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Is this a realistic 7 day itinerary for Beijing?

Is this a realistic 7 day itinerary for Beijing?

Jun 1st, 2019, 04:11 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 1
Is this a realistic 7 day itinerary for Beijing?

Hi there,

4 of us (although 2 will be departing on day 3) are going to Beijing for a week. We arrive on the Saturday but we haven't planned anything for that day as we are getting there at probably 4 - 6 p.m. (on a train). This is our current plan:

Day 1
Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Wangfujing

Day 2
Great Wall (Mutianyu)

Day 3
798 Art Zone, museums

Day 4
Ming Tombs, Summer Palace, Dingling (underground palace)

Day 5
Universities (Tsinghua, Peking), Old Summer Palace (Yuanming Yuan)

Day 6
Houhai (Lake), House of Soong Ching Ling, Prince Gong Mansion, Beijing Book Building

Day 7
Olympic Park, television tower

Is this pretty realistic or could we fit in more/less? We were hoping to add as many of the following in, too:

Zoo (maybe)
Lama Temple
Mao's Mausoleum
Drum Tower

Basically we want to see as much as possible . . . ! So any recommendations/re-ordering would be extremely welcome!
NotARealPyramid is offline  
Jun 2nd, 2019, 11:14 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 389
Basic principles:

!. Do what you think most important first. All sorts of entirely unannounced events can suddenly close a sight or make it inaccessible on your only remaining day in town.

2. Getting around Beijing at ground level is a very slow process. For parts of the day some of the metro system is very crowded indeed. So choose destinations that are geographically close together or linked by short metro trips with minimal changes.

Specifics:

The Forbidden City deserves at least a very full half day, especially if you want to get some sense of atmosphere and get away from the crowded routes taken by the tours that get through it in 1.5 hours. See here for why and how:

Forbidden City

Tian'an Men Square is a big open space. You haven't mentioned anything that's on it? Planning to visit the National Museum? Mao's mausoleum? The Zhengyang Men gate towers? You're going to need more time.

Tian'an Men Square

And just off to the east of the square, some backstreet history of Western presence in Beijing worth a view:

Legation Quarter

Wangfujing? Mainly shopping, and some very minor museums, although the Lao She Memorial Hall is worth a visit.

Wangfujing Dajie

How about a walk to take a look at quieter, more human, backstreet Beijing, close to the Forbidden City:

Forward to the Past (walking route)

In Search of the Ice Houses

On Day 3, what museums are you thinking of close to 798? There's really only the China Railway Museum (good) and the China Film Museum which is fine if you're a resident but not something you'd want to spend time on as a short-stay visitor unless you're a particularly keen cinaste, in which case it's instructive in the misleading way usual to any Chinese museums with 'historical' content.

On Day 4: the Dingling is part of the Ming Tombs, but you're going to see a lot of Ming architecture in terms of what's left in the Forbidden City, and at the Temple of Heaven. And the Ming site is both crowded and dull. Instead arrange a day out of town to see the Eastern Qing Tombs or Western Qing Tombs. Except for the trip to Mutianyu your visit is woefully short on excursions into the countryside, so this would be a good plan. And the Summer Palace is right next to the 'Old' Summer Palace (the Summer Palace is actually older than the 'Old' one and they were once together part of a far larger site). So do those together if you wish. Depending on how far you want to walk around the lakes (and for a bit of peace and quiet the far side of Kunming Lake is good, you'll need the best part of a day including transport time.

Day 5: Universities. Skip, not worth your limited time. Skip the Ming Tombs, put the two Summer Palaces together, and you've gained a day for a trip out of town or to more interesting temples in leafy countryside.

Day 6: Hou Hai. Now a bit tawdry. There are better ways to spend your time, Soong Ching-ling not really worth the effort, but a stroll down the east side not unpleasant, and easily combined with the Drum and Bell Towers. See:

East Bank of the Hou Hai

Day 7. At the Olympic Site the 'Bird's Nest' National Stadium is worth a view from the outside, but not worth paying to enter. The effect of the ETFE bubbles seen inside the National Aquatics Centre is interesting, but not perhaps worth the entrance price. You could make better use of this day, with perhaps seeing a string of fascinating temples out to the west of the city, or taking a trip to the village of Cuan Dixia. See here for a list of possible options:

Villages, Rural Temples, and Scenery

The Lama Temple is often packed but quite spectacular, especially when combined with the Confucius Temple just to the west, and perhaps the Songtang Zhai, between the two.

The Zoo should be avoided, unless perhaps you've never seen a panda, in which case chose the panda-only ticket, but skip the rest.
temppeternh is offline  
Jun 4th, 2019, 04:04 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 458
You do not mention when you are going, nor your nationality. Currently the chinese govt is raising the propaganda against US for ...well, who cares why. And this animosity includes US citizens in china. Not long ago one could claim either USA or Canadian passport, if either was out of favor in china, as locals could not hear any spoken difference and they were accepting. But now, if asked in china your nationality, without showing passport, best to pretend your are from Ireland or New Zealand.
You may think i'm silly, but advise you not to wear american flags on your sleeves. The chinese police can take you away without any reason, detain you for days with no outside contact and upset your holiday completely. Be cautious and careful when in crowded places coz if one chinese calls you out, for any reason, hundreds will join in to denounce you.
jobin is offline  
Jun 5th, 2019, 05:15 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 287
Originally Posted by jobin View Post
You do not mention when you are going, nor your nationality. Currently the chinese govt is raising the propaganda against US for ...well, who cares why. And this animosity includes US citizens in china. Not long ago one could claim either USA or Canadian passport, if either was out of favor in china, as locals could not hear any spoken difference and they were accepting. But now, if asked in china your nationality, without showing passport, best to pretend your are from Ireland or New Zealand.
You may think i'm silly, but advise you not to wear american flags on your sleeves. The chinese police can take you away without any reason, detain you for days with no outside contact and upset your holiday completely. Be cautious and careful when in crowded places coz if one chinese calls you out, for any reason, hundreds will join in to denounce you.
Wow!
You are in China now?
CanadaChinaTraveller is offline  
Jun 5th, 2019, 07:39 PM
  #5  
kja
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 20,898
It depends on many things, but I would not have been able to visit the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven on the same day in any satisfactory way. And I would not skip the Lama Temple, which I thought extraordinary.

Heed Peter's advice!

And, perhaps, consult my old trip report. The sections on Beijing are at the start and end of this long (but searchable) report:
Thanks for helping make my trip to China amazing!
kja is offline  

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