must do/sees in Beijing and HangZhou

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leftcoaster
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must do/sees in Beijing and HangZhou

Post by leftcoaster » Fri Mar 18, 2016 10:42 am

Business trip, limited time. I'll visit the Summer Palace (forbidden city closed the day I have available).

Other quick hits for a short visit? Unique restaurant recommendations would be nice too.

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David Jay
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Re: must do/sees in Beijing and HangZhou

Post by David Jay » Fri Mar 18, 2016 10:50 am

Go the the Great Wall. Ba-Da-Ling is about 45 minutes north of Beijing.

I have not been to Hangzhou, but I understand that it has a lot of tourist attractions, hopefully others can make recommendations.
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Calais
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Re: must do/sees in Beijing and HangZhou

Post by Calais » Fri Mar 18, 2016 11:00 am

Beijing:
- Temple of Heaven (good to visit in the late afternoon, it's much less crowded at closing time)
- Tian'an'men Square (You can also walk into a few of the outer courtyards of the forbidden city, right off the square, even on the days when it's closed)
- Yong He Gong, sometimes called Yong He temple, or lamasery. Beautiful Tibetan Buddhist style temple.
- Eat at Da Dong Kao Yao (Da Dong roast duck, fancy, but very very good. Has a few locations)

Hangzhou: Mostly visit the west lake (Xi Hu). Consider renting a bike to ride around it.

adamthesmythe
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Re: must do/sees in Beijing and HangZhou

Post by adamthesmythe » Fri Mar 18, 2016 11:30 am

In Hangzhou walking around the lake is also fine. You can take a boat ride. There is a temple near the lake (again, walkable) that I enjoyed.

brito11
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Re: must do/sees in Beijing and HangZhou

Post by brito11 » Fri Mar 18, 2016 11:45 am

I thought the Great Wall was overrated...very touristy. I went during December so I got a good experience of how miserable it was for ancient Chinese guards to keep watch.

Eat Peking duck at one of the 2 known restaurants for providing duck to the Imperial Court.
Check out hutong (if they're still there). Beware of tourist traps.

welldone
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Re: must do/sees in Beijing and HangZhou

Post by welldone » Fri Mar 18, 2016 12:09 pm

There are many different sections of the Great Wall. Badaling is the most touristy section, but you can choose to go elsewhere. We've been to several sections, Mutianyu is very good, as is Jinshanling. You can hire a guide/car to take you to any section you want to visit, but most sections are a couple of hours away from Beijing. My recommendation is to plan to get up early if you want to do the Great Wall to miss traffic.

I also think Temple of Heaven is a better short trip that Summer Palace. Summer Palace is really a park and while pretty, you feel like you are in a park and that is basically it. Temple of Heaven has more easily accessible "history" to explore, as well as being well...a park. It is too bad that Forbidden City will be closed as that gives you a very good feel of ancient China.

Don't be afraid to use the subway system, they announce stops in both English and Mandarin so it is very easy to navigate, super clean, and CHEAP! it is about 0.60 per ride. We loved using the subway, fast and efficient.

Have fun!

rainyday1
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Re: must do/sees in Beijing and HangZhou

Post by rainyday1 » Fri Mar 18, 2016 12:37 pm

I am so jealous - I loved Beijing when we went there and want to go back!

Consider splurging on a tour guide for your sightseeing day. The nice thing is they can get the tickets for you (in a special tour guide line), they can navigate the public transportation, and they can take you to local (good) restaurants. When you have such a short time, a tour guide can really maximize your day. I would highly recommend the Summer Palace and the Hutong tour.

Also, the Wangfujing Market is pretty neat as well. We were traveling with the kids and went during the day, but if I recall correctly, the market is even bigger and better at night.

We did the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, and it was great. I don't know if I would do that if I had only one day.

Have a great trip!

swaption
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Re: must do/sees in Beijing and HangZhou

Post by swaption » Fri Mar 18, 2016 12:39 pm

I had a day in the fall a couple of years ago. Paid for a guide to take us very early morning to Mutianyu part of Great Wall, was back in Beijing for lunch and to see some other things. To say the Great Wall is touristy is kind of silly. Well yeah, it's within easy driving distance of a city of 30 million people, but it is spectacular to see. If you go, take cable car up and then there is a fun sled that takes you down. Saves time and energy that can be used to walk more of the wall itself.

Ditto for Da Dong for duck. Kind of fancy for Beijing, but actually not a terrible value. I have had a lot of Peking/Beijing Duck, but nothing even close to this.


KlangFool
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Re: must do/sees in Beijing and HangZhou

Post by KlangFool » Fri Mar 18, 2016 2:09 pm

rainyday1 wrote:I am so jealous - I loved Beijing when we went there and want to go back!

Consider splurging on a tour guide for your sightseeing day. The nice thing is they can get the tickets for you (in a special tour guide line), they can navigate the public transportation, and they can take you to local (good) restaurants. When you have such a short time, a tour guide can really maximize your day. I would highly recommend the Summer Palace and the Hutong tour.

Also, the Wangfujing Market is pretty neat as well. We were traveling with the kids and went during the day, but if I recall correctly, the market is even bigger and better at night.

We did the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, and it was great. I don't know if I would do that if I had only one day.

Have a great trip!


rainyday1,

<<Wangfujing Market is pretty neat as well. >>

I think there are 2 nice Peking Duck restaurants in that area too. So, OP can kill 2 birds in one location.

KlangFool

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rcjchicity
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Re: must do/sees in Beijing and HangZhou

Post by rcjchicity » Fri Mar 18, 2016 2:42 pm

I would also recommend hiring a tour guide in Beijing, particularly if you're short on time there. Our guide helped us navigate getting around to all of the sites efficiently as well as took us to some good/cheap restaurants we never would have found on our own. In addition, we did a hutong tour with her and were able to stop into one where the owner showed us how to make dumplings and made us lunch. That was really memorable.

This thread and Mark Zuckerber's "smog jog" are making me think back to our honeymoon in China. The smog is unbelievably bad - and we were apparently there when it wasn't so terrible. There is a lot of interesting architecture in Beijing but you can't really see it through the smog.

In Hangzhou, I also recommend biking around West Lake (our hotel had bikes available to guests for free). We had to walk them across the causeway, but otherwise, it was a quick and relaxing way to see the area.

ddunca1944
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Re: must do/sees in Beijing and HangZhou

Post by ddunca1944 » Fri Mar 18, 2016 6:45 pm

Second and third the suggestion to get a tour guide. My husband and I hired a private guide and driver through China Highlights. It was a very efficient use of our time as the driver could drop us off at entrances and the guide would call the driver and tell him where to pick us up. They did a great jo b of making the most of our limited time.

We went to the Mutanyu (spelling) section of the Great Wall. Would not have missed it for anything. At our request, the guide also arranged for us to see an acrobatic show.

brito11
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Re: must do/sees in Beijing and HangZhou

Post by brito11 » Sat Mar 19, 2016 7:20 pm

swaption wrote:I had a day in the fall a couple of years ago. Paid for a guide to take us very early morning to Mutianyu part of Great Wall, was back in Beijing for lunch and to see some other things. To say the Great Wall is touristy is kind of silly. Well yeah, it's within easy driving distance of a city of 30 million people, but it is spectacular to see. If you go, take cable car up and then there is a fun sled that takes you down. Saves time and energy that can be used to walk more of the wall itself.

Ditto for Da Dong for duck. Kind of fancy for Beijing, but actually not a terrible value. I have had a lot of Peking/Beijing Duck, but nothing even close to this.


To me, the Great Wall wasn't much to see tbh! The Summer Palace was the best part - if you're into the combination of natural scenery in harmony with man-made features, the site is really worth a visit.

centrifuge41
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Re: must do/sees in Beijing and HangZhou

Post by centrifuge41 » Sat Mar 19, 2016 7:36 pm

If you only have one day free in Bejing, and you won't be going again anytime soon, then go to the Great Wall! It is really something to see it, even if it's kind of crowded at Badaling. If you're afraid of the crowd, feel free to go to Juyongguan (Juyong Pass). It's actually (barely) closer to Beijing than Badaling. It's a lot narrower, and very steep. Not nearly as crowded as Badaling. Really, these two sites are close, so you can go to both.

Summer Palace is nice, but not top priority if you have a short time. Forbidden city is awesome, but you don't have time. Make your short time in Beijing count.

In Hangzhou, the scenery centers around Xi Hu (West Lake). While you're at it, go check out some gardens if you have time.

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