You will get a pleasant surprise when you see just how massive this whole Forbidden City really is. So there! Imagine - the Emperors of the Qing Dynasty NEVER once stepped out of this place to see the outside world until Emperor Qian Long came to power. He disguised himself as a commoner and had a great time mingling with his subjects. I don't know how true this is.
On a Chinese currency note and in many written tablets in the Forbidden City, you can see the Manchu Script, beside the Chinese characters.
The Manchus from the northeast invaded China in 1644 and ruled China until 1911. For the first 200 years, they imposed Manchu as the main language before finally adopted Chinese as the official language.
Interesting to note that the Manchu script is based on the Mongolian script and written top down and left to right. Each alphabet has a initial, medial and final forms just like Arabic script.
Not sure which is harder to learn - Chinese characters or Manchu script.
I dont kow about having any...
I dont kow about having any local knowlege but the best idea we had was to take a cab about 15 minutes away from the hotel and just start walking around. We found many street markets with great stuff. I was concerned about the language but most merchants with have a calculator which to haggle with you on. The student population (under 20) generaly speak some decent english but they are a bit shy with it.
Counterfeit designer brands
Silk Street is a large modern shopping centre that contains over 1,700 vendors who, mostly, sell counterfeit designer brand clothing and shoes. As well as this, their are stalls selling traditional Chinese handicrafts, antiques, calligraphy, carpets, table cloths, bed coverings, paintings, hand-knit dresses, toys, electronic gadgets, trinkets, and fine jewellery. Opened on March 19, 2005, and replacing the old alley-based Xiushui Market, the shopping centre attracts thousands of foreign tourists looking for counterfeit bargains. The place can feel very intimidating with vendors trying to attract you into their area. Remember to bargain as hard as you can and don't, by any means, accept their first price. It's all a 'game' and you remember that and that the items they sell aren't legitimate.
No Bike, No Beijing! As known as the "Bicycle Kingdom", Beijing is one of the best place to get around by bicycle.
More and more visitors of Beijing find out that it's not only nicer and healthier to cycle, but in most cases also much faster.
China the country that runs on two wheels!!
Kingdom Bike Rental is helpful!!