Archive for the ‘Travel Tips’ Category

How to Get to Mutianyu Great Wall by Bus

Sunday, June 19th, 2016
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Dear Travelers

We’d like to have the following travel guide to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors coming to Mutianyu Great Wall by bus. If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!

____________________________________________________________________

Unlike Badaling Great Wall which has a direct Bus 877 starting at Deshengmen Bus Terminal on the northern second ring road,  Mutianyu Great Wall doesn’t have a direct public bus line connecting downtown Beijing. For this, I often get  some online inquiry about how to get to Mutianyu Great Wall by public bus.

When googling “How to Get to Mutianyu Great Wall by bus”, I discover some of the Mutianyu bus related travel information is outdated and even a bit misleading. Some bus travel guide has been written in  a too complicated way, a bit daunting for first-time foreign visitors.

Recently I made a fam trip to Mutianyu Great Wall by public bus starting from Dongzhimen Transportation Hub. Below is my trip report, detailing the whole process of how to get to Mutianyu Great Wall By Public Bus from downtown Beijing. Hopefully, my trip review will help you a little bit plan your own bus trip to Mutianyu.

I try to keep my trip report updated. Any updating information is welcome!

tips-1Tips for Getting from downtown Beijing to Mutianyu Great Wall by Bus

1. Get to Dongzhimen Transport Hub early in the morning
Dongzhimen Public Transport Hub (东直门交通枢纽) is mainly composed of three forms of public transport – Dongzhimen Bus Station ( or officially called Bus Transfer Hall) where you take Bus 916 Express for the direction of Mutianyu Great Wall), Dongzhimen Subway Station ( Subway Line 2 and 13 ) and Dongzhimen Airport Express ( for Beijing Capital Airport). These three forms of public transport are connected underground as a whole.

Try to get to Dongzhimen Transport Hub early in the morning either by subway or taxi. For subway, you may take the subway line 2 or 13 and exit from Exit C. Then you enter the massive hub building from its south or west entrance.

The Bus Transfer Hall on the ground floor is mainly composed of two parts – North Platform and South Platform. Your Mutianyu-bound Bus 916 Express is on the northern platform. There are signs overhead to guide you in the direction to the 916 Express Bus Stop.

Overhead Chinese Sign " 916 快“ ( 916 Express )

Overhead Chinese Sign ” 916 快“ ( 916 Express )

 

Chinese and English Sign for Bus 916 Express Overhead

Chinese and English Sign for Bus 916 Express Overhead

 

Wait in line for Bus 916 Express

Wait in line for Bus 916 Express

Wait in line for the Bus 916 Express and the bus fare at 12 yuan.  If you have a transportation card, you will be entitled to half price. You may pay cash on board and get ready for the small money and often they don’t have the change.

2. Taking Bus 916 Express and Get off at Beidajie ( North Street ) in Huairou District
( 62km – One Hour Drive)

916 Express Operating Hours: 5:50 – 19:50 ( Dongzhimen Transport Hub to Huairou )
04:50 – 18:50 (Huairou to Dongzhimen Transport Hub)

The 916 buses are clean and air-conditioned.

The 916 buses are clean and air-conditioned.

916 Express buses are clean and air-conditioned.

There are totally 20 stops for Public Bus 916 Express and you get off at the 15th stop of Beidajie ( North Street ) 北大街 ) in Huairou District. Then connect a local taxi ( about 50 yuan per taxi ) or connect the local public Bus H23,( 5 yuan ).  The H23 buses are few and far between, so taking a taxi from Beidajie is a good option. Taxi drivers are nice and aren’t trying to scam passengers.

The 916 runs every couple of minutes, so there is no waiting at all.  A lot of people get off at Huairou Beidajie, so even if you don’t speak Chinese, you’ll know when to get off.

Basically, the bus makes a couple stops in Beijing after leaving Dongzhimen, then doesn’t make any stops for a long time, until it gets to Huairou District, where it makes stops every couple of minutes. After a handful of those stops, you’ll be at Beidajie (North Street).

For each stop, Bus 916 Express will announce the name of the bus stop both  in English and Chinese. The Chinese stops will be shown on the electronic screen on the front of your bus, and make sure you get off at the 15th stop of Beidajie (North Street) 北大街 in Huairou.

There is an official bus stop sign for Beidajie ( 北大街)  now as shown in the picture below:

The picture of Beidajie Stop taken by Roxanne & Maartje

The Beidajie ( North Street ) Bus Stop is located by the side road in front of the large governmental building (Beijing Huairou Department of Civil Affairs) 民政局.

You get off the 15th stop pf Beidajie ( North Street ) by the side of the large governmental building.

You get off the 15th stop pf Beidajie ( North Street ) by the side road in front of  the massive governmental building (Beijing Huairou Department of Civil Affairs) 民政局

Google maps location of where you need to get off at Beidajie ( North Street) at Bus 916 in front of the large governmental building (Beijing Huairou Department of Civil Affairs) 民政局

Google maps location of where you need to get off the 916.

Note:
1) The bus fare is 12 yuan. Be ready for the small amount of money to pay for the bus fare.  If you have a transportation card, you just swipe, and you are entitled to half price.
2) Try to get to the 916 Express bus stop as early as possible to beat the crowds on the Great Wall. The first bus leaves at 5:50 am.
3) You should get off at the 15th stop of Beidajie (北大街).  There is a bus stop sign for Beidajie ( 北大街) .

3.  Connecting Bus H23 for Mutianyu ( 18 km – 50 Minutes Drive)
Once you get off 916 express Bus, you have two options for next transport to your destination – Mutianyu Great Wall: Connect the local bus H23 ; or take a local taxi for Mutianyu.

Below is the way how to connect the local buses for Mutianyu:

You can continue to take Bus H23 for Mutianyu Great Wall. The Bus Stop for Bus H23 is just across where you get off at Beidajie ( North Street in Huairou ) – the same bus stop for 916 Express back to Beijing.

For easy memory,  the location of the bus stop H23 is just in front of the China Mobile Building ( Keep in mind that this is the same bus stop for 916 Express back to Beijing).

Kindly reminder:  basically you need to wait for quite some time before you can get on Bus h23.

The picture is taken by Roxanne & Maartje

Cost 3 yuan paid to ticket lady on the bus. The Bus  h23 is green and there is a blue cardboard sign in the window next to the driver saying h23. The sign on the bus H23 are very small. You should pay attention to the place ( Mutianyu Roundabout ) where you get off.

Google maps location of where you need to get off h23:

There are about 19 stops for Bus H23, keep in mind that you will alight at the 8th stop of Mutianyu Roundabout (慕田峪环岛). The Bus H23 runs the route between Huairou Downtown and Dongtai Village.

You may show your bus driver the Chinese characters “我要去慕田峪长城” ( I want to go to Mutianyu Great Wall) and the driver will remind you of the stop when the bus arrives at Mutianyu Roundabout (慕田峪环岛).

Some of the H23 Buses do pass the Mutianyu Roundabout and somes don’t. On the bus, you should  ask the conductor whether the bus passing the Mutianyu or not. Should anybody wish to ride H23 from Huairou, better confirm with the driver or conductor whether the bus passing Mutianyu roundabout or not. The H23 and H24 buses are few and far between.

When you get off at Mutianyu Roundabout, you simply walk down to the ticket Box Building ( Tourist Service Center ). Just keep in the mind the place where you get off. Come back to the same place (Stops opposite to where you drops off) to wait for Bus H23 back to Beidajie ( North Street ) in Huairou and connect Bus 916 back to Beijing when you finish your visiting Mutianyu Great Wall.

4. Transfer to Mutianyu by Taking a Local Taxi ( 18km – Half Hour Drive)
When getting off Bus 916 at Beidajie ( North Street ), alternatively you can choose to take a local taxi directly bringing you to the ticketing box offices at Mutianyu.

The fact is that the moment you get off Bus 916, you will be approached by “black taxi drivers”.  We suggest you use the official taxis. Most of the official taxi drivers would stay inside their taxis and wait for customers ( maybe they don’t want to have any conflicts with black drivers).

Most of the Huairou official taxis are waiting by the side of the governmental building known as Beijing Huairou Department of Civil Affairs) 民政局. They use meters and the taxi ride costs about 42 yuan per taxi.

Huairou Local Taxi

Huairou Local Taxi

Taxi transfer is fast and comfortable.

Taxi transfer is fast and comfortable.

Taxi transfer is fast and comfortable.

When you arrive at Mutianyu, you should ask for a printed receipt which shows the taxi fare, distance and timing.

Printed Taxi Bill ( Receipt ).

Printed Taxi Bill ( Receipt ).

If you cannot find any official taxis by the governmental building,  just wait for a while and they will definitely will come back after their business.

Black taxi drivers will charge you about 50 yuan for the ride plus 20 yuan for so-called parking fee at Mutianyu. Actually, Mutianyu official parking lot offers free parking within 20 minutes.

Huairou Taxi Hotline: 69651168
Huairou Taxi Complaint: 60697889

5. Buying Your Tickets at Tourist Service Building
The large tourist service center mainly consists of ticketing offices, toilets, a Great Wall exhibition hall and a large tourist information hall where you can use ATM machine.

 

Mutianyu Tourist Service Building

Mutianyu Tourist Service Building

Price Information:
Entrance Fee Adults: 45 yuan ( 25yuan if you have valid student card)
Children between 1.2 meters and 1.4 meters in height: 25 yuan
Children less than 1.2 meters in height are free of charge
Cable Car:100 yuan(single way ); 120 yuan ( return )
Chairlift + Slide: 120 yuan ( 100 yuan for single )
Ferry Shuttle Bus: 15 yuan

Opening Hours:
April to October: 8:00 -17:00
November to March: 8:30-16:30

Important Notice:
Cable car up and down is operated by one company; while chair-lift up and down ( or toboggan down) are operated by another company. They sell their tickets separately through the same ticketing window.  This is a tricky part in Mutianyu Great Wall.

A return ticket is cheaper. But if you are going to take cable car up and the toboggan down, you have to buy two single tickets. If you take the chair-lift up and the toboggan down, you are able to buy a return ticket. This is a tricky part in Mutianyu Great Wall.

Cable car brings you up to the place below the 14th Watch Tower;
Chair-lift takes you up to the place below the 6th Watch Tower;
Walking up along the stone steps (like a mountain hike – 30 minute hike ) – to the 10th or 8th Watch Tower.
Click the Map of Mutianyu Great Wall for more information.

There are 23 towers on the Mutianyu Great Wall snaking the ridge for about 3000 meters. The watch towers at the Mutianyu Great Wall are distributed at short intervals. The 23 watch towers are numbered from right (east) to left (west). The or 23rd tower is highest point of the Mutianyu Great Wall.

Wait in line at Ticketing Box Offices

Wait in line at Ticketing Box Offices

Note: Two different companies operate cable car and chairlift (toboggan) separately. You either choose cable or chairlift (toboggan).  The ticketing staff will ask you which you prefer, cable car or chairlift ( or toboggan down )?

If you have strong legs and prefer to hike up to the Great Wall, you can do the hiking without using the service of cable car or chairlift.

On the right side of the Tourist Service Building is the Exhibition Hall for Great Wall Culture, a brief introduction to the Great Wall of China and Mutianyu Great Wall in particular.

 Exhibitional Hall for Great Wall Culture

Exhibition Hall for Great Wall Culture

The large service center building where you can use ATM machine.

The large service center building where you can use ATM machine

The large service center building where you can use ATM machine

Clean and modern toilet.

Clean and modern toilet

Clean and modern toilet

6. Taking a ferry Shuttle Bus  ( 2.5km ) to the Starting Points for the Mutianyu Great Wall
At the ticketing box office, you are required to buy a 10 yuan ferry shuttle bus. From the tourist service center, you till need to walk about 200 meters to get to the shuttle bus terminal.

The road leading to the Shuttle Bus Terminal is lined with restaurants and vendor stalls.

The road leading to the Shuttle Bus Terminal is lined with restaurants and vendor stalls.

The 200-meter road leading to the shuttle bus terminal is lined with restaurants on the left side and vendors on the right side.

You have the choices of King Burger, Pizza, and Chinese food and more. Bottled water on the vendor stalls here is much cheaper ( 3 yuan per bottle ) than that sold up on the Wall ( 15 yuan per bottle ).

The 5-minute free shuttle ride brings you to the area close to the starting points for Visiting Mutianyu Great Wall.

Ferry Shuttle Bus

Ferry Shuttle Bus

7. Three Ways to Go up to Mutianyu Great Wall
When you get off the ferry shuttle bus, you need to walk along an accessible stone path (600 meters long ) leading up first to the entrance area for chairlift ( or toboggan down ), second to the walking path up to the Wall and last to the area for cable car up to the Wall respectively.

The Cable Car Station is at the end of the 600-meter stone slope. That said, there are three ways to go up to Mutianyu Great Wall.

The Cable Car Station

The Cable Car Station

1) Taking a chairlift to the Great Wall – to the 6th Watch Tower ( or take a toboggan down).
2) Walking up the Great Wall along the stone steps (like a mountain hike – 30 minute hike ) – to the 10th or 8th Watch Tower
3) Taking a cable car up to the Great Wall – to the 14th Watch Tower
Click the Map of Mutianyu Great Wall for more information.

Note:
1) There are 23 towers on the Mutianyu Great Wall snaking the ridge for about 3000 meters. The watch towers at the Mutianyu Great Wall are distributed at short intervals.

2) The 23 watch towers are numbered from right (east) to left (west). The 23rd tower is highest point of the Mutianyu Great Wall.

Mutianyu Great Wall in summer

Mutianyu Great wall in summer

Mutianyu Great wall in summer

A good spot for selfie.

A good spot for selfie.

A good spot for selfie.

Basically it is more convenient to use its smooth and gentle ramp leading up 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.

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.

8. The accessible paths in Mutianyu Great wall are too steep, not so wheelchair user-friendly!
4293-20011On 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 steep accessible ramp at Mutianyu Great Wall

The steep accessible ramp at Mutianyu Great Wall

But unfortunately, the accessible ramp leading from the upper cable station to the platform below the 14th watch tower is too steep, very much challenging for wheelchair users.

Note:
Badaling Great Wall is more wheelchair user-friendly. Basically it is more convenient to use its smooth and gentle ramp leading up Badaling Great Wall. You don’t need to  use the cable car.

9. Going Back on the Same Way
At the end of your Mutianyu visit, just retrace on the same travel route.   You may  have the following options for your transfer from Mutianyu to the 916 express bus stop at Huairou:

1) Walk from Mutianyu Great Wall Service Area to the Mutianyu Roundabout  and take the h23 back as well. Stops opposite to where you drops off. You can flag it down if you are not  sure if it would have stopped.

2) Take an official taxi from the parking lot of Mutianyu Great Wall Service Area to 916 express bus stop at Huairou;

3) Take a “black taxi” at the parking lot bringing you back to 916 express bus stop at Huairou ( a choice of no choice).

Newest Update from :
The blue taxi cabs are not allowed to wait and collect passengers at Mutianyu. Not sure what happened, but didn’t find a single cab while returning from Mutianyu and the office closed. There were several people asking me to board their taxi or minibus. I walked to the public bus stop and i waved down a passing blue cab. He was worried that someone might notice my getting into his cab.

10. Possible Tourist Scam at Dongzhimen Public Transport Hub
2000px-warning_icon-svg-p111ngLike “Mor” said, do NOT take the 980 when going to Mutianyu. The Bus 980 goes to Miyun County in the northeast of Beijing instead of Bus 916 Express going to Huairou District where Mutianyu Great Wall is located, in the north of Beijing.

We’ve also got a feedback from “Boskovic”  as listed below for your reference:
————————-
The official bus station employee (‘friendly lady”- don’t trust her) told us to take the 980 cause it would be a shorter ride and that we should get off at the 4th stop. At the 4th stop, there was an older man waiting with a “black taxi”. It was all planned. He was just waiting for us so we were pretty sure that the lady and him were working together.

We ended up taking the bus back to Beijing. He was not gonna get our money, that’s for sure.
So we lost a couple of hours there, unfortunately.
———————

11. Hassle-free Mutianyu Great Wall Guided Tours
06611If you don’t want to go the seemingly daunting do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Mutianyu Great wall.

Mutianyu Great Wall Group Day Tour ( No shopping )
Mutianyu Great Wall Half  Day Private Tour ( No Shopping )

Further Readings


How to Get to Badaling Great Wall by Bus
How to visit Great Wall of China around Beijing

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.

Why hire a tour guide in Beijing?

Saturday, April 2nd, 2016
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

So why hire a tour guide in Beijing? Because it is the best way to see Beijing, the capital of China. If you are considering a visit to Beijing, you may be interested in having an English speaking tour guide to show you around. Then where to find the best tour guides? Look no further. Tour Beijing is your idea one-stop tour guide service.

Our licensed well-trained guides know how to navigate through the huge city to maximize your unique experiences and minimize wasted travel time.

They are able to either customize an itinerary or tailor-make a tour per your specific request, putting together the jaw-dropping experiences and interactive activities. They will pass on you the anecdotes and stories in connection with time, people and places that you will visit.

Whether you are interested in the normal Beijing sightseeing tours, or focusing on a  variety of Beijing specialty tours, we are able to make your trip comfortable and rememberable, including:

Beijing Spring Tour
Beijing Autumn Tour
Beijing Winter Tour
Beijing Great Wall Tour
Beijing Hutong Tour
Beijing Food Tour
Beijing Family Tour
Beijing Helicopter Tour

How to book a tour guide? Just click Beijing tour guide and complete our form to send us your travel needs which is going to be taken care of by one of our trip advisors who will communicate an available tour guide. You will receive our email response within 24 hours except on weekends.

When your booked guide service is confirmed, you will receive an e-mail tour confirmation letter, a kind of travel contract bonding you and Tour Beijing. The confirmation letter contains all the finalized travel information about your Beijing tour guide including the personal mobile phone number of the trip advisor from Tour Beijing in case you have something urgent.

When you are met by our tour guide at Beijing airport, again you will receive an emergence card with all the contact information: the mobile phone numbers of your tour guide , trip advisor and office phone number. In a word, you are under our care once you are in Beijing.

If you need more sophisticated and comprehensive land arrangement,  your trip advisor from Tour Beijing can handle logistics such as hotel accommodations, restaurant bookings and local transportation arrangements.

Acting as ambassadors of Beijing, our motto is to satisfy and impress our valuable clients. Help your traveling party gain some knowledge of our complex system of government, historical sites and many interesting little things in our routine life.

Hope to see you soon in Beijing !

Tour Beijing
Tel: (+86)10 67160201 Ext 1006,1007 Add: 2001-1-1, Nanxiaojie, Guangqumen, Dongcheng District, Beijing, P.R.C.
Travel License NO.: L-BJ-01220
www.tour-beijing.com

Attached here to see more of our Guides in action!

 

Boating on Kunming Lake in Summer Palace

Boating on Kunming Lake in Summer Palace

 

On the Summit of Jiankou Great Wall

On the Summit of Jiankou Great Wall

 

Selfie before Temple of Heaven

Selfie before Temple of Heaven

 

On Tiananmen Square

On Tiananmen Square

 

Inside Water Cube

Inside the Water Cube

 

Beauty Selfie

Beauty Selfie

 

Inside Forbidden City

Inside Forbidden City

 

Posed before the Bird's Nest

Posed before the Bird’s Nest

 

Gubeikou Great Wall

Gubeikou Great Wall

 

Selfie at Forbidden City

Selfie at Forbidden City

Any questions, just drop a line.

10 Non-Touristy Things to Do in Beijing

Monday, December 14th, 2015
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

As a first-time visitor to Beijing, you probably rely heavily on travel guide books or online travel information, making obligatory pilgrimage to the must-see attractions such as Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Houhai Hutong, Lama Temple, Summer Palace and Mutianyu Great Wall.

But if you have already crammed these above-mentioned great sites into your travel plan, or if you want to escape the hoards of tourists and or if you want to mix with the locals and see the authentic side of Beijing, you still have many hidden gems to discover in Beijing.

These non-mainstream things are good alternatives to the classic must-see sights,  and equally significant in terms of enjoying and understanding the metropolitan city of Beijing.

Today, we’ve rounded up 10 of the non-touristy things to do in Beijing to get you started. Hopefully these off-the-track treasures are useful in planning your Beijing tour.

1. See the Whole of Beijing in Miniature
Before kicking off your visit to Tiananmen Square, why not start up a day of sightseeing by having a panoramic view of the city in miniature with vivid knowledge of the city you are going to visit.

Located just on the east of Tiananmen Square, Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall is designed to introduce the long history of the immortal city of Beijing, with 16,000 square-meter floor space distributed on 4 floor levels in the Hall, with 8,000 square meters for exhibits.

It has a large model of the entire Beijing metropolitan area, as well as multimedia exhibits depicting the history, present situation, and future of urban planning in Beijing.

Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall

Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall

Add: No.20 Qianmen East Street, on the east of Tiananmen Square in Beijing
Opening Hours: 9:00am – 5:00pm ( Ticket selling stops at 4:00pm )
Monday: Closed
Entrance fee: 30 yuan

2. Hike from Jiankou Great Wall to Mutianyu Great Wall
Most of international travelers would choose Mutianyu Great Wall when planning their trip to the Great Wall of China since it ranks as the Top 1 attraction in Beijing by Tripadvisor. But it will be more gorgeous if you take a walk from Jiankou Great Wall to Mutianyu Great Wall instead of Mutianyu Great Wall only.

Jiankou Great Wall

Jiankou Great Wall

You don’t have to venture the most treacherous part of Jiankou Great Wall. There is a hiking trail skipping the risky parts of Jiankou and allowing you to appreciate the wild and orignal side of the Great Wall.  See Walk from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall for more travel information.

3. Go to Poly Art Museum
Poly Museum is designed to develop and display traditional national culture and art, and to rescue and protect Chinese cultural relics lost abroad. The museum mainly consists of two parts of the exhibition: bronze and stone carvings.

Most of the exhibits have been retrieved from abroad, and a considerable part has especially high historical and artistic value as they are quintessence or the only existing versions.

It is a well hidden gem in Beijing. Just do not expect any large museum shop or souvenirs, this small museum is really about the collection itself.

Go to Poly Art Museum

Go to Poly Art Museum

Add: 9th floor New Poly Plaza, 1 Chaoyangmen Bei Dajie Dongcheng District
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 9: 30-16: 30;close on state holidays
Tel: 6500 8117
Admission: 20RMB
How to get there:
Metro: Take subway line 2 and get off at Dongsishitiao and exit from Exit D.

4. Take English Mass at St. Joseph’s Parish
Do you fancy idea of going to church in Beijing? The every 4pm English Catholic mass on Sunday provides the wonderful lyrics, chords and melody at St.Joseph’s Church or Wangfujing Church in Beijing.

A large square outside the church is a public city park with 1.2 hectares, a good spot for wedding photos and Roller board skating. The square’s north end is adjacent to Wangfujing Street.

After attending church service, have a stroll along Wangfujing Street, rubbing with the locals and delved into the shopping and dining world. The part of the wangfujing Street (810m) has been transformed into a pedestrian street since 1999.

English Mass at St. Joseph’s Parish

English Mass at St. Joseph’s Parish

St. Joseph’s Church
Address: 74 Wangfujing St, Dongcheng, Beijing
Phone: +86 10 652406346 (English), or 65212162 (English)

Mass Schedule at St. Joseph’s Parish

English Mass Time
4:00pm on each Sunday afternoon

5. Take a Stroll Along the Outer City’s Southern Moat
Exiting from the northern gate to Forbidden City, you will find the city moat circling the exterior wall. There used to 4 kinds of moat systems in Beijing – the city moats for the Palace (Forbidden City), Imperial City,  Inner City and Outer City ranging from Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

In 1950’s, Beijing’s moat system was still measured at over 40 kilometres. Today, parts of the inner city’s northern moat system, the outer city’s southern moat system, the imperial city’s moat system and the forbidden city’s moat system still remain, and the remaining moats total 31 kilometers.

The local governments have made great efforts in the recent years to protect and preserve the remaining city moats. A major preservation project for the city moats is still on the way, largely improving the walking trails along the banks of the city moats, especially on the Outer City’s Southern Moat.

Yongdingmen Gate Tower

Yongdingmen Gate Tower

Walking along the Outer City Southern Moat, you can feel the vibe of the metropolitan Beijing. Yongdingmen Gate Tower is a good starting point for a leisure and informative stroll along the city moat.

6.  Explore Less Touristy Hutong Area
“Hutong” refers to the vernacular buildings ( the old narrow alleys and courtyards ) and traditional residential areas in Beijing. With the fast urban development of Beijing, more and more “Hutong” is torn down, either going through gentrification or making way for new modern builings.

Explore Less Touristy Hutong Area

Explore Less Touristy Hutong Area

The people living in the real Hutong areas decrease, but currently still a decent proportion of the Beijingers live in crowded alleyes and courtyard homes. Strolling though these hutong areas is an eye-opener for you to see a real Beijing.

The more gentrified Nanluoguxiang or Houhai hutongs are good choices for viewing the traditional life in Beijijng. Another better alternative is the walk from Liulichang antique street to Dazhalan. See Old Beijing Walking Tour.

7. Walk through Dongjiaomingxiang (Dong Jiao Min Xiang)
Dong Jiao Min Xiang is a historic site worth your short stroll and glimpse of the European-style buldings left over 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.

Walk through Dongjiaomingxiang

Walk through Dongjiaomingxiang

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.  See: How to visit Dong Jiao Min Xiang.

8. Be Immersed into Fayuan Temple
Most travel guide books would recommend you to explore Lama Temple, also called “Yonghegong”, the most important Lamasery in Beijing. Lama Temple was originally built as the residence of Emperor Yongzheng when he was still a prince.

After he came to the throne (Emperor Yongzheng), he changed his old residence into a temporary palace called “Yonghegong” in 1725. In 1744, his successor, Emperor Qianlong turned the palace into a lama temple. This Tibetan Buddhist Lama Temple is still popularly called Yonghegong.

Fayuan Temple

Fayuan Temple

Fayuan Temple is much older than Fayuan Temple, built in 645 AD during Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). It is situated at the south of Jiaozi Alley in the southern downtown of Beijing.

It is not only the oldest Buddhist temple, but also the location for the China Buddhism Institution and China Buddhism Library and Relic Centre, as well as an important venue for nurturing young monks and Buddhism research.

Fayuan Temple
Entrance fee: 5 yuan
Add: East of the Southern end of Jiaozi Hutong, Xicheng, Beijing
Bus: Bus 6 and 109 and get off at Jiaozi Hutong or Metro Line 4 and get off at Caishi Kou and exit from Southwest Ext.

9. Have a Family Visit
While visiting the primary scenic and historical sites is your main purpose of your trip to Beijing, paying a visit to a Chinese family offers you a chance to better understand its people and their life.

Beijing Family Visit1

Beijing Family Visit

Family visit adds something interesting and meaningful to your leisure trip – chatting with family hosts, tasting home made lunch, getting a good feel of its people of China. See Beijing Family Visit for more information.

10: Haggle at Dahongmen Clothing Wholesale Market
This huge market, oft-lauded as the largest clothing market north of Yangtze River in China. It is located on Beijing’s south axis road starting from Muxiyuan (木樨园) on the south third ring road in the north to the northern bank of Liangshui River (凉水河北岸) , about 7  km south of Tiananmen Square.

Dahongmen Clothing Wholesale Market

Dahongmen Clothing Wholesale Market

The market is composed of 24 comprehensive markets covering clothing, shoes, hats as well as food, antiques and paintings jewelry, cultural and creative products. The most well-known markets include Dahongmen Clothing City (大红门服装城) and Dahongmen Shoes City  (大红门鞋城).

English is seldom spoken in the market, less popular than Silk Market. But it is worth venturing to explore the market if you have time and energy. See Top 10 Markets in Beijing for more information.

Any questions, just drop a line.

Add-on:
Top 10 Attractions in Beijing