My wife and I will be in Beijing in October. We would love to receive hotel recommendations which are reasonable to the pocket book.
What are some of the sites and activities we should not miss?
Also, how can side trips be booked while there.
First of all, I hope your trip to China is during the last three weeks of October. From October 1 through October 8 is the busy week long National Day holiday and things get extremely busy (and crowded) during that time.
Next, see my VT Beijing page for sightseeing suggestions and the top 10 tips.
A side trip to one of the more remote sections of the Great Wall (Simatai and/or Jinshanling) can be arranged through hostels and hotels. This is a full day trip, but since you are planning to be in Beijing for more than 4 days then you should consider going out there for your Wall experience rather than Badaling or Mutianyu.
Your weekend plan should include a visit to Panjiayuan market during the morning hours.
I suggest hotels in the Wangfujing district. This area is most convenient for transportation and pleasant walks. Another possibility is the Yuexiu Hotel near Xuanwumen's subway station. The Qianmen Hotel is also not bad.
Outside of Beijing you can enjoy an excursion to nearby Xi'an, with possible stops along the way in Shanxi or Henan provinces. Places like Pingyao, Luoyang and the Shao Lin Temple are popular perimeter destinations from Beijing.
Easy! Beijing is the top tourist destination in China. You should visit Tian a men, the forbidden city, the temple of heaven, the great wall, the emporer's tombs, the summer palace and many more places, before you go anywhere else in China.
For hotels, It has been a while since I was in Beijing, but I stayed at the Asia hotel and found it comfortable and affordable. My first visit I stayed at the old Beijing hotel. It is next to Tian A Men. I could see the spot where the boy stopped the tank from my room.
So much depends on your interests and time, but let me give a shot at three suggestions for things I think you should not miss in China beyond the famous named places. 1) First and foremost, a walk in a park in the morning. Or perhaps in the afternoon or on a Saturday. The less famous the park, the better. Relax and observe life in a Chinese park. 2) A walk off the tourist streets of a Hutong. Do not be afraid to get lost. Just because the conditions are poor, it does not mean that they are unsafe. Be prepared for sensory overload. The feel of these spaces is completely different from monumental-modern Beijing and from the designed parks. 3) Eat hot (and perhaps some not so hot) foods from stands on the street. (Of course, use a little common sense and avoid foods that might be contaminated or otherwise unclean.)
I found these three activities as enriching as my visits to any of the usual tourists sites.
Well, what's your expected price range?
Also, what are your dates of stay?
What are your sightseeing interests and preferences?
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