Flynn Lachendro (the flying scotsman) is exploring the world and is going to share with you some hints and tips he picked up from his adventures in Beijing.
Places of Interest
Without doubt my favourite experience was the Great Wall. I highly recommend taking a little extra effort to avoid the popular tourist locations along the wall. I took a bus to Jinshanling. It took around 2 hours, as it’s away up in the mountains, but it was completely worth it. You could see along the wall for miles with not a human in sight!
The Great Wall at Jinshanling
The Forbidden City and its museum were so interesting. The experience alone of travelling there and queuing up beside Tiananmen Square was really something. I never knew the scale of Beijing until I went to its centre. The size of the buildings and the detail in the construction is astounding.
The gardens in the Forbidden City
The Summer Palace is a great day out for a bit of a walk. They actually built the hill that the palace sits on from all of the earth they shifted when digging out the lake! If you fancy you can clamber all the way up to the top where you can catch a great view of the temple in the centre of the lake.
The Summer Palace and the surrounding Man-Made Lake
The Chinese love noodles and rice. This is great news if you are a fan of either. Any one of the countless restaurants along the streets will sell delicious, freshly made food for very cheap. It costs around £2 for such a meal.
A table full of Chinese food. The red thing at the bottom is an entire battered catfish!
If Chinese food isn’t your thing, there are plenty of American fast food places like KFC and McDonalds scattered around the city; there will always be one close to you. There is a great Mexican place called La Bamba in Wudakou that sells £1.50 burritos (proper big ones) on Fridays.
I would suggest avoiding the street food, as it is prone to giving you food poisoning. I was advised to do this my many Chinese people!
There are a number of tourist style districts in Beijing that have standard clubs like you would find in the UK / USA etc. Wudakou and Gulou are some examples.
“Sanlitun has the best mix of clubs and bars.”
I would suggest Mojito Man in Sanlitun (a guy who sells mojitos on the street) for cheap booze if you don’t want to drink shop-bought stuff. Westerners get in free with free drinks to some clubs, it is worth asking the PRs at the door!
“If you are a fan of more house and techno type stuff, Lantern club in Sanlitun or Dada bar in Gulou are the places to go.”
The drinks are expensive in these clubs so prepare beforehand! The cheapest way to drink is to buy in shops before heading out. Beers are around 30-40p for 600ml bottles, and you can buy Chinese stuff called Baijo at 80p for a half litre. The drink itself is 46% strong and tastes horrendous, however as budget drinking goes there is no beating it.
Most people in China will revere you simply because you aren’t Chinese (if you aren’t). Expect lots of sideways glances and flat out staring from the locals.
Don’t worry though!!
Almost everyone in the city is so kind and really willing to help. If they cannot speak English, just type out a translation on your phone and their face will light up when they realise they can help! It is custom in China to treat guests with extra special care. The treatment I have received from the people at my university and the public in general has been absolutely brilliant. On a shallower note, it is really easy to pull on nights out, as you can imagine!