To ensure safety as flood season approaches in Beijing, Mutianyu Great Wall has temporarily closed throughout the day due to the possible heavy rain. Better to adjust your travel plan, if that works for you.
Massive landslide caught on camera on the August 11th, in Fangshan district, Beijing
Traveling to Beijing For the First Time? Use These Travel Tips to Save Your Time and Money and Make Your Holiday as Hassle Free as Possible.
Exploring Beijing can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. From traffic to pickpockets, the city holds its fair share of risks. With a little preparation, however, you can dodge Beijing’s pitfalls and enjoy the city’s awe-inspiring attractions. Here we’ve got eleven insider travel tips to make your trip to Beijing easier.
1. Beijing Isn’t Cheap
While a variety of affordable activitiesare available in and around Beijing, several aspects of big city travel can strain your wallet. Accommodations, for example, tend to be pricey — especially if you demand to stay in a tourist-friendly region near all of the action. Save money by visiting free attractions, eating affordable street food, and using public transit.
2. Beijing Is Huge
Beijing is tremendously large. The metropolitan area spans over 1,500 square miles. While many attractions are located within walking distance of one another, Mutianyu Great Wall or Jinshanling require extensive trips via rental car or public transit.
Set aside plenty of time for travel, especially when checking out attractions near the city limits. It is recommendable for first time visitors to do sufficient research before heading towards Beijing.
3. The Traffic Is Terrible
The rumors about Beijing’s traffic were not rumors. They were true, indeed. The traffic is actually bad. Driving around Beijing can be a nightmare, particularly if you aren’t accustomed to big city traffic.
According to experts, nearly half of the roads in Beijing are regularly congested. The Ministry of Transportation claims that Beijing’s traffic is the second worst in China — only behind the coastal city of Jinan.
There are times of the day when the traffic is at its peak and some areas are affected even more. This is why visitors must be generally prepared for traffic all the time.
4. Discover the City Via Public Transit
Public transit may seem intimidating, but it’s one of the best modes for exploring Beijingand surrounding communities. Even though public transit may add extra time but the overall trip may get much more convenient.
The city’s public transit system has come a long way in recent years, in part due to infrastructure developments that preceded the 2008 Summer Olympics.
The subway system provides especially convenient access to the city’s most popular attractions; self-service ticket stations and English signage are easy to find. Buses are nearly always busy and can be complicated to navigate, but they’re also affordable.
5. Explore Remote Areas
Don’t restrict yourself to Beijing’s downtown neighborhoods. Its culture can be better explored through the remote areas–many of the city’s most remarkable attractions take a little effort to access.
6. Beware Pickpockets in Wangfujing And the Forbidden City
While Beijing is generally safe, crime is more common in select areas. Because Beijing is known to be a popular tourist destination, pickpockets often prey on unsuspecting foreigners and swipe valuables without suspicion.
The Wangfujing shopping district, for example, tends to attract sophisticated pickpockets. Thieves also strike unsuspecting tourists in the Forbidden City. Consider investing in an anti-theft bag, or at minimum, a small padlock for your backpack.
Keep your purse, backpack or belongings on your body and zipped up. Only carry the minimal amount of cash necessary and leave your valuables in the hotel safe.
7. There’s No Such Thing As Personal Space
Tourists tend to be vulnerable to pickpockets, in part, because they aren’t prepared for the sheer lack of personal space in Beijing. The city is notoriously crowded; whether you’re on the bus, at tourist attractions, or at a restaurant, you can expect to encounter throngs of locals and tourists at every turn.
As a result, pushing and shoving are not uncommon. If anything, they’re the norm, and not seen as rude gestures. Build remote trips into your schedule to get a brief break from the city’s inherent hustle and bustle.
8. Don’t Drink Tap Water
The tap water in Beijing is not safe to drink, even if it seems clear. In China, the water is treated with high levels of chloramines. Stick to bottled water, or at minimum, boil before consuming.
9. Check the Weather Forecast
If you’re sensitive to heat, plan your visit carefully; temperatures can be extreme during the summer. You’ll find the most tolerable conditions during September and October. Even then, however, inclement weather can strike.
Plan outdoor excursions such as treks along the Great Wall accordingly; save museum visits or live theater for those occasional rainy days. The best thing to do is keep up to date with a local weather report.
10. Public Toilets Are Everywhere
The public facilities all over town and they are quite clean and easy to find. However you may find these public facilities are not suitable for you–squat toilets still reign supreme in China. Your alternative is to go to one of the many McDonald, KFC, shopping mall or high end hotel lobby.
Top Tips on How to be Smart, Feel Safe, and Get the Most out of Your Great Wall Family Hike
Hiking the Great Wall of China with kids is a good way to bond as a family as well as teach your children history and broaden their horizons. The hike can be as gentle or strenuous as you want.
There are a few things that you need to do before you go for your hike. All these tips are crucial to ensure a fun and safe hike. Many fail to prepare and they end up never hiking the Wall again. Here are twelve tips to help:
1. Choose a Part of the Great Wall That Feels Just Right
Research and choose a section of the Great Wall. It is important that you understand the limits of all the hikers and plan accordingly. It is generally considered better to hike on an easy / moderately difficult section of the Great Wall and build up as you all gain confidence and strength.
2. Seek out a Section That Interests Everyone
When choosing a part of the Wall, look for areas that will get everyone interesting. An example of this is Mutianyu Great Wall which offers a toboggan for fast going down. This will be great for kids, but you could also look for an amazing lookout point.
3. Bring the Essentials
Beijing has a really hot summer. You won’t regret bringing day hike essentials such as water, hats, bug spray, sunscreen and other items in Summer.
4. Charge Your Phone Before Leaving
While you may or may not have signal, you need to ensure that you have enough battery. If something happens, you want a full battery so you can move around looking for a signal and help.
5. Plan the Right Outfits
Make sure everyone in your groups has the right socks, shoes, and pants. To determine this, you will need to look at the weather reports and the area you are visiting to ensure that everyone is protected. Depending on the hike, you might also want to pack a change of clothing.
6. Pack Smartly
When you hike the Great Wall with kids, pack everything in a way that the kid’s items can be easily carried by adults. This is important because you are likely to end up carrying them all anyway.
7. Select Carriers Wisely
When you are walking the Great Wall with a baby in a carrier, choose a carrier that you are comfortable carrying for a prolonged period of time. The baby will also need to be comfortable in the carrier for the entire hike. Remember that you are going to have this on your back for the whole hike.
8. Make It Fun
While hiking the Great Wall is a great adventure and exercise, most people will struggle when tired. This means that you should not push too far and remember to turn back before people start getting tired and exhausted.
9. Keep Everyone’s Needs In Mind
If you have children with certain nap times, plan your hiking to finish before this time. Keeping everyone’s needs in mind will help everyone have a good time.
10. Pack Lots Of Water And Snacks
You need to do this even for hikes that will only last a few hours because you never know what might happen. Children also need an extra boost of calories. This is particularly important when they are going through growth spurts as nature and hiking the Wall will make them hungrier.
11. Be Aware Of Hunger And Dehydration
All children will struggle when hungry and dehydrated, but many children will not recognize the signs of this. This is even more common when they are distracted by a new adventure. If you start to see anyone struggling, you need to stop and have a drink or snack because refueling is important.
12. Enjoy Your Family Great Wall Adventures!
The memories of this trip will stay with everyone and the best memories will come naturally. Great Wall of China is amazing and you should experience everything together.
From the beauty and charm of the Great Wall of China, the delicious food, countless opportunities to explore culture, history and art—the reasons we love Beijing are as diverse as the city itself. Read on, we promise you’ll be head over heels before long.
Visit Beijing for the first time? This thriving city boasts a unique blend of historic sites and modern amenities. The following are just a few of the reasons why you’ll immediately fall in love with Beijing when you arrive:
1. The History of the City
Established 3,000 years ago, Beijing is one of just four ancient cities in all of China. It’s the best preserved, as you’ll notice while strolling through the city’s many historic districts. While some significant structures have been destroyed through the ages, many remain as impressive as ever.
2. The Old and New Architecture
Many large metropolitan areas boast well-preserved historic districts, but few blend old and new quite like Beijing. From temples to skyscrapers, a variety of architectural styles can be found on a single street.
3. Street Food
If you’re looking to experience the full range of Beijing’s culinary accomplishments in just a few hours, stop by one of the city’s many street markets. There, you’ll find a wide array of vendors serving enticing dishes.
4. The Museums
Take in the unique culture of Beijing at one of its world-famous museums. From the National Art Museum of China to the Chinese Aviation Museum, there’s something for everyone.
5. The Parks
Despite being one of the world’s largest cities, Beijing is home to numerous natural splendors. Gorgeous scenery lies around every corner. Several of the city’s grandest parks contain structures of historical significance, including temples and palaces. Favorites include Beihai Park, JIngshan Park, and Longtan Lake Park.
6. The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China may seem remote, but several sections are easily accessible from the heart of Beijing. Top Great Wall destinations for Beijing tourists include Mutianyu and Jinshanling. Both provide jaw-dropping views and an undeniable sense of awe.
7. The Imperial Palace (Forbidden City)
No trip to Beijing is complete without exploring the renowned Imperial Palace. Once China’s ceremonial and political center, the complex now houses the Palace Museum. According to UNESCO, the Forbidden City is the world’s largest collection of preserved ancient wooden buildings.
Safety is a natural concern when you travel abroad, but it’s not something to fear in Beijing, where crime is minimal. Some lesser developed areas may see mild criminal activity, but tourist-centric areas are notoriously safe.
9. It’s Not Expensive
If you’re traveling on a budget, you’ll find few international destinations are as friendly to your wallet as Beijing. From reasonably priced flights to inexpensive accommodations and food, Beijing provides the greatest bang for the buck. With so many historic structures on display, you can enjoy multiple leisurely days of strolling the city for free.
10. Locals Are Friendly And Helpful
Prepare to make friends everywhere you go. Residents in some cities may be inherently wary of tourists, but that’s definitely not the case in Beijing. While learning a few common phrases will help you get around (and show your respect for local culture), you can find plenty of English speakers in tourist-oriented areas.
Whether your idea of a dream vacation includes historic tours, outdoor recreation, or culinary exploration, you’ll find plenty to love about Beijing. This amazing city offers it all and should therefore be at the top of your travel bucket list.
Travel may broaden your cultural horizons, but let’s be honest: that’s not your only goal. In a social media age, Instagram plays a greater role in your itinerary than you’re probably willing to admit.
Whether you’re inspired by other travelers’ pictures or eager to make followers jealous with your own photographic gems, Instagram will probably factor into your Beijing trip at some point. Snap share-worthy photos at these impressive neighborhoods.
1. Shichahai/Drum Tower & Bell Tower Neighborhoods
Conveniently located on Beijing’s central axis line, Drum Tower and Bell Tower allow you to step back into a different time period. This instant time capsule will take you back hundreds of years. Climb the inner staircase and take in a view of the nearby hutongs.
Drum Tower and Bell Tower may be the most photographed sites in the Shichahai neighborhood, but they’re only the beginning. Snap photos of all three of the neighborhood’s artificial lakes, where you’ll find tall trees and a variety of historic temples and mansions.
A bustling commercial area with countless shopping malls, department stores, restaurants, Xidan provides a unique blend of Eastern and Western cultures — perfect for capturing in a flawless photo.
At Xisi (the ‘Western Four’), you’ll find winding alleys, old public buildings, temples and quirky cafes. The gates for which the neighborhood is named have sadly been removed in 1950, but there are plenty of other awe-inspiring sites to take in. There is always something going on in the area and there’s always something worth snapping a picture of!
Like many Beijing boroughs, Qianmen has recently undergone redevelopment. Thankfully, the refreshed neighborhood captures the same spirit while delivering a fresh feel. Take some time to gaze at the gate, which once guarded the entrance to the Inner City. Visit in the evening for a particularly stunning view — or to take advantage of the best people-watching opportunitiesin Beijing.
A top destination for shopping, dining, and nightlife, Sanlitun offers a feast for all of the senses. The ‘3.3 Mansion’ serves as the neighborhood’s borderline. Keep an eye out for local and international celebrities at the busy Sanlitun Bar Street. Check out the embassies for a taste of the exotic in the heart of Beijing. During autumn, colorful ginko trees add further splendor to this already visually impressive neighborhood, providing the perfect photo opportunity.
Beijing’s Central Business District (CBD) is one of the world’s most important financial centers. New constructions have generated considerable interest from Fortune 500 companies. You’ll never tired of viewing the district’s modern skyscrapers, including Fortune Plaza, Jing Guang Centre, and the China World Trade Center. Don’t forget to visitthe CCTV Tower, where you can take in an awe-inspiring view of the city from a new perspective.
Old and new clash near the Lama Temple to bring a unique vibe to one of Beijing’s most important neighborhoods. The housing here is an equal mix of hutong and apartment living. Walking down the streets, the scent of incense fills pedestrians’ nostrils, and the sounds of bells and Tibetan music fill the streets.
At the temple itself, you’ll observe an intriguing blend of Han and Tibetan styles. Set aside some time to explore the Confucius Temple, located just steps from the lamasery.
From historic structures dating back several centuries to modern skyscrapers constructed in the last few years, you’ll find a wide range of visual marvels throughout Beijing. Filters are certainly not necessary, but remember: no Instagram picture can capture the full experience of viewing these sites in person.
Map of the Most Instagrammed Neighbourhoods in Beijing