Tuesday, July 21, 2009

China Trip Planning

Well, the total solar eclipse will start is about 13 hours and I'm still here in California... :( Leon is in Chengdu now and he said the sky is pretty much overcast all the time so you can't see the sun anyway. Still, everything will go dark for about 3 1/2 minutes tomorrow morning local time. My other friend in Chengdu is visiting her parents in Zigong, which is actually a bit closer to the max totality line. I also talked to a co-worker whose parents live in Shanghai. The view should be better in Shanghai though it's always smoggy there too.

For our big family trip to China later next month, we all have our plane tickets, China visa, and hotel reservations in Beijing. Since I'm only traveling to Beijing and Chengdu, I told them I would plan out the Beijing portion (having been there twice before), but the rest is up to them. My sister just called and said her and Rebecca may try to go to Lhasa/Tibet instead of Xi'an/Jiuzhaigou and my parents are still shopping for a Yangtze River cruise.

Mutianyu (from Wikipedia)

Since most of the tourist attractions in Beijing are local, I'm not really planning too much ahead. The only out-of-town thing to see is The Great Wall (TGW). I've been to Badaling (八達嶺) and Simatai (司馬臺) so I'm trying to plan a trip to Mutianyu (慕田峪) this time. I heard Badaling is way too touristy (I was there in 1998) and I was just at Simatai last year. If I book a tour from the US, costs range from $65/person for a large tour to $120/person for a private tour. However, the city of Beijing also run tours (bus fare plus entrance fee... not sure if there's a guide) to different parts of TGW and the one to Mutianyu is only ¥95.

Here's my preliminary itinerary for Beijing:
Fri 8/28: arrival and check-in, dinner, Wangfujing
Sat 8/29: Qianmen (buy TGW tickets), Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Beihai Park
Sun 8/30: Mutianyu
Mon 8/31: Olympic Park, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace
Tue 9/1: check-out and travel to next destination


Anonymous said...

traveling in Beijing in late August? have you ever been there in the summer? i mean, you don't really want to be outdoors and climbing TGW when the temperature hits 100F... just so you know...

totochi said...

I was there 2nd week of Sept last year and it was hot but tolerable. Hopefully it won't get up to the 90-100 degree range. :(