My partner and I are planning a trip to Beijing for January (realizing it will be very cold but willing to endure in order to escape the crowds). I have a number of questions which I would deeply appreciate the experts answering:
(1) What do you think of us hiring a taxi for the day and combining a morning trip to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall and then, in afternoon, a visit to the SUmmer Palace upon return to city? I anticipate that would give us maybe 3 hours at wall and two hours at Summer Palace (which in winter would be enough I think). If this sounds reasonable, what would you estimate the cost for a taxi for the entire trip should cost us?
(2) We have six additional days in Beijing (beyond the day to Great Wall and Summer Palace). We Have identified the following sights to visit:
Gate of Heavenly Peace
Imperial City Exhibition
Beijing Ancient Observatory
Soujteast Gate Watchtower
Altar of Heaven
White Cloud Temple
China Millennium Monument
National Grand Theatre
Are there any of the above sights that you strongly recommend not seeing as not worth the time and/or effrt? I should say that my partner and I love sightseeing and go strong thee ntire day so we know the above list is ambitious but thats how we travel in the 35 or so trips we have taken throughout the world.
(3) The sights that we have so far decided to skip but would change our minds if we receive feedback are:
Great Hall of the People
Worker's Cultural Palace (since we are spending long time at
Beijing Ancient Architecural Museum
Ming Tombs (which so many say are disappointing)
China National Museum (which appears closed anyway)
Should we see any of the above? Are there any other must see sights that we have missed?
(4) Due to cost and difficulty of converting currency to Yuan in U.S., we were going to wait until we arrive in Beijing. However, our flight arrives at 11:20 PM--are there any currency exchanging facilities or ATMS at airport where we could convert currency that late at night>
(5) We have reserved a hotel at great price on Jin Bao Street in the Dongcheng District. It seems that this provides reasonable access to public transit and major sites. Would you agree that this is a reasonable location to be based for our seven days in Beijing?
(6) While still researching, we have identified some possible restaurants:
Ding Ding Xiang (Chinese Hotpot)
Hua Jia Yi Yuan seafood)
Huang Ting (Cantonese)
Beijing Dadong (Beijing Duck)
Traxtirr Pushkin (Russian--what the heck-we ate Chinese in
Yuelo Shanwu (Hunan)
Makye Ame (Tibetan)
What do you thin? Suggestions? Obvious mistakes in list? Other suggestions? In general, are reservations necessary for January trip?
THANK YOU all for whatever feedback any of you might be willing to provide. I have always relied on this forum for the best advice and I deeply appreciate the kindness of all who are willing to help fellow travellers.