Archive for the ‘Beijing Tour Reviews’ Category

How to Visit Forbidden City

Tuesday, July 17th, 2018
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Dear Travelers,

We’d like to have the following quick guide to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors visiting Forbidden City in Beijing. If you have any questions or anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!
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Plan your Beijing tours? Visiting Forbidden City ( The Palace Museum ) is no doubt one of your travel highlights in Beijing.  Then how to buy your Forbidden City entry ticket? When to visit? Which gate to enter? What’s the visiting line? How to beat the crowds?

Here we have a quick guide for you to grab some basic travel tips for visiting Forbidden City.

Tip # 01: Try to Avoid Weekends or Chinese Public Holidays
Forbidden City is a must see highlight for every first-time visitor to Beijing. Be ready for crowds of people visiting this complex. Try to avoid visiting  Forbidden City on weekends or public holidays.

On these tourist peak days, the hoards of tourists are thick. Many tour groups ( most domestic ones) seem to aggregate and move about with banners, and colored caps.

Very often you have to elbow your way to see and take pictures. We recommend you come here either early in the morning or in the later afternoon ( not too late to be allowed to enter the museum ) to beat the crowds, enjoy the Forbidden City as it once is before the masses turn up and ruin your photo opportunities.

Tip # 02:  The Entrance Gate and the Exit Gate to Forbidden City
There is just one entrance to Forbidden City, namely the southern gate, or Meridian Gate, also known as Wumen in Chinese. South of the Southern Gate is Tiananmen Tower and Tiananmen Square.

The entrance  to Forbidden City, namely the southern gate, or Meridian Gate

There is just one exit gate to Forbidden City, namely the northern gate, or Gate of Divine, also known as Shenwu Men in Chinese.

Kinder Reminder:
You have to enter Forbidden City from its southern gate and exit from its northern gate, which is officially set as a one-way south to north travel route. You cannot enter the Southern Gate and exit from the Southern Gate again; you cannot enter the Northern Gate.

How to get to the Southern Gate to Forbidden City?
There are three ways to reach the Southern Gate:
1) Walking to the Southern Gate from the south via Tiananmen Square under the famous Mao portrait;
2) Walking to the Southern Gate from the west via Zhongshan Park
3) Walking to the Southern Gate from the east via Donghuamen and the moat.

If you haven’t been to  Tiananmen Square, you should choose to walk from Tiananmen Square. This approach takes longer time due to the security check at the four square corners on Tiananmen Square.

Walking from the east or west to the Southern Gate would be fast and less crowded.  There are electric transfer carts to take you to the Southern Gate from east and west ( 2 yuan ). If you want to visit Forbidden City with only limited time, you can choose to go to the Southern Gate via east or west instead of walking through Tiananmen Square.

Tip # 03: Entry Ticket Information
Forbidden City accepts Master Card, Visa, and PayUnion cards for ticket purchase. You need to show your passport to buy your entrance tickets. Forbidden City Ticketing Purchase is based on real name policy.

Chinese citizens are required to buy the entrance tickets online in advance. But foreigners still can buy their tickets on the spot through “Passport Window” by the southern gate.

Gate of Supreme Harmony inside Forbidden City

So just go to Forbidden City earlier and line up to buy your ticket and don’t worry about the online ticket booking websites in Chinese.

April 1st – October 31 ( 8:30 – 17:00 )
Last Entry at 16:10
Tickets sold until 16:00
Entrance ticket:RMB 60

November 1st – March 31 (8:30 – 16:30)
Last Entry at 15:40
Tickets sold until 15:30
Entrance Ticket: RMB 40

There are some exhibits within the complex that require additional tickets to get access to the inside paid sights such as the Treasure Gallery and the Clock and Watch Gallery.

Treasure Gallery : RMB 10;
Clock and Watch Gallery: RMB 10

Note:
1. Forbidden City is closed for the entire day every Monday, except the Chinese national public holidays.
2. Forbidden City Ticketing Purchase is based on real name policy;
3. You need to show your passport to buy your entrance tickets;
4. Free of charge for children under 1.2 meters, each required to be escorted by an adult;
5. Special 20 yuan tickets are available for China’s elementary, middle school, and university students
(including foreign students studying in Chinese universities) with valid student I.D. or certified letter from school administrator (including students from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, excluding graduate and adult education students);
6. Seniors over 60 years old are entitled to half price by showing a valid ID or passport.

Tip # 04 View the Turrets of Forbidden City and its surrounding moat.
When touring Forbidden City, don’t miss visiting the magnificent turrets of Forbidden City and its surrounding moat. There are four beautiful turrets of the same structure on the four corners of Forbidden City.

The Northeastern Turrets of Forbidden City and City Moat

Each turret tower has nine girders, eighteen columns and 72 ridges. The two turrets on the northeast and northwest corners offer the best photo opportunities.

The turrets are inaccessible to visitors. People usually finish their visit to Forbidden and exit from its north gate. Then turn either right for the northeast turret tower or left for the northwest turret tower outside Forbidden City.

Tip # 05: Walk up to Jingshan Park ( A Panoramic View of Forbidden City)
Jingshan Park is not to miss, a visit during your tour in Beijing. Jingshan just sits across the north gate to Forbidden City. After finishing your visit of Forbidden City from south to north, you exit from Forbidden City’s north gate.

Jingshan Park

Exiting from the northern gate, raising your head, you will find a pavilion has three-layered eaves perched on a hill. The hill is called Jingshan Hill ( Coal Hill or prospect Hill).

Jingshan Hill is an ideal place to have a panoramic view of Forbidden City and Beijing as whole.  Click “Jingshan Park is not to be missed” for more information.

have a panoramic view of Forbidden City from the top of Jingshan Park.

Tip # 06: How to Get to Forbidden City?
How to Get to Forbidden City (Just north of Tiananmen Square )?

By Bus:
For going to the southern gate ( Wu men), take bus No.1, 10, 120, 126, 2, 20, 37, 4, 52, 59, 728, 802, or Te 1, to “Tian’an Men East”(Tian’an men dong). Or take bus No. 1, 10, 22, 37, 4, 5, 52, 728, 802, or Te1, to “Tian’an men West” (Tian’an men xi).

By Subway ( going to the south gate ):
Metro Line 1: dropp off at Tiananmen West or Tiananmen East Station, walk north through the Tiananmen Tower (Gate of Heavenly Peace), and then you’ll find the Meridian Gate (south gate) to Forbidden City.

Metro Line 2: drop off at Qianmen Station and walk north through the Tiananmen Tower.

Parking for Private Car:
There is no parking outside the two entrance gates to Forbidden City. The following public parking lots are located in the vicinity of the Forbidden City:

*Outside the East Prosperity Gate (Donghua men)
*In the back street of Jingshan Park;
*In front of the Front Gate of Beihai Park
Visitors are encouraged to visit the Museum via public transportation.

Tip # 07: How to Leave Forbidden City After Visit?
The Transportation at the North Gate to Forbidden City is a bit chaos. It is a bit tricky to use the public transport back to your hotel or other attractions you continue to visit afterwards.

A little bit chaotic about the transport in the front of the north gate to Forbidden City when you finish your visit.

The North Gate to Forbidden City

After visiting Forbidden City and exit from its north gate, most of the visitors want to continue their day trips to other attractions or destinations in Beijing like Jinshan Park ( just opposite the north gate to Forbidden City), Wangfujing Street, Beijing Zoo, Summer Palace, Fragrance Hill, Temple of Heaven, Badaling Great Wall, Beijing Railway Station, Beijing West Railway Station, Beijing South Railway Station etc.

But some of them are totally bewildered by the transportation at Jinshan Front Street in front of the north gate to Forbidden City, which is inaccessible and blocked by fences on both sides of the road.

Please read the following travel information to help plan your further day trip:

Jinshan Park ( Prospect Hill or Coal Hill )    ( How to Visit Jingshan Park )
Jinshan Park is just opposite the north gate to Forbidden City, but you are not allowed to cross the street. To visit Jinshan Park ( Prospect Hill ), you are advised to use the underpass 20 meters in the west.

Beihai Park Beijing ( How to Visit Beihai Park )
This park is approx 800 meters west of the north gate to Forbidden City, just 10-minute walking.

Summer Palace ( How to Visit Summer Palace )
First take the underpass to cross the street and walk west to the Bus No.103 and get off at Beijing Zoo Station, then connect Bus 332 for Summer Palace.

Badaling Great Wall ( How to Visit Badaling Great Wall by train )
Walk westward and find the Bus No.5 and drop off at Deshengmen, then connect Bus 877 for Badaling Great Wall.

Temple of Heaven ( How to Visit Temple of Heaven )
Walk westward for 30 meters and take Bus 814 and get off at Dong Dan, Chongwenmen and Temple of Heaven.

Wangfujing Street or Beijing Railway Station  ( Wangfujing Street )  ( Beijing Railway Station )
Walk west for 30 meters and take trolley bus No.103 and get off at Wangfujiang or Beijing Railway Station.

Beijing West Railway Station ( Beijing West Railway Station )
Take the underpass to cross the street and Take bus 109 and get off at Xuanwumen, connect bus No.9 or 703 for Beijing West Railway Station.

Beijing South Railway Station  ( Beijing South Railway Station )
Walk west for 500 meters and take Bus No. 05 and get off at Qianmen, connect Bus 20 for Beijing West Railway Station.

Tiananmen Square or Subway Line 01  ( How to Visit Tiananmen Square )  ( Subway Line 1 )
Walk west for 500 meters and take Bus No. 05

How to take a Beijing Taxi ( Beijing Taxi )
Walk west for 50 meters and call a cab.

Taking a rickshaw at the north gate is a rip-off.
Don’t ever take a Rickshaw at the north gate of Forbidden City unless you feel like getting lost and extorted.

So if you visit Forbidden City by getting to a wrong gate (north gate), don’t use a local rickshaw to get back to the south gate, just walk to the right gate (south gate).

For the same reason, if you exit from the north gate after visiting Forbidden City, don’t use a rickshaw for your next place.

Tip # 07: Well Schedule Your Visiting Time
The Forbidden City is huge, covering an area of 72 hectares. Normally you should cruise through in two or three hours.

Plan this together with Tiananmen Square, Jinshan Park or Beihai park. Please keep in mind that Tickets sold until 15:30(November 1st – March 31); Tickets sold until 16:00(April 01 – October).

Tip # 08: Hire a Legal Tour Guide or Audio Guides
Forbidden City is much worth visiting, but unless you know the history very well, you should use a Beijing tour guide. You are not advised to use the tourist guides around the entrance. They are self-employed tour guides.

So, try to find a reliable travel agency for your tour guide services or the Recorded guide. The recorded audio guides: these are available for rent walking from south to north. There are many signs in English by each building. An actual book would probably better serve you if you want to understand what you are seeing.

Tip # 09: Dress for the Hot Weather
There are very few trees with little shade Forbidden City. It is super hot during the summer. So if coming here in summer, be ready to bring an umbrella for sun protection, bottles of water, and comfy walking shoes. Check Beijing Climate for more information.

Tip #10 Wear Comfortable Shoes
There are lots of outdoor areas so you can’t do a lot of hiding from the sun or rain. Wear your most comfortable shoes.

It’s a long walk! strollers and wheelchairs are available for free at the tourist guide service at both southern gate and the northern gate.

Tip # 11: Avoid Tour Vendors on the Street
There are some tour vendors at each entrance selling their excursions to the Great Wall. Just ignore all handouts that will be forced upon you. Especially bus tours.

They are all too good to be true, and you will be disappointed. See Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing for more information.

Tip # 12: Be vigilant on Tea House Scam and Ticket Touts ( Top 10 Tourist Scams in Beijing)
A kind reminder that Tea House Scams and ticket touts could possibly pester you around Forbidden City area. Below is a trip report by a victim from Sri Lanka named Akalan:

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I wish I read this page 1 week earlier! I was a victim to the “Tea House” scam. The scammer, a lady was very clever. I came to the Tiananmen area and was going to buy the ticket to enter the forbidden city. A lady who was walking besides me casually said “Hello” and started a chat while walking.

In fact this was my 4th trip to China, but first trip to Beijing. Many a times many people, usually young ladies chatted with me and they helped me a lot. Even on the same day morning I went to the Great Wall and a young girl with good English walked with me. All those I met earlier were genuine people who just wanted to help a visitor to their country. Most of the time they did not even allow me to pay a bill, ticket price or taxi fare.

With that sort of experience, I had no suspicion on this woman. Still my priority was to get into the Forbidden city ASAP, as it was passed 3pm and I knew that the ticket sales would stop at 4 pm. This lady said that she would show me the “East gate” where I can enter without a long queue. Yes, there was a queue of people at the main entrance.

Simply followed her advice and she walked with me to “show” the entrance. On the way she said she is from Xi’An (a city I visited 1 month ago) and we had quite a good conversation on history, culture and languages. She also explained some history of the area.

She said her friends from another province are there and they will meet them in 10 min. If I can wait 10 min, they also can join me to go inside the Forbidden city.

While waiting for them, she suggested me to sit somewhere and have a tea or fruit juice. In fact after walking and climbing whole morning in Great Wall area, I was thirsty and wanted to sit and stretch my legs. So I agreed.

I tried to sit on some chairs laid outside, but she suggested to go inside – less noisy, less dust and air-conditioned!

I picked a Chinese tea and the scam began! You know the rest. Yes, she split the bill, still I lost a few hundred! Worst thing was that she took me to a gate, assuring that I could enter from there, but obviously there were no ticket counters. I had to get to an electric car. The driver charged 20, instead of 2, as he sensed my urgency!

He actually did not take me to the ticket counters, instead, he stopped somewhere and a woman approached me. She was telling me that the ticket counters are closed and she would sell a ticket to me for 100 ! I did not want to let some one rip me off for 3rd time, within 15 min. Finally when I found the ticket counters, they were closed! So I missed the Forbidden City!

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Tip # 13: Hail a Taxi on the Road
Please note that taxis are not allowed to stop either at the northern gate or south gate. Some people approaching you for taxi service after you finish your visit at the Forbidden City, may be black taxi drivers. Just avoid them and hail a taxi on the road.

Taxis are not allowed to stop at the northern gate (Shenwu men) according to the local traffic regulations. Visitors exiting from the northern gate need to walk further either east or west to hail a taxi or take a bus.

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/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 line.

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

Monday, June 25th, 2018
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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.

Top 10 Free Things to Do in Beijing

Monday, June 11th, 2018
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Plan your Beijing tour on a budget? Visitors may be a little bit worried that Beijing is an expensive city, but you must know that there are loads of free things to do in Beijing. If you want to know more about these ideas, please check below my version of the top 10 free things to do in Beijing:

1. Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Square is located in the center of Beijing, 880 meters from north to south, 500 meters from east to west, covering an area of 44,0000 square meters. It can accommodate one million people for a grand assembly. Now it is the world’s largest city square of this kind.

October 1, 1949, Chairman Mao Zedong in Tiananmen Square proclaimed the founding of the PRC, and personally hoisted the first flag. From then on, Tiananmen Square has become a symbol of new China. It it is the solemn image of an important part of our national emblem.

Check out the link for information: How to Visit Tiananmen Square.

Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Tower

After the founding of new China, Tiananmen Square has been expanded with the People’s Heroes Monument built on the central square, then on the west side of the square were built the Great Hall, on the east China National Museum  and on the south Chairman Memorial Hall.

2. Chairman Memorial Hall
Chairman Mao Memorial Hall is to the south of the People’s Heroes Monument in Tiananmen Square. Its construction began in 1976 and was completed in May 1977. It is 280 meters from north to south, 220 meters from east to west, over 57,000 square meters, total construction area of 28,000 square meters.

The main building is square in shape with exterior 44 Ming Fujian yellow granite columns, and between columns with floral ceramic plate made from Shi Wan, covered with Qingdao quintana granite veneer.

The roof has two layers of glass, with sunflower relief inlaid in between. Its base has two platforms made from red granite bricks, surrounded by evergreen ornamental railings from Fangshan marble.

Its North and South have two white marble steps down the middle zone, carved with sunflower, evergreen, bloom, pine pattern. Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 8:00-12:00 am

 

Chairman Memorial Hall

3. Qianmen Street
Qianmen Street in Beijing is a showcase of Beijing’s condensed culture and custom. It has also witnessed the old Beijing’s profound change in various historical periods. Qianmen Street each year attracts a large numbers of tourists from home and abroad, and plays an important role in sino- foreign economic and cultural exchanges.

Qianmen is also one of the places which have a fairly complete protection of the relics. Since the Ming and Qing Dynasties, experts say, Qianmen Street has become a unique street of architectural culture, merchants culture, folk culture, opera and cultural characteristics of the most developed and prosperous neighborhood.

It is a lively folk customs Museum of Ancient and Modern in Beijing. Qianmen Street is a broad and deep cultural area,  it has become the most live cultural memory for Beijingers.Qianmen Street is located to the south of Tiananmen Square.

Check out the link for information: Qianmen Street

 

Qianmen Street

Qianmen Street

4. Wangfujing Street
Wangfujing is nicknamed “China’s first Street”.  Wangfujing Street is just more than 1,000 meters starting from the northern Xisi Street to the southern Chang’an Street, but it is the famous “First Street of China”, also a must see visit place for tourists coming to  Beijing.

In 1999, one part of Wangfujing Street ( from Goldfish Lane to Satiao of Dongdan) was rebuilt into a pedestrian street, and also has established sister street with the famous Champs Elysees in Paris France. Now In summer time, there are open-air cafes, beer festivals.  The pedestrian is a kind of simulation of Europe with much imagination.Check out the link for more information: Wangfujing Street 

Wangfujing Street

 

Like the Bund in Shanghai exhibiting Shanghai,  Wangfujing Street bring together all kinds of department stores, showing the consumption of different times in Beijing.

Whether it is spiritual food or appetite food, Wangfujing has everything.

5. Shichahai ( Houhai – Back Lake )
Shichahai refers to the Shichahai Lake Area which is composed of three lakes – Qianhai, Houhai and Xihai.

To be different from the Beihai, Zhonghai and Nanhai, Shichahai is also called housanhai.”hai” means “lake”; “Hou” means “back”; “qian” means “front”; “Xi” means “west; “bei” means “north”; “zhong” means “middle” and “nan” means “south”. Shichahai is often referred as “Houhai”, or “Back Lake”  by foreign visitors who kill time in its bar area in the evening.

Check out the link for more information:  The Night View of Shichahai

Shichashai

Actually Houhai (back lake) is just part of Shichahai. Shichahai is composed of three lakes – Qianhai (front lake), Houhai (back lake) and Xihai (west lake). Sometime local people also use “Houhai” to refer to Shichahai.

Shichhai literally means “Ten Temple Lake”, indicating there used to be ten temples around Shichahai. Today some of the temples are still there, including Guangji Temple, Huitong Temple, Huoshen Temple, Guangfu Guan ( a taoist temple )…

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; if you try to find a quiet place in the busy Beijing, come to Shichahai!

6. Sanlitun Bar Street
Sanlitun Bar Street is one of the most “prosperous” entertainment street in Beijing nightlife. Foreigners living in Beijing as well as local big shots often frequent the bar street.Every glowing night, the street is teemed with people bustling, bright colors against the background of city noise and luxury.

Sanlitun Bar Street has been always given a “smoke and mirrors” feeling. Nobody can see the true face of it, and nobody can give the street a clear commercial position.

The Bar Street is south of the embassy district. Because of the great reputation of this street, and some foreign embassies will change the house number from the Sanlitun Road to “Sanlihe Bar Street”. The Bar Street is open every afternoon from to 2am everyday.

 

 

Sanlitun Bar Street

Sanlitun Bar Street

7. Hutong (narrow lanes)
Tourists in Beijing often ask a question “where are Beijing’s hutongs? Beijing’s Hutongs originated in the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) with more than 6,000 at the peak time. The word “hutong” is Mongolian in origin, meaning a “water well”.

In the old-time with the digging of new wells, came the new communities. Later it was referred to as narrow streets or lanes formed by quadrangles.

What’s the number of Beijing’s hutongs”?  According to historical records,  there were several thousand hutongs in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), of which more than 900 in the inner city, 300 in the outer city.

The Qing Dynasty 91644-1911) reached 1800 hutongs while the Republic of China ( 1912-1949) more than 1,900. Statistics shows that when the New China was founded, there were over 2,550 hutongs.

Check out the link for more information:  Hutong tour.

 

Walking along hutongs

Later due to the hutong name change as well as the economic and urban development, there has been much demolition and renovation of the existing hutongs, now Beijing has more than 4,000 hutongs.

8. 798 Space, 798 Art Zone
798 Art Space , or 798 Art Zone, or Factory 798, is the Beijing “Greenwich Village” or “SoHo”, a part of Dashanzi in the Chaoyang District of Beijing that house a rich artist community. It is nestled in a 50-year old out of service military factory complex with a functional Bauhaus-influenced design.

While many people all day thinking about how to live in a house with a viewing balcony, another group of people whose arrange their own home in the city’s wasted plant in the suburbs.

Check out the link for more information:  798 Art Zone.

 

798 Space, 798 Art Zone

These are special people who work for the arts, so they have more reasons than the average person to show their personality. In terms of timing, they are free people, they do not work nine to five stuck in an office.

What they need is the space. Now they own the space in groups.The “798 Factory” is now the most famous art community of Beijing. Quite different from Real estate companies using the same “SOHO” concept,  the 798 factory is the real “SOHO district.

9. Silk Market
The only world-renowned market, clearly marked on the world’s top tourist map;  in the eyes of foreign tourists, on a par with the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Beijing roast duck – she is the Silk Street!

20 years ago, a group of young people hoping for the future, set up shabby open-air stores from a simple pavement by the use of this prime location adjacent to the embassy district. They mainly sold silk clothing.

The old market has been demolished. The new market is now open to the public. The new building has an area of 30,000 square meters, known as the New Silk Alley Market. There are 1,600 booths in the new building.

Address:North of Dong Chang An Avenue, Jianguimenwai Street, Chaoyang DistrictBus:Bus No.1,9,28,37,43,120,126,403,639,640,668,728,and 729, take arrival at Yonganli Station

Check out the link for more information:  Silk Market

 

 Silk Market

Silk Market

10. Panjiayuan Market
Panjiayuan Flea Market, or Panjiayuan Market, or Panjiayuan Antique Market, or whatever names you use, is a must for those who like something really Chinese.Beijing Panjiayuan Flea Market is located in the southeast corner of Third Ring Road Beijing.It is the largest flea market opening from Monday to Friday for fixed shops and open Districts No.01 and 02. On Saturday and Sunday all the shops.Check out the link for more information:  Panjiayuan Market

798 Space, 798 Art Zone

Panjiayuan Flea Market has an area of 48,500 square meters. Market is divided into the stall area, ancient room area, classical furniture, area, modern collection area, stone carving area, food service areas of six business areas.

Mainly focusing on old items, crafts, collectibles, decorations. It has the annual turnover of several million dollars. Market has more than 4,000 operating business units with  business people nearly ten thousand people, including sixty percent of the operators from outside Beijing from Twenty-eight provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, involving Han, Hui, Manchu, Miao, Dong…

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.