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5 days in Beijing, what to do?

5 days in Beijing, what to do?

Old Sep 30, 13, 6:38 am
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5 days in Beijing, what to do?

Hi all! I have five days in Beijing next Spring and would like to plan some day trips (maybe to see the terracotta warriors for example). There seems to be a decent number of UNESCO sites within day-trip range, any of these worth making a trip for? Thanks so much!
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Old Sep 30, 13, 6:50 am
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The obvious is to take a trip out to the Great Wall... we hired a driver named Joe to take us to a less touristy section of the wall, I believe it was Jinshanling. He dropped us off on one section and picked us up several hours later at another section. He was friendly, spoke good english, and was around $100 for the trip (2 hours each way).

http://www.joe-service.com/joe-service/joe-qiao

There are also plenty of things to see around Beijing, and we also found walking around the hutongs and popping into crowded local restaurants to be very enjoyable.

The warriors would take more than a day, we took an overnight train (reserve the private cabin) to X'ian, toured the warriors the following day, and stayed the night at the sofitel before heading back to Beijing. You could certainly take the overnight train, tour the warriors, take the overnight train back, however, that is a lot of time in that train. Alternatively, I believe you could fly over there, however, this was out of our budget so I did not research it.
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Old Sep 30, 13, 7:07 am
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The Summer Palace is a not miss visit. Though I am prejudiced because that is where I proposed.

As JonB110 stated, the Great Wall is a nice day trip. Especially if you can arrange a driver like he did.

You didn't ask about food but... Pure Lotus is phenomenal vegetarian with an atmosphere you'll find no where else. On a different part of the spectrum Golden Cat Dumpling offers great, inexpensive, relaxed dining.
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Old Sep 30, 13, 8:52 am
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Originally Posted by saranyc View Post
Hi all! I have five days in Beijing next Spring and would like to plan some day trips (maybe to see the terracotta warriors for example). There seems to be a decent number of UNESCO sites within day-trip range, any of these worth making a trip for? Thanks so much!
The terracotta warriors are in Xi'an and are most definitely not a day trip. About the best you could do is about 24 hours R/t, involving a flight in at night, seeing the warriors and then returning to Beijing the following night (or you could possibly do the trip by overnight train, on a similar schedule).

Plenty to do in BJ for five days. Lots of threads to cover the main spots.
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Old Sep 30, 13, 9:05 am
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Originally Posted by drewguy View Post
The terracotta warriors are in Xi'an and are most definitely not a day trip. About the best you could do is about 24 hours R/t, involving a flight in at night, seeing the warriors and then returning to Beijing the following night (or you could possibly do the trip by overnight train, on a similar schedule).
Disagree. I've done it in one day and so have others I know without issue. But you will need to arrange beforehand, hotel can help set it up.

Take a am flight to Xi'an, have driver and guide meet you at the airport, see said warriors (pretty damn cool, btw), return to airport and fly back to Beijing.

Honestly, a few hours seeing them is more than enough.

That said, if its your 1st time in BJ there is much to see in 5 days. I want to Xi'an on about my 6th time there after being more than bored with the Wall, Forbidden City, etc.....
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Old Sep 30, 13, 9:56 am
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Originally Posted by GAC View Post
Disagree. I've done it in one day and so have others I know without issue. But you will need to arrange beforehand, hotel can help set it up.
I dare say you were somewhat lucky. I used to do PEK-XIY fairly often, and experienced 5 hour delays on both ends 10% of the time (1 hour delays are more common).
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Old Sep 30, 13, 11:20 am
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Originally Posted by moondog View Post
I dare say you were somewhat lucky. I used to do PEK-XIY fairly often, and experienced 5 hour delays on both ends 10% of the time (1 hour delays are more common).
I dare say you were somewhat unlucky

Last I checked there were about 10 direct flights before noon.
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Old Sep 30, 13, 12:52 pm
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Thanks for the replies! I would try to do the warriors in one day if I could fly if not I'd probably skip them this trip and plan for them next time. So figure:

Warriors - full day.. hopefully
Wall - full day
Beijing (Summer palace, Tiananmen Square, etc) - two days

Which leaves one day (or two if I end up not doing the warriors). Anyone been to the Yungang Grottoes, Mount Watai or the Moutain Resort in Chengde, or Ping Yao?

Just pulling some stuff off here: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list that seems to be within day trip distance. Sometimes UNESCO sites aren't worth a trip alone which is why I'm asking which (if any) of those is worth it and has other things to see around it...
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Old Sep 30, 13, 3:12 pm
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Sounds like this may your first trip there. If so I would also spend a day just walking around, take the subway, hang out with locals, etc.....
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Old Sep 30, 13, 3:45 pm
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Originally Posted by GAC View Post
I dare say you were somewhat unlucky

Last I checked there were about 10 direct flights before noon.
My experience has been that if one flight is delayed they all are.

And the delays mount in the afternoon/evening as the system gets backed up.

I've opined on the minimum I think comfortable, but, true, one could try to take a very early flight out of BJ, arriving mid-morning (if lucky), arranging to be met at XIY by driver in advance, go to warriors, and return for evening flight back to BJ. You would see nothing else in XIY and likely spend nearly 18 hours from hotel door to hotel door doing this.
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Old Sep 30, 13, 4:30 pm
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While Chengde and Pingyao are certainly more viable than your proposed Xi'an plan, you will not run out of things to do in Beijing itself.

My thoughts:
-refer to the "one day in Beijing" thread, and do my standard drill
-allocate a day for the Great Wall, and consider using Beijing Hikers because they go to places that you are unlikely to find on your own
-spend a day on the north side of town (universities, 798, Korean food)
-simply relax for the remaining 2 days (spa/massage, Sanlitun, Chaoyang Park, maybe even Xiangshan, which is wonderful in the fall... just not on weekends)

I view the day in Xi'an as "work".

Originally Posted by saranyc View Post
Thanks for the replies! I would try to do the warriors in one day if I could fly if not I'd probably skip them this trip and plan for them next time. So figure:

Warriors - full day.. hopefully
Wall - full day
Beijing (Summer palace, Tiananmen Square, etc) - two days

Which leaves one day (or two if I end up not doing the warriors). Anyone been to the Yungang Grottoes, Mount Watai or the Moutain Resort in Chengde, or Ping Yao?

Just pulling some stuff off here: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list that seems to be within day trip distance. Sometimes UNESCO sites aren't worth a trip alone which is why I'm asking which (if any) of those is worth it and has other things to see around it...
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Old Sep 30, 13, 10:09 pm
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Originally Posted by saranyc View Post
Thanks for the replies! I would try to do the warriors in one day if I could fly if not I'd probably skip them this trip and plan for them next time. So figure:

Warriors - full day.. hopefully
Wall - full day
Beijing (Summer palace, Tiananmen Square, etc) - two days

Which leaves one day (or two if I end up not doing the warriors). Anyone been to the Yungang Grottoes, Mount Watai or the Moutain Resort in Chengde, or Ping Yao?

Just pulling some stuff off here: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list that seems to be within day trip distance. Sometimes UNESCO sites aren't worth a trip alone which is why I'm asking which (if any) of those is worth it and has other things to see around it...
None of these places are daytrips from Beijing. So with only 5 days, worthiness or lack thereof isn't relevant. Full stop. You'd be better off to spend your entire time in Beijing and vicinity (which has an inexhaustible supply of stuff to see and do) and put the Datong-Pingyao-Xi'an stuff on a separate trip when you have more time. You're not grasping the significant time-snarfing factor of intercity travel. Going to Xi'an to see just the Warriors is IMO a waste--Xi'an has MUCH more to offer--some of it more enjoyable than the Warriors--and is worth 2 full days. I would not schedule a same day fly-to Xi'an and fly-back

If you could only arrange another 3-4 days to add to this trip, you'd have more options.
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Old Oct 1, 13, 9:30 am
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Originally Posted by GAC View Post
Disagree. I've done it in one day and so have others I know without issue. But you will need to arrange beforehand, hotel can help set it up.

Take a am flight to Xi'an, have driver and guide meet you at the airport, see said warriors (pretty damn cool, btw), return to airport and fly back to Beijing.

Honestly, a few hours seeing them is more than enough.
.
But you won't see anything else. The Muslim Quarter in Xi'an is definitely worth it. Especially in the evening when all the food stalls are opening. The city wall is impressive, too.

With five days I would stay in Beijing. There is plenty to see.

The Great Wall will take at least one day. Check Beijing hikers/ if they do a tour to the Great Wall if you wan to do more than just a little sight seeing at wall. I did it with them and it was really great and the organization is perfect.

The Forbidden city takes another full day.

Next thing is the Summer Palace.

Already three days gone

Another day strolling through Hutongs or go shopping.

Day four gone and for the last one there can be something found.
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