How to visit Terracotta Army in Xian

December 4th, 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 Terracotta Warriors. If anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!

____________________________________________________________________

Plan your Xian tour? For many foreign visitors, visiting the excavated Terracotta Army is a must. These Army of Terra-Cotta Warriors were supposed to safeguard Chinese first emperor – Qin Shihuang in his afterlife.

He unified China in 221 BC for the first time in Chinese history and established Qin Dynasty (221–206 B.C.), thus starting China’s over 2000 years’ feudal society

You are kindly reminded that Qin Shihuang’s underground palace is still there and remains intact though some of the burial sites annexing to his mausoleum have been robbed.

Why his own burial site or his underground palace still intact? It is said that his tomb has solid and strict anti-gravedigging system including secret crossbows which may kill people once you are inside the tomb, and a large amount of mercury which will emit much toxic air within the tomb.

Now the entrance for Qin Shihuang’ Mausoleum is also included in your ticket for Terracotta Army Museum – One ticket for two sites. The two sites are 2 km apart connected by free shuttle buses.

Terracotta Amy at Pit One

Terracotta Amy at Pit One

Located  2km east of Qin Shihuang Mausoleum, the Emperor’s afterlife army terracotta soldiers are only part of his mausoleum. These vivid over 2000-year-old soldiers of Terracotta Army were discovered March 24, 1974 by a group of local farmers when they were digging a well.

Now this site of Terracotta army has been turned into a world-famous attraction site, bombarded by tons of tourists visiting this museum. I’ve been to the Terracotta Army Museum for several times.

Below are some of the Terracotta Army travel tips for your reference if you are going to make your maiden trip to the world-famous Terracotta Warriors and Soldiers Museum:

Tip # 1: Going there by bus is highly recommended
For money-saving trip to the Army of Terracotta Warriors, take a public bus is a good choice. You have two choices:

Choice One:
It is very easy to find the special Tourism Bus 5 (Bus no. 306) running between Xian Railway Station to Terracotta Army Museum. If you stand facing Xian Railway Station, The Bus 5(306) parks at the parking lot on your right or east side.

You don’t have to buy the bus ticket in advance. Just jump on the bus and later a bus guide will come to you and collect the money – RMB 7 per person.

Basic Information on the Bus
Bus Line: Tourism Bus 5 (306)
First Bus: 07:00; Last Bus 19:00
Line Length: 42 Km
Drive Time: 0ne Hour
Bus Stops: Totally 12 stop on route
Bus Stop No.01: Xian Railway Station
Bus Stop No 08: Huanqing Hots pring
Bus Stop No 12: Terracotta Army

Be sure to get off at the last destination – Terracotta Army Museum since the Bus 5 (306) is scheduled to stop at several tourist attractions including Huaqing  Hot spring, Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum.

You don’t need to get off at these stops. The very last stop ( the 12th stop ) of this bus is the Terracotta Warriors. Just stay on the bus until you get to the last stop. Remember where you get off the bus terminal.

After finishing your visiting the museum, come to the same parking lot and take the exact bus No 5 (306) since there are some other “fake” bus 306 which eagerly push you to take their buses.

Choice Two:
If you arrive at Xian North Railway Station in Xian, you can take the free shuttle bus from Xian North Railway Station to the Terracotta Army site provided that you have an arrival high-speed train ticket on the same day and you have bought the ticket for the Terra-cotta Army.

To get the free shuttle bus pass, you need to go to the information center in Xian North Railway Station to buy your entry ticket for Terracotta Army. The Information Center is located south of the entrance to Subway Line 2 on the B1 of Xian North Railway Station.

You use your arrival train ticket and the admission ticket for Terracotta Amy in exchange for  the free shuttle bus pass going to Terracotta Army. The free shuttle pass is valid for three days. That means if you arrive at Xian North Railway Station later in the evening, you can use the free shuttle pass for next day.

As  for where to take the free shuttle bus,  please turn to the information center for the details.

There are luggage deposit offices in the station. Please go to Information Center for more detailed information;

The shuttle buses leave hourly:

1. Shuttle Buses from Xian North Railway Station to Terracotta Warriors
First Bus at 8:00 am and last bus at 4:00 pm

2. Shuttle Buses from Terracotta Warriors back to Xian North Railway Station
First Bus at 10:00 am and last bus at 7:00 pm

3. Stops, travel time and operating time
There are four stops ( from the station to the terracotta Warriors ) : 1) Lintong National Tourism Resort 临潼国家旅游休闲度假区 2) Lishan Mountain 骊山 3) Huaqing Hot Spring 华清池 4) Terracotta Warriors 兵马俑
The shuttle buses take about one hour for single trip.

4.  The free shuttle pass is valid for three days.

Chinese: 西安北站乘坐免费大巴前往兵马俑
English: Free Shuttle Bus from Xian North Railway Station to Terra-cotta Army.

Tip # 2: Basic information about Terracotta Warriors and Soldiers Museum
Located 30km east of Xian, the Army of Terracotta Warriors are undoubtedly the greatest archaeological find of the 20th century. The museum is composed of three pits: Pit 1, Pit 2 and Pit 3.

Pit 1 is most impressive and the highlight of the museum. Pits 2 and 3, though interesting, are not as impressive as the pit 1. If you don’t have sufficient time, PIT 2 and PIT 3 can be avoided.

The movie -360 degrees, the background film, is in English and very cool, which takes about 15 minutes long. It gives some background to what you see with your own eyes. It is worth the 15 minutes. The film ticket is included in your entrance fee.

Tip # 03: Don’t expect too much from the Museum
Before you visit the terracotta warriors, if you have already read a lot and seen tons of pictures of the Army of Terracotta warriors, you may feel a little disappointed. So there is much hype which causes your visit to be a letdown.

Tip # 04: Rent an audio guide? Hire a tour guide? or Using a guidebook?
How to visit the museum? You have three choices:
1) Rent an audio guide ( recorded guide ). You just pay RMB 40 an audio tour. The voice sounds like an American accent and it is easy to understand and informative.

2) Using a tour guide service. When you are going to buy your tickets at the ticketing office, tons of tour guides will come to you, eager to offer you the guide service.

If you haven’t done much homework before you came to Xian. You are advised to hire a local tour guide to guide or translate for you at the price of about RMB 100-150. You will get more knowledge than from a guidebook or the recordings. Just avoid the shopping sites your local guide may suggest you to go.

3) Using a guidebook to guide your tour in and around the museum.

Tip # 05: Walking from Ticketing office to Entrance Gate
It takes 5-10 minutes walking from the ticketing office to the entrance gate. If you pay RMB 5, you take a small tram ride to the entrance gate. In my opinion, if you are in good shape, just avoid using the small tram.

Free luggage storage service:
On the left side of the Ticketing Office is the Tourist Information Center which offers free luggage storage service.

Tip # 06: Exit from the museum
After you finish visiting the museum and leave for your bus terminal, or in a word, on the way back, you have to pass through an area with a lot of shops and restaurants. This obviously poses some pressure on you to buy some souvenirs or spend some money here.

If you are tender-hearted, and going to buy something to support China’s economy, please bargain!

Tip # 07: Some Restaurants Rip off
There are many restaurants leading up to the museum. Some of them just rip you off. So take great care of your money!

Tip # 08: Toilets in the museum are free
For the toilets outside the museum, you have to pay. But once you are inside the museum, you enjoy free toilets. They are the same squatting-style facility like everywhere else in china.

Tip # 09: Take a taxi to the Museum
It takes about 160 RMB by taxi from the downtown Xian to Army of Terra-Cotta Warriors. Very often you have to bargain with your taxi driver.

Tip # 10: Terracotta Army, not Qin Shihuang Mausoleum
If you take Bus 5(306) from Xian Railway Station to Terracotta Army Museum, don’t get off at Qin Shihuang’ Mausoleum. Qin Shihuang’s Mausolem is not much worth visiting since it is just a mound, not excavated yet.

So don’t confuse Terracotta Army with Qin Shihuang’s Mausoleum. The entrance for Qin Shihuang’ Mausoleum is also included in your ticket for Terracotta Army Museum.

A closer look at soldiers and horses

A closer look at soldiers and horses

Tip # 11: Opening time and entrance fees
Opening Hours: 8:30AM – 5:30PM
Entrance Fee: RMB 150 (March 1-November 30); RMB 120 (December 1-the end of February)
The ticket also includes the entrance to Qin Shihuang’ Mausoleum.

Note: There is a cap for the number of visitors ( limited to daily 65000 visitors ). But  basically  you won’t have any problem buying your tickets if you avoid visiting the site during National Holiday ( Oct 01 -07 ).

For booking the tickets online, you use the following two websites ( both in Chinese ):
1) http://piao.ctrip.com/ticket/dest/t1444.html
2) http://order.bmy.com.cn:88/ticket/index.htm

Free luggage storage service:
On the left side of the Ticketing Office is the Tourist Information Center which offers free luggage storage service.

The Terracotta Warriors Museum is open all year round – 365 days every year! Children under the height of 1.2m don’t have to pay.

06611Tip #12: Hassle-free Xian 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 Xian guided tours:

Xian City Day Tour from US$69
Xian Terracotta Warriors Day Tour A from US$85
Terracotta Army and Song of Everlasting Performance from US$135

Xian 2 Day Tour Package from US$170 p/p
Xian 3 Day Tour Package from US$235 p/p

Terracotta Army  Join-in Escorted Bus Tour RMB 480 p/p
Terracotta Army  Escorted Private Tour  US$ $125 P/P

Further Readings


Beijing Xian High Speed Train Experience
Top 10 Attractions in Xian
Tips for Visiting Muslim Quarter in Xian
Tips for Visiting Xian City Wall
Tips for Visiting Shaanxi History Museum
Tips for Visiting Xian Bell Tower
How Visit Terracotta Army
How to Visit Daming Palace National Heritage Park
Top 10 Photography Spots in Xian
The Night View of Great Tang All Day Mall
Tips for Visiting Hanyang Tombs Xian
The Song of Everlasting Sorrow Show in Xian
Tips for Visiting Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Tips for Visiting Huaqing Hot Springs in Xian
How to Visit Mount Huashan
Top 10 Hostels in Xian
Best Time to Visit Xian

Any questions, just drop a line.

How to Get to Badaling Great Wall by Bus

December 3rd, 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 bus. If you have any questions or anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!
________________________________________________________________________

Plan your Beijing tour? There are three bus lines running between the downtown Beijing and Badaling Great Wall. So you have three choices for using public transport when you are going to Badaling Great Wall by bus.

Choice One: Taking Bus 877  ( Starting from Deshengmen Bus Terminal )
Operating Hours:
Deshengmen to Badaling Great Wall
06:00-12:00(Apr.1-Oct.31)
06:00-12:30 (Nov.1-Mar.31)
Badaling Great Wall  to  Deshengmen
10:30-17:00 (Apr.1-Oct.31)
11:00-16:30(Nov.1-Mar.31)

Driving Time:  One and half hours ( Non-stop )
Driving Distance: 60km

Bus Fare: 12 yuan ( Transportation card is accepted )
Deshengmen Bus Terminal Location: The compound below Deshengmen Arrow Tower
Badaling Bus 877 Terminal Location: in the parking lot ( Bear Park), about 700 meters southeast of Tower No.01 of Badaling Great Wall.

Choice Two: Taking Bus 919 Express ( Starting from Deshengmen Bus Terminal )
Operating Hours:
Deshengmen to Badaling
06:00-17:00
Badaling to  Deshengmen
6:00-17:00

Driving Time:  two hours ( 13 stops )
Driving Distance: 62km
Bus Fare: 13 yuan ( Transportation card is accepted )

Deshengmen Bus Terminal Location: The compound below Deshengmen Arrow Tower
Badaling Bus 919 Terminal Location: in the parking lot about 3 km northwest of Tower No.01 of Badaling Great Wall. Basically you need to connect the free shuttle going to Guntiangou Parking Lot ( near the cable car station of Badaling Great Wall).

Choice Three: Taking Public Tourism Bus No.01 ( Starting southwest of Archery Tower of Zhengyangmen Gate)

Operating Hours:
Qianmen to Badaling Great Wall:
Starting from the end of Flag Raising Ceremony to 11:00 am

Badaling Great Wall to  Qianmen:
09:00-17:00 (Apr.1-Oct.31)
11:00-16:30(Nov.1-Mar.31)

Driving Time:  One hour and 40 minutes ( Non-stop )
Driving Distance: 74km
Bus Fare: 20 yuan ( Transportation card is not accepted )

Qianmen Bus Terminal Location: southwest of Archery Tower of Zhengyangmen Gate ( South of Tiananmen Square )
Badaling Public Tourism Bus Terminal Location: in Guntiangou Park Lot,  near the cable station of Badaling GreatWall.

It is worth getting up earlier to catch an early morning bus for Badaling Great Wall, avoiding a possible snake of people on the wall.

How to get to Deshengmen Bus Terminal ( For Bus 877 and 919 express )
Several buses can bring you to the Deshengmen Bus Station. But the bus system in Beijing could be daunting even for the local Beijingers. It is advisable to take the Subway Line 2 to reach Deshengmen Bus Station. The the closest subway station to Deshengmen Bus Station is Jishuitan (积水潭) of the loop-type Subway Line 2.

You get off at the station of Jishuitan (积水潭), exit from the Exit A. Then walk along the sideway in the east direction for about 450 meters, soon you will see a high tower – the Deshengmen Arrow Tower. Deshengmen Bus Terminal is just below the northern and southern sides of the tower. The compound of Deshengmen Arrow Tower is within a roundabout.

So you have to cross a road to reach the bus station. Be careful crossing the road since the road has no traffic light at the time of my writing. By the way, on your 450-meter walk from the subway station of Jishuitan to the Deshengmen Arrow Tower, you will pass alongside the Deshengmenxi Bus Station (different from Deshengmen Bus Station) and you just ignore it!

You will be also distracted by some privately owned buses or mini-buses operated in the name of official Badaling-bound buses. We strongly suggest you take the official buses within the Deshengmen Bus Station for safety and reasonable price. Don’t be surprised if you find the queue in front of the bus 877 or 919 express could be very long, especially on the weekends or national public holidays.

Next, follow me to have a familiarization virtual tour of how to take a bus to Badaling Great Wall.  First take subway line 2 and get off at the stop of Jishuitang (积水潭) and exit from Exit A (northeast).

You will pass alongside the Deshengmenxi Bus Station.

You will pass alongside the Deshengmenxi Bus Station

After walking for about 10 minutes, you will see the huge Deshengmen Arrow Tower.

After walking for about 10 minutes, you will see the huge Deshengmen Arrow Tower.

Then you turn left and walk towards the northern square below the Tower. The compound of Deshengmen Arrow Tower is within a roundabout.

So you have to cross a road to reach the bus station. You have to be careful crossing the road since the road has no traffic light.Before getting to the Deshengmen Bus Station, you have to cross a road without traffic light.

 

Then you turn left and walk towards the northern square of the Tower

Then you turn left and walk towards the northern square beow the Tower

After crossing the road, you will get to the Deshengmen 919 Bus Station below the tower.

After crossing the road, you will get to the Deshengmen 919 Bus Station below the tower.

Here is the Bus 877 below the north side of the tower ready to go to Badaling.

Here is the Bus 877 below the north side of the tower ready to go to Badaling.

Have a close look at the Station Board of 877.

Have a close look at the Station Board of 877

 

Kinder reminder: You ‘d better take Bus 919 express instead of Bus 919 ( slow ). So there are two “919”, one express and the other slow.

How to get to Qianmen Bus Station for  the Public Tourism Bus No.01 going to Badaling Great Wall?
The starting point for  the Public Tourism Bus No.01 is located in the departure terminal for Beijing Tourist Dispatch Hub,  southwest of Archery Tower of Zhengyangmen Gate ( South of Tiananmen Square ).

Qianmen Bus Terminal is in the southwest of Archery Tower of Zhengyangmen Gate ( South of Tiananmen Square )

You can take the subway line 2 and get off at the station of Qianmen and exit from Exit C, then walk south for about 30 meters, you will get to the bus station.

Badaling Great Wall Basic Information
Badaling Great wall is one of the most gorgeous and magnificent part of the Great Wall in Beijing. The Badaling Great Wall is the well-preserved Ming Dynasty Great Wall with original appearance. Now it is divided into two sections – north and south starting at the Badaling Pass and Gate.

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 Express at Deshengmen, RMB12 for ticket.
S Train: Take S train from Beijing Huangtudian Railway Station and get off at the station of Badaling.

Taking Bus from Dingling ( Ming Tombs to Badaling Great Wall) or Vice Versa

If you’d like to go from Ming Tombs ( Dingling ) and Badaling Great Wall or vice versa, you can take the Bus 879 listed below:

1) Dingling Tomb ( Ming Tombs) to Badaling Great Wall

Fist Bus:8:00 am
Last Bus: 4:00 pm
Bus Fare: 9 yuan
The Bus 879 leaves every half an hour
The Bus 879 has 25 bus stops from Dingling (Ming Tombs) to Badaling Great Wall ( the last but the third ) taking about one and half hours, about 40km.

1) Badaling to Dingling ( 定陵):
Fist Bus:9:30 am
Last Bus: 5:30 pm
Bus Fare: 9 yuan
The Bus 879 leaves every half an hour
The Bus 879 has 25 bus stops from Badaling to Dingling ( Ming Tombs ), taking about one and half hours from Badaling to Dingling (定陵), the last bus stop ( about 40 km ).

Frequently Asked Questions
The most important fact is that the northern section of Badaling Great Wall is a loop route ( No.01 to No.12 Towers ) and you don’t have to backtrack. You can walk from Tower No.1 ( the main entrance )  up to the highest Tower No.08,then walk down to Tower 12 ( near the Bear Garden).

1)The Bus 877 is close the Badaling Pass, the entrance to Badaling Great Wall, the only main entrance. A 20-minute walk from Bus 877 to the main entrance.

2) The northern slope of the Badaling Great Wall is about 3700m long starting from North Tower No.1 up to the Northern Tower No.8, then down to Northern Tower No.12. The whole hiking takes 2-3 hours. Not everyone has the strong legs to hike all the 12 towers, so many passengers would take cable car up to the Wall (below Tower No.8 and Tower 9 ) to save their energy.

If you are in good shape, I suggest you hike all the 12 towers to digest the magnificent Badaling Great Wall on its northern slope instead of eating Instant food” by taking the cable car.

3) The cable car brings you up to the slope below both North Tower No.8 and Tower No.9. So from the cable car station on the upper slope, you can either hike to the Tower 8 or Tower 9. It is easier to hike up to the Tower 9 while it is a bit hard to walk up to the Tower 8. To hike up to the Tower 8, you have to climb over  a steep slope known as “Haohanpo” ( a real hero”slope ), or 好汉坡 in Chinese. Or you may just skip over it.

4) If you want to visit the Northern section of Badaling Great Wall, you can take the cable car up, then walk down: walk from Tower 8 to down to Tower 1, or from Tower 8 down to Tower 12. Or you can take a cable down. Also you can walk up to Tower 8, then take cable car down. One way cable car: RMB60; round trip cable car: RMB80.

5)  For the northern part of Badaling Great Wall, you can walk to the east from Tower 8 to down to Tower 12, then pass by the Bear Garden, then walk about 10 minutes back to the main entrance to the Tower 1, a loop route and you don’t have to backtrack.

See the Badaling Great wall Map below to check the Bus 877 Stop and Badaling Train Station and more. ( Click Large)

badaling_map

Important Notice:
You can also take a train to visit Badaling Great Wall. For more information, please see Badaling Great Wall Train.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

10 Non-Touristy Things to Do in Beijing

December 3rd, 2018
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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, allowing you to appreciate the wild and original 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 the 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.

Click “Where to do distance running or walking in Beijing?” for more information on the walking trail along the city moat.

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 buildings.

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 alleys 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 Beijing. 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 Lama 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.

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.