Beijing is truly a city that combines the historical with the modern. Beijing is in many ways both inclusive and frightening: inclusive because the city is a Chinese crucible where the atmosphere and atmosphere is open and optimistic, and frightening because the city is large and difficult to get an overview of.
Often there is an oppressive “smog” over the city that makes it gray and somewhat gloomy. When the sky rarely appears clear and nice (often on weekends due to less traffic), the atmosphere eases and it is wonderful to take a walk in the many beautiful parks. Beijing is actually a very green city, with plantings and parks everywhere.
Beijing offers countless sights to see. Let’s briefly mention the Forbidden City, the Great Wall of China and the Summer Palace. In Beijing, the dynasties have ruled for years and left powerful traces behind.
Beijing can be very hot and stressful in the summer, and for many, the best time to visit the city is in the fall until December, or the spring months. The winter months can be experienced with snow, and Beijing can be both cold and windy.
Beijing is suitable for most travelers. The capital of China tempt with a pleasant nightlife, good shopping and very good local food as well as everything from international fast food chains for those who dare not venture into local restaurants. Beijing’s sights are of course top class, regardless of tourist destinations, and are alone enough reason to visit the city.
Get to know Beijing
Let it be said right away that Beijing is huge and covers many square kilometers. Much of the city is less interesting to the typical tourist, so we will concentrate on the places where most of us will spend the time. Also, keep in mind that cities in the East are often constructed in a different way from what we are used to from major European cities, where the city has a typical center where “all” shops and restaurants are located. In Beijing, you have to be prepared to use taxis as much as your legs, and that dining places can be far away from the sights.
Beijing now has five ring roads that go around the city. These are constantly being expanded with new external ring roads, and number six is soon in place. The roads are wide and fine, and modern buildings are rocketing.
The city without suburbs are divided into eight districts:
Chaoyang (朝阳区Chaoyang Qu)
Chongwen (崇文区: Chongwen Qu)
Dongcheng (东城区: Dōngchéng Qu)
Fengtai (丰台区: Fengtai Qu)
Haidian (海淀区: Hǎidián Qu)
Shijingshan (石景山 区: Shíjǐngshān Qū)
Xicheng (西 城区: Xīchéng Qū)
Xuanwu (宣武区: Xuānwǔ Qū).
Centrally located in Beijing
The road around the Forbidden City’s ring road 1. Tiananmen Square (Tianmen Square) and the Forbidden City located right in the center. South of the gigantic Tiananmen Square is the Temple of Heaven. You are now in the Chongwen district, which, in addition to the above-mentioned world-famous sights, also offers affordable and affordable hotels and various attractions, such as the Red Theater, which gives you Kung Fu performance of the highest class. Beijing Central Railway Station is also in this area. Trains are cheap and convenient means of transport if you are going from Beijing to other destinations. Chongwen also offers an amusement park if you have children. Just east of the Forbidden City you will find Wangfujing Dajle Street, which is about as long as the Forbidden City. Here it is teeming with shopping centers and specialty shops.
Further south in Chongwen you will find the world-famous and notorious pearl market, which sells everything from copy goods. So does the silk market at Yonganli Subway Station along Dongdan Street, which extends eastward from the Forbidden City. The distance to the pearl market is approx. 4 kilometers.
Northwest of Beijing – Summer Palace
In the northwest of Beijing, outside of ring road 4, beyond the Haidian area, you will find Lake Kunming and Summer Palace. This is a landmark and attraction worth seeing. Many local Chinese go here on holidays for relaxation and fresh air. You can easily reach the Summer Palace by taxi. On the way to the Summer Palace you can also visit the Beijing Zoo if the need arises. We should not go well for the conditions in the zoo, but the giant pandas are at least a major attraction.
North of downtown Beijing – The bell tower and the drum tower
North of the Forbidden City, between the areas of Xicheng in the west and Dongcheng in the east, by ring road 2, lies an exciting area with the sights of the bell tower and the drum tower. Here you will also find one of Beijing’s hutongs. Hutong is the original settlement in Beijing, and the narrow alleys are teeming with life and is an experience in itself. There are bicycle taxis that at a reasonable price take you on a sightseeing tour through the hutong. Just say how long the trip will last, but make sure you fully agree on the price, both in which currency it is in question and whether it is the total price or per person.
A little east of the towers you will find the Lama Temple, which extends over a large area. You can easily find it by following ring road 2, but remember that the road is called Andingmen here. The Lama Temple is not a single temple, but consists of a number of temples. Known for its giant Buddha statue, the Lama Temple is the best-preserved Tibetan temple outside of Tibet.
On the west side of the towers you will find Lake Houhai (Houhai Nanyan). Around this lake there is a nightlife area packed with bars and restaurants. Here it is a buzzing people life and a pleasant atmosphere. Foreigners and Chinese alike are leaning towards this enlarged edition of Aker Brygge. Definitely our favorite place in the evening.
Center east of Beijing – Chaoyang
The area east of the center right off the outside of ring road 2 is called Chaoyang. Here you will find the Dongyue Temple, which is a Taoist temple with practicing Taoist monks. The area also offers several museums and an amusement park. Chaoyang also has another important attraction, one of Beijing’s best bar streets. In the streets of San Li Tun (Sanlitun) and Sanlitun Lu it is formally crowded by bars and restaurants. Both local and international nightclubs in all price ranges are represented, and the evening atmosphere is high. If you want to meet foreigners living in Beijing, chances are you will meet them here.
General about Beijing
If you are used to traveling outside Europe, you can arrange all the sightseeing and excursions on your own. But be prepared that it can take a lot of time, that very few speak English, and that almost all information is in Chinese. Maybe you will stand in line for half an hour, just to be told that you were in line in the neighborhood week, and have to sit back in the back. You will probably want to scream out of frustration on a daily basis, but try to keep calm, it is important for the Chinese not to lose face, and they will have less respect for someone who is excited. You can avoid the frustration and save a lot of time by booking your desired events in advance with a skilled tour operator.
Facts about Beijing
Beijing is China’s capital and second largest city. This is the country’s political hub and the place with the main cultural attractions and sights and with excursions to the Great Wall of China.
|Population||About. 21.5 million (2016)|
|Language||Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghai), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan.|
|Religion||China is officially atheistic, but Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism stand strong|
|Time Difference||Beijing is 7 hours ahead of Norway, summertime 6 hours before.|
|Currency||Yuan. 100 yuan is about NOK 82. Credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard, Diners and AmEx are accepted in most major locations such as hotels and restaurants. There are plenty of ATMs available.|
|Tips||Has become more common, although it was actually banned until recently. 5-10% if you are satisfied with the service is still okay, although 10-15% service charge is often included in the bill.Also taxi drivers, luggage carriers and others who provide you with a service expect to get a rant. Guides and drivers you should tip with 100 and 50 yuan per day respectively. They often receive very low wages and depend on the tips.|
|Embassy||The Norwegian Embassy is located at 1, Dong Yi Jie, San Li Tun. Tel: +86 10 6532 2261|
|Tourist||10 Dengshikou Xi Jie, a side street to Wangfujing.|
|Emergency||Police 110. Fire 119. Ambulance 120. In emergency situations, contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Operational Center phone +47 23 95 13 00. The center is in operation 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The operations center will handle inquiries directed to the foreign service missions outside their regular opening hours.The public can also contact the Foreign Ministry’s central desk: (+47) 23 95 00 00.|
|Electricity||220 volts, and most hotels have the same plugs as in Norway. Adapters are normally available in stores.|
|Holidays and Holidays||January 1, May 1 (Labor Day, one week holiday), May 4 (Youth Day), June 1 (Children’s Day), July 1, August 1, October 1 (National Day, one week holiday). Also Chinese New Year at the end of the month Jan / Feb.|
|Visa||Norwegian citizens need a visa before entering China. Contact the Chinese Embassy in Tuengen Alle 2b in Oslo (tel. 2249 2052) at least one week before departure. The price is at least NOK 500 for a one-time visa + a passport photo. The passport must be valid for at least six months and have at least two blank pages.|
|Vaccinations||No vaccines are required, but it is recommended to vaccinate against Hepatitis A and B, polio, havrix, tuberculosis and diphtheria / tetanus. At least if you are going in the countryside.|
|Water||Do not drink from the tap.|
|Nearest major cities||Tianjin, Qinhuangdao, Qingdao|
|Safety||Violent crime and robbery are very rare, pocket theft can happen. Road traffic can seem chaotic and risky.|