Two days in Beijing - suggestions appreciated
Replies: 35 - Last Post: Jan 3, 2013 4:53 AM Last Post By: chrisj
Dec 13, 2012 3:54 AM
15I had problems with visa plus but not with mastercard (took both). Many domestic Chinese atms have the visa logo but its only connected domestically not internationally & is really just for show. Even atms displaying visa plus did not work with a visa plus card. Bank of China is usually the most reliable bank & branches are almost everywhere. ICBC & Agricultural bank will do if there are no other banks around. The good news is that unlike Australia, atm cards are not immediately destroyed if swallowed. I retrieved my card 7 times!
Dec 13, 2012 6:40 AM
16There a lot of ATM's in Beijing airport, Metro Stops and on street corners. I never had an issue with my MC/Visa Debit cards from US Banks.
Good thing you are bringing thermal underwear. I am from Chicago, and let me tell you, Beijing, and China is a different cold, it is much more damp and raw, goes right to your bones. Most Banks will have a Green/Black sign with arrows, saying Exchange, these are places to get money exchanged or a cash advance in an emergency on your card, the fees are regulated so it is very fair to foreigners, same flat rate as the ATM, one thing I like about China.
Dec 13, 2012 7:46 AM
Figure 65- 80RMB ish from airport to hotel in central BJ, I think they get a add on for late night transit too, I forget. Its like 5RMB.
Even if there is transit running, at midnight, BJ is a dark and desolate concrete jungle, and figuring it out after a long flight in a strange city would be no fun, take taxi regardless, $12 is not a lot of money, for a taxi, in a major city.
Dec 13, 2012 8:29 AM
Dec 13, 2012 12:37 PM
Dec 13, 2012 5:03 PM
Lama Temple is 10X more interesting than the Temple of Heaven, IMHO
It's also 10X further away from Tiananmen/Forbidden City than the Temple of Heaven is.
Dec 13, 2012 5:24 PM
21Lol! #22. The Lama temple has a nearby subway station stop at Yonghegong, a short walk way, and didn't take all that long to get to.
Dec 13, 2012 5:29 PM
And if you want to go to or from the Forbidden City, you'll have to spend around about 20 minutes on the tube AND change lines at least once. Great thing to want to be doing when you have circa 8 hours of daylight to look around a city, but then I suppose there are people that like that sort of thing.
The Temple of Heaven/Tiananmen/Forbidden City/Hutongs plans was intended to give OP the greatest use of a very limited amount of time and all flow one into the other.
Dec 13, 2012 6:28 PM
2320 minutes isn't that bad. The transfer took about 2 minutes and I waited about 5 minutes for the next train. Summer Palace took a lot longer to get out to than that. According to this map, Yonghe Gong is about the same distance northeast of Beihai Park at the north of the Forbidden City, as the Temple of Heaven is south south east. ie a few city blocks. Too much hyperbole & melodramatics methinks!
Dec 13, 2012 8:51 PM
24Good luck walking from Yonghe Gong to the Forbidden City
Dec 13, 2012 9:57 PM
25No need to walk. Tienanmen Square has 2 subway stops, east & west, and is conveniently located right outside the Forbidden City. There are also taxis.
It's only 2 stations from Tienanmen East to Dongdan (line 1), heading east, then 5 stations to Yonghe Gong (line 5) heading north. You'd be looking at about a 30 minute trip. 20 minutes by taxi, unless it's peak hour.
The east entrance of the Temple of Heaven is close to line 5, too, just 3 stops south of Dongdan transfer station. Tiantan Dongmen station is a short 10 minute walk away. The OP could easily zip from there to Yonghe Gong with no need to transfer at all. Trains are usually a lot faster than the gridlocked traffic in Beijing.
Dec 14, 2012 1:05 AM
Dec 14, 2012 1:07 AM
27I do like the Yonghe Gong Lama Temple - but it does not have the same iconic architecture quality as Temple of Heaven. Nor the park. Nor the chance to see groups of old people enjoy life, sing, play...
Anyway, the OP was supposed to be en route to Thailand. I guess that is the place to get your filling of temple visits...
Dec 14, 2012 1:10 AM
28#28 and leaving the FB through the North Gate an walk onwards. Good logistics, I'd maintain. Yonghe Gong is firmly out of my 1-day itinerary....
Dec 14, 2012 2:06 AM
29"But it's a VERY easy walk from the Temple of Heaven to Qianmen, over Tiananmen Square and into the Forbidden City isn't it Chris? I thought you said that the ToH and LT were roughly equidistant from the FC?"
Never said it wasn't an easy walk, m.i.e. Tiananmen East subway station is right outside the Forbidden City South entrance and is where most people using the subway to get to the area would detrain. I guess it's also possible to exit at Tiantan Dongmen station, see the Temple of Heaven then walk to Tiananmen Square and into the Forbidden City, then return to Tiananmen East subway station & get another train to Yonghe Gong. In any case I don't think 7 subway stops & 1 transfer at Dongdan (costing 2 yuan) is especially traumatic, at least not for most people. The map I linked to does show the Yonghegong station and Temple of Heaven as being roughly equidistant from the northern Beihai Park / Lake corner of the Forbidden City. Here's another map with all 3 marked: Yonghegong (the Lama Temple), Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. It's certainly NOT 10 times further away, nor 10 times better imho. Both are worth seeing.
Qianmen station is on line 2, for the north entrance to Temple of Heaven. Line 2 runs parallel to line 1, & is a little bit south of line 1.
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