Beijing advice

Old Jan 13, 19, 11:37 am
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Beijing advice

Will be in Beijing in mid April, quick trip as also a mileage run. I've booked the Grand Hyatt which seems to be in walking distance of Forbidden City and Tienamen(sp?) Square so I plan to visit on my own, no tour. I assume I'll be able to see these sites adequately on my own?

I'm also going to want to see the Great Wall. I don't really want to do a tour there as well, would like to do on my own as well if possible. What kind of transportation options would exist to go out there? Uber, taxi, public transportation options? Planning to Blacklane to and from the airport but assume that wouldn't make sense. How long to get to the Great Wall from my location?

I'm only going to have one full day and half a morning before leaving so these will have to be quick excursions. I hear too many stories of the tours ending up wasting a bunch of time taking you places to sell you stuff. I don't have time to deal with that.
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Old Jan 13, 19, 12:05 pm
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You could ask the hotel for a private car, but my experience is that they are generally very pricey and 3x-5x more than what a private taxi or didi drive will do.

At least in Shanghai I can't recall a time where a taxi driver or DiDi ( china uber ) weren't interested in earning that kind of $, but their quality / reliability would be YMMV

The other when you use DiDi App you can solicit both Taxi as well as private drivers. I highly recommend the private drivers as their cars are better and they are very reliable as their customer ratings are critical. For the private drivers I found that payment from US CC works while for taxi's I never figured out how to make the app work with CC and getting a China bankaccout is difficult.

Good luck
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Old Jan 13, 19, 4:53 pm
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Yes the Forbidden city is walkable from this hotel. You can visit on your own. You can rent an audio guide or hire a guide at the entrance. Bring your passport to buy a ticket. Note that it closes on Mondays.
For the Great Wall there are many sections. Badaling is one hour away and reachable by bus. As a result of being easy to reach, it is the most crowded section. Mutianyu is 1.5 hours away by car. You can hire a driver for the day. Cost is about 600-800RMB. He can drop you at another site afterwards such as the Lama Temple or Summer Palace (depending on time of day). You can find a driver here (much cheaper than at the hotel) Newest Classifieds posted today | the Beijinger In the past I have used Mark: Mark's Mutianyu great wall Tour ,Beijing tour guide, English speaking driver, Beijing private tour,
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Old Jan 14, 19, 8:02 am
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Good advice offered already.

If you have 1.5 days, assuming one of them is not a Monday, I suggest GW in the early morning with a private driver: avoid Badaling if possible since it's too crowded -- Mutianyu is a decent compromise choice: it's restored, not _as_ crowded and has the novelty option of a toboggan ride on the way down. In the afternoon, just check out Tian'an'men, Wangfujing etc, or if no smog, Jingshan park just before sunset for a spectacular view of the Forbidden City. Forbidden City itself can be "done" in about 2-3 hours so can leave to the 'half day" assuming it's a morning. There is a cap to the number of visitors, so arriving in the afternoon can mean tickets are sold out...

Alternatively, if flight back is mid to late afternoon, could go to Mutianyu upon check-out of hotel early morning, and then straight to the airport, since Mutianyu is sort-of that side of town. Drivers are pretty honest and reliable. The drive to Mutianyu from centre of town takes from 70-120 minutes depending on traffic (assuming you are not arriving during QingMing, when those travel times could double).

tb
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Old Jan 17, 19, 2:54 pm
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Originally Posted by trueblu View Post
Good advice offered already.

If you have 1.5 days, assuming one of them is not a Monday, I suggest GW in the early morning with a private driver: avoid Badaling if possible since it's too crowded -- Mutianyu is a decent compromise choice: it's restored, not _as_ crowded and has the novelty option of a toboggan ride on the way down. In the afternoon, just check out Tian'an'men, Wangfujing etc, or if no smog, Jingshan park just before sunset for a spectacular view of the Forbidden City. Forbidden City itself can be "done" in about 2-3 hours so can leave to the 'half day" assuming it's a morning. There is a cap to the number of visitors, so arriving in the afternoon can mean tickets are sold out...

Alternatively, if flight back is mid to late afternoon, could go to Mutianyu upon check-out of hotel early morning, and then straight to the airport, since Mutianyu is sort-of that side of town. Drivers are pretty honest and reliable. The drive to Mutianyu from centre of town takes from 70-120 minutes depending on traffic (assuming you are not arriving during QingMing, when those travel times could double).

tb
Thanks everyone and no I'm not arriving at QuingMIng festival time, thankfully. I'm using Blacklane for airport transfers. When you say private car, a service like that? Or a service that would drive me, wait and drive me back? I'd assume I could book two one ways with Blacklane or similar but I wonder about the pick up, is that easy to figure out? I don't mind spending a few bucks to make it easy and reliable as possible.
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Old Jan 17, 19, 10:25 pm
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There is a massive thread in this forum on Beijing drivers that you might want to check out.
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Old Jan 18, 19, 4:05 am
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Half a day for the forbidden city si enough, so you can spend one day for the GW.
For the forbidden city it's NECESSARY to book the visit through a website by paypal. I don't remember the website but you can easily find it. If you don't book in advance, be sure to be at the ticket office of the FC very early. In august, at 8.30am it was already closed, but i booked the last ticket of the day during my last day in Beijing.
For the GW i went to Mutyanyu and i highly recommend it to you. Few people and there is also a part of the wall not restored, so you can see both. If you have a day you can go there by bus from Donzgzhimen, if i remember well
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Old Jan 18, 19, 4:48 am
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Paypal? Did you mean to say alipay?
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Old Jan 18, 19, 5:56 am
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Originally Posted by Maux View Post
Half a day for the forbidden city si enough, so you can spend one day for the GW.
For the forbidden city it's NECESSARY to book the visit through a website by paypal. I don't remember the website but you can easily find it. If you don't book in advance, be sure to be at the ticket office of the FC very early. In august, at 8.30am it was already closed, but i booked the last ticket of the day during my last day in Beijing.
For the GW i went to Mutyanyu and i highly recommend it to you. Few people and there is also a part of the wall not restored, so you can see both. If you have a day you can go there by bus from Donzgzhimen, if i remember well
I personally haven't been to the FC for many years, but I'm surprised by this advice. Having sent many visitors to the FC over the last few years, never having booked tickets in advance, none have failed to get in. None arrived at 08:30 in the morning. It's possible that things have changed, but I would honestly be surprised. There certainly are reports of days when visitors have been turned away. And whilst the FC received a very impressive 16 million visitors a day, that equates to about 45k/ day on average, which is well below the 80k cap. All I can surmise is that perhaps you visited on a holiday day which was extraordinarily busy?

tb
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Old Jan 18, 19, 7:17 am
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https://en.dpm.org.cn/visit/tickets/

The Palace Museum is limiting the daily number of visitors to 80,000, and recommending both individual visitors and tourist groups book tickets in advance online (booking address: http://gugong.228.com.cn). For detailed information and instruction, please refer to the "ticketing notice". Foreign visitors are required to provide passport numbers during the online booking.

The problem is that you need a chinese credit card to buy tickets. You need to use different websites that allow you to buy tickets by paypal.
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Old Jan 18, 19, 8:32 am
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Originally Posted by Maux View Post
https://en.dpm.org.cn/visit/tickets/

The Palace Museum is limiting the daily number of visitors to 80,000, and recommending both individual visitors and tourist groups book tickets in advance online (booking address: http://gugong.228.com.cn). For detailed information and instruction, please refer to the "ticketing notice". Foreign visitors are required to provide passport numbers during the online booking.

The problem is that you need a chinese credit card to buy tickets. You need to use different websites that allow you to buy tickets by paypal.
While they might recommend booking in advance, I've also never failed to get in on a walkup basis, and I always go after lunch. I didn't bother attempting to complete a purchase on that website, but I'd be shocked if they didn't accept WeChat and Alipay.
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Old Jan 18, 19, 8:35 am
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They only hit the limit during golden week. One just gets a ticket at the entrance. Chinese need to buy online but they can do so at the entrance with their phone by scanning a QR code. As a tourist, you just bring your passport and pay at the ticket counter.
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Old Jan 18, 19, 8:35 am
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When did you go last time? Because it's from October, 2017, if i remember well, that things changed
I went in August, 2018, and i've been lucky to go before 8.30am
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Old Jan 18, 19, 8:36 am
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Nothing has changed.
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Old Jan 18, 19, 3:37 pm
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Originally Posted by Maux View Post
When did you go last time? Because it's from October, 2017, if i remember well, that things changed
I went in August, 2018, and i've been lucky to go before 8.30am
I went there once last summer, but I had no problem with the walk up ticket drill That having been said, I'm sure that your heads up on advance ticketing for certain dates is well received. We welcome your continued input here.
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