Where to do distance running or walking in Beijing?

April 19th, 2019
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Plan your Beijing tour? In the mega-city center of Beijing, you may be a little bewildered as where to find a peaceful traffic-free place to do your walking, jogging, or running whether you’re looking for a quick workout or a long jog to kill an entire morning, afternoon or evening.

Asking about running routes in Beijing, most probably you are advised to do your exercises  in the city parks where you can dodge car exhaust, fast-moving scooters and random bicycles. The parks in Beijing are basically good options for running or jogging.

But today I’d like to introduce to you the 35-km magnificent greenway alongside the Second Ring Road, which offers the most runner-friendly running routes in the city core of Beijing.

The official name of the 35-km green road is known as “City Greenway Circling the Second Ring Road “, or simplified as “Beijing Greenway”.

Beijing’s Second Ring Road is a city core expressway free of traffic lights built on the former massive city wall which was moved away in 1960s to make way for building new roads and later for the ring road. Fortunately some sections of the city moats have been kept and renovated for the beautification of the city.

Now the local government has made great efforts building a green path alongside the Second Ring Road and some sections of the green path make use of the green roads along the two banks of the city moats circling the Second Ring Road.

The roads of of Beijing Greenway built along the two banks of the ancient city moats are my favorite running and walking routes. These city moat bank roads are incorporated into the greenway with mesmerizing views, especially in spring and autumn:  neatly cut roadside hedges,  weeping willow trees, peach flowers, bridges, ancient city wall relics……

The whole length of the greenway is well maintained – well decorated pavilions for short breaks, sentry boxes for security wardens and nearby toilets are proportionately arranged along the green path.

Of  the 35-km greenway, there are two major city moat bank roads – the North City Moat Bank Road and the South City Moat Road.
The North City Moat Bank Road is about 6 km long starting from Jishuitan (积水潭) on the west and Dongzhimen (东直门) on the east running parallel with the North Second Ring Road.

The South City Moat Road is about 13 km, much longer than the North City Moat Bank Road, starting Tianningsi Bridge ( 天宁寺桥) to Dongbianmen Bridge ( 东便门).

These two major city moat banks roads ( part of Beijing Greenway ) are highly recommended for your walking and running during your stay in Beijing.

I often do the jogging in the evening along part of the South City Moat Bank Road, to which I live much closer. For me, the clean and green roads along the two banks of the revamped city moats are just like a huge and long city water park where people do all sorts of things – flying kites, go fishing, walking dogs, leisure walking and running.

Come and join us walking and running along the city-moat-turned green path. You will gain much more than pure running, and you will have the opportunity to sense, feel and touch the real local life and culture behind the buzz and noise of the mage-city.

Below are some of the pictures I took with my smart phone camera while running from Dongbianmen ( 东便门桥) down south to Zuoanmen Bridge (左安门桥).

Running along the moat bank road.

 

Walking On the Greenway

 

Dogs share the green belt.

 

The magnificent View of the Corner Tower over the city moat.

 

Preparing flying a kite

 

Struggle to fly high the kite.

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.

How to visit Beijing in One Day

April 18th, 2019
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If you only have one full day in Beijing and would like to feel, touch and see the essential Beijing, you may check out the quick guide to Beijing one-day itinerary below, my suggested self-guide itinerary to plan your own memorable Beijing Day Tours.

This itinerary takes you for a walk along Beijing axis from south to north and appreciate the harmony of the city design which took its form in Yuan (1279-1368) and Ming ( 1368-1644) Dynasties.

For Beijing airport layover day tours or airport transit short tours, please check out Beijing layover tours.

Temple of Heaven
Get up early and have a fast breakfast, and get to to the east gate by taking the subway line 5 or to the south gate to Temple of Heaven by taking Beijing taxi.

Walking from the south gate ( or east gate ) through the north gate, visit the 500-year-old temple within a huge park, hence the official name for Temple of Heaven: Temple of Heaven Park ( Tiantan Park).

Temple of Heaven was constructed in 1420 AD during the Ming Dynasty as a site for the emperors to offer sacrifices to heaven.

Temple of Heaven

Temple of Heaven is now actually a park. Early in the morning there are a great number of retired people who come here to hang out with friends and do morning exercises, playing Taichi ball, doing ribbon dancing, ballroom dancing, playing cards and dominoes and writing calligraphy with water brush pens on the ground. There are also music and singing…

Qianmen and Hutongs
Now you exit from the north gate to the Temple of Heaven and turn left (west) for 15 minutes walking, then turn right (north) to Qianmen Walking Street and Dazhalan.

Please notice, to get to Qianmen Walking Street, you have to pass over a flyover to the east side of the Church you will see.

Use some time to explore the time-honored Qianmen Pedestrian Street full of shops and restaurants. You may grab some local food as your lunch. Dazhalan is a must for you to walk for a while exploring the modified ancient street in Beijing.

Walking on the Qianmen Pedestrian Street

Dazhalan is a must for you to walk exploring the modified  ancient street in Beijing.

Tiananmen Square
After finishing your exploration on Qianmen, you head north and pass through Zhengyangmen Tower ( Arrow Tower) and then walk through a Beijing Subway tunnel to Tiananmen Square.

Take a half hour or more time taking pictures and immersing yourself in the center of Beijing or even China.

Walk through an underground tunnel again from Tiananmen Square up to the Gate of Heaven Peace (Tiananmen Tower), where  Chairman Mao declared the People’s Republic On October 01, 1949. You pass under Mao’ Portrait and enter Forbidden City .

Take a half hour or more time taking pictures and immersing yourself in the center of Beijing and China.

Forbidden City
The grandeur imperial palaces for the emperors in Ming and Qing Dynasties. The Forbidden City  is a must see highlight for every first time visitor to Beijing.

Be prepared for crowds of people like you visiting this complex. So you go from the south gate to its north gate. Your visit usually will take 2-3 hours.

The Forbidden City is a must see highlight for every first time visitor to Beijing

Jingshan Park  ( Jingshan Hill,  Coal Hill or prospect Hill).
Jingshan Park  is unmissable for your Beijing Day Tour. Jingshan just sits across the north gate to Forbidden City . After finishing your visit to Forbidden City  from south to north, you exit from Forbidden City’s north gate.

Walking out of the north gate, you raise your head, you will find a pavilion with three-layered eaves perched on a hill in Jingshan Park, a perfect place to have a panoramic view of Forbidden City and the city of Beijing.

The main road between the north gate area of Forbidden City and the south gate of Jingshan Park  is full 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 at the ticket window by the gate to Jingshan Park for the tickets: RMB 2 per person. Opening hours: 6am – 8pm all year round.

Jingshan Park is not to be missed a visit during your Beijing Day Tours


Beihai Park

After Jingshan Park , you are supposed to walk west to its neighbor – Beihai Park.  Beihai Park is very often neglected by many visitors.

Often dubbed as Winter Palace by westerners, Beihai Park  is the oldest imperial garden in the world as well as one of the largest in China.

Beihai Park is well-known for its beautiful gardens, the maze in the stone cave, temples and pavilions. Atop the Jade Island in Beihai Park, White Dagoba becomes an important landmark of the city.

Beihai Park is the oldest imperial garden in the world as well as one of the largest in China

Public Bars at Shichahai
After the tour of Beihai Park, you exit from the north gate to Beihai park, then you come to the most famous night hangout in Beijing – Shichahai, where a cluster of bars and restaurants are dotted along the banks of the lake.

People mill along the bridge with weeping willows glowing with shining sunset in Shichahai

If you are fed up with the gentrification in Beijing; if you lose interest in modern Beijing; if you feel sad about the fact that Beijing is becoming less like Beijing; if you want to see a traditional Beijing,  and if you try to find a quiet place in the busy Beijing, come to Shichahai! Tired? Have a drink in one of the bars.

Guojie Food Street
Are you hungry? Take a cab to the nearby Guijie, Ghost Street ,  a 1442-meter long gourmet street, located within Dongzhimennei Dongcheng District, running from the east of Dongzhimen Bridge.

Eating seeds outside on benches and waiting for a seat in Ghost Street

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:For Beijing airport layover tours, please check out Beijing layover 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


How to Visit Beijing in Two Days.
How to Visit Beijing in Three Days.
How to Visit Beijing in 8 Days.

Forbidden City Travel Tips – The Palace Museum Travel Tips
Tips for Visiting Tiananmen Square
Tips for Visiting the Temple of Heaven
Tips for visiting Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs in Beijing
How to visit Beihai Park Beijing
How to visit Bird’s Nest and Water Cube
How to visit CCTV Tower in Beijing
How to Visit National Grand Theatre in Beijing
How to visit Shichahai

Any questions, just drop a  line.

How to visit Terracotta Army in Xian

April 16th, 2019
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Dear Travelers

We’d like to have the following travel guide to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors coming to Terracotta Warriors.

If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!

____________________________________________________________________

Plan your Xian tour? For many foreign visitors, visiting the excavated Terracotta Army is a must. These Army of Terra-Cotta Warriors were supposed to safeguard Chinese first emperor – Qin Shihuang in his afterlife.

He unified China in 221 BC for the first time in Chinese history and established Qin Dynasty (221–206 B.C.), thus starting China’s over 2000 years’ feudal society

You are kindly reminded that Qin Shihuang’s underground palace is still there and remains intact though some of the burial sites annexing to his mausoleum have been robbed.

Why his own burial site or his underground palace still intact? It is said that his tomb has solid and strict anti-gravedigging system including secret crossbows which may kill people once you are inside the tomb, and a large amount of mercury which will emit much toxic air within the tomb.

Now the entrance for Qin Shihuang’ Mausoleum is also included in your ticket for Terracotta Army Museum – One ticket for two sites. The two sites are 2 km apart connected by free shuttle buses.

Terracotta Amy at Pit One

Terracotta Amy at Pit One

Located  2km east of Qin Shihuang Mausoleum, the Emperor’s afterlife army terracotta soldiers are only part of his mausoleum. These vivid over 2000-year-old soldiers of Terracotta Army were discovered March 24, 1974 by a group of local farmers when they were digging a well.

Now this site of Terracotta army has been turned into a world-famous attraction site, bombarded by tons of tourists visiting this museum. I’ve been to the Terracotta Army Museum for several times.

Below are some of the Terracotta Army travel tips for your reference if you are going to make your maiden trip to the world-famous Terracotta Warriors and Soldiers Museum:

Tip#1: How to get from Xian Xianyang Airport to Terracotta Warriors (TCW)

1. Xian Airport to Lintong Special Bus.
At Xian Xianyang Airport, first take the Airport to Lintong Special Bus. Arriving at Lintong, then change for the local bus for Terracotta Warriors (TCW).
Departure time from Xian Airport: 10:30、12:30、15:30、17:30
Bus fare: 30 yuan ( excluding the local bus from Lintong to TCW)

2. Airport Shuttle Bus No.02
First take the airport bus no.02 from Xian Airport to Xian Railway Station. Upon arrival at Xian Railway Station, then you change for the special Tourism Bus 5 (Bus no. 306) running between Xian Railway Station to TCW.
Departure time from Xian Airport: half an hour per bus ( 08:00 – 21:00)
Bus fare: 26 yuan ( excluding the bus from Xian Railway Station to TCW)

3. By Taxi
Arriving at Xian Xianyang Airport, line up at the official taxi stand and take taxi for TCW:
Taxi Ride: about one hour and 66 km
Taxi fare: approx. 193 yuan, plus toll fee: 30 yuan

4. Private Transfer
Before getting to Xian Xianyang Airport, you can book a hassle-free private transfer from the airport to TCW. Check out Xian Car Rental with Driver for more information.

Tip#2: How to get from Xian Railway Station to TCW
It is very easy to find the special Tourism Bus 5 (Bus no. 306) running between Xian Railway Station to Terracotta Army Museum. If you stand facing Xian Railway Station, The Bus 5(306) parks at the parking lot on your right (or east side).

You don’t have to buy the bus ticket in advance. Just jump on the bus and later a bus guide will come to you and collect the money – RMB 7 per person.

Basic Information on the Bus
Bus Line: Tourism Bus 5 (306)
First Bus: 08:00; Last Bus 19:00
Departure Time: Leave when full.
Line Length: 42 Km
Drive Time: 0ne Hour
Bus Stops: Totally 12 stop on route
Bus Stop No.01: Xian Railway Station
Bus Stop No 08: Huanqing Hots pring
Bus Stop No 12: Terracotta Army

Be sure to get off at the last destination – Terracotta Army Museum since the Bus 5 (306) is scheduled to stop at several tourist attractions including Huaqing  Hot spring, Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum.

You don’t need to get off at these stops. The very last stop ( the 12th stop ) of this bus is the Terracotta Warriors. Just stay on the bus until you get to the last stop. Remember where you get off the bus terminal.

After finishing your visiting the museum, come to the same parking lot and take the exact bus No 5 (306) since there are some other “fake” bus 306 which eagerly push you to take their buses.

Tip#3: How to get from Xian North Railway Station to TCW
If you take high speed train to Xian, you will arrive at Xian North Railway Station.

First take Bus 266 from Xian North Railway Station to Xian Railway Station. Upon arrival at Xian Railway Station, then you change for the special Tourism Bus 5 (Bus no. 306) running between Xian Railway Station to TCW.

Bus 266 from Xian North Railway Station to Xian Railway Station: about 20 minutes per bus ( 08:00 – 21:00)
Bus fare: 2 yuan ( excluding the bus from Xian Railway Station to TCW)

There is a  luggage deposit office on the southern square outside the station.  20 yuan per piece. Please go to Information Center for more detailed information.

Tip#4: Basic information about Terracotta Warriors and Soldiers Museum
Located 30km east of Xian, the Army of Terracotta Warriors are undoubtedly the greatest archaeological find of the 20th century. The museum is composed of three pits: Pit 1, Pit 2 and Pit 3.

Pit 1 is most impressive and the highlight of the museum. Pits 2 and 3, though interesting, are not as impressive as the pit 1. If you don’t have sufficient time, PIT 2 and PIT 3 can be avoided.

The movie -360 degrees, the background film, is in English and very cool, which takes about 15 minutes long. It gives some background to what you see with your own eyes. It is worth the 15 minutes. The film ticket is included in your entrance fee.

Tip#5: Don’t expect too much from the Museum
Before you visit the terracotta warriors, if you have already read a lot and seen tons of pictures of the Army of Terracotta warriors, you may feel a little disappointed. So there is much hype which causes your visit to be a letdown.

Tip#06: Rent an audio guide? Hire a tour guide? or Using a guidebook?
How to visit the museum? You have three choices:
1) Rent an audio guide ( recorded guide ). You just pay RMB 40 an audio tour. The voice sounds like an American accent and it is easy to understand and informative.

2) Using a tour guide service. When you are going to buy your tickets at the ticketing office, tons of tour guides will come to you, eager to offer you the guide service.

If you haven’t done much homework before you came to Xian. You are advised to hire a local tour guide to guide or translate for you at the price of about RMB 100-150. You will get more knowledge than from a guidebook or the recordings. Just avoid the shopping sites your local guide may suggest you to go.

3) Using a guidebook to guide your tour in and around the museum.

Tip#7: Walking from Ticketing office to Entrance Gate
It takes 5-10 minutes walking from the ticketing office to the entrance gate. If you pay RMB 5, you take a small tram ride to the entrance gate. In my opinion, if you are in good shape, just avoid using the small tram.

Free luggage storage service:
On the left side of the Ticketing Office is the Tourist Information Center which offers free luggage storage service.

Tip#8: Exit from the museum
After you finish visiting the museum and leave for your bus terminal, or in a word, on the way back, you have to pass through an area with a lot of shops and restaurants. This obviously poses some pressure on you to buy some souvenirs or spend some money here.

If you are tender-hearted, and going to buy something to support China’s economy, please bargain!

Tip#9: Some Restaurants Rip off
There are many restaurants leading up to the museum. Some of them just rip you off. So take great care of your money!

Tip#10: Toilets in the museum are free
For the toilets outside the museum, you have to pay. But once you are inside the museum, you enjoy free toilets. They are the same squatting-style facility like everywhere else in china.

Tip#11: Take a taxi to the Museum
It takes about 160 RMB by taxi from the downtown Xian to Army of Terra-Cotta Warriors. Very often you have to bargain with your taxi driver.

Tip#12: Terracotta Army, not Qin Shihuang Mausoleum
If you take Bus 5(306) from Xian Railway Station to Terracotta Army Museum, don’t get off at Qin Shihuang’ Mausoleum. Qin Shihuang’s Mausolem is not much worth visiting since it is just a mound, not excavated yet.

So don’t confuse Terracotta Army with Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum. The entrance for Qin Shihuang’ Mausoleum is also included in your ticket for Terracotta Army Museum.

A closer look at soldiers and horses

A closer look at soldiers and horses

Tip#13: Opening time and entrance fees
Ticket Selling Hours: 8:30 – 17:00 (March 16 – Nov 15)
8:30 – 16:30 (Nov 16 – March 15)
Time for ticket collecting: 8:30 – 18:00 (March 16 – Nov 15)
8:30 – 17:30 (Nov 16 – March 15)
Entrance Fee: RMB 150 (March 1-November 30); RMB 120 (December 1-the end of February)
The ticket also includes the entrance to Qin Shihuang’ Mausoleum.

Note: There is a cap for the number of visitors ( limited to daily 65000 visitors ). But  basically  you won’t have any problem buying your tickets if you avoid visiting the site during National Holiday ( Oct 01 -07 ).

For booking the tickets online, you use the following two websites ( both in Chinese ):
1) http://piao.ctrip.com/ticket/dest/t1444.html
2) http://order.bmy.com.cn:88/ticket/index.htm

Tip#14 Free luggage storage service:
On the left side of the Ticketing Office is the Tourist Information Center which offers free luggage storage service.

The Terracotta Warriors Museum is open all year round – 365 days every year! Children under the height of 1.2m don’t have to pay.

06611Tip #15: Hassle-free Xian 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 Xian guided tours:

Xian City Day Tour from US$69
Xian Terracotta Warriors Day Tour A from US$85
Terracotta Army and Song of Everlasting Performance from US$135

Xian 2 Day Tour Package from US$170 p/p
Xian 3 Day Tour Package from US$235 p/p

Terracotta Army  Join-in Escorted Bus Tour RMB 480 p/p
Terracotta Army  Escorted Private Tour  US$ $125 P/P

Further Readings


Beijing Xian High Speed Train Experience
Top 10 Attractions in Xian
Tips for Visiting Muslim Quarter in Xian
Tips for Visiting Xian City Wall
Tips for Visiting Shaanxi History Museum
Tips for Visiting Xian Bell Tower
How Visit Terracotta Army
How to Visit Daming Palace National Heritage Park
Top 10 Photography Spots in Xian
The Night View of Great Tang All Day Mall
Tips for Visiting Hanyang Tombs Xian
The Song of Everlasting Sorrow Show in Xian
Tips for Visiting Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Tips for Visiting Huaqing Hot Springs in Xian
How to Visit Mount Huashan
Top 10 Hostels in Xian
Best Time to Visit Xian

Any questions, just drop a line.