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Beijing - the huge size of its tourist sites

Beijing - the huge size of its tourist sites

Aug 16th, 2010, 09:14 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 145
Beijing - the huge size of its tourist sites

I see people making plans of covering half a dozen different sites in one day when visiting Beijing. I did so myself.

One thing that I did not count with, when planning our trip to Beijing, was the sheer size of its tourist attractions.

While in Rome, I managed to see most of the more famous attractions in one day and on foot, starting from the Colosseum subway station.

In Beijing, however, I feel that I can only handle one single attraction per day and, even so, I still leave the sites with the feeling that I did not see all that I wanted or should have seen.

The Temple of Heaven was a five hour affair and when we got to the Hall of Abstinence, the nicest part of all, in my opinion, we were already very, very tired.

The Forbidden City was also a full day affair, and we left feeling we hadn´t seen a lot of things we would have liked to see.

In my opinion, the Summer Palace asks for more than a day in order to fully appreciate its vastness, and so on.

Going to Badaling or to MuTyanYu is also a full day affair each, in my opinion.

I admit we are no longer teen agers, but even for those who have the stamina we no longer have, flying through such huge sites will only offer an appetizer to the attraction, leaving a feeling of unfulfillness within.
jfcarli is offline  
Aug 17th, 2010, 12:56 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
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I think your point is well taken, but we certainly don't all enjoy the same kind of thorough examination, perhaps. I'm in Beijing now. On Sunday I did the Forbidden City arriving when it opened at 8:30 and left just before noon. Sure there are hundreds of things I didn't see, but I really had seen all I cared to, including the Treasury and the Hall of Clocks. I went back to my hotel and rested for an hour or so, then took the subway to the Summer Palace, where I walked the full "half way round" the lake and climbed to the top, and visited all I cared to. I was there maybe 2 and a half hours to 3. Could I have "experienced" more? Sure. Did I leave satisfied? Yes.

This morning I had a private driver take me to Mutianyu. We left the hotel at 7:30 and arrived at the Wall at 9, which I had almost to myself after taking the cable car up. I thought I was very slow. I stopped often and enjoyed the scenery. I paused in the coolness of each of the towers (it's very muggy today). I scattered some ashes to the wind from the highest point where I started. I stopped and chatted with a couple. I bought an iced tea and sat and drank it all in. I went from tower 14 to tower 6 where I then took the toboggan slide down. The driver had given me a cell phone/pager and I realized that I had been gone only a little less than 2 hours which surprised me. Maybe others would spend 4 or 5 hours there, but 2 was plenty for me -- and yes I loved every minute of it.

And I honestly don't think I was at the Temple of Heaven for even 2 hours. Yes, it was nice, but frankly I don't need to stand and stare at something for ages to appreciate its beauty. And I'm also not one to dwell on all the historic details and specifics which I know I won't remember anyway and really don't mean a lot to me. But I know many people are absorbed in all the specifics -- what year it was done, who was in power, how long it took, how many bricks were used, etc. etc. That really doesn't mean much to me.

My point is that we all do things in different depths. Sometimes I'll hit an art museum and spend hours and hours, while others breeze through. That doesn't mean I enjoy my visit any more than they enjoy theirs.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Aug 17th, 2010, 04:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,181
Good to hear from you Patrick. I'm still hoping you'll start a "Live Report" so we can travel along.
Marija is online now  
Aug 17th, 2010, 05:21 AM
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Well, I keep checking in when I have a few minutes, but want to start a more complete trip report, just don't want to take the time to do it.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Aug 17th, 2010, 05:42 AM
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Don't worry about a complete, organized trip report. Just give us your impressions as you go along, like what you've been doing but in one place so it's easier to follow. We've been following your planning so we have a reasonable idea of the outline of your trip. We'd just like to know how it's going.
Marija is online now  
Aug 17th, 2010, 07:02 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
Agree generally with what the OP says, but if one spends 5 hours at the Temple of Heaven, then I say he is needlessly wearing himself out.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 17th, 2010, 03:54 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 69

Just learned we are going to Beijing for business in 2 weeks. Will have two free weekend days and was intrigued by your hired driver to get you to/from Great Wall. If you would recommend him/her I would appreciate contact info so I can get in touch to make similar arrangement.

Anyone else recommend a driver?

Thanks in advance.
Ajolder is offline  
Aug 17th, 2010, 05:13 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 36,700
Mine was set up by the "concierge" here at the Kapok Hotel (which I can't recommend enough, by the way). The hotel has other drivers and/or guides but are more expensive. This young man set up a regular taxi driver, but I suspect he calls him direct. He promised someone who spoke good English, and indeed he did. The driver called me the night before to let me know his car license number and to confirm the 7:30 AM meeting. I had been told you can negotiate with any taxi driver (I'm not sure how you ever find a driver who speaks enough English to safely negotiate with) and usually get the full day down to about 600, but I was thrilled to pay 700 for someone this guy knew and who spoke such good English. I especially appreciated his cell phone/pager and the provided water. I rode in the front seat and we chatted the entire time. It was a great experience, but sadly I have no idea how you could contact him.

By the way, I found the Ming Tombs to be rather a big yawn (go ahead, others, and crucify me). I had asked about the Qing Tombs but it was not really a logical combination with Mutianyu. Everyone seems to suggest the Ming Tombs as a combination, but I'd see out some other place to explore in conjunction with Mutianyu. (I did enjoy the drive around the reservoir where the triathlon events of the Olympics were held).
NeoPatrick is offline  
Aug 17th, 2010, 06:12 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,181
Agree about the Ming Tombs though we thought the Sacred Way was mildly interesting.
Marija is online now  
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