China Tag

Best things to do in Beijing. Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, Lama Temple, Temple of Heaven, Snack Street, shopping, restaurants
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The best things to do in Beijing

What are the best things to do in Beijing? Beijing is one of the most exciting cities on the globe. It’s the capital of the world’s new superpower and, although it’s being heavily-influenced by its transition to a modern world city, it hasn’t let go of heritage or tradition. A great way to get a sense of the city is to walk through the streets and watch life take place around you. Having said that, it’s not a city where you can walk all day and see everything you should. It’s a big city and you’ll need to use transport and have a good idea of where you want to go to. Here are some suggestions for the best things to do in Beijing, that’ll help you plan any trip there. Tiananmen Square The outside world still associates this site with the pro-democracy protests and deaths of 1989 but for Beijingers it is the heart...

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27 September
Beijing, temple of heaven, park, old people, dancing, singing, clapping, exercise, tourist
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Staying young in old China

Beijing's Temple of Heaven As the years go by, the inevitably of age becomes a fear for many people. It wearies, slows and cripples even the most active souls of yesteryear. Growing old is as timeless as the world from which we must one day pass from. Yet a denial of the undeniable has seen stories for generations of a ‘fountain of youth’ or, to many people, ‘the holy grail’. In Beijing, a group of elderly residents has found a holy grail of sorts. In the shadow of the city’s Temple of Heaven, they gather each morning to drink (figuratively-speaking) from the elixir of life. It’s not some mythical potion or ancient relic they’ve found, though. It’s a simple dose of exercise and fun. From the early hours every day, until the sun gets too hot in late morning, hundreds of senior citizens come to the large Beijing park that encircles the temple...

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21 September
Best things to do in Beijing. Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, Lama Temple, Temple of Heaven, Snack Street, shopping, restaurants
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If these walls could talk

The Great Wall of China For centuries The Great Wall of China has remained silent and never done interviews. It has stonewalled all previous attempts by journalists, so to speak, but has now finally decided to talk. In a world exclusive, The Great Wall of China has told its story to Michael Turtle. I remember my childhood being really tough. When I was a young wall my parents told me that one day I would be great. I found it hard to believe, though. Like any teenager, things seemed like they would never get any better. I hardly had any friends and I was really lonely out there on the plains of Northern China. The only people who would occasionally come and visit were nomadic tribes but they were just trying to use me – they climbed all over me just so they could go and invade the Chinese. Yeah, the Qin...

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02 September
Panjiayuan Market
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Market economy

Best shopping markets in Beijing, China Here’s a little fact for you: China’s economic system is called a ‘socialist market economy’. I’m sure the academics who study global finances know what that means and would love to bore you for hours explaining it. Sadly, I am neither an economics academic nor do I have the time or the inclination to bore you for hours. So instead I thought I would give you a look inside what we shall refer to as the ‘market economy’. And by using such a delicious little pun, I am referring to the markets that pop up at Panjiayuan in Beijing every weekend. Jade jewellery, bronze buddhas and marble Maos – it’s all for sale in these warrens of trinkets, antiques and art. There are apparently about 4,000 shops in the market, which has a dedicated area for Buddhist statues and a separate space for books. In the main market,...

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30 August
Beijing hutongs
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Hutong Clan

Visiting Beijing's hutongs, China Tell me if this sounds like anywhere you know: a slum, gentrified as the hipsters move in; streets once avoided by decent folk now filled with trendy cafes and bars; and the last remaining residents of the old time resisting the inevitable and refusing to move. Ring any bells? Well, it should, because it’s the urban renewal that’s happening in cities all around the world. It happened in the inner suburbs of Sydney, in parts of Brooklyn in New York, and in the east of London. And now, as Chinese progress picks up pace, it’s happening in Beijing as well. The gentrification is really obvious in the ‘hutongs’ around the Drum and Bell Towers in the north of the Inner City. A hutong is a narrow street that has small single-storey houses coming off it. The houses are normally made up of four buildings facing into a central...

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29 August