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Help Planning Beijing itinerary

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New York
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Help Planning Beijing itinerary

I am a woman who will be traveling alone on a business trip. I have about 4 full days to see Beijing. I have never been to China before. I have Sun Aug 8- Weds Aug 11 available for sightseeing Beijing. I will be staying at the Grand Hyatt. I am pretty active, an experienced traveler , but I don't like to spend too long at any one place. If the averag eperson spends 3 hrs at an attraction, I am probably bored in 2 hrs. LOL

I think I would like to see and do the following:

Forbidden City

Tian amen Square

Lama Temple

Temple of Heaven (for early morning exercise)

Shopping (silk market? other market?- would love to have a few shopping experiences as well as getting some dress shirts & ties made for my husband- I will bring his favorite fitting shirt with me)

Houhai Lake area. Early evening stoll with a few bar visits./Nanluogu Alley hutong area

Beihi Park

Mutianyu Great Wall (1/2 day)

Summer Palace (1/2 day)

massage (dragonfly?)

Acrobat show

Peking Duck dinner

I possibly would like to spend 1-2 days on guided tours and the other days on my own.

Not sure the best ways to organize these. Advice?

Not afraid of the metro (NYC gal here) or traveling alone. Definitely will hire a driver for the Great Wall visit if for no other reason to save time.


Edited: 27 July 2010, 03:45
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1. Re: Help Planning Beijing itinerary

Day 1

Temple of Heaven (though the "early morning exercises" go on all day and you could always just walk from your hotel to Jingshan Park to see early morning exercising)

Tiananmen Square

Forbidden City

Beihai Park

Day 2



Day 3

Lama Temple

Summer Palace (though by your description, you'll be done here in 2 hours or so)

That would be how I'd do it, the massage/acrobats/peking duck dinner/houhai can be slotted in on any night and you'll have plenty of time to shop as your schedule will leave you with a ton of time (day 4 is wide open and all the other days are far from being packed). Maybe the massage is best after the great wall, there's a dragonfly within walking distance of your hotel on Donghuamen.

Other suggestions:

-While its nice to walk around Houhai, I'd avoid the bars there like the plague, not much of interest there and, with few exceptions, they range from sleezy to very sleezy, though there are some nice spots on/around Nanluoguxiang.

-Really no need to hire a guided tour, especially for the things you've listed on your itinerary, very easy to do on your own.

-consider some of the other sites like Bird's Nest/Water Cube (Aug 8 will be 2 yr anniversary of the start of 2008 games and a big soccer game is going to be played at Bird's Nest, though you'll still be able to see it from outside), Capital Museum, if you're into art the 798 art district, if you're into nightlife the sanlitun/worker's stadium area

-you're staying at Wangfujing so it can be done any night, but a walk down that street, especially at night when all the neon is on is worth it and you can walk down and check out the church there. Also, while I hate to recommend the Donghuamen night market, its right there, so make sure to have a look, just avoid the food.

Edited: 27 July 2010, 04:07
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2. Re: Help Planning Beijing itinerary

If you are willing to spring for $60 a day, the tour gudie we used, Lily Xy (lily_fuwa@yahoo.com) would be ideal. She takes the subway from her home everyday and is a ball of energy. I think your agenda is a bit agressive, but if anyone can make it happen it would be Lily. We sent her our itinerary and she helped adjust the schedule to what was feasible. You will love Beijing. I looked at our pictures today and am amazed at how much there is to see. Have fun.

New York
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3. Re: Help Planning Beijing itinerary

Thank you! This is very helpful. I don't mind spending the $60 per day but I don't want to feel "captive" with a guide. Sometimes when I use guides or tours, I feel like I want to do other things and that they are taking too long or too short on one thing vs another. I guess with a private guide that would be okay. Any recommendations for a tailor or for where to eat duck? Also, is Dragonfly the massage place you'd recommend or other suggestions? Is thre Hutong safe for me to wander around alone?

If I were going to use a guide for 1 day, what would be the best use of her time? I am definitely going with a driver to great wall- wondering if Summer Palace might make a better afternoon that day since that is a ways out of the city too?

Sherbrooke, Canada
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4. Re: Help Planning Beijing itinerary

You have enough time to do all these things.

For most places on this list you do not need a guide. Actually once you arrive in a place such as the Forbidden City, there will be guides approaching you. There is also an audio guide you can rent.

If you hire a guide it will not be like being on a tour. you control the pace and decide where you want to go. If you want to drag your feet or move on, it is up to you.

If you hire a guide you should do it on the first day. Besides guiding you to some attractions, you will learn some more general tips such as how to get around the city, ordering in restaurants, shopping, etc. Al these small things that will help you in the rest of your trip.

San Francisco...
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5. Re: Help Planning Beijing itinerary

Your plans look good to me. Well thought out, actually.

I'm another fan of Lily. You will not at all feel captive. You'll feel much more like a friend is showing you her city and she will help you with just about every aspect of the trip - including getting to and back from the Great Wall. She's a jewel. I'm definitely more of a "do it on your own" kind of person but I was glad we used Lily.

Regarding walking around the Hutong alone, you will feel totally comfortable.

I personally sort of loathed the Silk Market and would suggest another place, but to each his own. For me, it was just loads of knock-offs and I know you can see enough of that in NYC. We only had one full day in Beijing so our time was extremely limited, but we managed the Mutianyu Great Wall, Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven and shopping all in one day with Lily's help (she's a fireball if you need her to be!).

Enjoy the trip. It's a very enjoyable city and I'd love to go back.

6. Re: Help Planning Beijing itinerary

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