The Top 15 Spa Hotels in Beijing & a Hot Tip for Beijing Travelers

The Top 15 Spa Hotels in Beijing & a Hot Tip for Beijing Travelers

I remember Beijing well, so many places to explore, so much walking, so many activities, and the flu. That’s Beijing, it can really wear you out because it’s simply one destination that there is so much to take in, and so much to do. So, make sure to plan for a pitstop and some time for rejuvenation.

How? Here’s my tip, book yourself in for one night, at least, at a superb hotel that offers loads of amenities then sit back and chill. Don’t let fatigue destroy your plans or distract you from getting the most out of your time in the city. read more

The Lone Laowai Travellers Final Thoughts on Beijing…

The Lone Laowai Travellers Final Thoughts on Beijing…

It started from the minute I walked out of the Beijing train station, as soon as my foreigner face was hit by the Beijing sunshine, or lack of, there was some one hustling for access to my wallet. ‘Hellooo, taxi…taxi, sir’. where do you want to go?’ said the suspiciously casually dressed man hoping to snag an overpriced fare.

This guys not a legit taxi, luckily I had been warned to avoid the touting taxi drivers that hover around the terminals. Their trick is to quote an upfront fee of 100 yuan, which in many cases can be five times what you would pay on the meter! I’d rather wait and find a real taxi. read more

The Lama Temple (YongHeGong) Beijing

The Lama Temple (YongHeGong) Beijing

The Lama Temple in Beijing is a functioning lamasery for Tibetan and Mongolian monks practising Tibetan Buddhism. It’s open to visitors, and is a very popular tourist attraction featuring well preserved ancient architecture and artifacts, along with friendly monks roaming the grounds!

As a primer, the word lama is another name for a Buddhist priest, and a lamasery is a place for monks to practice their beliefs on the journey to becoming a lama. It’s somewhat hard to imagine that someone could find spiritual enlightenment in the middle of bustling Beijing, but nonetheless this is quite a special place. read more

The Great Wall (BaDaLing Section) Beijing

The Great Wall (BaDaLing Section) Beijing

As the tour bus left the Ming Tombs the guide started talking about jade (an ornamental stone), and then tea, my eyes rolled into the back of my head….to explain; its quite common for tour services to take gullible foreigners to ‘jade galleries’ and tea houses featuring ‘genuine green tea’ for sale. The guide started with a big long story about how important jade (an ornamental stone found) is in Chinas history, which it probably is, and then how theres ‘good and bad’ jade, blah. blah…and then, so lucky for us, there happens to be an exculsive jade showroom just around the corner! read more

The Ming Tombs Beijing

The Ming Tombs Beijing

Still feeling pretty ordinary and very tired I chose to join a tour group to see the Great Wall rather than go through all the challenges of how to get there and back. I asked the tour desk at the hotel and the got me into a tour the next morning.

A mini bus picked me up from the hotel early in the morning and off we went, all three of us, a grand total of five including the driver! Cool, this could be ok! First stop was the Ming Tombs, the tour desk didnt tell me about this one but ok, i’ll go along, it looks intersting. read more

The Summer Palace Beijing

The Summer Palace Beijing

The Summer Palace is an imperial garden built by Emperor Qianlong in 1750 to celebrate his mothers birthday, it was later used as a garden where emperors and empresses would escape the heat of Beijing’s summers.

The palace covers a staggering 290 hectares featuring a massive lake, temples, halls, pavilions, corridors, towers which are decorated with fine stone, bronze sculptures and feature paintings, all amongst a garden of ancient pines and cypress trees.

A major feature of the Summer Palace is the man made Kunming Lake covering over 2 square kilometers and having three islands all connected via beautiful stone bridges. read more

Tian’anmen Square Beijing

Tian’anmen Square Beijing

Tian’anmen Square has had it’s moments in history, but in front of me today I see a massive public space, full of people enjoying themselves in what is the heart of Beijing.

It’s the largest outdoor square in the world and contains the Meridian Gate (southern entrance to the Forbidden City), Great Hall of the People on its western side, Mao Zedong Memorial Hall on its southern side, China National Museum to the east and in the center is the Monument of the Peoples Heroes.

 

 

Tiananmen Square Location Map read more

The Forbidden City (Palace Museum) Beijing

The Forbidden City (Palace Museum) Beijing

The Forbidden City was once the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing Dynasties and was originally constructed in early 1400’s. The city was once off limits to the general public and home to 24 successive emperors. Now, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world attracting over 7 million visitors a year.

It’s official name has been changed to the Palace Museum, but most people still refer to it as the Forbidden City.

The complete site occupies an area of over 720,000 square meters featuring nearly 10,000 buildings. It is also the largest collection of ancient buildings in China which are also the best preserved. read more

Beihai Park Beijing

Beihai Park Beijing

Beihai Park in Beijing is over 1000 years old and covers an area of 690,000 square meters featuring a large peaceful lake, ancient temples and an islet featuring a 36m high buddhist shrine in the form of a Tibetan Dagoba.

The ‘White Dagoba’ (also refered to as the White Pagoda) located on Jade Islet towers over the park and can easily be seen from afar. It was originally built in the late 1600’s by a Qing Dynasty Emperor in recognition of the buddhist faith.

Beihai Park is an easy place to spend a lot of time if your keen to relax and unwind. There is plenty of seats around the lake and you can even hire row boats. read more

Travel Exhaustion and Long Days in Beijing

Travel Exhaustion and Long Days in Beijing

After nearly one month on the road things had started to catch up with me, I was tired. Apart from being on your feet 12 hours a day, walking up things, down things, getting lost then more lost, there’s also the mental load as you never stop thinking. Even simple tasks become complex in country where you don’t speak the language.

Now that I think about it, it’s been a constant mental and physical load for the time I’ve been here in China, apart from the relaxing phases when I have had wonderful guides that have made things so easy! read more

Jingshan Park Beijing

Jingshan Park Beijing

Jingshan Park in Beijing is located in front of the north gate of the Forbidden City and is well worth a visit if only for the view city that it offers.

Entry to the park is only 2RMB ($.32AUD) and the site, which covers 230,000 square meters, features a number of pavillions dating back to around 1750 along with native gardens.

The pavillions, which once contained copper casts of Buddhist Deities that were plunded during a civillion uprising in the 1900’s, are specially positioned to each offer a unique experience to the senses. For example, the ‘All Round View Pavillion’ is located such that it offers a 360 degree view of the park and the city outside of the park walls, another of the five pavillions is located such that it recieves all the aromas of the gardens below and named the ‘Pavillion of Gathering Fragrance’. read more

Sanlitun Village Beijing

Sanlitun Village Beijing

Sanlitun Village Beijing is a recently built sleek shopping complex packed with luxury brand names. I didn’t spend too long here as I was more interested in the Ya Show Clothing Market which is just next door.

I did have a coffee at the Starbucks and used there free wi-fi! Brand name stores at the site include Apple’s and  Adidas’s flagship stores along with many others, a cinema, restaurants, cafes and a UniQlo store which features discount clothing.

For more visit the official website sanlitunvillage.com and check out the review at goshopbeijing.com/..south..sanlitun-village and goshopbeijing.com/..north..sanlitun-village. read more

Silk Street Market Beijing

Silk Street Market Beijing

Well known and well visited by tourists, the Silk Market is seven floors of clothing, shoes, bags, fashion accessories, leather goods, traditional Chinese crafts, calligraphy, carpets, home fabrics, paintings, hand-knitted dresses, toys, trinkets and souvenirs, fine jewellery and more. There are also plenty of custom tailors for suits etc.etc. Most stall operators speak english.

Apparently the market operators are trying to clean up the image of Silk Street, and there’s plenty of signage around the market about ‘buying with confidence’ and the ability to return goods if not satisfied, and they are also trying to remove sellers of brand name copies, fake goods and the like. I think it’s safe to ignore this, and consider everything to be fake, and that once you hand over the cash, you own it. read more

Ya Show Clothing Market (Sanlitun Yashou Clothing Market) Beijing

Ya Show Clothing Market (Sanlitun Yashou Clothing Market) Beijing

Sanlitun Yashou Clothing Market is five floors of clothing and fashion (notice its name can sometimes be translated as Ya Show or Yashou or even Yaxui!). Including mens and womens clothes, suits, womens bags, luggage bags, leather goods, shoes and more. It’s located right next door to Sanlitun Village, a new and ultra modern shopping complex featuring many big brand name stores.

Inside the five storey building is jam packed with independently operated market stalls with staff that wont let you past with you knowing what they have for sale! But note, if you see anything here with a brand name on it at Yashow Clothing Market, check the authenticity. read more

Wangfujing St Beijing

Wangfujing St Beijing

Wangfujing St. is one of the largest and most well known shopping streets in Beijing. Featuring a mix of large modern department stores, luxury brand name outlets, small retail shops and markets. What’s interesting is that this has been an active commercial street for over 700 years!

The street is pedestrian only with plenty of room, which is fortunate for the many thousands of people visit here daily! The street is quite long and if you like shopping you could loose a day here no problem. Or maybe longer. read more

Shopping in Beijing

Shopping in Beijing

There is no shortage of places to go shopping in Beijing, if thats what youre into, you can find markets, retail department stores, mega-malls and the quirky side streets packed with all sorts of odd goods.

You can haggle a great price on souveniers, no-name and copy goods at the markets, and enjoy some savings on brand name quality goods at the major modern malls. Although in some cases you may find prices similar to the west, particularly on goods that are imported into China.

For detailed info on shopping markets and malls in Beijing check out goshopbeijing.com. read more

Beijing Accommodation: The Redwall Hotel

Beijing Accommodation: The Redwall Hotel

The first thing that struck me about the Redwall Hotel was the incredible service provided by the concierge team. As soon as I put my foot on the steps of the hotel there was someone bounding out the front door to help with my luggage and escort me to the reception to check in.

Oddly, and to my benefit, the concierge even helped out in securing the best rate possible and matching the cTrip price which initially the reception desk was unable to do.

The hotel is starting to show some age, the rooms are kept very clean and are well maintained with everything working as it should. Unfortunately the same cant be said about the restaurant, it’s rubbish, the food is average and the place looks like it hasn’t had a decent clean in years, it really lets the rest of the hotel down. The breakfast is acceptable though ,and reasonably priced by Beijing standards, but I’m sure better could be found if you were prepared to travel away from the hotel. read more

Xian to Beijing via Train

Xian to Beijing via Train

My first time on a train in China was on the overnight trip from Xian to Beijing. China has many different classes of train and this one was the ‘Z’ train. This Z train (the Z20) was no old rattler, it was near new modern, clean and very comfortable train!

Apparently it’s wise to buy train tickets in advance so I did so a couple of days ahead of leaving Xian and had no trouble getting a ticket. There are two places to buy train tickets in Xian, either at the main train station which is just outside the city wall on the north side towards the east or go to a small little booking window which is on the side wall of the ICBC bank in the main center of Xian. At the time the lady at this office also spoke english. read more