite difficult to find a toilet on the streets. And the number of public toilets in London are declining. Many of the limited public toilets implement a charge admission. The cost of answering nature’s call range 20 to 50 pennies each time.
How to find free toilets in London?
1. Museums and art galleries
3. Shopping malls
4. Hotel lobbies
5. Inside the major attractions
A free toilet at the Portsmouth Railway Station, but with controlled openning time.
The city of Beijing has a history of over 800 years, dating back to 1153 AD the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234) which moved its capital from Shangjing to Beijing, called Zhongdu. The histoy of Beijing as a capital city went through four dynasties:
1.Beijing as capital city called” Shangdu” during Jin Dynasty (1115-1234)
2.Beijing as capital city called “Dadu” in Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368)
3.Beijing as capital city called ”Beijing” in Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644)
4.Beijing as capital city in Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)
At present, the buildings in Beijing mainly fall into the following four categories
1) The remaining imperial buildings in Ming and Qing Dynasties) (1368-1911), like Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace…
2) Hutongs and Siheyuan (courtyards), the traditional residential buildings starting the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1638-1911)
3) Charactorless and low quality residential and office buildings after 1949
4) Trendy and weird buildings in the 21th century
Walking on the streets in Beijing, the street buildings that catch your eyes in great number are those mediocre buildings after 1949, interrupted by the some ultra-modern buildings designed and built in the 21th century. If you stick around in the some back streets, you will find the traditional vernacular buildings in Beijing – Hutong and courtyards.
For a first-time foreign visitor in Beijing, Beijing Tour will cover the visits to the imperial places like Forbiden City, Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace. Most of foreign tourists will choose a Beijing Hutong Tour to learn more about the traditional residential buildings. Many of them would also like to have a look at the trendy buildings like Bird’s Nest, CCTV Builiding, the National Center of Performing Arts and many more…, a kind of Beijing Modern City.
As a city, London has a much longer history, dating back to AD 43 when Roman legions under the leadership of Emperor Claudius who came north to Britannia and chose the site of London as their new provincial capital. By AD200 a thick wall encircled the city of London.
The history of London can be divided into eight periods:
1. The Romans & the Anglo-Saxons (43-1066)
2. The Normans (1066-1154)
3. The Middle Ages (1154-1485)
4. The Tudors (1485-1603)
5. The Stuarts (1603-1714)
6. The Gorgians (1714-1837)
7. The Victorians (1837-1910)
8. The House of Windsor(1837-1910)
In the course of the city contruction and development, the city of London went through wars and fire many times. The Great Fire of London, the worse of several conflagrations in London, raged for four days in 1666, destorying more than three-quarters of the buildings in the city. In 1940-41, the Blitze started in London with 57 consecutive nights of bombing, causing extensive damage and loss of life.
Wandering along the main streets in Londion, you will feel as if you were in a gigantic museum of Romanesque and Gothic buildings. Most of the buildings were built during the Gorgians (1714-1837) and the Victorians (1837-1910). For the city exterior, you don’t sense much change in the urban construction in the past 200-300 years with very few modern buildings!
Look at the photos of London street buildings below: