Things to Do: Travel Destination Beijing – Gateway to China

Globetrotters Blog

By: Marianne Silloriquez

DESTINATION: Beijing – Gateway to China

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How to get there: You can fly Emirates Airlines or China Southern direct. We took Qatar Air because it has the best rate and schedule at that time. Since it’s around 9 hours travel, it’s advisable to get into an evening flight so you don’t waste a day on the plane.

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Wanna move to China? Find out what it’s like!

Where to stay: Three star hotels are not bad; they have the regular amenities you need. Ours, cost us about AED 900 for 5 nights on twin sharing. Hotel personnel are generally helpful although communication was quite a problem. Try to learn a few basic Chinese phrases like Who can speak English and “I don’t understand this will come in handy. Consider to select a hotel that is near the subway station because in Beijing it is the best means of transportation.

things to do in beijingGreat Wall of China

How to dress: Depending on the season you plan to travel, it’s a must to wear comfortable shoes as there will be a lot of walking. If you’re planning to go during the winter, around November – December like we did, you will need layers of clothing to keep warm and be sure to pack a bonnet, scarf and gloves especially if you’re planning to climb the Great Wall. It’s best to check weather conditions on your time of travel to be prepared.

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What to bring: Travel guide with Chinese translation (the language barrier can be a real problem!), budget for shopping as it will be too hard to resist the urge to shop when you see how unbelievably low-priced are the stuff there and besides your big luggage and hand bags, have an empty extra bag in the large bag you will be checking in. In the last day of your trip you will be amazed at how much stuff you have bought. And of course you don’t want to forget your camera.


Marriane has also been to PARIS! Check out her journey in the City of Love.

Must do and must visit: Getting around Beijing is easy and surprisingly inexpensive. Opt to take the subway to go around the city – reliable and easy as directional signs are clear, saves you a lot of time too.

what to do in beijing what to do in beijing china what to do in china

Among the must see places are: the Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City which are just across one another, Jingshan Park (Prospect Hill) here is where you will get the best view of the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, Olympic Stadium, and for animal lovers – find the Panda House inside the Beijing Zoo.

Tiananmen Square in China Tiananmen Square China Olympic Village 

Allow yourself to do some shopping. Practice your bargaining skills at Wangfujing Street, Silk Market or Panjiayuan Market. And just across the Beijing Zoo in what seems to be a bus terminal is a bargain market where most of the locals shop – we got some real good deals here!

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Treat yourself with authentic Beijing (Peking) duck right where it actually originated, it is the local flavor of Beijing. Get adventurous and try some street food like the Jian Bing (a crepe like snack with egg, scallions, chili paste and hoisin sauce – best eaten when warm), Bingtang hulu (Candied hawthorn), Suanlafen (spicy and sour noodles), Malatang (boiled veggies, bean curd, fish ball, shrimp, meat, chicken – the choice is actually yours, with chili and sesame paste). Brave? Grab a bite of some exotic selection of insects, sea creatures and even scorpions which can be deep fried to order (we found these in Wangfujing food street).

Great Wall of China Great Wall of China Great Wall of China

Finally, your trip to Beijing will not be complete without climbing the Great Wall. It is a symbol of Chinese civilization and a visit to the wall is like a tour through China’s history. Arrange a tour as it’s in the northern section slightly away from the city. The wall has got many sections, I suggest you go to the Badaling section; it is the most well-preserved section of the Great Wall, built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). This section with an average altitude of over 1,000 meters (3,282 feet) is the outpost of the Juyongguan Pass. The mountain slope is very steep and the roads are tortuous. These features made it a military stronghold. Arranged tours usually include trips to the Ming Tombs (also a must visit), Jade and Silk factories. This tour cost around AED 200 per head.

Now how about another kind of wall? The BERLIN WALL! Check it out here.


What to avoid: The Chinese are some what hard sellers, and although shopping will be a fun adventure the sellers can be too insistent. When they start to be too aggressive, just leave.


How much money do I need for this trip: Your daily food and transportation allowance will not be more than AED 100. Ticket and entrance fees are at the average – AED 30, set aside around AED 1,500 for shopping (that’s more than enough). AED 3,000 for a week’s holiday excluding airfare is adequate for you to survive. Advisable to bring Credit card and cash (when using the ATM in China, remember you will have to pay the taxes, so try to withdraw the maximum).


Ultimate travel tip: China is what I can describe as the bargain hunters paradise – you can get almost anything at unbelievable cost. But be aware, the initial price offered by the seller is usually at least 40% over the general price acceptable.  It can even be up to 500% over especially in tourist areas. So always ask for the least price and haggle with a smile, the vendors would usually give in to happy clients.


Over all, Beijing is a very nice place to visit. It is education and adventure all in one. No body will not be in awe with their ancient palaces and gardens, temples, pagodas, hutungs, architecture, arts and culture that are well preserved, it’s like stepping back in time when the emperors and empress are still in reign – back to back with the modern and busy metropolis filled with the towering structures of today bringing you back to reality. It’s a totally great experience!


Things to Do: Travel Destination Beijing – Gateway to China.