The Great Wall Of china. There...
The Great Wall Of china. There were literally hundred of tours you can join to the Great Wall. Our hotel offered us a tour for 75.00 US. (apparently the locals don't know what RMB is ...only US dollar...haha) But if you go down to Tiannemen square,( on the corner) there are general public tourbusses that will take you to the Great Wall Badaling, mings tomb, Dian tomb, and (of course) a souvenir shop, which i found had items very very reasonably priced!. These tourbusses are packed back to back and start the first tour at about 7:30 am till i think about noon. They run every half hour or less, (or when the bus is full) nad it only costs 50 RMB (or 10 dollars canadian, 7 dollar US) It is the exact same tour as the one the hotel offered for 75.00 US. and we basically followed the same route. Only difference in the tour was that the other bus had a washroom. friends at the hotel felt quite sickened when they found out how much we payed. It is about a two hour ride, as you go to the first area of the great wall. the first one is Steep. so bring good walking shoes. you can actually feel the altitude difference there. It costs 20RMB as an entrance fee. (which the other tourbus had to pay as well) the next is usually the lunch stop. You are given about 2 hours to spend there. It cost 35RMB to get in and that is the Great Wall of Badaling. (the food, if you can call it that, is crap there. I felt thast the jails there would definately offer better food. so you might be better off bringing your own lunch) There you will have the most spectacular views of the Great wall. Mings tomb was the next stop. it cost 20RMB to get in. We were unable to see the actual tomb. But the archatecture of the building is magnificent. Allow a good 7 hours for this tour. And be prepared to be tired!
Forbidden City. It is a definate go. Upon arrival ally you will see is the insane traffic Beijing hasd to offer. Directly across from the Forbidden city, is tiannamen square. The entraance fee to the forbidden City is a reasonable 40 RMB. The city in itself is huge. Beautiful decor and very vivid colors.If you go around 8-10 am, you can see the militarty guards practicing there marches. It was quite a sight worth seeing.
Tiannemen Square takes you away form it all. It is peaceful, vast, and very quiet. With only people talking amongst themselves quitely. Knowing that they are standing at the very spot, where thousands died for their democracy. Be quiet when visiting there. Be respectful of the bloodshed that occured there on that horrific day.
The Lama Temple is a definate place to go as well. I realize that there are hundreds of buddist shrines in Beijing, but this one appealed to me the most. It showed great valor, bright colors, and had very many locals going there for worship. I am unable to explain it. But it gives a warm hospitable introductiion to Buddaism, and the preachings of the Lama. Entrance is a nominal 15RMB... bring lots of small change for the insence if you please.
Summer Palace, the summer residence for the royalty was a definate go as well. It is busy. Do not go on a saturday! The color scheme, the views, the buildings were phenominal. it cost 40 RMB to get in, but you also have ot pay to see the other sites. But definately worth it. And of course, there is shopping. The big one appears to be Silk Alley. I have seen many people from work goto Beijing with an empty suitcase, yet come home with three full ones! Be hard, be stern, be firm. Get ready for bargaining like you would not believe. The general rule of thumb is go half price....i went further than that and still ended up at about 50-60% but be courteous. and know that you want it...there is nothing wrong with saying no thak you and walking away.After all, you will see the identicle product about two stall down! here's a rough idea...norhtface jackets strated at 400 RMB...inded up costing me 130..but my friend (who was caucasian) got the same one in yellow for 240. 2 khaki pants costed me 160 RMB..down from the original 440, and a watch (which is still working great!) costed me 30 RMB..from 250...but trust me..it was like pulling teeth, and i think she thought i was cute! haha!!!But Just remember, you did get a great of a deal, but you never ripped him off... The chinese are fantastic actors! and just as you walk away laughing and whisper 'sucker' he has just said the same about you, waiting for his next victim!