An English Teachers Tour of Beijing: All The Essential Information You Need
Beijing is the capital city of the Peoples Republic of China. It is a glittering city. It is constantly rebranding and reimaging itself towards the future. A visitor in Beijing has a whole lot of things to try and explore; hotels and restaurants, attractions, shopping and Beijing nightlife.
Weather in Beijing
Beijing experiences all the four seasons. However, the best time to visit Beijing is during spring and autumn, which fall in the months of May- June and September – October. Summers in Beijing can become unbearable with heat levels soaring up to 40oC. Winters, on the other hand, are extremely cold with temperatures dropping as low as -20oC.
Transport and how to get around Beijing
Beijing has various transport means available. You can use air transport, transit buses and subways for intercity travel. City buses, taxis, bikes and rickshaws* are available for movement within the city. Payment is made using transport smart cards (Yikatong Card), or the Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei transport card called a jingjinji.
*kind of carts pulled by people to navigate narrow streets in China.
The Beijing Transportation Smart Card, aka Yikatong Card
The card is valid for nearly all means of transportation in the city (city buses, subway, the Airport Express Train, S2 trains, taxis, and public bicycles). You can use the card as a payment method in some supermarkets, convenience stores, pharmacies and around 20 parks. You can buy a smart card at any subway customer service centre, Ticket windows of the Airport Express Train: T3, and the transportation Smart Card Service Centers around town.
Price: CNY20 refundable deposit/ per card.
You can top-up a minimum of CNY20.
Airport Express fare is CNY25 and all other routes on the metro are CNY2.
Let us look at some of the things that might interest you in Beijing;
What to see in Beijing
There are various attraction sites in Beijing:
also referred to as the Gate of Heavenly Peace. This site has Mao’s portrait and very many surveillance cameras. The whole idea is to monitor and prevent a revolt. The Tiananmen Square is located just next to the Forbidden City. It provides entrance into the Forbidden City. The Tiananmen Square does not charge entry fees but thorough security checks are done before one is allowed access.
The Forbidden City
To access this site, you pay roughly 4$ to 6$. There are beautiful crimson pavilions. Just take a walk along the wall and exit through the Gate of Divine might. Here you will find the hill at Jingshang Park which gives a spectacular view of the city below.
Temple of Heaven Park
This is more of an altar than a temple. It has four gates named according to the four cardinal points of the compass. The East Gate and the West gate are used to access the park. You will be required to pay 5$-6$ to access the park. Queues on the West gate are shorter. You would prefer to use it if you visit.
This was a playground for the emperors. It has the glittering Kunming Lake and the Longevity Hill. Present at this site are riverside walkways, shops, eateries and entertainment joints. To access the Summer Palace, you will pay ticket fees of 3$ to 5$.
798 Art District
Also known as Dashanzi. It is an Industrial complex loaded with works of art. This complex has a collection of contemporary art galleries, art bookshops, and cafes.
Bell and Drum Towers
The Drum Tower have drums. The Bell Tower has bells that were used to keep time in the early 90s. It has an incredibly steep staircase to the top of the tower. It gives an awesome view of part of Beijing City as well as the Drum Tower below. There is a fine place to stroll, take photos, and get entertained between the two towers. Ticket fees of 2$ to 3$ are paid to gain access into the towers.
This site is a great attraction and proof of Beijing’s Buddhist firmament. It is a beautiful and pure work of art with shiny decorative arches, eye-popping carpentry, statues and the Tibetan prayer wheels. You will pay about 3$ to enter Lama Temple.
It is important to note that ticket prices to these sites vary according to seasons.
Where to stay and what to eat in Beijing
Hotels and restaurants
Most of the hotels and restaurants in Beijing are tier one. They may be a bit pricey but are affordable and offer top notch services. Enjoy the fine Chinese delicacies in the city, especially the China roast duck. You will find all types of restaurants in Beijing; Chinese, Western, Michelin, vegetarian, Halal food, seafood, hot pot restaurants, buffets as well as fast food joints. All of them also offer desserts and drinks. Food will cost you between 0.92$ to 10$ per item ordered depending on the kind of restaurant you dine.
Hotel services are exquisite given the many visitors Beijing receives every other day. Most have neat, spacious air-conditioned rooms. They provide bed and breakfast, internet services, parking spaces for clients, fitness centres, laundry services and the needed privacy. The charges range from 20$ to 350$ per night depending on the hotel tier. Most of the hotels are strategically located near transport lines, attraction sites and shopping areas.
Where to find the best shopping in Beijing
Beijing’s economy is prosperous. Everything is new in Beijing, thanks to the rapid economic growth in China. You can walk into the massive and well-stocked shopping complexes to purchase anything you need. You can buy artefacts, craftwork, silk, pearls, electronics, household goods and other local products. There are also departmental stores, feature stores, wholesale markets, supermarkets, bookstores and antique markets. Some of the top places you can go shopping in Beijing are Panjiayuan Antique Market, Solana International Commercial Area, Jiamao Shopping Center at Xizhimen, Xiushui Street, The Place, The Nanluogu Lane and Drum Tower Area, Sanlitun Village, Xidan Commercial Street, Qianmen Street and Wangfujing Shopping Street among others.
The best nightlife in Beijing
Beijing has a vibrant nightlife. There are various places to visit at night in Beijing. There are hutong bars that make local brews and offer seasonal specials. Specialist spirits and distilleries that offer alcoholic and ancestral drinks. The most common spirit is Baijiu, Chinas national spirit.
We also have bars in Beijing. There are sports bars, jazz bars, hotel bars, and cocktail bars. You can glug, interact and watch a game in these bars or enjoy a variety of cocktails that will excite your taste buds.
You may also enjoy live music at night. There are both local and international bands that perform to entertain the guests.
Clubs that play banging music and offer other forms of entertainment are also available. They are spacious and give revellers space to dance and have fun.
Events and Nightlife Guides:
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