After visiting Yuanmingyuan, I think ridding the boat to cruise around the Yuanmingyuan is the perfect way to see the park. This giant park is linked by water with canals or lakes. You could see the spectacular views of the gardens, lakes, birds, and trees. If you plan well, ridding the boat could save your time to shortcut your travel between South and North. You could see the boat ticket counter near the important sites. You have the flexibility to travel from one site to another site because they have stations on major stops.
Two Routes Available:
1) From South Gate (Near Canqiao) --> Transfer stop --> Ruins of European Buildings
Fare: Y20 per person.
2) Within Chanchunyuan, please refer to the map, A--> B--> C--> D
Y10 per person (A --> B only)
Y15 per person (A --> B --> C --> D)
Opening Hours: Spring/Fall (8:00-17:30); Summer (7:30-19:00)
I found travelling by train through China to be a good and reasonably inexpensive way to travel. China has a vast train network and is adding to it daily...and as China is such a huge country you can travel virtually everywhere by train here. I found the trains to be on time, Clean, comfortable, fast , and safe..all in all a great and inexpensive way to go. The overnight sleeper trains are clean and comfortable and usually the restaurant cars aren't expensive either serving fast cheap and tasty food.. I will soon return to China and travel across China once again this time from east to west. China now has the highest train in the world that travels to/from Tibet...also the fastest train "the Maglev" that runs to/from Shanghai/ Beijing. I beleive if you do one of these journeys in China you would not be dissapointed. Here in Beijing is possible to link up with the three major international trains The Trans Mongolian express, The Trans Manchurian Express or the Trans Siberian Express.
For further information on these train journeys visit my train travelogues :
"AROUND THE WORLD BY TRAIN" These are located on my homepage of which I am adding to all the time.
If you are visiting Summer Palace, you might be interested to hire a boat to cruise around Kunming Lake. You will find their booking counters near a dock at Kunming Lake. I have checked out the rate and regulation for your references:
4 persons boat ( Y40/hour ; Deposit: Y300)
6 persons boat ( Y60/hour ; Deposit: Y300)
Rules and Regulations:
1) Business Hours: 8:30 - 16:30
2) Minimum one hour rental: Over ten minutes counted as half an hour; Over forty minutes counted as one hour.
3) Deposit is collected when hiring a boat. Fee is calculated when return of boat.
4) The deposit card is the only certificated for fee calculation. This card is valid for one day only. If the card is missing, the deposit will not be refunded.
5) Mind the deep water. Over-capacity is prohibited on the boats.
6) Boats should be returned to the original dock of hire.
7) No drinking, swimming, standing and rough behavior while on boat.
8) Compensation will be required for boats damaged during hire.
If you have time, cruising around Kunming Lake is the perfect way to experience the beauty of Summer Palace.
I had been told that the best way to see the Great Wall of China was by way of a personal guide, and Alvin had come highly recommended by many fellow VTers and so this was our preferred way to do this. By using a guide, you can tailor make your day or days, including only the places YOU want to visit. If you go on a group tour, not only do you get to spend less time at the places you want to, you also go to several places you dont want to, usually shops where you are expected to buy something.
After several emails with Alvin, our day had been settled upon, at a very reasonable price. Alvin is your car driver as well as your tour guide, so this brings his price down, as you are not also paying for the services of a driver.
For me, the Great Wall the highlight of the whole trip. I had wanted to visit and walk the Great Wall for many years and, finally, the time had come. After much research mainly on vt, we decided that Mutianyu was the best place to go and that Alvin was the best guide to take us there!! Alvin was recomended by many VTers, he was discovered by Homer and Eddie many years ago, and highly praised word of mouth on VT has gained him many followers. I have also recommended Alvin to many of my VT and facebook friends, who have booked him and been 100% satisfied with his services. It does seem that word of mouth is the best form of advertising!!!!!
Our day included pick-up at our Hotel at 8am, 2hr drive to Mutianyu, cable car up to the top, walking the wall for several hours (3hrs in total spent at the Wall), then lunch in a local Dumpling Restaurant, we then drove back to Beijing and spent one hour at the Lama Temple. We then went back to our room for a shower and reflection time! Then, pick-up by Alvin once again and off to our Acrobatic Show, pick-up after that at 8.30pm, dinner at the Loft Restaurant and back to our rooms by about 10pm. It was indeed a very busy and tiring day, but one I will remember for the rest of my life.
Along the way, Alvin will pay all fees payable, such as tollway fees (if you elect to go via the tollway to save time), entrance fees and then he will tally up the total for you to pay at the end of the day. I found this to be easier for us and he was 100% honest with his tally!!! Alvin also very very kindly purchased our overnight train tickets to Xian for us, as I had been told that this could be a difficult process for foreigners to do. He did not charge us a cent to do this, even though we offered to pay him. Your Hotel will more than likely do this for you if needed, but they will charge you for their services. Alvin also purchased our Acrobatics Show tickets at a heavily reduced price, about half price I think of the people that were sitting right next to us, so they were not too happy about that, but we were!!!!!
If you would like more details about our day with Alvin, including phone number, email address and costings, please email me :)
Just introduce the airticket booking website to you. I also use it a lot to book the ticket.
Yoee.com, best real time air ticket booking website in beijing, they provide the ticket delivery service after you booked, or you can book E-ticket to get the most best discount.
I have been to Beijing twice. Once in 2007 and now in 2010. Alvin Jiang, a local guide, never fails to impress me on both my visits! His service attitude is A+++. I will recommend him to ANYONE who is serious about having a good and decent time in Beijing. Alvin is honest, realiable and totally NICE! Drop me a message for his email and mobile, and I will gladly share it with you. I don't know how else to thank this great guy except to recommend him onwards.
According to Internet, international train between Beijing and UlanBator runs only on Monday. The tickets cannot be sold at stations. Check with the agency CITS.
Tracy and I had wanted to do an overnite train trip in Vietnam but didnt get around to it. So we were determined to do it in China, although we had received many warnings about Chinese Trains. Having done my research on vt and asked many many questions, I had decided to go "first class" and opted for the soft-sleeper tickets. Basically, (as far as I understand) there are 4 classes of tickets, starting with the dearest which is soft-sleeper, then hard-sleeper, then soft-seat and then hard-seat.
Soft-sleeper means there are 2 double bunks in a separate room, the room is not large, but big enough for yourself and your luggage. We were lucky enough to only have one other chinese man in our room, and he spoke good english and was very friendly and helpful.
There are 2 advantages to doing an overnight train trip, and both of them save you money. Firstly, you save on the cost of one nights accommodation. Secondly, the cost of the train trip is a fair bit less than the cost of an internal flight. Alvin was kind enough to buy our train tickets for us, lower berth was 400rmb I think and upper berth was 417rmb, or the other way around. It worked out to about $72AUD each for the train ticket. Our 2 internal flights cost us about $250AUD each, so there is a huge difference in price.
And, furthermore, it is a very pleasant trip, the gentle rocking of the train very quickly lulls you off to sleep and when you wake up, you are at your next destination. Tracy and I both had a great nights sleep on the train, and we would definitely do it again in the future.
Another advantage to booking the soft-sleeper tickets is that there is a special waiting area at the Train station for only people with soft-sleeper tickets. We were glad to discover this, as when we walked into the main waiting area, it was packed to the rafters and pretty unpleasant place to be. The other waiting room had nicer seat, Im assuming the toilets were nicer and not as crowded. This was great, as we had about 4 and a half hours to kill at the Train Station, we ate a bit and played cards for a while. We had to be out of our Hotel by 4pm as there were National Day rehearsals and if we had left any later, the roads would have been blocked. Our train didnt leave until 9.18pm so we had a lot of time to kill at the station.
Our train left from Beijing West Train Station, and when we were approaching the station in the taxi we were like OMG!!! This place was HUGE (I seem to use that word a lot when describing China!) Im sure it was bigger than our main Sydney Airport. Our train was called the Z19 and it was about the only recognisable thing on the HUGE board we saw!
Overall, I would definitely recommend doing an overnight train trip in China, I will be doing it again one day.
We used taxis in Beijing several times and always found them to be very cheap. Although very few, if any of the taxi drivers spoke any english, they always managed to get us to our destination. It is imperative that your get your Hotel staff to write your destination on a Hotel card in Chinese to give to the taxi driver, and you then also have the name of your Hotel in Chinese for your return. NOTE - very few taxi drivers knew where our Hotel the Days Inn actually was, as it was in a small alleyway, off a main road.
Taxis always had their meter on in Beijing, and always printed out a receipt, you just need to say "far peow" when you are getting out to get the receipt. Im told the receipt comes in very handy if you actually leave something in the taxi, as it can then be tracked down.
All Beijing taxis were two-toned coloured and their number plate always started with the letter B. We did not use the subway in Beijing at all, so cant comment on that.
Contrary to what Lonely Planet (May 2007) states, buses to Chengde depart from the Liuliqiao bus station in the south-west of the city centre and NOT from the Sihui bus station in the east of the city. I learnt this the hard way by going to Sihui first and then being told to go to Liuliqiao which happens to be on the other side of the city. The bus I caught took 4hrs when I was hoping it would take 2.5hrs as it didn't go via the expressway. It cost RMB73.
All you have to do is catch an early bus direct to Chengde and then hop into a cab or bus (lots of buses go to the Summer Resort) when you get to the Chengde bus station. At the end of the day, you can catch a bus back to Beijing at the same bus station, there're buses leaving fairly regularly, even at night.
There is so much walking to do as you climb up the Mutanying Great Wall. In order for you to enjoy the experience, take the cable car at the foot of Mutanying and just do the walking from its end station (it sure is the best journey). You can enjoy the nice view from the cable car. The sight of the trees, mountains, colourful leaves - is just awesome! The trip costs 50 Yuan. And mind you, I had the privilege of riding in the same cable car the US Former President Clinton rode in.
Also known as first cable car on the Great Wall, Mutianyu Great Wall Cable Car Services Co. Ltd. Provides 58 cable cars for you and me. It was built in 1986.
The cable way is 732m in length, 604m high and runs 3.5 m per second.
As everyone knows, i'm not a back packer so I love to travel personalized hence this private tour van with my friend. the personalized van was arranged by our travel agent long before we went to China but you can also arrange for a private tour with the website below and the telephone numbers below. A private day tour starts at US $ 60 per person excluding tips ok. some private tours also include lunch and dinner (like ours) so again check this website and the numbers.
On the 2nd night in Beijing we were standing at a que at the Grand Hyatt hotel waiting to get to our hotel, which was only about 3 miles away but we had done a great amount of walking, so we wanted to cab it, but several taxi's wouldn't take us because it was a short ride....but one cab driver did...and we were so glad we ended up with him.
His English name is David Yao and he speaks enough english to communicate with you and it help quit a bit, we ended up hiring him for the day to take us to Badaling section of the great wall, the Ming tombs and the Summer palace all for 400 RMB. He picked us up on time at our hotel drove us, waited as we saw the sites. He gave me his business card and wanted to make sure I let people know about his services...
His mobile number is : 86-10-136-8155-2975
He's email address is : Yaochunwei0608@yahoo.com.cn
I would highly recommend him to anyone, he was honest and well priced....
We also asked him to take us back to the airport and he charge us 90 RMB. And with the amount of traffic there is in Beijing it was well worth it.
My son and I were in Beijing during the weekend of 13 September 2008. After checking into the hotel, we hit the road immediately and our first stop was the nearest Metro station where a local was kind enough to tell the ticket seller in Chinese that we wanted the Public Transport Card (light blue plastic card) that sells for CNY 20 each and can be loaded in multiples of CNY10. You can use the same card for more than one person since the fare is deducted when scanned at entry and exit. The same card can be used for the public bus (charges only CNY .40 instead of CNY 1 if paying in cash). You can also buy solo rides at CNY 2 per ticket but that's a hassle when you are rushing or when you run out of small notes for the vending machine. The stations are well-lighted clean, spacious and so are the trains although the trains could get very crowded during rush hour (but so do the Tokyo and New York subways). Police visibility is quite high and all bags are x-rayed at the entrance of all stations. The signs are bilingual, quite clear and simple and it is hard to lose your way. There are also many volunteer guides in major stations with basic English knowledge. Most public buses have conductors, just stand at the exit door and signal to the conductor when you want to get off. Since we stayed at the north end of Wangfujing, we saved a lot of walking by taking Bus 103 and 104 that pass Wangfujing where you can catch the Metro Line 1 (red) at the Wangfujing Station under Oriental Plaza. When you exit at the north end of Forbidden City, you can take Bus 103 or 104 to bring you back to the Wangfujing Metro station under the Oriental Plaza.
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