Monday, July 28, 2008

Top 3 Attraction for Beijing Tourism

If you are visiting Beijing for the Olympics, I am sure you will not miss the opportunity to take a short tour around the place and get yourself more familiar with China and Beijing. Restricting yourself to the Beijing Olympics area would probably not give you the chance to see the main tourist attractions for Beijing. So before you pack your bags , here are a few places that are must see if you are touring Beijing for the Olympics.

Tiananmen Square
There is no better place to get the true modern feel of Beijing. Tiananmen Square is huge open space surrounded on all sides by imposing official buildings. Apart from being a popular gathering place for tourists and kite flyers, it is still often used for any big celebration and for the government leaders to address the people. Every lamp post is equipped with an array of speakers which can convey the speakers message to a crowd in the tens of thousands. You can visit the square freely until 10.30pm at night. If you go during the day you can often buy a ticket to go up to the balcony from which the leaders address the people.

Tianmen Square Beijing

If at all possible, you must go check out the square at night as well as during the day. The atmosphere at night is different again and the square is beautifully lit. On a cold winter night with fog is really something. But don't arrive too late, at 10.30pm the soldiers come and evacuate the whole thing in minutes and its sealed off for the night.

Great Wall of China
The Great Wall, as you probably know, is one of the few man made structures visible from space. From Beijing you can get to a few different pieces of the Great Wall within 2 or 3 hours by bus or car. The Badaling part of the great wall is a fully restored section which is long enough to make you feel that it is never going end.

Great Wall of China

It does, however have two stopping points where you cannot walk any further. From the entrance following the route to the tallest point you can see and over to the stopping point takes about 2 hours (one way) unless you're some kind of Olympic Athlete. Not sure about the other end. We thoroughly recommend the Badaling part, as it is well managed and safe. The other parts are not fully restored and further away anyway.

Forbidden City
The forbidden city is a vast complex of halls, temples and housing which make up the former residence of the ancient emperors. Also known as the Imperial Palace, the complex is said to contain 9,999 rooms.

The complex is divided into a northern and southern part. The southern area is where the emperor would hold ceremonies and entertain guests. The northern half was kept completely private residence accessible only to the select circles of the emperor.

Today, the Forbidden City is one of the world's most famous tourist attractions and lately becoming ever more popular with film crews who pay a hefty price to film Chinese period pieces.

Forbidden City Beijing

The price to get into the Forbidden City is pretty high, around 60 RMB but you will easily while away a couple of hours here. For an additional 20 RMB or so, you can purchase an audio tour in one of many languages. This tour is world-class. The English version is done by Roger Moore (of James Bond fame). Together with some sound effects he expertly guides you through the complex. Worth every penny.

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