Friday, September 28, 2007

Beijing Cultural Tours

Maliandao Tea ShopPeople visiting Beijing have a growing range of options open to them. This week Xuanwu Bureau of Tourism has started a number of one day packages allowing people to experience more of life in Beijing.

The folk-custom package starts with morning exercises in Taoranting Park where thousands of Beijingers begin their day with taichi or martial arts. The tour continues to Liulichang Antiques and Cultural Street. A visit to a Quanjude Roast Duck restaurant and the Beijing Acrobatics troupe are also included.

Other packages including Peking Opera, Xuannan Cultural Museum, Beijing Tongrentang Medicine Store and Laoshe Teahouse and many other places of cultural interest are available.

Each package costs around 100 rmb. Xuanwu District also offers a ‘travel passport’ giving holders a discount at sites and stores. Contact the information centre on 6353 4583.

© Beijing-visitor.com

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sandstorm, rain and clear weather!

Olympic Park post-sandstormWithin 12 hours Beijing’s weather went from heavily polluted air to a sandstorm, followed by a small amount of rain to clear the air and make way for brilliant sunshine.

© Beijing-visitor.com

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View to Olympic Village

Bell Tower to olympic parkBeijing has so many famous landmarks to see and enjoy, yet at the same time Beijing’s air is a frequent impediment to being able to sight those famous landmarks. Perhaps the Olympics will be a time when the air quality unveils many frequently unseen sights for all to enjoy.

At right is the view of the Olympic Village from Beijing's Bell Tower.

© Beijing-visitor.com

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sandstorms strike Beijing

Sandstorm strikes BeijingThis evening Beijing has been struck by a sandstorm during the Mid Autumn festival celebrations.

It is a clear reminder of the dry climate and dry environment Beijingers confront every day. However with the huge amount of planting and watering going on around Beijing it is easy to forget the nature of the true climate and environment.

Sandstorms normally occur in Beijing during Spring, so it is easy to understand everyone's feelings of surprise.

© Beijing-visitor.com

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Underground Line 5 Opening Delayed

Line 5 of Beijiing UndergroundThe opening of the Line 5 Beijing underground system has been delayed. While it was to officially open last week, a recent visit to one of the line stations, Huixinxijiebeikou, confirmed that the trains are not yet running for the public on Line 5.


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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ban on smoking in Beijing taxis

Taxi drivers and their passengers will soon have to butt out! Starting in October drivers and their fare paying passengers will not be allowed to smoke in taxis.

This is yet another way the Beijing government is working to establish a smoke free Olympics. Those caught in the act will need to pay a fine of 100 to 200 yuan.
No Smoking!

The Beijing government will also prohibit smoking in Olympic areas and venues, hotels, restaurants, and public transport near the Olympic village.

© Beijing-visitor.com

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Wild Wall of China

For a walk on the wild side, why not visit the Great Wall in places away from the hordes of tourists? Beijing Hikers offers such opportunities.

Great Wall of China

Hikes to villages or the Great Wall are arranged according to the level of difficulty required. You may choose from day hikes or weekend hikes. A typical weekend hike will cost 200rmb including transport, snacks and drinks, a map and guide. Book in advance by calling Huijie on 139 10025516 or email: huijie[at]beijinghikers.com
beijinghikers.com

Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China

© Beijing-Visitor.com

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mid Autumn Festival Beijing

Mid Autumn Festival also known as The Moon Festival is celebrated from 21st to 27th September this year. In the past it was a time when people entertained themselves making lanterns with their family and friends under the moon as well as preparing food like moon cakes.

Dragon lanternVarious celebrations are being held around Beijing at this time of year. Longtanhu has a series of large scale lanterns made by artists from Sichuan province. Over 20 000 metres of cloth in 20 colours was used to make the huge lanterns. The highlight of the display is a pair of dragons hanging above the water in a way that at night when the moon appears between two dragons as if they are playing with the moon.

To wish someone a happy Mid Autumn Festival say, “Zhong qiu jie!”

8 Longtanhu Lu, Chongwen District
9am to 9.30pm, 21st – 27th September
Price 10 rmb
Telephone: 6714 4336

Traditionally Mid Autumn Festival in northern China is celebrated as a temple festival. A moonlit night at Lugouqiao is one of the famous traditional scenes in old Beijing. Enjoy a view of the moon from the top of the old wall and watch local folk culture performed while tasting various Beijing snack foods. Traditional festival dance, Peking Opera and folk art are among other cultural attractions.

101 Lugouqiaocheng Neijie, Guang’anmen Wai, Fengtai
8.30am – 11pm, 22nd – 26th September

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Beijing Traffic

As in any big city, traffic around Beijing can be frustrating. The practice of blocking traffic attempting to move along the crowded airport expressway, either to or from the airport, only adds to the frustrations of tens of thousands of people. The blockage means sitting still in a queue of traffic for up to 20 minutes before then joining a far bigger than normal jam using the expressway.

Traffic jam in BeijingObserving this bizarre procedure will show traffic halted on the airport expressway and at all entries, until it is clear of traffic. Finally, a convoy of fast moving cars or buses will go by, with someone obviously more important than the tens of thousands of people attempting to use the expressway. Never mind that these tens of thousands of people are trying to keep the juggernaut of Beijing’s economy operating in one way or another!

One can’t help but wonder at the image this will leave in the minds of Beijing visitors in the lead up to, and during the Olympic Games! Is it possible the expressway will be blocked each time someone deemed as ‘important’ arrives for the Olympic Games?

© Beijing-visitor.com

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bird's Nest Models

Beijing Olympic stadiumOlympic enthusiasts, model collectors or souvenir collectors have the opportunity to expand their collections with the much sought after model of the famous and almost completed 2008 Beijing Olympic stadium or Bird’s Nest. The Bird’s Nest will be used as the main stadium for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Models will be sold as big, medium or small. Both the big and medium models are made of steel left over from the construction of the real Bird’s Nest. Collectors should visit official merchandise stores to purchase these unique souvenirs.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Canal Trips in Beijing

If you enjoy being on the water you may wish to take a canal trip and avoid traffic on the roads. While you enjoy your ride you might marvel that Beijing, a city with an arid climate, and so close to a desert, has a surprising amount of water. Actually Beijing’s canal system is supplied with water from Hangzhou in the south of China.

bridges n boatCanal boats leave the Exhibition Centre in Xicheng District or Yuyuantan Park in Haidian District. Once on board the wooden dragon boats you will enjoy a leisurely cruise to the Summer Palace where you can stroll through beautiful parks surrounding the lake, or visit historic buildings.

Board boats at Beijing Exhibition Centre, 135 Xizhimenwai Dajie between 10am and 4pm, every hour. Tickets cost 40rmb single, 70rmb return.

Leaving from Yuyuantan Park, 47 Sanlihe Lu, boats depart from the south gate of Bayi Lake at 9.30am, midday, or 2.30pm. 60rmb single, 80rmb return.


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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

China Open Tennis Tournament

Fernando Gonzalez beat Tommy Robredo in three sets in the final of the ATP China Open on Sunday. The women's event will follow the men's tournament this week.

The annual tournament takes place at the Beijing Tennis Center situated near Zhao Gong Kou, near South Ring Road no. 4. The Beijing Tennis Center's center court has a 10,000 capacity and there are 15 other smaller courts at the complex.

The ATP tournament in Beijing began in 1993 with a 5-year hiatus between 1998-2003. Michael Chang won the first three tournaments to be staged. Other past winners include Marat Safin and Rafael Nadal.

© Beijing-visitor.com

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Olympic Torchbearers

Today the China Daily (China's official English language newspaper) reported that foreigners living in China are eligible to become Olympic torchbearers. People wanting to apply should apply online at chinadaily.com.cn


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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Beijing Triathlon World Cup

Today's Triathlon competition held in the picturesque hills of the Ming Tomb area, near Chang Ping, was another successful event held at an Olympic venue in the lead up to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Beijing Triathlon World Cup

The event was won by Javier Gomez from Spain in a time of 1:48:41. Courtney Atkinson from Australia in second place, finished 22 seconds behind Gomez.

Beijing Triathlon World Cup, Cycling

The competition included a 1500m swim, 40km bike ride and finished with a 10km run where Gomez came from 28th in the cycling leg to finish with a win by the end of the event.

The venue was easily accessed by buses 845, 643 or 919 from Beijing.

© Beijing-Visitor.com

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Beijing Olympic Swimming Pool

2007 Modern Pentathlon World Cup Final

Diving Pool Ying Dong Swimming Centre

Today the swimming leg of the 2007 Modern Pentathlon World Cup for men was held at Ying Dong Swimming Centre, Olympic Park, Beijing. The event not only proved exciting to watch but demonstrated Beijing's readiness to host the 2008 Olympic Games. Cao from China won the swimming leg of the 200m race in a time of 2:00:87.

2007 Modern Pentathlon World Cup Final

The Ying Dong facility looked immaculate and all aspects of the event appeared to run smoothly. The many volunteers working to stage the event were enthusiastically welcoming and directing members of the public who had tickets to attend the event. If this is any indication of how the 2008 Olympic Games will run, Beijing should feel proud of its achievements.

Ying Dong Swimming Centre


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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Exploring Beijing Hutongs

Recently the popularity of Nanluoguxiang hutong has increased noticeably with tourist numbers on the rise following the complete refurbishment of the area in time for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Bed & Breakfast, No 71 Ju'er Hutong - just off Nan Luo Gu Xiang Lu, Dong Cheng District

Many tourists enjoy taking ride through this 800-year-old hutong that was once home to celebrities, officials, artists and well-off families. There are 25 restaurants and 40 shops scattered along Nanluoguxiang.

People seeking a travel experience different to that available from many hotels may like to try some of the cheap hotels or youth hostels.

Hutong street life, Beijing

Peking Down Town Backpackers Accomodation found at No. 85 Nanluoguxiang can be contacted on 8400 2429. This hostel also provides a popular cafe with a cosy environment, internet access, coffee and breakfast.

Nanluoguxiang offers a real taste of traditional Beijing life in courtyard homes surrounded by grey walls. GuXian 20 is an example of a higher end courtyard hotel with its restaurant, 28 classy guest rooms decorated in traditional style and outdoor tennis court. Telephone: 6400 5566, Fax: 6400 3658, guxiang20.com

For a more intimate, cheap and friendly style of accommodation try No. 71 Ju'er Hutong, just down a narrow alley running off Nan Luo Gu Xiang Lu. Telephone: 8402 5238 or email jacky[at]daqiworld.com

Wandering the streets will reward passers-by with fresh fruits drinks or ice cream from various vendors. Those wanting something wetter to enjoy may find the open air atmosphere of bars and restaurants very difficult to resist as somewhere to sit back and enjoy a cold beer along with delicious foods.

Fish Nation fish and chips, Beijing

Included in the restaurants is Fish Nation, popular for its British style fish and chips. There is a roof top area available for enjoying summer evenings. Fish Nation is No. 113 Nanluoguxiang; call 6401 3961 or for a more local-style experience try The Hutong Bar on Nan Luo Gu Xiang Lu. Another interesting bar and restaurant, 'The Best is Simple', can be found just off Nan Luo Gu Xiang.

Those who enjoy shopping may be interested to visit The Pottery Workshop to see the world famous work of Caroline Cheng. While browsing her work you can also enjoy a glass of wine or a range of other drinks on sale. potteryworkshop.com.cn

Caroline Cheng's world famous pottery at The Pottery Workshop

Access

Nanluoguxiang is located in Beijing's Dongcheng District north east of Beihai Lake and north of the Forbidden City.

Walk west or short taxi ride from either Beixinqiao or Zhangzizhonglu Subway Stations on Line 5.

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