Archive for the ‘Beijing Travel’ Category

The Most Wheelchair-Friendly Great Wall to Visit

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018
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Of all the 10 major sections of Great Wall around Beijing, Both Badaling Great Wall and Mutianyu Great Wall have accessible facilities for wheelchair users with accessible paths and elevators.

Mutianyu Great Wall is generally billed as the most favorite by foreign visitors. It is more picturesque and less crowded than Badaling Great Wall which is always packed with the horde of domestic tourists no matter on weekdays or weekends and public holidays.

But when it comes to the question of which section of the Great Wall is more wheelchair user-friendly, Badaling Great Wall has the upper hand over Mutianyu Great Wall with its gentle ramp leading to the first watch tower of the Great Wall.

Mutianyu Great Wall
Unlike Badaling Great Wall with its wall and first watch tower starting from the ground ( the gate of the pass ), the whole Mutianyu Great Wall is perched high on the mountain ridge and you have to either climb up or take a cable car up on to the Wall.

When you get off the ferry shuttle bus at the parking lot in Mutianyu, you still need to push your wheelchair all the way for about 600 meters along an uneven stone path leading up to the cable station.

A 600-meter steep ramp

A 600-meter ramp slope.

Again once you get off the cable station on the mountain, you need to push your wheelchair on a very steep ramp for about 80 meters and get to the platform below the 14th watch tower of Mutianyu Great Wall.

On the Mutianyu Great Wall, wheelchair users may take a cable car up and then use the accessible lane leading to the platform below the 14th watch tower for a good view of Mutianyu Great Wall.

The accessible paths in Mutianyu Great wall are too steep, not wheelchair user-friendly!
The accessible lane from the upper cable car station to the platform below the 14th watch tower on Mutianyu Great Wall.

Again a very steep ramp for about 80 meters

Again a very steep ramp for about 80 meters

The view taken from the platform below the 14th tower is awesome!

The view taken from The platform below the 14th tower is awesome.

The view taken from The platform below the 14th tower is awesome.

The way down is a lot easier than on the way up.

Badaling Great Wall 
On the Badaling Great Wall, a special flat lane is built for wheelchair users to get to the third watch tower of the Great Wall. Even two elevators are equipped for easy ascending the wall if you book the elevator service in advance ( Most of the time the elevators are just closed!).

 Gentle ramp leading up Badaling Great Wall.

Gentle ramp leading up Badaling Great Wall.

Basically it is more convenient to use its smooth and gentle ramp leading up to Badaling Great Wall. You don’t need to  use the cable car. The area for the upper cable station is not wheelchair-friendly and teem with domestic tourists.

Badaling Great Wall

Badaling Great Wall

Comparatively, Badaling Great Wall is more accessible for wheelchair users and you don’t have to pay the 100 yuan cable car.

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)
Bus Route: Take Bus No.877 or No. 919 at Deshengmen, RMB12 for ticket.
S Train: Take S train from Huangtudian Railway Station and get off at the station of Badaling.

Check out: How to Visit Mutianyu Great Wall by Bus.
How to Visit Badaling Great Wall by Train.
The Most Wheelchair-Friendly Great Wall to Visit.

 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.

Best Spot for Night Photography Beijing

Tuesday, June 12th, 2018
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Of the Top 10 Photo Spots in Beijing,  Jingshang Park is always my favorite, where you have  some great photo opportunities – shooting sunrise and sunset; having a panoramic view of Beijing as well as snapping the incredible night scenes  in Beijing.

Jingshan Park is just located across the north gate to Forbidden City. Basically you will visit Forbidden City by entering its south gate and exit from its north gate, an official obligatory south-north visit line.

From the north gate to Forbidden City, you can easily walk to the south gate to Jingshan Park. Including the south gate,  Jingshan Park has two more entrance gates – East Gate and West Gate.

Jingshan Park is dominated by Jingshan Hill after which the park is named. Jingshan Hill is 94.2 meters at sea level with the actual drop height at 45.7 meters, the highest viewing spot in the heart of Beijing along the historical Beijing central axis.

Jingshan Park, or Jingshan Hill in particular, is the best spot to have panoramic views of Beijing at all the time frame in a day – sunrise and sunset; day and night. For me, Jingshan Park is  the Best Spot for Night Photography in Beijing.

No matter you are a photography enthusiast or just an urban tourist, when you are planning your Beijing tour, a short trip to Jingshan Park is a good choice to see Beijing at night when it sparkles.

There are several hill roads leading up to the top.  It takes you about 5-10 minutes’s walk along zigzag stone steps up to the hilltop topped by a pavilion known as Wanchun Pavilion.

Wanchun Pavilion is circled by three different levels of stone walkways which are very often full of visitors during the golden time standing in all the directions to have a bird’s-eye view of the amazing Beijing.

What a beautiful day today! Azure sky and white clouds, a great scarcity for the smog-frequented Beijing.  The temptation is so great that I take my camera backpack and tripod, driving to the east gate to Jingshan Park and climb up to the hilltop for shooting the magnificent night views of Beijing.

Below are some of the photos I take tonight, recording the wonderful night in Beijing.

Forbidden City under sunset glow

 

Looking at the west of Beijing – West Hill, CCTV Tower and White Pagoda

 

Looking at the southwest of Beijing – An illuminated Pavilion and neon-lit Buildings in the distance.

 

The White Pagoda in Beihai Park

 

CCTV Tower and West Hill

 

Lit-up Pavilions in Beihai Park

 

Looking at the North of Beijing – Drum Tower and Olympic Park

 

Looking at the east – Beijing CBD

 

Looking at the east – Beijing CBD

 

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

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.

 

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.