Archive for the ‘Beijing Travel’ Category

How to Visit Great Wall of China by Train – Badaling Great Wall

Monday, June 17th, 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 Badaling Great Wall by train. If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!


Beijing North Railway Station has been closed for a three-year reconstruction program –  part of the overall construction of Beijing Zhangjiakou High Speed Railway in preparation for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

Now all the S2 trains ( going to Badaling Great Wall ), originally handled by Beijing North Railway Station,  have been moved to the newly renovated Huangtudian Railway Station (黄土店站) for the three-year transition.

So if you want to go to Badaling Great Wall by train, you should head to Huangtudian Railway Station which is located in Changping District, about 20 km north of Beijing’s city center.

How to get to Huangtudian Railway Station (黄土店站) ?
You can take Subway Line 13 or Subway Line 8 and get off at Huoying Station ( 霍营站) and exit from Exit G4.  The Exit G4 is only 110 meters to the northwest of Huangtudian Railway Station (黄土店站).  Enquiry Phone Number for Huangtudi Railway Station: 51869412.

Huoying Station ( 霍营站) is an interchange station on Line 8 and Line 13 of the Beijing Subway. You can easily take either subway line 13 or 8 from towntown Beijing ( or interchange from other subway lines ) to Huoying Station ( 霍营站) which is just next to Huangtudian Railway Station (黄土店站). The Exit G4 is only 110 meters to the northwest of Huangtudian Railway Station (黄土店站).

How to get from Beijing South Railway Station to Huangtudian Railway Station (黄土店站) ?
First you take the subway line 4 directly from within Beijing South Railway Station to the north direction and get off at the 9th station of Xizhimen (西直门) and then interchange for Subway Line 2 to the east direction, and get off at the second station of Guloudajie (鼓楼大街), then again interchange for subway line 8 to the north and get off at the 11th station of Huoying Station ( 霍营站) and exit from Exit G4. The Exit G4 is only 110 meters to the northwest of Huangtudian Railway Station (黄土店站).

How to get from Beijing Capital International Airport to Huangtudian Railway Station (黄土店站) ?
Come out of the exit hall at Beijing Capital Airport ( T 3 or T2 ), then take the airport express train (starting from the connected hall attached to the airport).  Buy your train ticket on the sport at the ticketing booth in the hall ( 25 yuan ).

You get off at the final station of Dongzhimen (东直门), then interchange for the subway line 13 going to the north ( buy your train ticket on the spot: 5 yuan ) and get off at the 7th station of Huoying ( 霍营). and exit from Exit G4.

See the Beijing Subway Map to hone your skill for facilitating your Beijing subway trip.

The trip report below sent by Nana who has successfully made it from the airport to the Badaling great wall on a 13 hr layover:

5:30 AM land at BCIA
5:40 enter 24 hr visa line
6:30 leave visa line, change money, walk to airport transfer express subway
6:55 subway arrives, 25 yuan
7:35 arrive at dongzhimen station, walk to line 13, buy ticket for 5 yuan
7:40 start new subway to huoying station
8:20 arrive, walk to exit g4, turn right and huangtudian railway is 150 ft away, just follow the signs for badaling
8:25-30 buy ticket for 7 yuan, board train, sit on the same side as the door you entered for best views
8:43 leave
9:55 arrived at the great wall badaling station
10:10 arrived at great wall, bought ticket for 35 yuan
11:50 made it to tower twelve
12:30 PM walked back by the street, arrived at train station
1:19 train leaves
2:50 arrived at huoying station
2:55 board subway to dongzhimen
3:20 stop in dongzhimen to eat dinner
4 board airport tram
4:35 arrive at airport
4:47 tram arrives at immigration
5:05 through security
6:55 flight leaves

Total cost 109 yuan for public transportation during low season.


S2 Trains:
These are suburban trains running from Beijing Huangtudian Railway Station to Badaling (Great Wall )八达岭 and Yanqing ( 延庆), known as “S2 Trains”. Train Tickets: RMB 6 per ride; if using “Yikatong” Transportation Card, RMB 5 per ticket.All the S2 train tickets are free seating.Like public buses, no advance train tickets booking.Just line up and buy the train tickets on the spot.In tourist high season,  the trains fill up quite fast.Once it is full, you have to wait for the next train.One way ticket only, if you want to buy a return ticket, you have to buy it from other side.”Yikatong” Transportation Card is definitely a smart way to pay for the train ride. Just swipe and go, and no need for lining up for buying your ticket!

Kindly Reminder:
You are advised to purchase a “Yikatong” Transportation Card ( One Pass for All Card), similar to Hong Kong’s Octopus card, Singapore’s EZ-Link, or the Oyster Card used by TfL in London in United Kingdom.”Yikatong” Transportation Card can be also used to pay for Beijing taxi, Beijing public buses, Beijing subway as well as S2 trains to Badaling Great Wall.

More about “Yikatong” card: People cannot share a Yikatong card. For a short stay in Beijing,  you may put 50 yuan ( including 20 yuan deposit ) into your Yikatong card. You may keep Yikatong as a souvenir or reimburse it at a ticketing booth when you leave Beijing.

If you don’t have enough time for returning your Yikatong, you may keep it for future use which basically will be never outdated. It is a transportation card without your identification. If you lose it, then it’s hard for you to reclaim it. Keep it well!

In tourist season, there is a limit to the daily ticket selling, but there is more leniency to transportation card holders – Just swipe and go !!

Beijing S2 Trains going between Huangtudian Railway Station and Badaling Railway Station.

Beijing S2 Trains

Inside the cars of the S 2 train.

Inside a car of the S train.

Inside a car of the S2 train.

Badaling Great Wall Train Schedule ( Subject to Change in winter season without Notice )
The S2 Train Timetable below is the one effective from April, 2018. If you find a newest one, please leave us a message for updating for the convenience of the new visitors.Enquiry land phone number for  Huangtudi Railway Station (Starting Station): 51869412.
Enquiry land phone number for Yanqing Railway Station ( Arriving Station): 51869221

Timetable 1

 

Timetable 2

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On the way, you can enjoy the total view of the Guan Valley Scenic Area, pass by Juyongguan Great Wall, and especially immersing yourself in the hundred-year-old Beijing-Zhangjiakou railway, first designed by Mr. Zhan Tianyou (1861 – 1919), the famous Chinese designer of the railway.

How to get from Badaling Train Station to the Ticketing Office at Badaling
After getting off the train at Badaling Station, just follow the throng and get out of the train station. Free shuttle buses just across the road are waiting for you, taking you to the ticketing offices at Badaling Great Wall.

Important Notice:
Badaling Railway Station to Badaling Great Wall: First Shuttle at 6:00 am and last at 4:00 pm
Badaling Great Wall to Badaling Railway Station: First Shuttle at 6:15 am and last at 4:15 pm

Getting off at Badaling Train Station

Getting off at Badaling Train Station

Free shuttle buses are waiting outside the train station just across the road, taking you to the ticketing offices.

Free shuttle buses are waiting outside the train station

Free shuttle buses are waiting outside the train station

 The free shuttle buses have two stops:
Stop 01:  Get off at the first stop and walk up the Badaling Great Wall at its No.01 Tower. If you want to avoid the crowds and like to hike up the Wall, you may stop at the Stop 01.

Stop 02:  Get off at the second stop near the Cable Car Station to buy cable ticket ( entrance fee as well ) and get up to the Tower No.07. Then walk down to No.01 Tower or No.12 Tower. Basically no need for a return cable car.

One of the most gorgeous and magnificent parts of the Great Wall around Beijing, Badaling Great Wall (八达岭长城) is the well preserved Ming Dynasty Great Wall with original appearance.

Now it is divided into two sections – north and south, which start at the Badaling Pass and Gate. Most tourists prefer to climb the north section where the highest watch tower (Tower No.08) is located.

Also the cableway is available on the north section. Many people choose to climb up the north section of the Great Wall, then take the cable car down or vice versa.

The cable car goes up to somewhere below between Tower No.08 and No.09. So when you take cable car up, you will see large crowds of people. So we recommend you hike from Tower 01 and back instead of taking cable car.

Badaling Great Wall

Badaling Great Wall

To hike up the north section of the Badaling Great Wall, you have two starting points – either from the Badaling Pass or the Badaling Bear Park.

Why two starting points? Actually the north Badaling Great Wall ( totally 12 towers on the wall ) has two parallel sections meeting at the most northern tip – the 8th Watch Tower ( a curve ) of the Badaling Great Wall.

There are totally 12 towers on the northern Badaling Great Wall. So you ether start at Tower No.01 starting from Badaling Pass or Tower No.12 from Badaling Bear Park.

Badaling Great Wall

Badaling Great Wall

We often call the two north parallel sections “front mountain” and “back mountain” respectively. The “front mountain” ( from Tower No.01 to Tower No.08 ) is to the north of the “back mountain” ( from Tower No.08 to Tower No.12 ).

If you want to climb up the north “front mountain” Badaling Great Wall, you start from the Badaling Pass; if you climb up the north “back mountain” Badaling Great Wall, you start from the Badaling Bear Park.

Most passengers prefer to hike the northern slope of Badaling Great Wall simple because the north part is more scenic and convenient with cable car and slide services in between. But still some people like to hike the southern slope to avoid the crowds for better photo opportunities. If you hike the southern slope, you have to backtrack.

Ticket Price: RMB40 (Nov. 1 to Mar. 31); RMB 45 (Apr. 1 to Oct. 31)
Cable Car: RMB80 (single trip); RMB100 (round trip)
Toboggan: RMB30 (single trip);
Opening Hours:06:30-19:00 (in summer); 07:00-18:00 (in winter)
Hiking Time: Two Hours
Bus Route: Take Bus No.877 or No. 919 at Deshengmen, RMB12 for ticket.
S Train: Take S train from Beijing North Railway Station and get off at the station of Badaling.

Travel Tips:
1. No advance ticket booking service for this train route. You have to buy tickets on the spot. No need for ID for ticket purchasing.

2. For coming back, get to the station and get in the “queue” early. When the train arrives, there’s an almighty (but highly amusing) stampede through the double doors to get out onto the platform and onto the train (which instantly fills up).

3. You can use Beijing Transportation smart card for travelling S2 train from Beijing Huangtudian Railway station to Badaling great wall. So If you have a transportation card, you don’t have to wait in line for buying a ticket. Just put your card on a reader and go. The S Train is unnumbered, free seating.

4. Alternatively, you can also take Badaling Bus 877  at Deshengmen to Badaling Great Wall, then take train back to Beijing. To get to the Badaling Bus 877, you are advised to take the subway and get off at Jishuitan Stop (积水潭). Then you walk all the way to Deshengmen (德胜门),  which is a whole block east of the  Jishuitan Subway Exit A (over 15-minute walk in the east direction).

5. And don’t forget to haggle if buying a souvenir at the shops near the wall’s entrance (those 180Yuan tshirts are happily sold for far less than their displayed price).

6. Kindly reminder: there may be allegedly “official tourist information volunteers” with red badges on, who will try to drive tourists to get on their minibuses with all sorts of excuses to lure you on. Just don’t go for it. Otherwise, you will be on a nightmare trip.

7. Hassle-free Badaling Great Wall Guided Tours
Don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route? No worries, We at Tour Beijing have some options for guided tours to Badaling Great wall.

Badaling Great Wall + Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour
Badaling Great Wall and Underground Palace Day Tour
Badaling Great Wall + Forbidden City + Tiananmen Square Day Tour

Further Readings


Badaling Great Wall Tourist Map
Tips for Visiting the Great Wall of China around Beijing
How to Visit Mutianyu Great Wall by Bus
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.

How to find a reliable travel agency in Beijing

Monday, June 17th, 2019
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“How to find a reliable travel agency in Beijing” is a frequently asked question by those who are going to visit Beijing for the first time.

Though nowadays independent travel is very popular, people still keep the habit of using some of the travel services offered by a local travel agency to extend their travel capability and have a more worry-free and interactive tour at the destination they are going to explore.

So how to locate a trustworthy, competent and resourceful travel agency in the destination they are going to visit? Different people have different understanding of so called “Reliable Local Travel Agency”.  Having worked in the travel agency industry over 30 years, I try to offer you some hints and shed some useful light on the question.

1. It would be better to use a local travel agency in Beijing instead of located in other destinations. The advantage of using a local travel agency is apparent:

1) A local travel agency handles all the travel service directly, reducing the tour cost which helps to save your money.
2) If you should have a problem on your Beijing trip, they can have prompt response and have your problem addressed quickly.
3) As a local travel expert, they can do a tailor made tour for you per your specific travel request.
4) They can update you on destination information. And assist you get across what you need to be clear of before you arrive in Beijing.
5) As a local travel agency, you can easily reach them. Just a phone call away from getting your problem solved.
6) You can meet them if you want.
2. Use the method of word of mouth to reach your travel agency
Like any other professions, word of mouth is still most used to find your best travel agency.

Turn to your friends, relative and co-workers to solve your problem. Maybe their good travel experience will disclose a competent travel agency, which is able to handle successfully your travel arrangement.

3. Look for a tangible Travel Agency behind an online travel website in Beijing
Another easy way of finding a reliable travel agency is to seach the internet.
Today many local travel agencies in Beijing have put up their own fancy travel websites and compete for online travel service.

As a traveler, you are highly advised to search for the information on the real and tangible travel agencies behind these travel websites. Don’t just trust a fancy travel website only. Who is to handle your travel arrangement is more important than who designs a beautiful travel website. There are many “middleman” travel websites who will pass your ball to another tangible travel agency in Beijing. They don’t handle any travel service directly. You’d better to keep away from those”middle man” travel websites.

4. A liable Travel agency must be registered at Beijing and China tourism bureaus. It must a a member of China Association of Travel Services as well the member of International Air Transport Association.

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

Any questions, just drop  a line.

Qianmen Street, a famous pedestrian street in Beijing

Saturday, June 15th, 2019
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The 845-meter long Qianmen Street runs south from Tiananmen Square, just along the Beijing central axis. It is one of the last remnants of the business centers of the old Beijing.

It has been transformed into a modern commercial pedestrian street, the most second visited traffic-free street after Wangfujing Street in Beijing.

Qianmen Street was initially formed in Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911). By the time of Emperor Jiajing, the 12th Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) emperor, the street was dotted with guild halls built by different localities, providing houses to citizens from other parts of China intending to take the imperial exams.

Qianmen Street became even more prosperous in the early years of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) with the development of activities such as lantern fairs, theaters and tea houses.

Places like the Guanghe Theater  – today threatened with demolition — and the Quanjude roast duck restaurant are part of Beijing’s history.

The original Qianmen Street in Ming and Qing Dynasties was burnt down to ashes in 1900 when the Allied Forces of the Eight Powers ransacked Beijing. Physically, there is nothing left for us to retrieve.

The present Qianmen Street has been rebuilt on the historical photos and the mould of the 1920s to 1930s. The 1.45-square kilometer area has been built into four zones for culture, food, shopping and entertainment. Trolley cars are back to transport and entertain tourists.

The area is home to 50 courtyards and hutongs listed as state-level heritage sites, as well as 80 famed shops that have been operating for over a century, such as the Liubiju sauce and pickle shop, Tongrentang drugstore, Ruifuxiang silk shop, Neiliansheng shoes store and Zhangyiyuan tea shop.

Follow me to explore Qianmen Street.

You may visit Qianmen Street from its north entrance, south of Tiananmen Square.

The north entrance to Qianmen Street with a traditional archway.

Or, you may enter Qianmen Street from its south entrance. The distance between the north entrance and south entrance is 845m in length.

The south entrance to Qianmen Street

The Dangdang Che ( Tram) is basically in service during Chinese public holidays running from north to south.
The Dangdang Che ( Tram) will be in service during Chinese public holidays running from north to south.

The Dangdang Che ( Tram)

Walking along the street.

Walking along the street.


The father and daughter are ambling down the street.

The father and daughter are ambling on the street.

KFC is mixed with the traditional Beijing elements.
KFC is mixed with the traditional Beijing elements.

KFC is mixed with the traditional Beijing elements.

The 845m long Qianmen Street is a nice place for a walk.
The 845m long Qianmen Street is a nice place for a walk.

The 845m long Qianmen Street is a nice place for a walk.

Here you can find the West meets the East.
Here you can find the West meets the East.

Here you can find the West meets the East.

The time-honored Yueshengzhai Restaurant.

The time-honored Yueshengzhai Restaurant.

The famous Qianmen Quanjude Duck Restaurant.

The famous Qianmen Quanjude Duck Restaurant.

People are lining up for having a bite of Duyichu shaomai.

People are lining up for having a bite of Duyichu shaomai.

China Bookstore

China Bookstore

Changcuntang, a famous traditional Chinese Pharmacy

Changcuntang, a famous traditional Chinese Pharmacy

MCdonald’s on the street

MCdonald’s on the street

Walking about 80 meters from the north entrance to Qianmen Street, on your right hand, you will see the entrance to the famous Dashilan, once the business center of Beijing.

The Dashilan area has gathered some of China’s oldest brands, such as Tongrentang (TCM), Neiliansheng (shoes), and Ruifuxiang (silk and fabrics).

The entrance to the famous Dashilan

The two time-honored shops selling hats and shoes inside Dashilan Area.

The two time-honored shops selling hats and shoes inside Dashilan Area

Its north entrance is just behind Zhengyang Gate ( Arrow Tower ).

Its north entrance is just behind Zhengyang Gate ( Arrow Tower ).

Its north entrance is just behind Zhengyang Gate ( Arrow Tower ).


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

Any questions, just drop line.