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Eastern Qing Tombs - in China now, please help!

Eastern Qing Tombs - in China now, please help!

May 26th, 2010, 03:56 AM
  #1  
kja
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 20,785
Eastern Qing Tombs - in China now, please help!

Yes, I'm in China and having many wonderful experiences! I started in Beijing, to which I will return in a few days. When I was first there, I was told by 3 different people associated with 2 different tour operators that tours to the Eastern Qing Tombs had been suspended due to road construction. Assuming that remains true when I return to Beijing, do I have any options for seeing them? For example, are there different routes that a car could take so that hiring a taxi would be an option? If so, how much should I expect to pay? If you have any specific advice about the request I should present to a taxi driver (such as the specific sites i want to visit and/or how long I expect to spend) I would be very grateful.

If I do have to give up on the Eastern Qing Tombs, should I try to visit other tombs around Beijing instead? If it makes any difference to your answer, I did visit some of the imperial tombs to the west of Xi'an.

I'll write more when I return, but let me briefly say that all the information I obtained from this forum prior to my trip, and particularly the extensive advice from PeterN_H, has proven invaluable. I've seen some amazing things, avoided some unnecessary expenses, and had some delicious local foods as a result of all the valuable advice so generously offered here.

Thanks so much for any help you can provide.
kja is offline  
May 26th, 2010, 05:01 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,778
A quick look at Google maps will show you multiple routes to the tombs, and also extensive habitation. The only way this argument could work is if there is a single approach road on the site to the tombs themselves, and that that has been dug up. But there isn't a single approach road either, as far as I remember. However, China does sometimes through these problems at you and you may never get to the bottom of them. Get someone to call the tombs directly at 0315 694 9851 and ask them for information.

Otherwise two suggestions:

Take a bus to Zunhua from the Sihui Bus Station (just southeast of Sihui metro station) and double back from there by taxi or alight earlier at Shimen Zhen and taxi from there. Have someone call the bus station at 65574804 to see if there's any improved information (probably not). You'll need an early start to make this trip in a day. There's also some information in Chinese here: http://www.bjzbus.cn/qiche/r.php/2zd7f1bbaf

Or switch to the Western Qing Tombs, also well worth a visit, down the Jinshi Freeway to the southwest, about 110km to the Gaobeidian turning and then a few country roads west from there, with some reasonable signposting. I'm not aware of any day tours there although some may recently have started. You can take a long-distance bus from Liu Li Qiao bus station on the southwest third ring road to Gaobeidian and take a taxi west from there. Again, an early start is advised, and overall chartering a taxi from Beijing may be easier.

Peter N-H
PeterN_H is offline  
May 29th, 2010, 09:36 AM
  #3  
kja
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Join Date: Dec 2006
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I can't thank you enough, Peter N-H, for this incredibly useful information! I do hope that I can make a visit to these tombs a part of my journey, but I do have a few more questions:

I'm willing to making a reasonably early start, but I'm not sure what you mean by "early" - can you clarify?

More importantly, if I take the bus to Zunhua, do I need to negotiate a taxi for the time it takes to visit the tombs and return to Zunhua, or do I just need the taxi to reach the tombs (with an easy task of finding a taxi back to Zunhua)? At least one of my guidebooks suggests that once I reach the tombs, I will find transport around the site, but I certainly don't want to find myself without a way back to Zunhua!

Also, if I have a choice and if I correctly noted your comments on previous posts about these tombs, my priorities should include Kangxi Tomb (Jing Ling), Xiao Ling, Qianlong (Yu Ling), Xianfeng (Ding Ling), and the Ding Dong Ling tombs. If that is incorrect, or if my time is short and under my control, do you have a recommendation for which sites or route I should request?

BTW, your general advice came in especially handy today: I steadfastly refused all non-metered taxis from Beijing Zhan to my (non-booked) hotel, including the drivers in the supposedly metered-only lane who offered "discounts" over the metered fare. They offered "discounted" fairs ranging from 150 - 250 yuan; but I kept refusing (as I have throughout my travels, typically saving about 10% per ride). Eventually, one of the red-badged men stepped in to argue with a driver who refused to even offer a price, and my luggage and I were soon in a metered taxi. The actual metered fare was 29 yuan - quite a difference! I haven't always managed to do what I believe Marya called "WWPNHD" (What would Peter N_H do), but I've tried, and the benefits have been substantive. Thanks so much!
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Jun 7th, 2010, 10:21 AM
  #4  
kja
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I ended up hiring a car from Beijing, and visited Huangya Guan on the way to the Eastern Qing Tombs. Both were wonderful! Thanks, PeterN_H, for helping me find a way to see them!
kja is offline  
Jun 7th, 2010, 11:18 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
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Hello Peter and kja
I was in Beijing last year and followed Peter's advice re taxis and hotels. Saved a lot of grief and money!
We are going back in October with the whole family and are planning on visiting the Qing tombs (Ding Dong Ling). We have been told about a guide who can take us there for 1500 yuan for the car and driver and 500 yuan for the guide. We would go a second day with the same car, driver, guide and price to the Simitai segment of the great wall. Is this a good idea? Too expensive? Should we have the hotel (Raffles) book a car for us for both trips?
Any help you can give I would appreciate it.
Alisonv is offline  
Jun 7th, 2010, 01:42 PM
  #6  
 
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> We are going back in October with the whole family and are planning on visiting the Qing tombs (Ding Dong Ling).

That's Qing Dong Ling. Qing Eastern Tombs. The Ding Dong Ling, the tomb east of the Ding Tomb, is one tomb at the site.

> We have been told about a guide who can take us there for 1500 yuan for the car and driver and 500 yuan for the guide.

Who on earth suggested this? It's absolutely outrageous. The guide will be of no earthly use to you (not knowing any more than you can read on signs (not themselves necessarily accurate) and rather less than you can find out for yourself in advance--I remember in particular one guide there happily misidentifying stone dragons to her clients), and there's a map of the layout on the back of the ticket, most of the tombs being anyway easily visible from each others' tops. You should be able to charter a taxi from Beijing for the day for about ¥500. That, truly, will be saving 'a lot of grief and money'--around ¥1500, in fact.

And the same for Simatai? Words fail me. ¥500 again, car only. And if you're going that far there are a couple of alternatives to suggest that are better than Simatai.

> Should we have the hotel (Raffles) book a car for us for both trips?

If you consider the convenience worth the huge increase in cost. Ask for quotes. Prepare to be shocked. (Otherwise an excellent hotel, though.)

Peter N-H
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Jun 8th, 2010, 05:14 AM
  #7  
 
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Thanks, Peter. We will look into hiring a taxi. I am assuming we can get help from the hotel with that especially since there will be six of us.
I am glad you said we didn't need the guide. I was wondering about that. When we went last year to China we had no trouble going around on our own using the subway. The signs at the sites are not too bad and we used the area maps handed out at the ticket booths. Combined with a couple of good guide books, it was fine. The pictures in the guide books were handy to show to taxi drivers when we were struggling with comprehension.
Yes I was mistaken I meant Qing Dong Ling the Qing Eastern Tombs. This is where we have heard the best sites are found. We went to the Ming tombs last year. We have heard that these ones are superior to the Ming.

As for the the Great wall. We stayed at the Commune by the great Wall last year so we are looking to visit a more spectacular and less crowded segment this year. What would you recommend?
Alisonv is offline  
Jun 8th, 2010, 08:01 AM
  #8  
 
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Getting help from the hotel will ensure very high prices, but if you want a party of six in one vehicle then things are more difficult. You would need two standard taxis.

At the Great Wall you presumably saw the very ersatz and brief Shui Guan section, although also had access to the overgrown and unrestored section on the grounds.

If you are going as far as Simatai then venture just a bit further to Pan Long Shan or Jin Shan Ling.

Peter N-H
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Jun 8th, 2010, 11:34 AM
  #9  
 
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Thank you ,Peter. We never went to the restored part, way to touristy for our taste, but we spent a lovely afternoon climbing the unrestored segment on the property and having a picnic in the remains of the guard house.
We will look into trying to get 2 taxis. A little more risky but it will still be half the price quoted by the guide.
We will also look into the segments of the wall you suggested.
Thank you once again for your help
Alison
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