Beijing Travel Guide - Practical Chinese For Tourism

As a native Beijinger, I lead a two day quick tour in Beijing city area for my US good friends early this April. It is my first time being a local tour guide to foreigners so everything was new and fresh to me. I found the experience was very valuable and interesting, so I wrote it down and am sharing it with any foreign travelers who are planning a trip to Beijing, especially those who are planning a short trip either for sightseeing or for the coming 2008 Olympics. I hope it will be a helpful guide and that you find the information useful.

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Here is a list of important scenic spots which you can choose to visit during your trip; you may learn how to pronounce them with the pinyin I have provided:

1) The Temple of Heaven (tian1 tan2). There are 3 famous spots within this park. The ticket price is 35 RMB.

2) The Forbidden City (zi3 jin4 cheng2), also called the Imperial Palace or the Palace Museum(gu4 gong1). You cannot miss it whenever you come to visit Beijing. The ticket price is 60 RMB. You can rent an automatic guide (Audio Guide Device) at the ticket office.

3) JingShan Park (jing3 shan1 gong1 yuan2). It is just north of the Imperial Palace. The ticket price is 2 to 5 RMB depending upon the seasons. You can take a full view of the Imperial Palace from the top of the hill in JingShan Park.

4) Beihai Park (bei3 hai3 gong1 yuan2). It is just west of JingShan Park and it is one of the oldest and most authentically preserved imperial gardens in China. It has a history of 1000 years. The ticket price is 20 RMB.

5) Hutongs in QianMen Area is just south of TianAnMen Square. Hutong (alley or lane) is one of the distinguishing features of Beijing. Some Hutongs are just residential areas; others are commercial areas with many shops selling antiques or silk stuff. The hutong area is basically a very old residential area of Beijing with commercial properties along many of the hutongs.

6) Chairman Mao Zedong Memorial Hall (mao2 zhu3 xi2 ji4 nian4 tang2). It is free for public visit but security is very tight. You can take your cellphone and wallet with you but if you carry a bag, you need to go to the Bag Check which is across the street to the east of the Memorial. Make sure to make enough time for the visit (8:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. Tuesday to Sunday).

7) Laoshan Mountain Bike Course (lao3 shan1 zi4 xing2 che1 guan3), sports area for bicycle and Bicycle Moto Cross (BMX) races. You can take the subway Line 1 and get off at Ba Jiao You Le Yuan Stop. There is a sign in the subway shows the direction of the train and the names of all the stops. It is easy for you to find it. Currently you cannot go inside any of the Games facilities until the Games begin. It will also be open to the public after the Olympic Games.

8) The Summer Palace (yi1 he2 yuan2). It is a famous Imperial Park and world cultural heritage site. This is a beautiful place which you should not miss when you visit Beijing. The ticket price is 30 RMB.

9) Bird's Nest (niao3 chao2) is the stadium in which most of the track and field events, soccer matches as well as the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics will be held. It will also be open to the public after the Games. Currently you can only take photos of it on the expressway pedestrian overpass near it.

10) Chaoyang Park (chao2 yang2 gong1 yuan2). is near the east Fourth Main Ring Road. Olympic Beach Volleyball courts are located in this park. It is the largest metropolitan park in Beijing, offering numerous attractions and superbly maintained planted areas which include numerous kinds of trees and shrubbery and many large grass areas surround a large lake. The ticket price is 5 RMB.

11) The (Ba Da Ling) Great Wall (chang2 cheng2, Ba1 Da2 Ling3 chang2 cheng2) . You cannot miss a visit to the Great Wall. If you want to maximize your time at the Great Wall then you may want to arrange the trip by yourself. You can take subway Line2 and get off at Ji1 Shui3 Tan2 stop, and then walk a few minutes to De2 Sheng4 Men2, take the No. 919 Bus. You may ask the driver the time of the last bus — qing3 wen4, mo4 ban1 che1 ji3 dian3? Only take a bus that is in the large bus parking lot because there are reportedly fake No. 919 buses that will charge you a very high fare to The Great Wall. The fare on air-conditioned No. 919 Buses should be approximately 12 RMB. At the end of your exploration of the Wall at Ba Da Ling you may want to catch an early bus because there will be many people squeezing on each bus. In order not to have to stand during the two hour return trip you will need to establish your position at the door when the bus pulls up to take on passengers. Be aggressive!! Get one of your friends on board to save the number of seats you need.

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