Archive for the ‘Beijing Self-Service Tour’ Category

How to Plan a Trip to Beijing

Saturday, July 24th, 2021
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If it is your first time to visit Beijing, we hope, this short travel guide will help you plan your long-expected Beijing tour.

We try to offer  you some practical advice on when to go and where to stay, how to allocate your time and choose the major attractions in Beijing.

Forbidden City
Forbidden City

When to Go

Maybe “When to go” doesn’t seem a practical question since most of us are unable to match our visit time with the so-called the best time to visit Beijing or any other particular destination. But nevertheless getting ourselves well informed of “When to go” is very much useful preparing a coming trip.

Beijing has clearly cut four seasons with longer winters and shorter springs. Beijing’s winter lasts officially from November 15 to March 15 ( official winter indoor heating period) : dry and cold outside.  But visiting Beijing in winter is not a bad idea given the discounts offered by airlines, hotels and sites, plus numerous winter activities in Beijing.

Though Beijing’s official spring time starts from March 15 to May 15, its warmer springtime only lasts one month from early April to early May. Beijing’s March is very often chilly and sandstorm hits Beijing periodically in March. So traveling Beijing in early April through early May is relatively relaxing and comfortable. But try to avoid visiting Beijing during the 3-day public holiday May 01 to 03.
How to Visit Beijing in March
How to Visit Beijing in April
How to Visit Beijing in May

Beijing’s summer lasts from May 15 to September 15. The first two months ( May 15 – July 15) are a bit hot and dry with relatively comfortable weather, not a bad time to visit Beijing.

July and August are Beijing’s rainy season, hot and humid. July and August are also the school summer vacation season with lots of domestic tourists flocking major attractions in Beijing.
How to visit Beijing in June
How to visit Beijing in July
How to visit Beijing in August

Autumn (September 05 to November 15) is oft-lauded as the best time to visit Beijing, blue and clear sky and mild temperature. October 01-07 period should be avoided to keep from the hordes of domestic tourists on China’s National Holiday.
How to Visit Beijing in September
How to Visit Beijing in October
How to Visit Beijing in November

The major attractions in Beijing are open all year around and basically you are able to visit Beijing at any time of a year. Choosing your own best time per your own time, budget and personal taste.
How to Visit Beijing in December
How to Visit Beijing in January
How to Visit Beijing in February

For information on Beijing Climate, please check out the link: Beijing Climate; for Beijing’s daily weather photos, past and present, please check out the link: Beijing timely weather photos.

What to See

It takes time to enjoy everything that Beijing city has to offer. If you only have a few days to spare, you can highlight your Beijing trip by visiting the major attractions in Beijing.

Check out the Top 10 Things to Do in Beijing based on our past 20 years’ travel data, only for your reference.

Where to Stay

Where to stay in Beijing? That’s a common question when you are planning your Beijing, considering that Beijing has hundreds of star-rated hotels, plus numerous hostels, courtyard hotels, B&B hotels and boutique hotels.

Generally, Beijing is divided into 6 areas – 1. Central Beijing; 2. Houhai & North Beijing; 3. South Beijing; 4. Northeast Beijing; 5. West Beijing and 6. Northwest Beijing, where you can find where and in which hotel you want to stay per your personal taste and budget.

Five Suggested Steps to finalize Your Hotel booking in Beijing
1. Choose the area where you want to stay
2. Compare the hotels and prices in the same area
3. Use google to map the exact address of the hotel
4. Use google and hotel review websites to assess the hotel
5. Book your hotel directly or use the hotel booking engines.

Check out the link: Where to Stay in Beijing for more hotel information in Beijing.

How to Get Around

Generally speaking, getting around or out of town, is quite easy in Beijing. In the past 30 years, Beijing transportation has been improved greatly – widened roads, lengthened subway lines, much cleaner buses, more environmentally friendly taxis etc.

But like any other metropolitan cities worldwide, you will hit a traffic snag in a peak hour. So try to avoid rush hours and well plan your airport transfer to keep from possible delay.

Check out the following links for more information on Beijing city transportation

How to take subway in Beijing
Beijing Public Buses
Beijing Taxis
Badaling Great Wall by train
Badaling Great Wall by Bus
Mutianyu Great Wall by Bus
Bus & Train to Gubei Water Town & Simatai Great Wall

How to Visit Beijing

We put together 4 options ranging from one day tour to four day tours which can generally meet the travel needs of the first time visitors to Beijing.

1) Beijing in One Day:
Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and  Mutianyu Great Wall  ( Or Badaling Great Wall )


Check out the link: How to Visit Beijing in One Day.

2) Beijing in Two Days:
Day 01: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace, Beijing Opera
Day 02: Ming Tombs and Badaling Great Wall ( or Mutianyu Great Wall )

Check out the link: How to Visit Beijing in Two Days.

3) Beijing in Three Days:
Day 01: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace
Day 02: Ming Tombs and Badaling Great Wall ( or Mutianyu Great Wall )
Day 03: Hutongs, Lama Temple and Olympic Sites, Silk Market, Beijing Opera

Check out the link: How to Visit Beijing in Three Days.

4) Beijing in Four Days:
Day 01: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace
Day 02: Ming Tombs and Badaling Great Wall
Day 03: Hutongs, Lama Temple, Olympic Sites, Silk Market, Beijing Opera
Day 04: Beijing Capital Museum, Panda House, CCTV headquarters Building, Grand National Theatre, 798 Space
Check out the link: How to visit Beijing in Four Days.

Where to Eat

The big difference between Chinese and Western eating manner is that in the West, everyone has their own plate of food, while in China people share the dishes placed on the table.

A typical Chinese meal starts with cold dishes. These are followed by the main courses, hot meat and vegetable dishes. Finally a soup is brought out, which is followed by principal food, usually including rice or noodles or sometimes dumplings.

Check out the link Beijing Dining for more information on where to eat in Beijing.

Where to shop

Shopping in Beijing is becoming more and more convenient. New shopping centers, plazas and malls have been sprouting up all over the capital. 30 years ago there were only a few department stores and small bazaars, but now there are many superstores, mega-malls and markets and boutiques where you can buy just about anything you need.

Check out Top 10 Markets in Beijing and Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing for information.

There are many places to go for shopping in Beijing, depending on what you expect and the prices you are prepared to pay; there are a rich variety of things waiting for you to explore and buy.

Beijing Nightlife

Beijing nightlife is very colorful. Beijing nightlife has more to offer! If you travel with your kids, then enjoying Kung Fu show in the evening is a must.

If you are young and energetic, you may go to disco or live jazz. If you like to know more about old Beijing and enjoy Chinese tea, you can go to tea houses.

Check out the link: Beijing Nightlife and Top 10 Things to Do at Night in Beijing for more information.

How to Visit the Great Wall

Visiting the Great Wall is a delightful must for the first-time visitors to Beijing China. The Great Wall was built in different times and dynasties, largely constructed in the three dynasties – Qin Dynasty (221 B.C to 206 B.C); Han Dynasty (206 B.C.– 220 A.D ) and Ming Dynasty (1368 A.D – 1644 A.D).

The most powerful Yuan Dynasty (1271 A.D – 1368 A.D) and the last Qing Dynasty (1644 A.D – 1911 A.D) did nothing about the building of the Great Wall since they were “barbarians” against whom the Great Wall of China had been built.

For historical and geographical reasons, the Great Wall of China doesn’t form a continuous line and in fact exits in different sections. The official survey shows the Great Wall now totals 21196 km long with the Great Wall built in Ming Dynasty ( 1368A.D – 1644 A.D ) as long as 8851 km.

Check out the link: How to Visit the Great Wall of China.

144 Hour Visa Free Transit in Beijing

For Beijing airport transit passengers, basically you need a Chinese visa to enter Beijing if you want to exit from Beijing Capital Airport for a few hour’s layover tour or 2 or 3 days short stay in Beijing. But currently, 51 countries are entitled to 114 hours free visa transit stay in Beijing. So Visa-free travel to Beijing is possible now!

1. Prerequisites for getting the 114 hours transit free visa
The Eligible 51 nationalities include:24 Schengen Countries in Europe:

A. 24 Schengen countries in Europe:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovak, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

B. 13 other European countries:
Russia, Great Britain, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania.

C. 6 American countries:
The United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile.

D. 2 Oceanian countries:
Australia and New Zealand.

E. 6 Asian countries:
Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore, Brunei, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

2.Travelers must have valid passports.

3. Travelers must have confirmed tickets to a third country or regions (Hong Kong and Macau).

Check out Beijing 144 Hours Free Visa Transit for more information.

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:

Car Rental in Beijing
Beijing Day Tour
Beijing Tour Packages
Great Wall Tour
China City Tours
China Tour

Further Readings


How to Plan a Trip to Beijing
Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
Top 10 Tourist Scams Beijing
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
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 Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.

Beijing Huguosi Street

Thursday, July 22nd, 2021
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Plan your Beijing Tour? On their first trip to Beijing, many foreign visitors are a little disappointed when they are surrounded by modern and trendy buildings mushrooming in and around Beijing. People expect to see something more Chinese and traditional, typical of Beijing.

Then come to visit the ancient streets in Beijing. These ancient streets are full of stories, full of history and full of culture.

Today I’m going to recommend a self-guided tour of Huguosi Street. Huguosi Street is a 600m-long ancient commercial street named after the former Huguosi Temple in Xicheng District.

It starts from Xinjiekou Dajie in the west and ends at Deshengmen Neidajie in the east. Huguosi Street has a history of over 800 years when it was first formed in Yuan Dynasty.

It is now one of the most famous commercial streets in Beijing. Huguosi Street was very busy and clustered with numerous shops and restaurants. It would be very crowded and busy in spring festival when the temple fair starts. Today Huguosi Street still keeps its original culture and layout with many street-front stores and restaurants.

Along the 600m street, you find a rich choice of snacks, local flavors, antiques, boutiques and street front stores. The well known Huguosi Hotel is also along the Huguosi Street. People’s Theatre was revamped and availabe to the domestic and foreign visitors.

How to get there:
Huguosi Street is easily accessible through subway line 4. You just take subway line 4 and get off at Pinganli (平安里)and exit from EXIT B. 

Exit from EXIT B at Pinganli (Subway 1 )

When you get off at Pinganli Station of Subway 4, you will see a huge signboard posted on the street of the wall leading to the ancient street. For the most time in a year, Huguosi Street is thronged with visitors. They come here to explore the histry and culture hidden behind its traditional street.

Huguosi Street is lined with shops and restaurants to the convenince of the local people and an interesting eye-opener. 

Huguosi Street is lined with shops

Walking along Huguosi Street to feel the stores and histoy woven into a fabric of a touching female world. 

Walking along Huguosi Street

One the big reasons for coming here is enjoy local snacks! Huguosi Xiaochi ( a snack restaurant) is the most famous Beijing snack restaurant in Beijing.

Huguosi Xiaochi ( a snack restaurant).

Huguo Temple is still on the maps, but in reality, it doesn’t exist. We do find a only left over a small part of the Huguo Temple complex – Jingang Hall Huguo Temple.

Jingang Hall Huguo Temple

The buildings along the both sides of Huguosi Street are constructed in a traditional Chinese style.

Huguosi Street is constructed in a traditional Chinese style.

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:

Car Rental in Beijing
Beijing Day Tour
Beijing Tour Packages
Great Wall Tour
China City Tours
China Tour

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
Top 10 Tourist Scams 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 Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.

How to visit Dong Jiao Min Xiang

Thursday, June 10th, 2021
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Plan your Beijing tour? If you like a walking tour, Dong Jiao Min Xiang is a historic site worth your short stroll and glimpse of the European-style buildings by the late 19th century and early 20th century foreign powers.

Dong Jiao Minj Xiang ( or Dong Jiao Min Alley ) literally means “East Foreign Residents Alley”, which is the longest alley ( hutong ) in Beijing with a total length of 1550 meters. In the English travel guidebooks, Dong Jiao Min Xiang is popularly known as Former Legation Quarter. It was once home to the former 11 foreign embassies including UK, France, Germany, Japan, the US, Russia, Italy, Spain, Austria, Belgium and Dutch.

The trees-lined alley is surrounded by elegant historic buildings quite different from the rest of Beijing traditional buildings, an inseparable part of Beijing’s history.

So how to visit How to visit Dongjiaominxiang (the Former Legation Quarter). The historic alley is open all year round without any entrance fee. Dong Jiao Min Xiang is an east-west hutong with its west end ( west entrance ) connected to Beijing Tiananmen Square and its east end ( east entrance ) close to the Exit A of the subway station of Chongwenmen ( subway line 2).

A walk along Dong Jiao Min Alley is often done either before or after your visit to Tiananmen Square. So if you prefer to visit Dong Jiao Min Xiang before your tour of Tiananmen Square, you may take subway line 2 and get off at the station of Chongwenmen and exit from Exit A.

The east entrance to Dong Jiao Min Xiang (东交民巷)is just next to the north of Exit A. If you’d like to visit Dong Jiao Min Xiang after Tiananmen Square, you walk to the east side of the square, try to find the way to the alley of Dong Jiao Min Xiang.

Well, follow me into the west entrance to Dong Jiao Min Xiang from Tiananmen Square.

The west entrance is on the east edge of the square across the road opposite to the east side of Memorial Hall of Chairman Mao (Mausoleum of Mao Zedong) in the south of Tiannamen Square.

Walking up the steps leading to the west entrance to Dong Jiao Min Xiang ( Former Legation Quarter ). As some of the former foreign legation buildings have been transferred into government offices, taking pictures is not allowed. Other buildings have been turned into restaurants and hotels.

Walking up the steps leading to the east entrance to Dong Jiao Min Xiang
Walking up the steps leading to the west entrance to Dong Jiao Min Xiang

Once entering the west entrance, on your right side is the part of the former the US embassy which is now used as the office building for Tiananmen Square Administration Committee.

Part of the former the US embassy
Part of the former the US embassy

On your left side across the former US embassy is the former Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China. Built in 1919, it is the British royal chartered bank in China during the Republican Period specializing in the oriental business.

former Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China
Former Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China

Dongjiaominxiang is a quite and arched tree alley, a timeline bringing you back to the former legation quarter period.

Dong Jiao Min Xiang is a quite and arched tree alley,
Dong Jiao Min Xiang is a quite and arched tree alley,

East of the former US embassy compound is the former Dutch Embassy Compound. The picture below is the former entrance to the Dutch Barrack.

the former entrance to the Dutch Barrack.
the former entrance to the Dutch Barrack.

Move on to the east direction, you will see a grand building in the name of Beijing Police Museum at No.36. The Building is the former CITI Bank. Walk a while, you will come across the building no.34 for the former French bank – Banque de i’indo Chine.

The domed building at the corner of Dong Jiao Min Xiang and Zhengyi Road ( a north-south street ) is the former Japanese Yokahama Specie Bank.

Just to the east of the former Japanese Yokahama Specie Bank is the former Japanese Embassy, a yellow three-storey building (the Building No.23-1).
the former Japanese Embassy,
The former Japanese Embassy,

This is the building for the former French Post Office (No.19-1). Now it has been turned into a Sichuan Restaurant.

This is the building for the former French Post Office (No.19-1).
This is the building for the former French Post Office (No.19-1).

Have a short stroll to the east of the former French Post Office, you will see the entrance to the former French Embassy.

The St. Michael’s Church is located at the northeast corner of the crossroad between Dong Jiao Min Xiang and Taijichang Road (north-south). In 1901, the church property belonged to the French embassy, and when it opened in 1904, St. Michael’s was managed by the French Church.

St. Michael's Church
St. Michael’s Church

To the south of the St. Michael’s Church is the former Belgian legation with green roofs and red brick walls.

the former Belgian legation
The former Belgian legation

The main gate to the former Belgian embassy is on the East Qianmen Street, paralleling Dong Jiao Min Xiang.

The main gate to the former Belgian embassy is on the East Qianmen Street
The main gate to the former Belgian embassy is on the East Qianmen Street

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 by Night Illuminations Tour  from US$33 p/p

Beijing Hutong Highlight One Day Tour  from US$59 p/p

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.