It’s pretty bad that I am just getting to planning this trip to Beijing, China now considering that I leave in about a week. Granted, I didn’t know that I was even going until a week and a half ago, and I’ll only be there for two nights and one day… so the planning is more minimal than for my ’normal’ trips.
Basically, I arrive late in the evening, I’ll go straight to my hotel, I have the whole next day to do whatever I want, and then I leave in the morning the following day. Usually I’m a hostel-goer when traveling alone, for many of the same reasons identified in this post. But, since I’m only going to be in Beijing for one day, meeting people and making friends isn’t very high on my priority list. My main goal is to make up for the last time I visit Beijing and had to very carefully watch my money situation. Considering my goals for this trip, I’ve decided that it makes more sense to stay in a hotel, and I’ve identified my top five choices for points hotels, though I have yet to make a decision.
Since I only have a little over a day, I don’t have a ton of time to see different sites… but the two things I definitely want to make it to are the Donghuamen Night Market and the Summer Palace. I’ve been to the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and part of the Great Wall. Depending on where I stay, I may also try to go to the Temple of Heaven. Any other recommendations for sites to see?
OH… I also still have to get my visa. Luckily my passport just came back with my Russian visa at the end of next week. I had been planning to go down to Chicago and get the visa in person, but between Amtrak blackout dates and having a ton of stuff to do I decided that was going to be a struggle… instead I am using a visa service, but I’m a bit nervous that it’s not going to come back in time…. have to call them on Monday… [stress]
You ought to be nervous about getting the visa back in time. I paid for rush service and the folks at CIBT told me it would take 4 days minimum.
Good luck! I hope you get your visa on time. I just read your post about running low in cash last time you were in PEK and it reminded me of an AMAZING RACE episode several years ago when they went to China and the last time to arrive wasn’t eliminated (but they had to give Phil all their money and belongings.) They then literally begged for money one night and lo and behold, got enough money to bring them to the airport on time!
As per recommendations for a short trip to PEK, I suggest the going to the summer palace in the morning, and then perhaps walk east through Tsinghua university and Peking University to see normal student life. You may even meet a student or two. The last time I explored Beijing was back in 2008 and I did this walk and loved it.
If you do choose to go to Temple of Heaven, I suggest going in the morning so you can observe locals doing tai-chi or morning exercises or dancing to waltzes and what not. Pretty cool.
Have a great time in China! I plan on going back later in the fall.
Thanks for your suggestions! I hope I get my visa back in time too 🙂