Everything Travelers Need to Know About the History and Culture of Beijing

A Brief History and Overview of Beijing

history culture of Beijing

 

A societal center for China, Beijing serves a major role in preserving the traditions of Chinese culture. Start here with a brief history and overview of Beijing from the beginning up until today. Then when you visit the Great Wall of China, you will have some context for understanding the city of Beijing where you will visit the wall. This will help you better appreciate the history and culture of this monumental man-made landmark.

The Beginning of Beijing

Beijing City was established over 3,000 years ago and was called Jin City in the Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century BC – 771 BC). The history of Beijing begins in the Ming dynasty, which was from 1368 to 1644. At this time, the city was a welcoming place for traditional Chinese arts including calligraphy and painting. Emperors, courtiers, and other leaders in the city patronized artwork and imported precious objects from around China and other countries.

The cultural exchange continued to cultivate in Beijing up until the mid-19th century. At this time, all art was taken from Beijing and destroyed or sold abroad.

Rebirth of Beijing

Thankfully, the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s transformed Beijing back into a cultural powerhouse. Works of art were returned to owners in the city in the 1980s and the leadership began to create the most populous capital city on the planet.

Today, Beijing, also known as Peking, is considered a global power city. In addition, the city is now the political, educational, and cultural center of all of China.

Everything Travelers Need to Know About the History and Culture of Beijing

 

Oldest City in the World

When visiting Beijing prepare to experience a unique blend of ancient China and modern-day Beijing. Everything from architecture to UNESCO World Heritage Sites is located within close proximity. As one of the oldest cities on earth, Beijing is home to seven World Heritage Sites alone:

Along with visiting the Great Wall of China, consider touring at least one other UNESCO site when visiting Beijing. This will increase your cultural understanding of this part of northern China that has been a bustling city for more than three millennia.

In addition, there are dozens of elaborate temples and lavish palaces surrounded by gardens and parks perfect for spending the afternoon picnicking and people watching.

beijing history culture

 

Beijing Cultural Experiences to See

During your time in Beijing, seek out traditional Chinese cultural experiences. For starters, the Peking opera or jingxi, features everything from acrobatics to elaborate costumes and makeup.

Places to see jingxi include Tianqiao, Capital, and Youth Art theaters. The Palace Museum, the Beijing Library, and the National Museum of China next to Tiananmen Square are great places to learn more about the cultural history and subsequent Cultural Revolution.

Everything Travelers Need to Know About the History and Culture

 

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6 Movies to Watch Before Your First Trip to China

6 Must See Movies When Going to China

6 Movies to Watch Before Your First Trip to China

 

Get out the popcorn and start up one of these great movies based on China and Chinese culture throughout the centuries. Watch a few films to inspire you for your trip to the Great Wall of China in Beijing. Then you will be one step closer to experiencing what the Wild Great Wall has in store for you on your upcoming adventure.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

The Ang Lee film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon earned more than 40 awards worldwide. This Chinese movie portrays martial arts in China in one of the most monumental ways.

Step back in time to 18th century China and meet the Green Destiny as you see Beijing and other Chinese provinces in cinematic glory.

 

The Last Emperor

Directed by Bernando Bertolucci in 1987, The Last Emperor was even more successful at the box office with 49 award wins. The film stars John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O’Toole and a full cast of other popular Chinese actors and actresses.

Discover the history of Pu-Yi, the last emperor as he becomes a war criminal of the Red Army and his entire world is tossed upside down.

 

Beijing Bicycle

Translated as 17-year-old’s bicycle from Shi Qi Sui de Danche, Beijing Bicycle is a film released in 2001 that was actually banned in Mainland China. The movie touches on several key social issues including youth delinquency, socio-economic class divisions, and social change.

Premiering at the Berlin International Film Festival, the movie was well-received and was the winner of the Jury Grand Prix award.

 

Let the Bullets Fly

Want to spend some time watching comedy gold? Check out Let the Bullets Fly, or Rang zi dan fei. Based in China in the 1920s, the movie uses extreme gastronomy and slapstick comedy to create a box office shattering success.

The film, released in 2012, earned $117.5 million in the Chinese box office alone. In fact, the movie was the highest grossing film in the country until 2012 when it was unseated from the throne by Painted Skin: The Resurrection.

 

Red Cliff

A John Woo film, Red Cliff translated from Chibi is an epic war film based on the Three Kingdoms period in China. Please note that the film is actually only about 50 percent factual according to the director. That being said, you see some of the most climatic scenes of any war movie.

There are even elaborate tea ceremonies and tiger hunting, the latter of which is actually a scene not released in the American English version. However, if you do watch the American version, you get to learn more about the historical background of the film.

 

Raise the Red Lantern

Raise the Red Lantern is a film released in 1991 that takes you inside the Chinese household. In the film, a young woman marries a rich lord only to be forced to learn the new ways of social life.

The movie is based on the novel, “Wives and Concubines” by Su Tong that discusses the concubine system of China in the 1930s.

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6 Phone Apps to Download Before Hiking the Great Wall of China

6 Useful Apps for off the Great Wall Adventures

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As you prepare for your hike on the Great Wall of China in Beijing, remember to take full advantage of your smartphone. You’ll already have it on hand for those perfect selfie pics. So go ahead and download these phone apps to help you plan and stay safe on your hiking route.

BackCountry Navigator

The BackCountry Navigator is an app available for iPhone and Android users. Whether you are a first-time backpacker or experienced on the trail, this app is ideal for the Great Wall of China backpackers.

Learn how to read a topographic map of the area so you can utilize this handy resource. Find out the elevation to plot out your speed over the ground in this hilly region. You can also use the app for orientation to help you find your location along the wall.

hiker using smartphone gps on travel hike living healthy active

 

Relive: Outdoor 3D Videos

With Relive, you can turn your iPhone or Android device into a 3D video-making studio. This app works in conjunction with several other systems including Garmin, Strava, Map My Ride, and Polar to track your hike on the Great Wall.

Then you can use the program to fly over the Great Wall of China before or after your experience for a full spectrum memory maker. This is the perfect way to capture your experience and relive the Great Wall of China whenever you want.

Gaia GPS Hiking Maps, Hike App

The Gaia GPS app is an iPhone and Android app for hiking adventurists who want to plot out a route. Scout the area of the Great Wall where you will visit during your vacation to Beijing.

Download your data so you can take the maps with you on your trip. Like the previous app, you can use the Gaia GPS app to identify your location according to GPS coordinates.

6 Phone Apps To Download Before Hiking the Great Wall of China

 

iNaturalist

The iNaturalist app for iPhone and Android gives you a new perspective of the Great Wall. With this app you are able to identify the natural world including the flora and fauna of the Great Wall of China in Beijing.

Look for those hard to identify creatures using the iNaturalist app and learn all about nature while in China. You can also use the app to learn more about the natural scenery before traveling to the Great Wall of China.

iNaturalist apps

 

First Aid By Red Cross

Upload the First Aid app available by the American Red Cross on Android and iPhone operating systems. With this app, you get instant information on first aid emergencies.

Learn how to handle minor cuts and scraps, as well as sunburn and headaches, using this handy guide.

Weather Live

Using Weather Live you are able to track the weather from anywhere on the Great Wall of China using your iPhone or Android device. Plan out your route along the Great Wall using this weather tracking service.

Know in advance of pending storms so you can better prepare for anything that comes your way. Use the app while on the Great Wall to check for inclement weather that strikes unexpectedly.

weather live app hiking Great Wall

 

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5 Critical Tips for Winter Hiking Safety

Top Tips for Safe and Comfortable Winter Hiking

5 Critical Tips for Winter Hiking Safety

 

While many avid hikers may wait until spring to take the trail once more, there are plenty of advantages to hiking in winter. The winter landscape can be quite beautiful to explore, and emptier trails result in greater opportunity for solitude in nature.

However, hiking in the winter provides a unique set of challenges when it comes to safety. Consider the following tips to stay safe should you choose to hike in winter.

1) Avoid Wearing Cotton

It goes without saying that you’ll need plenty of warm layers, but you should avoid cotton at all costs. Once wet, cotton will sap your body heat quickly, and you’ll run the risk of becoming hypothermic.

Even if you are hiking in a dry environment, cotton clothing can still become wet with sweat. Opt instead for wool and synthetic layers. Depending on how wet your hiking climate is, down layers should be avoided as well, as these lose their insulating properties when damp.

2) Plan a Shorter Route

Winter months mean shorter days. You simply won’t be able to cover as much ground as you can during generous summer days.

Don’t overextend your mileage. Instead, stick to shorter routes that will allow you to reach the trailhead before dark.

3) Beware of Avalanche Advisories

Especially in mountainous regions, be aware of which trails and areas are at risk for avalanches. Avalanches are extremely dangerous, so these areas are best avoided.

Avoiding avalanches will require local knowledge and research, so do your due diligence before hitting the trail.

5 Critical Tips for Winter Hiking Safety beijing

 

4) Bring Enough Water

It’s easy to remember to drink enough in summer, and it’s just as easy to forget in winter. Nevertheless, your body needs water.

Make sure to pack a minimum of 2 liters for a day hike, and remind yourself to drink regularly. Many hikers enjoy bringing a hot thermos of tea, which is a nice way to stay hydrated on the trail in winter.

5) Bring a Flashlight and Extra Batteries

The winter months mean limited daylight, and you don’t want to risk being lost in the dark. While you should plan your route and mileage to be off the trail before sunset, prepare for the worst.

After all, an injury or a wrong turn may waylay you. Always pack a working flashlight and extra batteries to avoid being stuck on the trail overnight.

Closing Thoughts

Hiking is a wonderful way to engage with the natural world year-round. While many hikers stay off the trails during the winter season, many trails can still be enjoyed in colder weather.

To stay safe, hikers will need to plan their route, wardrobe, and hiking supplies accordingly.

Man in yellow jacket climbs the rocks in the winter mountains

 

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What to Do When Your Airline Loses Your Luggage

Things You Need to do If an Airline Loses Your Luggage

What to Do When Your Airline Loses Your Luggage

 

Whether it’s a layover in Beijing or Great Wall hiking trip, it’s an awful experience when an airline loses your luggage. To help you navigate these tricky waters, we’ve compiled everything you need to know for when your luggage gets lost.

Lost Luggage

There was a time when lost or misplaced luggage was as common as catching a cold. However, the airlines have sharpened their game over the past two decades. Misplaced luggage today is a rare occurrence. Unfortunately, it does still happen from time to time.

The Three Important Steps

If your airline has lost your luggage, the first thing to do is not panic. Stay calm. You may already be feeling tired and stressed after the flight, and adding to it will not solve anything.

Instead, try to follow the following steps that will help you get your belongings back:

  • Contract the Service Desk ASAP
  • Clarify
  • Compensation
What to Do When Your Airline Loses Your Luggage China

 

1. Contract the Service Desk ASAP

Every airline has a service desk for lost/misplaced luggage. The first thing you need to do is head over and alert the assistant on duty. They will ask for your boarding pass that contains the tag number of the checked-in luggage.

It is vital that you notify them immediately. The sooner they spring into action, the faster your luggage will be found.

2. Clarify

Once you have registered the complaint, clarify with the assistant when your luggage will be retrieved by. In most cases, it will take no more than 24 hours. Also, check if the luggage will be delivered to your hotel room or if you will need to pick it up.

Some airlines may charge you a fee for the delivery. Remember to note down the baggage tag numbers, tracking ID, and the assistant’s name when you hand over your boarding pass.

Things You Need to do If an Airline Loses Your Luggage

 

3. Compensation

Most bags are not lost, merely delayed. If the airline does not return your bag within 30 days, you should proceed with a compensation claim. This can be a bit of a hassle as airlines are not easily parted with their money, but it may be the only way to make things right.

At this point, you will most likely need to provide further information about the contents of the bag, especially if any valuables were lost.

In Closing

Though lost luggage can put a dampener on your vacation, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. By following the steps outlined in this article, your luggage may soon be returned to you.

What to Do When Your Airline Loses Luggage

 

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