How long to spend in Beijing?


Mar 6th, 2018, 02:50 PM
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How long to spend in Beijing?

Hi all,

I'm going to Beijing in April and need recommendations on how long to stay. I'm arriving April 30 but haven't committed to when I should leave. I know that May 1, and the days around May Day, is a holiday. Would four days be enough in Beijing? What's Beijing like on May Day. I want to do all the cliched touristy things, especially the Great Wall of China. Please advise.

Thanks, all!
bemardus is offline  
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Mar 6th, 2018, 05:24 PM
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I felt hard-pressed to see what I wanted to see and do in Beijing with more than a week there, and that did not include any holidays. it really depends on what YOU want to see and experience. Get a good guidebook and see what interests you. And if you haven't already seen it, you might get some ideas from my trip report:
Thanks for helping make my trip to China amazing!
kja is offline  
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Mar 7th, 2018, 04:36 AM
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It depends on how deep you want ot go and if you travel slow or not but generally speaking 4-5 days is enough to key the key places in Beijing.
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Mar 7th, 2018, 09:25 AM
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The effect of the May holiday is less than it used to be since it was shortened again from its earlier expansion to a week. This year Beijingers will work Sat 28 April in order to have the 29, 30, and May 1 as a three-day holiday. They'll be back to work the next day. But expect any accommodation affordable by ordinary Chinese to be hard to come by, and expect all the 'clichéd touristy things' to be particularly busy. You might want to use any sight-seeing hours you have on April 30 and the whole of May 1 to do hutong (back alley) walks or simply less famous but nevertheless very worthwhile sights, of which Beijing has a very great deal. Day trips out into the countryside (Great Wall, rural temples, tomb complexes, preserved villages), which you should certainly include in your itinerary, should also be left until May 2. Such destinations will be very busy until then. Stay long enough to include the following weekend and you can take advantage of cheap made-for-Chinese one-day bus tours to some of these. See:

and scroll down to or search for 'one-day bus tours'.

The 'most touristy' places include those you should avoid, such as Mao's Mausoleum and the Great Hall of the People. That still leaves The Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the National Art Museum, the Summer Palace (Old and 'New'), the Lama Temple, the 978 Art District, at the least.

But you ought to be seeing the Confucius Temple/Imperial Library, other temples such as the Daoist Dong Yue Miao, and other museums such as the Capital Museum, and that's before we get into a string of less-well known curiosities; the Zhihua Si (one of the oldest surviving temples in Beijing), the Poly Art Museum (small, private museum with some of the bronze animal heads from the Summer Palace, and other top-end repatriated antiquities), or the Five Pagoda Temple.

And then there are days just to the west seeing a string of temples in still leafy countryside (Tanzhe Si, Jietai Si, the Fa Hai Si with its murals, and more). A day to the Western Qing or Eastern Qing Tombs ought to be regarded as essential (far superior to the Ming Tombs, which I suppose should be included in the 'most touristy' list). A trip into the countryside to villages such as Cuan Dixia, or Ji Ming She Yi will offer a completely different picture of China. Which leaves the Great Wall, best seen at one the location further from Beijing, requiring a day trip.

A week, flat-out, perhaps, and many things will still be left undone. I'd stay until after the following weekend.

For detailed descriptions of some of the sights mentioned (and very many more, use search or scroll down as necessary) see:
temppeternh is offline  
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Mar 7th, 2018, 10:27 AM
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Should read '798 Art District' (also known as Da Shanzi).
temppeternh is offline  
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Mar 8th, 2018, 03:11 AM
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I love Beijing, enjoy!
sablimes is offline  
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Mar 8th, 2018, 10:33 AM
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Thanks for the responses all! I decided on four days. I'll arrive to Beijing on Monday, April 29 and depart late on Friday. Despite the crowds I hop this will give me some time to explore the city and the Great Wall. Given that I'll be there over the May Day holiday I won't be traveling outside the city until the Chinese holiday period has passed.
bemardus is offline  
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Mar 8th, 2018, 10:36 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions, kja and temppeternh! You've give some good insight. I really appreciate it.
bemardus is offline  
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Mar 8th, 2018, 07:56 PM
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May 1 begins what is called Golden Week.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
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Mar 16th, 2018, 04:32 AM
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I think its better for you to visit Beijing for 7 Days so that you can see all the beautiful places in Beijing and enjoy your trip.
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