Beijing Day Trips & other china recs

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May 25th, 2006, 02:37 PM
  #1
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Beijing Day Trips & other china recs

we leave for china on saturday evening and would like some last minute recommendations for beijing and beyond. we have heard good things about beidaihe and chengde. does anyone have any thoughts on these places?

we prefer to avoid the whole car/driver/guide thing as much as possible (even if it means missing some "big" sites). more looking for a relaxing place to eat good food and just soak in some atmosphere without a lot of hassles. do these places suit?
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May 25th, 2006, 02:50 PM
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Both places are too far for day-trip, I believe. Beidaihe is about three hours by train to Qinhuangdao, and then probably by taxi/bus for the last 20km or so to Beidaihe.

Chengde is even further, about 6 hours by train.

Chengde is the location a large Qing Dynasty summer palace, and have some very interesting Tibetian Buddhism temples surrounding it - lots of things to see, but not necessarily relaxing.

Beidaihe is just a seaside town most famous for the vacation trips by communist leaders. Haven't been there, and have no interest doing so.
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May 25th, 2006, 02:55 PM
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thank you for the comments, rkkwan. it was my mistake... i knew they weren't day trips (i should have said, "short trips"). it sounds like chengde might not fit the bill, i am more interested in being in a pretty place that is relaxing rather than moving from one site to another. any other ideas? prefer the distance that would be practical for one or two nights away from beijing. thanks.
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May 25th, 2006, 06:25 PM
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Seriously, can't think of a place that fits your bill near Beijing. Perhaps Qingdao on the coast in Shandong province? It's 9 hours by overnight train.

It has some beaches and there are still a lot of colonial-era mansions.
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May 26th, 2006, 06:42 PM
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Chengde is a really excellent destination. It takes about 3 hours by fast train. The train from Beijing leaves very early (about 7am) so I rode an Iveco bus from Xizhimen. These are frequent and take about 4 hours and are an adventure in themselves. The return train leaves about 2:30.

I stayed 2 nights and wished I had an extra night. The Summer Palace and its grounds are worth at least half a day on their own and the temples take at least a day. The trip in the cable car up "Hammer Rock" is also worthwhile (I'd suggest the morning for best light) and that takes another half day (two of the temples are nearby). It's easy to get around Chengde by taxi (there's an informal fixed fare of 10 RMB).

The Putuozongchen (Potola) and Xumi Fushou temples are within walking distance of each other and are really, really attractive. There's a cluster of restaurant stands under an awning at the Potola that is good for lunch.

At the risk of angering our hosts, let me point out that the information on Chengde at Frommers online is very useful and accurate.
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May 26th, 2006, 07:03 PM
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Sorry about the time I posted about train to Chengde. The early train indeed takes much less than 6 hours. According to the newest timetable (effective 5/6/06), N211 departs Beijing Main station 7:16am, arrives Chengde 11:15am, for 3hr59min.
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May 26th, 2006, 07:04 PM
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Just want to add another place with lots of historical stuff to see is Datong in Shanxi Province. Many trains a day, the fastest takes 5:30 from Beijing.
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