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One Day in Beijing

One Day in Beijing

Old Mar 12, 12, 1:27 pm
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One Day in Beijing

I am considering changing my *A award ticket to DPS to include a 19 hour layover in Beijing. I have never been there before, so I thought it might be a good idea to make a quick stop. I found many day tours through Google, but obviously I have no idea if any of them are reputable. Does anyone have any experience with any of the tour operators? Or is it easy to get around by myself? I speak passable Mandarin if that makes a difference.

Thanks!

Last edited by dat4life; Mar 12, 12 at 1:28 pm Reason: Typo
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Old Mar 12, 12, 7:14 pm
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Bugger the tour. Easy peasy for you to get around by yourself and hit a few highlights. Big question: which 19 hours is it? Obviously if landing at 7 pm and leaving at 2 pm, your opportunities are lessened than if you land at 7 am and leave at 2 am.

The strategy is a good way to cram in an essentially free taste of Beijing. As you would not need a Chinese visa for under 24 hours. If you decide to change your ticket, give us the details and we can do a play-by-play of good options for you.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 8:30 pm
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I'm arriving at 5:45AM and departing a little after midnight.
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Old Mar 12, 12, 9:14 pm
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Originally Posted by harrison1186 View Post
I'm arriving at 5:45AM and departing a little after midnight.
What sort of things interest you (e.g. food, relaxation, temples, music, mountains, architecture, universities, art, etc)?
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Old Mar 13, 12, 7:26 am
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Originally Posted by harrison1186 View Post
I'm arriving at 5:45AM and departing a little after midnight.
This is absolutely perfect for a quick hit of Beijing. Go change that ticket then tell us a bit more, as moondog asks. We of the forum are great at putting together Lightning Blitz Transit Self-tours for Beijing.
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Old Mar 13, 12, 7:38 am
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Well, I am not interested in the food aspect, since I will be headed to Hong Kong a few days later. My objective is too see as many of the historical sites (Forbidden City, the Great Wall, etc.) as possible. And heck, I could go the whole day without eating to meet that goal. It does help that I'm coming off a LX F flight!

Anyways, I appreciate both of your prompt responses! Thanks!
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Old Mar 13, 12, 7:50 am
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Your main determinant is the Great Wall, as seeing that will eat up a half day+ and you'll foreclose on some other options. So if that's the priority, well OK. What day of week will you arrive (weekday or weekend--yes it can make a difference)?
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Old Mar 13, 12, 9:55 am
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So I guess then we can assume that you have from around 6.30am (after going through customs and leaving any hand luggage in storage) until around 9.00pm (in time for a shower in the F lounge before you have to get on the next flight). That certainly leaves scope for quite a one-day adventure...

As far as I recall the Badaling section of the Great Wall opens around 7.00am - or in any case I am fairly certain it will be open if you head straight there from the airport. How about then as an opening suggestion:

06:30 dep airport for Badaling
08:30 arr Badaling (2 hours is probably too generous I think though)
10:00 dep Badaling (90 minutes walking up and back down is enough)
12:30 arr Qianman: walk north though Tian'anmen to Forbidden City
13:00 - 14:30: walk through Forbidden City
then either
14:30 - 16:00: exit North gate of Forbidden City and climb Jingshan Hill (I like this place for the view of the city - but others don't find it so special)
or
14:30 - 16:30: Lama Temple (not so "historical" but can be interesting to see)
16:30 - 18:00 food (not an easy slot to fill as you don't want to be travelling anywhere in Beijing at this time if you are going to be here on a weekday).
18:00 - 20:00 drinks in the bar of the Pangu Hotel overlooking the Birds Nest and Water Cube (expensive - around 200 RMB min charge, and probably not really worth the money, but you are flying in F, and you'll need a drink after all that running around ....)
20:00 - 21:00 taxi back to airport.

I think the travel times above a reasonably generous - but you can never really underestimate the traffic in Beijing... I don't see how you can really add in any of the other major sites (Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven) without really squeezing things in, but maybe it is possible.
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Old Mar 13, 12, 4:20 pm
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I think you've got him double booked from 14:30-16:00.

You might be able to hit the summer palace if you do it after the Forbidden City--you could take Subway Line 4 right to it, and be done about 17:30, and take the Metro back inbound, so it won't be quite as crowded (or at least you can get on). Take it back and resume with the Pangu hotel if that's what appeals.
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Old Mar 13, 12, 7:52 pm
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While I can appreciate the fact that you don't care for food in Beijing (I'm in the same boat), depriving yourself of the experience would be a shame. At the very least, you should attempt to eat some street food with taxi drivers.

Originally Posted by harrison1186 View Post
Well, I am not interested in the food aspect, since I will be headed to Hong Kong a few days later. My objective is too see as many of the historical sites (Forbidden City, the Great Wall, etc.) as possible. And heck, I could go the whole day without eating to meet that goal. It does help that I'm coming off a LX F flight!

Anyways, I appreciate both of your prompt responses! Thanks!
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Old Mar 13, 12, 9:12 pm
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
While I can appreciate the fact that you don't care for food in Beijing (I'm in the same boat), depriving yourself of the experience would be a shame. At the very least, you should attempt to eat some street food with taxi drivers.
Sounds like a plan Moondog!

@GinFizz Thanks! That itinerary sounds fantastic! I may just have to print it out and bring it with me. Hopefully, I mastered the art of being in two places at once before I leave for the trup

@JieJie I am arriving on a Thursday. Hopefully, that won't throw me off the GinnFizz's itinerary too much.

Since I travel mainly within North America, this is the first time I have ventured out into this forum. I must say this is friendliest forum I've found on FT. Or have I just caught you guys on a good day
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Old Mar 13, 12, 10:45 pm
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
While I can appreciate the fact that you don't care for food in Beijing (I'm in the same boat), depriving yourself of the experience would be a shame. At the very least, you should attempt to eat some street food with taxi drivers.
Lamb hot pot for breakfast
- Great Wall -

Sichuan hot pot for lunch
- Forbidden City and T Square -

Leave on plane.

One day in Beijing!
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Old Mar 14, 12, 10:04 am
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Originally Posted by harrison1186 View Post
Sounds like a plan Moondog!

@GinFizz Thanks! That itinerary sounds fantastic! I may just have to print it out and bring it with me. Hopefully, I mastered the art of being in two places at once before I leave for the trup

@JieJie I am arriving on a Thursday. Hopefully, that won't throw me off the GinnFizz's itinerary too much.

Since I travel mainly within North America, this is the first time I have ventured out into this forum. I must say this is friendliest forum I've found on FT. Or have I just caught you guys on a good day
We're a friendly bunch, for sure!

My itinerary suggestion differs from GinFizz after the Great Wall:
1) 06:30 leave airport for Great Wall Badaling, GW 07:45-09:30.
2) 10:00 leave GW for Tiantan (Temple of Heaven) arrive west gate about 11:30, walk through to east gate arrive 13:00. Grab a snack on the go, subway Line 5 to Line 1 to Tiananmen
3) Tiananmen and Forbidden City 14:00-16:30/or closing time.
4) To Houhai/adjacent hutong area for dinner and a look around. Assuming your stopover is between mid-April to mid-October, there will be lots of local street life around. Make sure to poke around the alleys where the locals live, not just around the lakes where the restaurants are. This would also keep you out of the worst of the traffic.
5) Routing past the Drum and Bell Towers, head for subway Line 2 (Gulou station) around 19:30 or 20:00. 3 stops and you are at Dongzhimen, connect to Airport Express Light Rail back to airport by 21:00. With this routing, you see a lot and no need to worry about finding taxi back.

I don't see room in this trip for GW, Forbidden City, AND Summer Palace. SP is just too big and takes too much time. Pick 2 out of 3, + one other major site that isn't as time consuming as FC and SP. Which is why I put Tiantan there.

It would be a shame to miss one of the essences of Beijing, an old hutong neighborhood visit, and particularly in the late afternoon/early evening hours. Overpriced drinks at the Pangu would not be on my list of Beijing must-do's for anybody, and you definitely don't want to be trying to get from very center of Beijing to the north 4th Ring Road in evening traffic.
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Old Mar 15, 12, 9:49 pm
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since you said you want to see as many of the historical sites as possible, I assume you'd be satisfied with quick visits on each place. In that case the itineraries proposed in this thread are good.

But if you are one of those to enjoy a good time on each place, observing details, reading descriptions of each building or art, etc.. then I'd suggest just to do GW and Forbidden city, or Summer Palace and Forbidden city..
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Old Mar 15, 12, 10:56 pm
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Good suggestions there also from jiejie. I think that 90 minutes from Badaling to Tiantan (Temple of Heaven) might be little tight, but there would certainly be enough time to see the place with that itinerary.

To the OP: Let us know what bits of this you like and we can suggest some fine tuning. I find that guests also like going up the Drum tower (it gives you a good overview of the hutong area), but that closes at 17:00 so would require cutting the time for something else.
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