September 27, 2010 11:37 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to Beijing! What should i see and do?

I'm going to Beijin to get away for 2 weeks. I'm staying in a hotel next to my friend's house. I wanted to stay in a hotel-- cause i'm a girl and my friends are guys and i need a vacation and if i wanna sleep naked i don't want any problems.

What should I see and do by myself while my friend works? Any tips on

posted by octomato to Travel & Transportation around Beijing, China (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I've never been, but wikitravel would be a good place to start.
posted by aeighty at 1:48 PM on September 27, 2010

-Summer Palace. Beautiful gardens, marble boat, ethereal floating fluff from the trees... it's pretty otherworldly.

-street food! We stayed off Wanfujing and just ate weird bugs sold off the side streets.

-Tianamen Square eeeearly in the morning when it's not horribly crowded.

-Shanghai. Seriously, I know it's a plane ride away, but 2 weeks is waaay too long to spend entirely in Beijing. It reminded me of a Chinese DC - lots of neat museums/administrative buildings, but you only a couple days to do most of the stuff there. Spend a week in the big city and then venture outside to provinces or hop on a plane to Shanghai to see a crazy, cosmopolitan-but-utterly Chinese city.
posted by zoomorphic at 6:16 PM on September 27, 2010

In Beijing, the typical tourist sights include Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, Houhai, the Drum and Bell Tower, the Lama Temple, Qianmen, the Summer Palace and the Olympic Village. The best parts of Beijing, though, are the smaller neighborhoods (hutongs) where you can get a glimpse into real Beijing life. You can easily spend a day or more just wandering around these neighborhoods, eating the street food and witnessing a sadly disappearing lifestyle. You should get out to any one of the city parks early in the morning to see everyone out exercising and doing their thing.

Even as a current Beijing resident, I agree with zoomorphic -- two weeks in Beijing is a looong time as a tourist, especially when there's a whole country to see. You can do some neat 2-day trips from Beijing. Check out China Culture Center for ideas.

For shopping/music/events/restaurants, check out Beijing City Weekend.

Not sure when you're coming, but there's a tentative meet-up in Beijing in October. (Check under IRL.) You might want to keep your eye on that. Also, Oct 1 starts the National Day holiday week, so some things may be closed or have shortened hours.

Have fun!
posted by hawkeye at 3:33 AM on September 28, 2010

Everyone's suggestions are right on the money in terms of fun touristy things to do. I just wanted to add that Beijing has some terrific shopping. There are malls & shopping districts that cater to everything:
- Art, pottery, etc. The 798 Art District is fabulous even without buying anything
- A custom suit or dress for less than the price of off the rack in the US
- Numerous souvenirs, many with Chairman Mao's face on them.
- Jewelry (Think pearls & jade)
- Of course there are the knockoff luxury items (purses, sunglasses, clothes, etc)
- and pirated materials like DVDs

Other things to do (with your friends or without) :
- Eat Peking duck.
- I can't believe no one has mentioned visiting the Great Wall. Especially the section furthest away from the city. If you go during the week it'll be very peaceful
- Fly to Xian and see the Terra Cotta soldiers
- Visit the Beijing Zoo and check out the pandas. Warning: the zoo is cool, but quite a bit dirtier than Western zoos.

Hawkeye's suggestion to visit the hutongs is a great one, but I'd also like to suggest visiting the more wealthy parts of the city as well. Sure it isn't the most 'authentic' thing to do, but truth be told it can be a lot of fun. Remember your money goes a lot further in China so you might as well treat yourself for a day and lead the high life.

Have fun!
posted by cuando at 8:41 PM on September 28, 2010

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