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Beijing Off The Beaten Path

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Looking to escape the usual tourist crowd and ready to explore? Been to Beijing before and already visited the iconic sights? This list has some suggestions for getting off the beaten path!

Good for
  • Solo
  • Friends
  • Couples
  • Family
  • History Buff
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Trendsetter
  • Like a Local

7 Places

8 City Tips

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7 Places

The Great wall of Jiankou-The Great Wall Alternative

Historic Sites

798 Art Zone

Art Galleries, Neighbourhoods

Lama Temple (Yonghegong)

History Museums

Panjiayuan Antique Market

Flea & Street Markets, Antique Shops

Bell and Drum Towers

Observation Decks & Towers, Monuments & Statues, Historic Sites, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Lugou Bridge

Bridges

Baiyun Taoist Temple

Religious Sites, Architectural Buildings

Lincoln C's City Tips

  • Printing out a map or having your destination written out in Chinese will help greatly in not getting lost.
  • The subway system is a cheap and convenient way to get yourself around the city. Buy a prepaid transportation "IC Card" for convenience in using public transport.
  • If you feel adventurous, bicycles are a great way to explore the neighborhoods and hutongs (traditional Beijing courtyard houses) dotted around the city.
  • When shopping in tourist areas, be wary of prices and don't be afraid to bargain. Starting prices are typically anywhere from two to four times the market price of the item.
  • Buy your admission tickets directly from the official ticket booth to avoid potential scams.
  • There's no need to tip for restaurants or services, unless you feel that the service has been great. High-end restaurants may automatically include a service charge on your bill.
  • If you speak Mandarin, add the local 'er' sound when speaking to impress the locals!
  • Purchase a trendy pollution mask to fit in with the locals, and protect your lungs!
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    The Great wall of Jiankou-The Great Wall Alternative
    Historic Sites
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    Lincoln C Says:

    Jiankou is part of the 'Wild Great Wall' — unrestored portions of the wall that aren't open to mass tourism. The Jiankou stretch of wall has some of the most dramatic elevation changes and scenery that the Great Wall has to offer. Although farther than the touristy sections of the wall, it is well worth the trip as you avoid a large majority of the crowds — often only seeing a few groups of tourists during your visit.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Take care to not damage the wall as some sections are in heavy disrepair. Pack away all your garbage, and help clean up by bringing extra garbage bags to pick up litter.
    • The village where buses and cars stop offer delicious home-cooked food — Sister Lu's farmhouse at Xizhazi has the best Yu Xiang Eggplant dish in China (in my opinion!)
    • Facilities are limited at Jiankou and visitors will need to do a one hour hike up to the wall.
    • It is highly recommended that you hire a guide from the city, or a local villager to show you around. There are multiple paths in the mountain side that lead to different sections.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #6 of 1,439 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Not Enough Time…Can't Wait to Return! 27/08/2015
    • Better than I could have imagined! 25/08/2015
    • The Great wall of Jiankou-The Great Wall Alternative
    Other:
  • Save
    798 Art Zone
    Art Galleries, Neighbourhoods
    See more photos
    Lincoln C Says:

    The 798 Art Zone is quickly gaining popularity and more and more tourists are making the area part of their Beijing itinerary. Originally a series of 50-year-old decommissioned military factories and buildings, in the last 10 to 15 years this area has been re-born into a thriving community of contemporary artists, museums, and exhibitions. Full of trendy restaurants and cafes, it's a different vibe from the rest of Beijing.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Trendsetter
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Art Zone is a bit difficult to find as many taxi drivers don't know where the location is. Print out the name/map in Chinese to be sure.
    • Most of the exhibitions and galleries are small in size, so the best thing is to explore the area on foot and get lost while exploring side alleys and interesting galleries.
    • Most galleries are closed on Mondays.
    • Do some research too see if there are any specific exhibitions or galleries that you would like to visit beforehand.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #23 of 1,439 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Interesting and creative 27/08/2015
    • Interesting visit if you have enough time. Takes a while to get there. 26/08/2015
    • 798 Art Zone
    Address:
    No.4 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District
    Beijing 100015
    China
    Phone:
    010-59789798
    Other:
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    Lama Temple (Yonghegong)
    History Museums
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    Lincoln C Says:

    Not exactly 'off the beaten path,' but sometimes overlooked for the more famous attractions of Beijing, the Lama Temple is well worth a visit. The Lama Temple is a former imperial palace converted into a monastery for Tibetan Buddhist monks, and subsequently became the center of the Lama administration. Today it is still an active place of worship and attracts pilgrims from afar to visit and worship at the temple.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Open 9am to 4.30pm.
    • Contains the largest wooden Buddha in the world.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #15 of 1,439 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful temple. Convenient to subway 28/08/2015
    • Interesting Working Temple 27/08/2015
    • Lama Temple (Yonghegong)
    Address:
    12 Yonghegong Dajie, Beijxinqiao, Dongcheng District
    Beijing 100007
    China
    Phone:
    010-64044499
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:00 - 2:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Panjiayuan Antique Market
    Flea & Street Markets, Antique Shops
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    Lincoln C Says:

    Even if you aren't looking to buy anything, a visit to Panjiayuan Antique Market is worth it for the experience. In addition to the traditional handicrafts, ethnic minorities from all over China offer regional wares as well. The market itself is over 500,000 square feet in size — one of the largest of its kind in China. Browse through 'antiques' from the cultural revolution (some fake, some real) and a wide variety of jewels, jade, and other goods.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The market is a flea market after all, so take everything with a grain of salt and make sure you compare prices — and bargain hard!
    • Beware of fakes, and bargains: if you're buying anything of great value, make sure of the authenticity and get a receipt and bill of sale.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #80 of 1,439 things to do in Beijing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Antiques and GEM stones 20/08/2015
    • A must go and must visit even if you have nothing to get 04/08/2015
    • Panjiayuan Antique Market
    Address:
    No.18 Huawei Li, Panjiayuan Road, Chaoyang District
    Beijing 100021
    China
    Phone:
    010-51204699
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    8:30 - 3:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Bell and Drum Towers
    Observation Decks & Towers, Monuments & Statues, Historic Sites, Points of Interest & Landmarks
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    Lincoln C Says:

    The Bell and Drum Towers were once used to announce time and official timekeeping. They are now in the middle of a trendy of area of well preserved traditional hutongs (traditional Beijing courtyard houses). A great area to get lost in and explore by foot or bicycle, there are hidden gems around every corner and great rooftop cafes and patios to enjoy. Despite it becoming a popular tourist attraction, this neighborhood still retains its historical charm and local roots.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The steps up to the towers are quite steep and narrow. Take the necessary precautions for children and the elderly.
    • You can pay admission to climb up the Bell tower and Drum Tower (separate admissions), the vantage points are quite similar, but there are different historical artifacts inside.
    • The Drum Tower offers regular drum performances from its own troupe of drummers.
    • The Drum and Bell Cafe, and several other cafes dotted around the courtyard of the Bell and Drum towers, have great rooftop patios that offer a place to soak up the atmosphere.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #96 of 1,439 things to do in Beijing
    • Time it for a performance 26/08/2015
    • If you can manage the steps the Drum solo is worth it! 24/08/2015
    • Bell and Drum Towers
    Address:
    Di'anmen Wai Main Street, Dongcheng District
    Beijing 100006
    China
  • Save
    Lugou Bridge
    Bridges
    See more photos
    Lincoln C Says:

    Lugou Bridge or Marco Polo Bridge is ideal for history buffs as it is the site of the 'Marco Polo Bridge Incident' — where a battle between Republic of China's National Revolutionary Army and the Imperial Japanese Army arguably sparked the Second Sino-Japanese War. There is a small fortress (Wanping fotress) and museum to explore nearby that details the history of the bridge.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • History Buff
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Nearby is the Museum of Chinese People's Resistance Against Japanese Aggression; an educational, if not a bit biased museum, that is worth visiting
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #135 of 1,439 things to do in Beijing
    • It is just a bridge 14/02/2015
    • Cool Historical Location 01/01/2015
    • Lugou Bridge
    Address:
    Yongding River, Fengtai District
    Beijing 100067
    China
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    8:00 - 2:30
  • Save
    Baiyun Taoist Temple
    Religious Sites, Architectural Buildings
    See more photos
    Lincoln C Says:

    This Taoist temple was built in the 8th century and has been well kept and restored over the years. While the architecture and buildings aren't as flashy or as impressive as the more well-known temples around Beijing, Baiyun temple has a quiet and quaint charm to it. Baiyun, or 'White Cloud Taoist Temple' is the seat of the Chinese Taoist Association, which makes sense, as it offers lots of information and insight on Taoist teachings.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • History Buff
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Away from the crowds and group tours, the temple is worth spending some time getting some peace and quiet.
    • There are 30 resident monks that live at the temple.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #146 of 1,439 things to do in Beijing
    • Nice temple 24/03/2015
    • Learning Tai Chi 02/10/2014
    • Baiyun Taoist Temple
    Address:
    No.9 Baiyunguan Street, Baiyun Road, Xicheng District
    Beijing 100045
    China
    Phone:
    010-63443666
    Price range:
    $0 - $0
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    7:55 - 2:32
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