How to travel Beijing cheaply?
In any other place of China, most of Beijing attractions would be greatly appreciated; as Beijing is extremely vast and expensive, it is wise to make a selection...
χ The Forbidden City -called Gugong in Chinese- having been the imperial palace for some five centuries, houses numerous rare treasures and curiosities. Listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1987, the world's largest palace complex is rich in antiques, clocks and jewels.
Spots: CNY 10 for the Treasure Gallery; CNY 10 for the Clock and Watch Gallery;
Furthermore an all inclusive ticket is available: CNY 40 (Nov. 1 to Mar. 31); CNY 60 (Apr. 1 to Oct. 31); we would recommend concentrating on spots…
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM (Nov. 1to Mar 31);
8:30 AM – 5:00 PM (Apr. 1- Oct.31);
8:30 AM – 12:00 AM (on Monday except public holidays and July 1 – Aug.31);
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM (July 1, 2013 – Aug.31, 2013).
Subway: Take Subway Line 1 to Tiananmen Xi or Tiananmen Dong Station then walk towards Tiananmen Tower to enter the Forbidden City.
Bus routes: Take bus 101, 103,109, 124, 202 or 685 and get off at Gugong Station.
Some persons are disappointed by what they see (very few) but at least they discovered and thus can speak about the experience...
χ The Summer Palace, Yiheyuan in Chinese, is the most illustrious imperial garden in China and was added to the World Culture Heritage list in 1998.
Most of people spend a whole afternoon there to relax, to wander around the historic composition, or to enjoy displays at the theatre. If your time limits, do not miss the corridor along the Kungming Lake, which has magnificent paintings on its beams and ceilings. A ten-minutes boat ride on the Kunming Lake is suggested in summer time. The courageous ones can walk up to the Buddhist Temple built on the Longevity Hill, which will provide an overlooking view of the entire front garden.
Entrance Charge of the palace: CNY30 April 1-October 31 - CNY20 November1-March 31
Combined Ticket: CNY60 April 1-October 31 - CNY50 November1-March 31
We would not recommend the combined ticket which includes entrance charge for the palace and charges for several famous parks in the palace.
Entrance: 6:30 AM-6:00 PM April 1-October 31/ 7:00 AM-5:00 PM - November1-March 31
Inside scenic spots: 8:30 AM-5:00 PM April 1-October 31/ 9:00 AM-4:00 PM November1-March 31
Bus Route: 209, 330,331, 332, 346, 394, 718, 726, 732, 737, 801, 817, 826 to Yiheyuan (Summer Palace, 颐和园)
χ Simatai Great Wall is located in the north of Miyun County, 120 kilometres northeast of Beijing. It is one of the few sections to preserve the original appearance of the Great Wall; known for its steepness, ingenuity and uniqueness, ingeniously conceived and uniquely designed. In 1987, Simatai was acknowledged by UNESCO as one of the World Heritage Sites.
Visit Simatai Great Wall and witness the magnificence of this man-made masterpiece!
Admission Fee: CNY40
Bus Route: Take bus No.980 at Dongzhimen (东直门外) to Miyun Bus Station (密云汽车站), and then change a small bus to the Simatai Great Wall (司马台长城).
Worth to visit:
χ Lama Temple
The Yonghegong (Lama Temple) is the largest temple in Beijing and one of the most important Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the world. It is situated in the northeast part of Beijing city. Monks are still in residence at the Lama Temple today so you will notice them in equal major with visitors.
Amazingly colourful and really spectacular, in the Hall of Infinite Happiness, a huge sandalwood statue of Maitreya (future Buddha) that is 18 meter high -about 6 meters is below the ground-.
Address: 12 Yonghegong Dajie, Beijxinqiao, Dongcheng District (Near the Northeast corner of the Second Ring Road)
Admission Fee: CNY25
Opening hours: 9AM-4:30PM
Bus Route: 13, 116, 117 to Yonghegong (Lama Temple, 雍和宫)
χ Jingshan Park:
Go there for the view, the calm and to see where the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty, Chongzhen, committed suicide by hanging himself in 1644... A much nicer (and cheaper) experience than getting up Tiananmen gate...
Opening hours: 6:30AM until 8:00PM with last admission at 7:30PM
χ Temple of Heaven Park "Tiantan Gongyuan" Listed in the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1998
This is the most popular temple and the symbol of Beijing and, if you have travelled a little in China, you must have noticed its picture in numerous ads or posters. It is now the right moment to admire the original configuration, within its beautiful garden, to be as Zen as local people.
Even if you don't like temples this is one you simply have to visit when you are in Beijing. Why? Because when you come here you are not just visiting the construction itself. You are also taken to the very heart of Chinese free time life.
In the park that is part of the temple grounds and for which you pay a reduced admission fee (15 Yuan instead of 35 Yuan for a through ticket) you have the privilege of watching at first-hand a microcosm of today's Chinese leisure time as well as the Chinese outlook on life.
Go on a Saturday or Sunday morning when many of the "performers" would be free from work and you will come across a park that is full of life.
One of the most popular activities among the locals is community singing. By buying a photocopied collection of traditional Chinese songs costing 15 Yuan anyone can join in the singing.
Opening hours: 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM daily.
How to get there: Bus 6,106 to North Entrance
The nice sights:
χ Confucius Temple is a peaceful alternative to the other more crowded temples in Beijing. And as you enter through the richly decorated archway which is one of the last in the city, you step into a gentle place of calm.
Opening hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Tues-Sun
How to get there: Bus 13,113,104,108 to Andingmennei Jie or subway to Yonghegong then walk.
χ Western Fragrant Hills "Xianshan Gongyuan"
Fragrant Hills Park is an imperial garden at the foot of the Western Mountains in the Haidian District, in the north-western part of Beijing. It consists of a natural pine-cypress forest, hills with maple trees, smoke trees and persimmon trees, as well as landscaped areas with traditional architecture and cultural relics.
Opening hours: 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM
How to get there: Bus 318 from Pingguoyuan, 333 from Summer Palace or 360 from Dongwumen
χ Another nice thing to do is to watch a Beijing Opera performance. There are a number of places and it is best to skip the shows designed for tourists (more expensive and not always the real stuff).
Places also worth checking if you have the time:
• The chairman Mao Zedong Memorial Hall
Opening hours: 8:00am to 12:00am from Tuesday to Sunday; 08:00am to 11:30am & 2:0pm0 to 4:00pm on Sep. 9 (the day Chairman Mao passed away) and Dec. 26 (the birthday of Chairman Mao).
How to get there:
Subway Line 1, Take bus no.1, 5, 10, 22, 37, 52, 205, 728 or 802 and get off at Tiananmen West. Take bus no.1, 2, 10, 20, 37, 52, 59, 82, 120, 126, 203, 205, 210, 728 or 802 and get off at Tiananmen East. Take bus no.2, 5, 8, 20, 22, 120, 126, 203, or 210 and get off at Tiananmen Square East.
Take bus no.2, 5, 20, 120, 126 or 210 and get off at Tiananmen Square West.
• Old Summer Palace "Yuanmingyuan"
Entrance fee: CNY 10
07:00 AM-7:00 PM (May-August)
07:00 AM-6:30 PM (April, September and October)
07:00 AM-5:30 PM (January, February, March, November and December)
How to get there: Minibus 375 from Xizhimen Subway
As very busy with Chinese tourists and therefore not quiet at all; if you go, avoid WE!
• Great Hall of the People: 3O Yuan - Open 8:30 AM to 2:00 PM daily; Guides are available in the hall, but the tour is only in Chinese.
• Beihai Park: CNY10- April 1-October 31 / CNY 5- November1-March 31 , open 6:30 AM-9:00 PM, Bus route: 5, 101, 103, 109, 124, 202, 211, 685, 814, 846 to Beihai (北海)
• Temple of Earth Park "Ditan Gongyuan”: 6:00 AM to 8:30 PM, near Yonghegong Subway Station
• Working People's Cultural Palace: open 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM
• Altar of the moon park "Yuetan Gongyuan": 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM, afternoon stamp market
• Altar of the Sun Park "Ritan Gongyuan":6:30 AM to 8:30 PM daily, Bus 1, 4, 9, 29, 48, 57, 103
• Ancient Observatory (6524 2202) : 9AM to 11AM & 1PM to 4:30PM Wed-Sun
• Drum Tower : 9:00AM to 4:30PM, Subway Gulou Zhan, Bus 5,44,58,107
• Zhongshan Park (6605 5431) : 6:30AM to 8:00PM
• Niu Jie Mosque (6353 2564) : usually 9AM to 9:00PM, Bus 61
• White Cloud Temple (6346 3531) : 8:30AM to 4:30PM daily
• White Dagoba Temple (6616 0023) : 9AM to 4:30PM
• Honglongjin Park (6502 1385) : 6:00AM to 9:00PM, Bus 9 to Jintailu then walk
• Chaoyang Park, the largest in Beijing with water area 3 times larger than Beihai Park. By night a theme park for children open to 5am. Open 8am to 5am. Y0.3. Bus 115 or 43 to terminus.
Not really worth the price:
• Ming Tombs (6976 1424) : Y20 +Y12 Animals avenue, 8:00AM to 5:30PM daily, Tourist bus 1,2,3,4,5 / Not much to see and no photos allowed anyway
• Eastern Qing Tombs : Y90
• Tiananmen Gate: Y15 plus bag storage fee, open 8:30AM to 4:30PM / You go up and you see Tiananmen Square. Exciting?
• Suzhou Street at the Summer Palace : Y15 / A kistchy Chinese tourist trap
The Great Wall Listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1987
• Badaling: Y30, 6AM to 6:30PM Mon-Fri., 6AM to 10:00PM Sat & Sun, Tourist bus 1,2,3,4,5 from Qianmen, Beijing Railway Station, Zoo or Dongdaqiao / The most touristy part of the wall with a small restored section of the wall. Fortunately, it is also possible to reach unrebuilt sections from there...
• Jinshanling : Y40 / 50km from city / Bus to Chengde can let you off about 5km from Jinshanling (Y16) / One of the less visited and best preserved part but tricky to reach
• Mutianyu: 6:30AM to 6:00PM, Bus 916 to Huairou from Dongzhimen Long Distance Bus station then tourist bus / 90km / Very touristy /
• Simatai:8AM to 5:00PM, Bus to Miyun County from Dongzhimen Long Distance Bus station then minibus to Simatai / The wildest section / See above for more details ("the must see")
Simatai peak at the border between Hubei-Hunan: Remote, most dangerous and a real experience; Hiking the ruins of the one mighty Great Wall - Camping in towers - Seeing the best view from the top of the highest peak of the Great Wall.
There are places worth trekking. One of those is Jiankou. You can walk one day from there to the direction of Mutianyu. There is no entrance fee and little people. Another one is Huanghua, 60km from Beijing. Although interesting, this part now has an Y15 entrance fee and a few stalls are starting to appear.
• Chengde: train No225 (07:29AM arrival 1210AM), return No226 (2:31 arrival 7:14PM). The Largest imperial garden with the biggest group of temples
• Longqing Gorge
• Tanzhe Temple (Beijing oldest temple) and Lingshan Mountain, (the highest peak). Bus No336, 326, 921, 931 to Hetan stop off Mentougou District. No931 from Pingguoyuan go directly to Lingshan Mountain & Tangzhe. Tour bus 7 from Qianmen go to Jietai Temple and Tanzhe.