Impressions of Beijing?

Oct 12th, 2000, 05:07 PM
  #1  
Martha
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Impressions of Beijing?

I'm leaving for my first trip to Beijing China in about a month. I'm interested in hearing from people who have been there - what were the surprises, good and bad, etc. Any tips on where to go, what to see, etc. would be much appreciated.

Martha
 
Oct 13th, 2000, 11:49 AM
  #2  
Meg
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Martha - Beijing is amazing. The Forbidden Palace, Temple of Heaven (in the morning), Tiananmen Square, and a visit to the hutong and Great Wall are must do things. We spent more time in Beijing than in any other mainland city, but I realized we spent more time in traffic there than in any other city. It's very congested.
 
Oct 14th, 2000, 09:58 PM
  #3  
Bob
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Meg gave you a good summary of what to see. Here are some surprises: pollution, especially in the winter; why hundreds of bicyclists aren't killed in traffic every day; the openness of the "working girls," especially between the Hilton and GW Sheraton, near the Hard Rock Cafe.
 
Oct 15th, 2000, 04:35 PM
  #4  
Emily
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Having been to Beijing a number of times during the summer, it's hard to believe that the pollution could possibly be worse during the winter! You will have to appreciate Beijing for what it WAS -- one of the most magnificent places on earth, rather than what it IS -- a wreck of a city. The people, shopping, eating and sight-seeing remain wonderful.
 
Oct 16th, 2000, 01:38 PM
  #5  
Claire
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Martha-Pearls are a fabulous bargin. Third floor of Hongqiao Market in the Chongwen district.I bought from booth 115- Ms Xiao Tong. Also, on the same floor there's Zhang's Textiles- antique silk embroidery. This market is near the Temple of Heaven.
 
Oct 17th, 2000, 08:52 AM
  #6  
Emily
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Claire is right, this is a GREAT place to shop. (I believe that the English name is "Red Bridge Market".) I got my pearls there, too. Another place that's great for silk material is the department store in the Lufthansa Shopping Center. The silks are on the second or third floor.
 
Oct 21st, 2000, 10:26 PM
  #7  
Ammie
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So---if the polution is so awful, do people wear masks?


Thanks!
 
Oct 26th, 2000, 06:46 AM
  #8  
dan woodlief
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My own impressions from a 1994 visit: polluted, dusty, crowded (but not as much as Shanghai), bustling, official, friendly people but not as open as in other cities, tons of history, bicycles everywhere (even saw someone transporting large furniture by bike), a prevailing smell of garlic (I think), scary but cheap cab rides (my seat was unattached and tilted when we turned), a fascination with Westerners, utterly fascinating place to visit.

At least see the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square (interesting and fun in the late afternoons when lots of people gather), Temple of Heaven, and the Summer Palace.
 
Oct 28th, 2000, 08:17 PM
  #9  
Fran
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Another interesting place was the Lama Temple. The HUGE figure at the end was incredible and like nothing I'ld ever seen. There is a subway stop just a block away. We took a cab back from there and that was "fun" but no different than cabs in Mexico and Grenada (two of the worst I've experienced). I have to agree with the post regarding the items you will see on bicycles, my mouth would often drop at that sight.
Have a wonderful trip.
 
Oct 29th, 2000, 08:26 PM
  #10  
Helen
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If you have time before you leave for Beijing try and see a movie/video like, "Raise the Red Lantern" or "the Last Emperor", it will give you an idea of what the Forbidden City was like during the time of the Emperors. A friend of mine also suggested taking along a Chinese restaurant menu that has both English and Chinese characters on it just in case you were ever in a restaurant where no one spoke English and there were no English menus. While in Beijing get up early in the morning and go to a park to watch people exercising in the parks, also stroll thru an outdoor market, visit the night market. I also bought pearls at the multi storied indoor market previously mentioned. If you go there go down to the basement and see all the live edibles for sale - eels, snakes, turtles, frogs. It looks like a pet store!!
 
Oct 30th, 2000, 04:58 PM
  #11  
Martha
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Thanks everyone for your impressions and ideas. I'm looking forward to my trip. I'm planning on seeing all the major sites, and also maybe getting to the Great Wall at Simitai, as well as Badaling.

Thanks again for all the ideas.
Martha
 
Nov 1st, 2000, 10:47 PM
  #12  
Lizz
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Hi, I am planning an 18 day trip to China and Hong Kong in mid May. Am wondering what the weather will be at that time of year. Has anyone traveled with smartours before? Three women going, any advice? Greatly appreciated.
 
Nov 5th, 2000, 01:22 PM
  #13  
Cara
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Hi Martha,

There are so many wonderful things to see and do while in Beijing. I was fortunate enough to be staying with a friend who was able to order for me in restaurants, but I think that the idea of taking a dual language menu is a good solution. While I'm not exactly sure where it's located in Beijing, my friend had a taxi take us early one morning to a flea market known as "Dirt Market". What a great place for buying treasures, since there are very few tourists, we were able to buy wonderful things at low prices. Since we didn't speak the language, we bargained by punching in numbers on the vendors calculators. The Summer Palace is a must see. And when visiting the Forbidden City make sure to check into renting an audio tape that is narrated by Roger Moore. As for surprises, I have blonde hair and blue eyes and have to admit that I was a little startled at the numbers of people who wanted to take their photo with me. Apparently many of the Chinese tourists at places like the Forbidden City have traveled in from small remote villages and have seen very few foreigners. But I must say that everyone is very friendly and many of the younger people know some English and love to have the opportunity to practice on Americans. Just as a warning though, there are many young artists that will be very friendly and then try and lure you up to their studios to buy something. The buses are very over crowded and there's no need to take the subway, since taxis are so inexpensive. You might also get your hotel to arrange a private driver for you to take you to the Summer Palace and Fragrant Hills...that's what we did and enjoyed a great afternoon without the hassles of a tour bus. Have a great trip...Beijing is a blend of very modern and beautiful historic treasures...and don't be surprised to see Starbucks and Baskin Robbins.
 

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