A Golden Beijing Tourist Route for your Next Beijing Trip (Day 2)
I forgot to mention the subway condition in Beijing in the first part of a golden Beijing tourist route. If you are travelling Beijing on budget or as pack backers, you can end up using it a lot. You will find it very easy to navigate. The ticket machines have an English option and all you have to do is select your destination and your ticket prints out for you. The cost is very inexpensive, worked out to about $ 0.3 in US dollars per trip. Generally, the Metro Line 10 and 2 can take you to all Beijing highlights (Line 10 to be the most modern and the line 2 to be the worst crowded and smelly). However, if you are claustrophobic, metro will not be the mode of transportation for you.
Day 2: Great Wall, Ming Tombs, Olympic Green
With respect to the Great Wall, there are different options with different experiences. Badaling Great Wall is crowded than the other sections, because it is much more easy to reach and relatively cheap, attracting not only the foreign tourists but also the locals.
Mutianyu is famous for its beautiful scenery, but it is relatively far from downtown, so it is less crowded than Badaling.
In a word, busy & popular Badaling, scenic Mutianyu, hike along Simatai or see wild Huanghuacheng. Come and explore your favorite one!
All sections of the wall can be visited without an organized tour. If you do opt to go with a tour company make sure you ask what is included in the tour. Some tours are combined with a visit to the Ming Tombs or may include shopping stops. So if you don’t want to get dragged of the bus and made to visit a Chinese Medical Center make sure you choose a tour suitable for you.
Hire a driver, negotiate a little bit with him and just go to the section you have decided. The concierge at your hotel is able to organize that. Never take the buses, because they were very crowded which can make you exhausting before getting there.
The view in Great Wall is breathtaking and grandeur of the wall is overwhelming. You can go up using the cable car and walk across to the ropeway and use it to go down. It is a better way to do it as the wall is downhill that way.
As leave the wall, there are lots of souvenir stalls with pushy sales people. Don’t be pressured and take your time to look around. Bargain like mad! You should pay less than you would pay in the Europe/USD for any given item.
Then head to the Ming Tombs. Some people say that the site should be skipped, but I don’t think of it in that way.
The site of the Ming Dynasty Imperial Tombs was carefully chosen according to Feng Shui principles. According to these, bad spirits and evil winds descending from the North must be deflected; therefore, an arc-shaped area at the foot of the Jundu Mountains north of Beijing was selected. This 40 square kilometer area — enclosed by the mountains in a pristine, quiet valley full of dark earth, tranquil water and other necessities as per Feng Shui — would become the necropolis of the Ming Dynasty.
Time to return, and stop on the way to get back to take some photos of Bird Nest and Water Cube in Beijing Olympic Green.
I strolled around the park in the afternoon, and pretty hot, it did not appear to be too crowded. There were a few people throughout the area selling items and it was kind of humorous as they would pretty much ignore the other people walking around and would head straight to us trying to buy their items. What was odd was many of them were selling kites with cartoon animals on them. Not sure why they figured we would be in the market to buy these kites as if I were selling them, I would have approached people with kids.
Go back to hotel for a little rest and get ready for the night shows.
You cannot miss the Peking Opera, because it is a synthesis of stylized action, singing, dialogue and mime, acrobatic fighting and dancing to represent a story or depict different characters and their feelings of gladness, anger, sorrow, happiness, surprise, fear and sadness. The costumes in Beijing Opera are graceful, magnificent, elegant and brilliant, and mostly are made in handicraft embroidery. As the traditional Chinese pattern is adopted, the costumes are of a high aesthetic value.
The Lao She Teahouse is quite popular as there is a bit of a mixture: traditional music, tea ceremonies, & Beijing opera.