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BEIJING is a city of bewildering juxtapositions. A portrait of Mao Zedong, symbol of Communist austerity, welcomes visitors to the Forbidden City, the ultimate monument to the wealth and power of Imperial China. The party-run English-language newspaper condemns the actions of capitalists abroad while extolling the virtues of capitalism in China. A shiny BMW with a cellular-phone antenna weaves among slow-moving donkey carts. You may be confounded in Beijing, but you�ll never be bored.

Where to Stay

Hotels in Beijing are concentrated in three main areas: Jianguomenwai, 1 mi/2 km east of Tiananmen Square; the northeastern Third Ring Road; and the Wangfujing area, just east of Tiananmen Square and near the Forbidden City. The high season in Beijing is summer through autumn. During September and October many of the hotels are fully occupied, so it�s wise to reserve early.

Below is a sampling of the accommodations recommended by our correspondents; it is not intended to be a comprehensive list. Expect costs to fall within these general guidelines, based on the standard rate for a single room: $ = 800 yuan-1,200 yuan; $$ = 1,200 yuan-1,900 yuan; $$$ = more than 1,900 yuan. Some hotels offer airport pickup for an additional fee, ranging from 100 yuan-450 yuan. Check to see whether reservations are required.

Note: Most hotels add a service fee of 15% to the advertised room rates.


Holiday Inn Lido�Only 17 km/10 mi from the airport, this is the place to stay if you�re looking for Western-style comfort and facilities. Located in a huge, international residential and commercial complex, the Holiday Inn Lido has a bowling alley, small gym, pool, Western supermarket, deli, drugstore, video club (rents VCRs to hotel guests) and many Western restaurants. $$. Jichang Road and Jiang Tai Road (on the road from the airport), phone 6437-6688, fax 6437-6237.

Movenpick�Five minutes by car from the airport, this hotel is Swiss owned and has a decidedly European feel. Pool and health club. $. Xiao Tianzhu Village, phone 6456-5588, fax 6456-5678.


Kempinski Hotel�A large hotel that�s part of the German chain, Kempinski is well located in the heart of Beijing�s commercial district, with many major corporate offices held right within its Lufthansa Center complex. Rooms are only average-sized, but there are two fitness centers and seven restaurants within the complex, including the Kempi Deli, a local favorite for sandwiches, pastries and snacks. This is a better choice for businesspeople than for tourists. $$. 50 Liangmahe Rd., phone 6465-3388, fax 6465-1202.

Great Wall Sheraton Hotel�One of the original and still most popular hotels in Beijing, the Great Wall is nowhere near its namesake, but does sponsor an annual Wall clean-up to draw attention to Wall-protection efforts. It houses a business center, a ballroom holding 900, extensive fitness center, pool, tennis courts, four restaurants, bar and pastry shop. A good choice for tourists as well as business travelers, with its wide range of facilities and a Hard Rock Cafe within walking distance. $$. Dongsanhuan Lu, phone 6590-5566, fax 6500-1919.

Beijing Hilton�A pleasant alternative to the business hotels in the area, the Hilton is popular with local expatriates for its health club and the Louisiana Restaurant. Also contains an executive floor and clubroom, as well as a business center. $$. In the Chaoyang District, 1 Dongfang Lu, Dongsanhuan Beilu, phone 6466-2288.


Swissotel Beijing�A comfortable hotel with diverse restaurants (including a Mongolian ger) and good health club facilities, located next to a large office complex. It�s unprepossessing from the outside, but those rooms inside that are newly renovated are beautifully appointed. $$. Dongsishiqiao, E. Second Ring Road, Chaoyang District, phone 6501-2288, fax 6501-2501.


China World Hotel�China�s top business hotel and its surrounding complex provide a variety of services and amenities for guests. The large, comfortable rooms are tastefully decorated. U.S. Vice President Al Gore stayed there when he visited China in 1997. Boasts the best hotel health club in Beijing, with a lap pool and squash courts. $$$. 1 Jianguomenwai Dajie, phone 6505-2266, fax 6505-0828.

Jianguo Hotel�The first joint-venture hotel in Beijing offers consistent service that keeps occupancy high and guests returning. No health club, but good restaurants and large rooms with plenty of amenities. $. 5 Jianguomenwai Dajie, phone 6500-2233, fax 6500-2022.

Beijing International Club Hotel�Opened in late 1997, this first installment of Sheraton�s new Luxury Collection in China has made a big splash with its decor and level of service. Madeleine Albright was one of the first guests. Since initial posting of a US$379-per-night rack rate, prices have come down considerably. The hotel encompasses four opulent restaurants that are overpriced, and also the Italian restaurant Daniel�s�a good place to entertain clients. Rooms are just average, but the suites get rave reviews, as does the service. $$. 9 Jianguomenwai Ave., phone 6460-6688, fax 6512-9961.


The Palace Hotel�A 15-minute walk from the Forbidden City�s east gate, the Palace is Beijing�s luxury address. Fine designer stores fill the shopping arcade, and service at this site is both personal and attentive. $$$. 8 Goldfish Lane, Wangfujing, phone 6512-8899, fax 6512-9050.

The Grand Hotel�A luxurious extension of the Beijing Hotel next door, this hotel offers the nearest access to both Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Smallish rooms on the ninth floor overlook them both. $$$. 35 Dong Chang�an Da Jie, phone 6513-7788, fax 6513-0048.


Beijing often struggles with its identity and role as an international capital. On the culinary front, it�s winning the battle. While there are still no African or Middle Eastern restaurants, the variety of both its international cuisines and its indigenous fare is excellent.

For those travelers whose itineraries will take them only to Beijing, visit different areas of China via the food that defines each region. If your palate can handle it, go for the fiery Sichuan cuisine (the best outside of Sichuan Province). If you prefer the milder taste of Cantonese, sample dim sum at one of the many restaurants that serve several different types of Chinese cuisine. Do try a restaurant specializing in Beijing duck, but go easy�fatty duck meat often makes first-timers ill. In choosing a place to eat, this rule of thumb works for the Chinese, so it can work for you too: If the restaurant is crowded at meal times, it must be good.

Generally, lunch is served 11 am-2 pm, then restaurants close 2-5 or 6 pm and reopen for dinner 6-10 pm. A few places stay open straight through, 11 am-10 pm. Apart from some clubs, few remain open later. Less expensive restaurants almost never have English speakers. (If they do, the price will be higher.) For the restaurants below, reservations can be made in English, but any questions will probably have to be asked in Mandarin. Usually reservations are not required unless you have more than five people in your party or on Chinese and Western holidays. Only restaurants within major hotels are likely to accept credit cards.

Expect to pay within these general guidelines, based on the cost of dinner for one, not including drinks and tax: $ = less than 100 yuan; $$ = 100 yuan-200 yuan; $$$ = more than 200 yuan.

Note: Do not tip at restaurants. It�s not expected and may even be construed as an offense. Some restaurants may add a 15% service charge, which is sufficient to cover any gratuities.


Li Jia Cai (Li Family Restaurant)�Good luck getting in. If you do, you�ll eat like an emperor in a homey setting. Deep-fried scallops, General Gong�s chicken and other royal delicacies cross your plate and palate, while Mr. Li recalls stories about his family�s history, both modern and ancient. $$$. 11 Yangfang Hutong, Deshengmenwai Hutong, phone 6618-0107.

Tuanjiehu Beijing Roast Duck Restaurant�Foreigners and locals alike have gradually realized that this is the real place for duck in Beijing. There�s an English menu, a computerized ordering system (watch your waitress and her Palm Pilot-like device) and really good duck. It�s not cheap...but then duck never is. Reservations are an absolute must (a Chinese speaker may be needed for this). $$. Dongsanhuan Lu, Tuanjiehu Bei Kou (Tuanjiehu Park, North Entrance), Building No. 3 (across the Third Ring Road from the Zhaolong Hotel), phone 6582-4003.


Aria�The China World Hotel does a nice interpretation of the grill-room concept. The menu changes every day. Quality and service vary a bit too much, but the decor is representative of the restaurant�s concept: modern and open to interpretation. Stick with steaks, and ask for �well-done� if you prefer anything other than rare. Oyster lovers will find six different types on the menu at any time. All drinks are doubles, except martinis, which are triples. No service charge is added to the bill. $$$. China World Hotel, lobby level, 1 Jianguomenwai Ave., phone 6505-2266.

TGIFriday�s�This may not seem like a place worth visiting outside of North America, but this is where to go to see the mobile-phone crowd�Beijing�s yuppies, and even some rock stars and movie stars�eating barbecue. It�s three years since it first opened, but the place is still heaving almost every night; don�t even think about getting in on a Friday night! This is a great place for satisfying cravings for burgers, salads and big desserts. Best of all, its prices are lower than those at the Hard Rock Cafe, and there�s no service charge. Open 11 am-midnight. $$. Hua Peng Mansions, East Third Ring Road (110 yds/100 m north of the Jing Guang Center).


Qianmen Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant�This is the most elegant of the Quanjude restaurants. It�s also more expensive. The cheapest way to go is right next door, where the same kitchen does the same exquisite duck for about one-quarter of the price, albeit in fast-food style or as takeout. Either way, don�t overlook the asparagus. $$ and $. 32 Qianmen Dajie, Dongcheng District, phone 6511-2418.

A Fun Ti Xingjiang Restaurant�In mid 1996, this place was dingy, poorly lit, and not well known outside of a loyal group of Central Asian diplomats. Since then, this restaurant (formerly known as Uncle Afanti) has become so popular that reservations are necessary almost every night of the week. The primary dish is lamb, served in any number of styles�as roasted kebabs (yang rou chuan), roasted and stir-fried (chao kao yang rou) or served with chopped noodles and vegetables (chao mian pian). The lamb tends to be spicy, so those with sensitive palates should choose stir-fried, rather than roasted, dishes. Sample the rose wine�a light, fruity beverage with only a meager kick.

The beyond-food fun begins after 7:30 pm, when the resident Uighur musicians (the Uighur minority makes up the majority population of Xinjiang) pick up their instruments. They�re joined on stage by a ravishing Uighur dancer, whose gyrations bring feasting to an immediate halt. The worst thing about A Fun Ti is its location�it�s difficult to find. A reliable, though somewhat inconvenient, way to get there is to ride the Beijing Underground to the Chaoyangmen station, then walk west for 10-15 minutes on the south side of Chaoyangmennei Avenue. Daily 11 am-2:30 pm and 4:30-11:30 pm. Reservations recommended for dinner. English and Russian menus available. $. 2 Houguaibang Hutong, Chaoyangmennei Avenue, phone 6525-1071.

Neng Ren Ju�Flash-boiled lamb (shuan yang rou) is a variation on the Sichuan hot pot that is found throughout Beijing. This particular dish comes from the influence of nomadic, Mongolian tribes on Chinese culture, especially on the cuisine of the north. A self-contained kettle is set to boil, and spices and vegetables are added to create a soup base. The main dish is lamb, but other meats, fish, vegetables and rice vermicelli can be added as well. Each piece of meat is left in for approximately 30 seconds, then taken out and dipped into a peanut sauce flavored with cilantro and chili oil. The restaurant is rumored to have made itself popular by lacing its soup with opium, giving visitors an added incentive to return. It�s not easy to find, but it�s so famous that most drivers and hotel personnel know it. $$. 5 Taipingqiao, Baitasi, Xicheng District, phone 6601-2560.

Summer Palace�This is elegant Cantonese food�unusual for a cuisine that�s usually not. No teeming fish tanks here! Food is light, not greasy, and the bilingual menu is broad enough to please both Cantonese who eat everything with legs (except chairs) as well as diners eating more delicately. Dim sum is served at noon. This is an excellent place for entertaining clients, especially Chinese clients, and many celebratory luncheons and banquets are held at this site. Chopstick novices should be warned that the ones used here are the faux ivory kind, which can be hard to use once oily. Reservations for groups over six. $$$. China World Hotel, 1 Jianguomenwai Dajie, phone 6505-2266.


Daniel�s�Its menu billed as simple Napoli food, this fairly new Italian restaurant is certainly the city�s most elegant one. Big, comfy chairs and Italian accents surround the visitor. Service is excellent. The food is good, but for the price it should be much better. Still, Daniel�s is a solid choice for entertaining and for business lunches or dinners; it definitely makes the right impression. $$$. 22 Jianguelmenwai Ave., phone 6460-6688.

Metro Cafe�For fresh pasta, this is the place. It�s also a great date restaurant. It�s ironic that one of Beijing�s best Italian restaurants has a menu reminiscent of a U.S. Chinese restaurant: Choose a pasta from column A, a sauce from column B. Regardless of what you choose (although you�re missing out if you skip the spinach ravioli), start off with an appetizer (they�re all good). Leave room for marble cheesecake. $$. 6 Workers� Stadium W. Rd. (Gongti Xilu), phone 6552-7828.

Justine�s�One of Beijing�s oldest Continental restaurants, Justine�s remains a favorite for its consistency in food, service and atmosphere. Serves a fine brunch. $$$. Jianguo Hotel, 5 Jianguomenwai Dajie, phone 6500-2233, ext. 8039.


Omar Khayyam�Indian food in a cozy setting. Great curries, tandooris and a good selection of vegetarian dishes. Daily 11:30 am-2:30 pm and 6-10:30 pm. $$. Most major credit cards. Asia Pacific Building, 8 Ya Bao Lu, Chaoyang District, phone 6513-9988, ext. 20188.

Red Basil�This restaurant is stylish in a city not known for its stylishness, despite the garish Thai Restaurant sign outside. Reasonably priced, with excellent service and a varied menu. Unlike some of its competitors, Red Basil is definitely not a Cantonese restaurant dressed up with a bit of coconut milk here and there. $$. No. 8 Building, Zuojiazhuang, N. Third Ring Road E. (just southeast of San Yuan Bridge), phone 6460-2342.

Borom Pinam�Another excellent Thai entry, Borom Pinam is Beijing�s longest-operating Thai restaurant. Much of what�s presented here comes from Thailand: the decor, servers� apparel, ingredients, spices, even the chefs. $$. Holiday Inn Lido Beijing, Jichang Lu, Jiangtai Lu, phone 6437-6688, ext. 2899.

Shun Feng Restaurant�The open space, boisterous atmosphere and Cantonese cuisine at this establishment may not strike everyone as desirable, but if trying to impress or gain big face is on the agenda, this may be the place. Shun Feng once had the reputation of being the most expensive restaurant in Beijing. No matter�settle in and enjoy extremely fresh seafood that you�ve chosen from the tanks near the entrance. $$$. Six locations in Beijing�try Shun Feng Seafood World, 16 E. Third Ring Rd., phone 6507-0554.

Bai Yun Japanese Restaurant�It�s not cheap, but it is spectacular. The draw here is the atmosphere�this was Chiang Kai-shek�s residence in Beijing. Other than that, the Japanese food here is not really any better or worse than elsewhere in Beijing. $$$. Youhao Hotel, 7 Houyuannensi, Jiaodaokou, Haidian District, phone 6403-1114, ext. 3264, or 6403-4003.

San Si Lang�Packed night after night, this is perhaps the best Japanese food in Beijing, and among the cheapest. Stuff yourself on whatever you like (only teppanyaki is missing) for less than 100 yuan. Portions are large, fresh, and tasty, and sake is smooth and inexpensive. $. Liangmaqiao Lu, Chaoyang District (directly across from Kempinski Hotel), phone 646-5030.


John Bull Pub�Outside of hotel coffee shops, it�s tough to get a U.S.-style breakfast�eggs, pancakes, toast, the like�but a real English breakfast can be had (all day, no less) at the John Bull Pub, Beijing�s only such watering hole. $. Guanghua Lu (55 yards/50 meters east of the International Post Office), phone 6532-5905.

Louisiana�If you dislike Cajun spices, don�t be put off by this excellent restaurant�s name. In fact, the moniker might mislead those who don�t know better into thinking that this eatery serves only American food. Louisiana offers as much Pacific Rim influence in its menu items as southeastern U.S. It also has the largest wine selection of any restaurant in Beijing. $$$. Beijing Hilton, 1 N. Dong Sanhuan Rd., phone 6466-2288.


Travelers wishing to save money or who are adventurous may wish to try street food in Beijing. While most health organizations discourage this, it�s done all the time by Westerners who walk away with nothing more than a full stomach.

The best place to run the gourmand gauntlet is the night market at Donghuamen, which runs between Wangfujing and the east gate of the Forbidden City. It�s unlikely that foreigners will be interested in such delights as bird-on-a-stick. However, there are also fried noodles, fried dumplings and lamb kebabs. In ordering these, make sure that the cook prepares a new batch for you instead of just taking from a side of the pan that isn�t cooking.

Another street dish is a jian bing, a kind of egg pancake with spring onions wrapped around a flat, crunchy cake and soy sauce. They cost around 2 yuan and are very filling. Look for white carts with red roofs that have a large, black iron skillet on them.

As for late-night dining, some local restaurants are open 24 hours, but it takes a lot of walking or driving to find them. Your cab driver will certainly know, if you can communicate your request. Otherwise, scratch the midnight itch at Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream. It may not have the 33 flavors of its U.S. counterparts, but there are plenty to choose from, including Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. There are also a variety of sundaes, and for those who�d rather take frozen goodies back to the hotel, pints and quarts can be prepared for takeout. Open daily, 24 hours. $. Next to the Friendship Store, 17 Jianguomenwai Dajie, no phone.


Everyone agrees that visitors to Beijing should make the Great Wall and the Forbidden City their top priorities. However, with 500 years of history as China�s capital, Beijing has a host of other exceptional sights. For one thing, Beijing offers visitors a chance to watch a city grow up, since it provides hundreds of examples where the ancient and ultramodern coexist side-by-side.

Aside from those attractions listed below, Beijing has hundreds of miles of hutongs (alleys). You�re more likely to get lost than mugged�the hutongs are no more dangerous than the suburbs of a large U.S. city. Just pick a hutong and start walking. You�re guaranteed an eye-opening and entertaining experience.

Note: Many are sad to see that the hutongs are giving way to modern structures, shopping malls and office buildings. Because the land is cheap and not owned by its occupants, they can be relocated with virtually no recourse. While the announcement of a hutong museum has been welcomed, some fear that it gives the city government carte blanche to demolish nearly every other section of this traditional housing�which was Beijing�s unique architectural style for hundreds of years.


The Great Wall. Built between the 5th century BC and 16th century AD to keep out invaders from the north, the Great Wall is one of the most awesome manmade sights in the world. It�s probably the chief sightseeing attraction for those visiting Beijing. There are several places to view the wall: The most popular, crowded and touristy is Badaling, about 50 mi/80 km north of Beijing; another is Mutianyu, 90 minutes by car to the northeast, where you can view unrestored sections of the wall, as well as sections reconstructed for tourists. At both spots, visitors can either climb a hill to the wall or ride in a cable car. (At Mutianyu there�s still a 25-meter/1.61 km uphill walk from the main gate. The cable car costs 30 yuan one way, 50 yuan round trip, a fee separate from the general admission cost at the entrance.) If you�re a hiking enthusiast or want to have a section of the wall all to yourself, go to Simatai, a two-hour drive northeast of Beijing.

The Great Wall makes a wonderful day trip. Pack a picnic lunch of sandwiches and some water and enjoy the fresh air and beautiful scenery away from the frenetic activity of Beijing.

For those visiting the Badaling section of the wall, combine the trip with a stop at the Ming Tombs. Located about 30 mi/50 km northwest of Beijing, the tombs can be seen in about one hour. Unlike tombs in countries such as Egypt, these are not elaborately decorated inside. The roads leading up to the tombs are guarded by huge stone animals, which are one of the most intriguing aspects of the visit. The only tomb open to the public is that of Emperor Wanli (reigned AD 1573-1620). Displayed in a museum near the underground tomb are valuables that were buried with the emperor and his concubines. The pavilions marking other tombs can be seen from this tomb. The Ming Tombs are accessible daily 8:30 am-5 pm. 30 yuan. Office of Shi San Ling Special Zone, Chang Ping County.

To visit the Great Wall at Badaling, go by tourist bus (available at hotels) or hire a car and driver for about 600 yuan for the day. Cheap buses to the Great Wall leave from Deshengmen and Dongzhimen bus stations. They run daily 8:30 am-11 pm, but make sure you buy your return ticket by 7 pm. 30 yuan for entrance and tram. Office of Badaling Special Zone, Yan Qing County, phone 6912-1423 or 6912-1737.

The Forbidden City. Twenty-four emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties lived in this palace, officially known as the Former Imperial Palace (it�s also known as the Palace Museum). With more than 9,000 rooms and halls, it�s the largest architectural complex in the world. On display are numerous artifacts from the two dynasties, though the most valuable items were taken to Taiwan by the Nationalist government. Renovation work continues throughout the complex but should not affect your ability to visit all of the Forbidden City�s worthwhile attractions. Daily 9 am-4 pm. 68 yuan plus 20 yuan for a taped audio guide narrated by Roger Moore (well worth it). The entrance is on Changan Street, across the street from Tiananmen Square, under the big painting of Mao Zedong. When exiting from the north gate, Coal Hill (Jing Shan Park) is across the street, which is nice for a stroll. Beijing Palace Museum, phone 6513-1892 or 6513-2255.

Note: The Ancestors� Temple (Tai Miao), a short walk east of the main Forbidden City gate, played host to a production of Puccini�s Turandot in 1998. It�s beneath Mao�s picture, short of the public restrooms.

Tiananmen Square. Covering about 122 acres/49 hectares, Tiananmen Square is said to have the capacity to hold one million people. On 1 October 1949, Mao Zedong inaugurated the People�s Republic of China in this square; more recently, the square became infamous for the student demonstrations and army crackdown of 1989. Several statues and other points of interest�including Mao�s mausoleum�are in or adjacent to the square. Located in the center of Beijing, at the front gate to the Forbidden City.

Note: Both the Chairman Mao Zedong Mausoleum and Tiananmen Square were scheduled for renovation in the spring of 1999 and were to be closed to the public, in preparation for the 50th anniversary of the founding of the People�s Republic of China on 1 October. Both were expected to reopen on 15 May 1999.

The Temple of Heaven (Tiantan), in a large park, was built between AD 1406 and AD 1420 to be used by the emperor for ceremonies honoring the god of harvests. The main building, with its three cone-shaped roofs, has become the symbol of Beijing. It was entirely fitted together�not a single nail or peg was used in its construction. The temple�s silhouette was the official symbol for Beijing�s unsuccessful bid for the 2000 Olympic Games. Visit in the early morning to see people practicing tai chi chuan. Daily 6 am-8:30 pm in summer, 8:30 am-6 pm in winter. 30 yuan. The entrances are on Tiantan Road and Chongwenmenwai Street, Chongwen District, phone 6702-8866.

The Summer Palace. Built as the summer home for the emperor and his court, the Summer Palace has a lake, gardens, bridges, pavilions, halls and towers fit for a king. It recalls the opulent lifestyle of the privileged few during Qing times. Be on the lookout for the replica of a Mississippi steamboat made of marble, a gift from the Empress Dowager to the Chinese navy in the late 1800s. Daily 8:30 am-5 pm (last visitors admitted at 4 pm). 35 yuan. The entrance is on Yiheyuan (Summer Palace) Street, Haidian District, phone 6288-1077.

White Cloud Temple, also known as Tianchang Temple, is the largest Taoist temple in Beijing and the center of Taoism in north China. No special attire is needed. Daily 8:30 am-4:30 pm. 10 yuan. 6 Baiyunguan Jie, Xibianmenwai, Xuanwu District, phone 6346-3531.

Temple of the Azure Clouds. Built during the Yuan dynasty (AD 1271-1368), this temple is the most magnificent of the temples in Beijing�s Western Hills. Daily 7:30 am-4:30 pm. 0.50 yuan. Inside Fragrant Hills Park, Haidian District, phone 6259-1155, ext. 7470.

The Drum Tower. A magnificent ancient tower built in AD 1420. You can climb the stairs to the top. Daily 9 am-4 pm. 6 yuan. 9(A) Zhonglouwan, Dongcheng District, phone 6403-5252.

Big Bell Temple. This temple has a bronze bell 21 ft/7 m high, weighing more than 46 tons, which was cast during the reign of Emperor Yong Le (AD 1403-1424). More than 200,000 characters of Buddhist scriptures are engraved on the bell. Tuesday-Sunday 8:30 am-4:30 pm. 5 yuan. Beisanhuanxi Road, Haidian District, phone 6255-0843.

Yonghegong Lamasery. Also known as the Lama Temple, this palace is an active Buddhist center. The architecture and ornamentation of the buildings show the influence of Han, Manchu, Mongolian and Tibetan styles. Daily 9 am-5 pm. 10 yuan. 12 Yonghegong St., Dongcheng District, phone 6404-9027 or 6404-3769.

Miaoying Monastery, also known as White Dagoba Temple, contains a dagoba, a reliquary for either a part of the Buddha�s body or for an object he touched during his life. The dagoba, a pagoda-like structure, was built by Lamaists from Tibet in AD 1271, when they brought Buddhism to the Han and Mongolian peoples. Daily 9 am-5:30 pm. 5 yuan. Fuxingmennei Street, Xicheng District, phone 6616-0023.

The Beijing Ancient Observatory, created with the help of Jesuit missionaries in the 1500s, has a lengthy history spanning three dynasties. Daily 9-11 am, 1-5:30 pm. 10 yuan. At the southeast corner of the major intersection of Jianguomenwai Street and Second Ring Road, phone 6512-8923.

Temple of the Reclining Buddha, also known as the Sleeping Buddha Temple, has a spectacular horizontal bronze Buddha that was cast in AD 1320. Daily 7:30 am-5 pm. 4 yuan. Botanical Garden, Fragrant Hills Park, phone 6259-1561.

Marco Polo praised a certain bridge in the 13th century, and ever since it�s been called the Marco Polo Bridge by Western visitors. (The Chinese name is Lugou Bridge.) It�s known for its elegant architecture and the 140 balustrades carved into the shape of lions, no two alike.

More significant than Marco Polo�s comment is the shot heard �round the world�a skirmish there between Chinese and Japanese troops in 1938 led to the Japanese invasion of China and, therefore, the beginning of World War II in Asia. It�s a nice bike ride for those athletically inclined and properly equipped. Daily 7 am-8 pm. 15 yuan, 2 yuan for students, 10 yuan for expats. 88 Lugouqiaochengbei St., Fengtai District, phone 8389-2279.

Former Residence of Soong Qing Ling. This serene courtyard-home was the residence of the wife of Sun Yat Sen, who is often called the �father of the Chinese revolution.� (His revolution, which promoted democracy over imperial power, was not officially connected to communism.) Now a museum, the home has been restored to its former glory. Daily 9 am-4 pm. 10 yuan. 46 Houhaibeiyan, Xicheng District, phone 6404-4205 or 6403-1633.


Capital Museum (also known as Confucius Temple). In a former imperial temple and Confucian civil-service university, this was where China�s best and brightest came to serve the state. The names of those that were successful are inscribed on 198 tablets, erected throughout the grounds. The emperor came here at least annually to pay his respects to Confucius and to lecture on proper government. Daily 9 am-5 pm. 10 yuan. Guozijian Jie, Andingmennei, Dongcheng District, 220 yards/200 meters west of the main entrance to Yonghegong (Lama Temple), phone 6401-2118.

Sackler Archaeological Museum at Beijing University. This world-class museum, established in 1992, houses archaeological and artistic objects from the prehistoric era to the Qing dynasty. Access to the museum, which is contained within a traditional Chinese mansion near the western gate of Beijing University, is controlled by guards stationed outside the university gates (because of student demonstrations in the past), but you have only to tell them you�re visiting the museum and show your passport. Besides providing you access to its superb collection, the museum is also a great excuse to see this famous campus. Open daily 9 am-4:30 pm. 20 yuan. In Zhongguancun, Haidian District, phone 6275-1667 (frequently unanswered).

China Art Gallery. China�s national museum of art has permanent displays of works by Chinese artists and frequent shows by foreign artists. Tuesday-Sunday 9 am-4 pm. Closed when new exhibits are being mounted. 4 yuan. 1 Wusi Dajie, Wangfujing area, phone 6401-2252.

Museum of Chinese History. Located just off the northeast corner of Tiananmen Square, this museum displays more than 9,000 ancient Chinese relics, including bronze pieces dating back 5,000 years. In the same building is the Museum of the Chinese Revolution, which houses cultural artifacts from 1919 to 1949. Tuesday-Sunday 9 am-3:30 pm. Admission to the Museum of Chinese History is 20 yuan; admission to the Museum of the Chinese Revolution varies according to exhibit. Phone 6512-8986.

Beijing Museum of Natural History. The largest of its kind in China, this museum contains fossils or specimens of almost all plants and animals found in China. Daily 8:30 am-4 pm. 15 yuan. 126 Tianqiao Nandajie, Chongwen District, phone 6702-4431.

Chinese Geology Museum displays minerals, gems and Paleozoic plants and animals. Daily 9 am-4:30 pm. 8 yuan. 15 Yangrou Hutong, Xisi Nandajie, phone 6617-6387.

Chinese Arts and Crafts Gallery. A collection of the traditional arts and crafts of China, including cloisonne, jade carving and lacquerware. Daily 9 am-4 pm. Northeast side of Fuxingmen overpass, phone 6601-3377, ext. 277.

Contemporary Art Gallery. The national museum for exhibitions of China�s leading contemporary artists. Saturday-Thursday 9 am-4:30 pm. 50 fen (0.50 yuan). 123 Longfusi St., phone 6401-7659.


Beijing Zoo. The zoo is much improved after constant complaints from foreign visitors caused the zoo to shape up. The pandas, formerly found in dirty enclosures, now have their own, temperature-controlled habitat, although it�s a tad small. The panda umbrellas sell for 50 yuan and make great gifts. Be aware that Chinese visitors see nothing wrong with throwing things at the animals, banging on cages or glass dividers, or even allowing their children to shoot at the animals with toy pellet guns available at the zoo. 3 yuan (includes entrance to several shows inside the park). Daily 7 am-6 pm in summer, 8 am-5 pm in winter. 137 Xizhimenwai, Xicheng District, phone 6831-4411.

Blue Zoo Beijing. A US$25 million Sino-New Zealand joint-venture, this international-class aquarium is fairly small but worth a visit, especially for kids. The main attraction is a 140-yard-/130-meter-long moving walkway that swirls around underneath the main tank, with sharks swimming overhead and other creatures finning by. Most kids want at least two passes around the walkway. The Blue Zoo is a bit short on informative displays, but does address such marine issues in China as the damming of the Yangtze River and the slaughter of sharks for shark-fin soup. Daily 9 am-7 pm. 75 yuan adults, 60 yuan elderly, people with disabilities and students with ID, 30 yuan children, free for children under 3 ft/1 m tall. (Children that short may get in free, but they�ll have to be lifted up to see most exhibits.) South Gate, Workers� Stadium, South Workers Stadium Road (Gongti Nanlu), Chaoyang District, phone 6593-5263.

Taipingyhang Underwater World. The name means Pacific Ocean, and it�s one of three aquariums soon to be added to the city. It�s similar to the Blue Zoo (above), except that certified divers can arrange to dive in the aquarium�s main tank on weekends, sharks and all. Sometime in 1999 the Beijing Zoo plans to open an aquarium of its own. Taipingyhang is open daily 9 am-6 pm. 11 Xisanhuan Zhonglu, Haidian District, phone 6846-1172 or 6846-1173.

The Central Park of Beijing, Beihai Park has an 800-year history as the royal garden of the Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. The park is grand and sprawling, with some beautiful plantings, a lake and paddleboats for rent by the hour (10 yuan). Visit at 6 am to see hundreds of people doing tai chi chuan. Daily 6 am-9 pm in summer, 6:30 am-9 pm in winter. 50 fen (0.50 yuan). 1 Wenjin St., Xicheng District, phone 6404-0610.

Coal Hill (Jing Shan Park). Coal Hill was formed from the soil excavated to create the moat around the Forbidden City. Located just north of the Forbidden City, the hill is now a park with the Ten Thousand Springs Pavilion at its summit. Nice flowers in season, good for strolling. Daily 5:30 am-9:30 pm in summer, 7 am-7:30 pm in winter. 30 fen (0.33 yuan). Beijing Jingshan Park, phone 6887-4060 or 6887-4825.


Beijing Amusement Park, in Longtan Park, has live entertainment, rides, a water-screen show (a light show on a screen of water mist), paddleboats, bumper cars and roller coasters. Daily 8:30 am-5:30 pm. 30 yuan. 1 Zuoanmennei Dajie, Chongwen District, phone 6711-1155.

Miraculous Amusement Palace. Wax exhibitions and scenery depict episodes from the famous Chinese story A Journey to the West, featuring the monk, the pig, the monkey and the warrior. Monday-Friday 8 am-1 pm, Saturday and Sunday 7 am-8 pm. 30 yuan. Tuanjiehu Beikou (north corner) inside Chaoyang Park, northeast of Tiananmen in Chaoyang District, phone 8506-6382.

Beijing Recreation Center. Watery fun including a wave pool, simulated river, three slides and a �fast slippery dip� (a steep water slide). A sports complex provides bowling, squash, tennis, rollerskating, disco dancing, billiards and a sauna. Daily 9:30 am-midnight. Entrance fee (ride tickets not included): 10 yuan. Beisihuanzhong Road, Andingmenwai (near the eastern gate of the Asian Games Village), phone 6499-3435.


Any hutong (alley) outside of the city center affords a glimpse of China before it became a showcase for concrete and steel manufacturers. The areas in which the traditional courtyard homes (that form the alleys) are most plentiful are near the Forbidden City, going north towards the Second Ring Road at Andingmen. The alleys are fine for exploration, but the courtyards themselves are private. Remember to bring your hotel card with the name in Chinese in case you get lost and need directions back.

The Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace lend themselves easily to self-guided walking tours. Take a taxi to the location, pay at the entrance, find a map of the attraction (usually near the entrance) and then wander to your heart�s content. The Forbidden City has a self-guided taped tour, with Roger Moore narrating (included in the price of admission). The Summer Palace offers �The Long Corridor,� a covered 2,275-ft/700-m wooden walkway along the lake.

Qianmen (Dazhalan Area). Qianmen means �front gate,� and the Qianmen area is named for the front gate of the old walled city of Beijing, which was left standing after the walls themselves were demolished. In Ming times, establishments banned within city walls�including theaters, brothels and certain shops and restaurants�found a niche there. Not only was Qianmen the red-light district during the Ming Dynasty, it also served as the route for the emperor�s yearly procession from the Forbidden City to the Temple of Heaven to pray for a good harvest.

The opportunity for a glimpse of �authentic� Beijing, just as it was during Ming times, is what draws foreign visitors (some shops have been in existence since the Ming era). Today, the area is a busy shopping district for specialized goods. The imposing Qianmen Gate is itself worth seeing. Just south of Tiananmen Square.

The book Beijing Walks by Don J. Cohn and Zhang Jingqing is an excellent resource for those who want to see Beijing on their own. The book has six daylong walks that cover many of the major attractions as well as some of the lesser-known neighborhoods. Available at some hotel bookstores in Beijing, it�s published by Odyssey in Hong Kong.


If you haven�t arranged a tour of Beijing before departing for China, contact your hotel travel desk or the China International Travel Service (CITS) desk at any major hotel. In addition to tours of the individual sights (Great Wall, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, Ming Tombs, Lama Temple), they offer two daylong tours: a tour of the Great Wall and the Ming Tombs, from 9 am-6 pm (includes three hours of driving time); and a city tour including Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace, which lasts from 10 am-6 pm (includes two hours of driving time). Day tours cost about 350 yuan.

Hutong Tour. For those who wish to see a bit of Beijing as it was during its days as a walled city, try the To The Hutong half-day tour. The three-hour tour combines transport by three-wheeled bicycle rickshaws and by foot to visit the hutongs (alleyways) created by the traditional Beijing courtyard-style architecture. The tour includes an overlook of one of the city�s older areas from the Drum Tower, where the hutongs can be seen from above; a visit to the 700-year-old Guang Hua Temple; and snacks and tea at Prince Gong�s Mansion, a former imperial residence recently visited by Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto. The tour leaves daily at 9 am and again at 2 pm just west of north entrance of Beihai Park, on W. Di�anmen Street. It costs 180 yuan per person, and returns to the same spot. For reservations and more information, call 6615-9097 or 6400-2787 Monday-Friday 9 am-5:30 pm. Weekend tours should be reserved during the week.


Shopping in Beijing can be very rewarding, or it can be extremely frustrating. While there�s a wealth of items to buy, finding them (especially at the right price) can be difficult. Yet some great deals on common items such as clothing can be had at open markets.

Shopping Advice�Imported goods purchased in department stores will cost more but come with better guarantees. Smaller shops will sell for less and even bargain, but if there�s a problem with a purchase, there may be no recourse.

When dealing with small, independent shops, bargain hard. Non-Chinese speakers can use fingers, notepads or calculators to indicate the price they�re willing to pay. Don�t expect a 70% discount. Twenty percent off the asking price should be considered a victory.

Cash is king. If a local shop accepts an international credit card (such as American Express or Diners Club), they are attempting to attract foreign shoppers, and their prices will reflect that. Except for large department stores and designer shops, most places will add the credit card service fee to the purchase price. In many places, there will be no alternative but to use cash.

One Beijing rule of shopping: If you really want it, buy it. Except for very common items, don�t assume that items of similar quality or style will be available elsewhere, especially when it comes to local arts and crafts. Too many travelers head home saying, �I wish I had bought that cute little whatever for Aunt Bessie when I saw it.�

One last piece of advice: Be careful when buying antiques. There are excellent copies available, so good that they pass for the real thing. This is great for those purchasing certain gift items, except that fakes are usually accompanied by the high prices of the genuine articles. True antiques will be authenticated by the shop selling them. This is because of China�s stringent antiquities-protection laws. These laws also provide that items beyond a certain age, usually those made before the reign of the Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795), cannot be taken out of the country and will be confiscated at customs.

Stores generally open around 8:30 or 9 am, and close around 5 pm, with larger department stores staying open until 9 pm. Open markets open at about 9 am and close at dark.


Chaowai Market is a group of individually owned stalls offering antiques and reproductions of furniture and porcelain. Bargain heavily. They generally open around 10 am and close around 5 pm daily. Located in two prefabricated huts on Ritan Lu, one block north of the northwest corner of Ritan Park, near Jianguomenwai.

Hua Xia Arts and Crafts Store sells old and new porcelain, artwork and various other trinkets. Daily 9 am-7 pm. 293 Wangfujing St. (just north of the Beijing Hotel), phone 6525-1819.

Liu Li Chang Cultural Street is a good place to buy antiques, but heed the advice above. Better wares are to be found in the retail outlets that have been subdivided like flea markets. Any shop that accepts credit cards, especially the Japanese JCB card, is going to be priced far higher than other stores. Generally open daily 9 am-6:30 or 7 pm (but hours may vary from this). Walk south from the Hepingmen subway station about 500 yards/455 meters.

One of this street�s biggest landmarks is Rong Bao Zhai, which sells both the implements of Chinese art (calligraphy brushes, ink stones, water dishes) and the items created by them (paintings, calligraphy). Now furniture and antiques are sold as well. None of what they sell is cheap, but it�s likely to be more authentic than other stores in Liu Li Change. Fourth store down on the north side of Liu Li Change.


Wan Fung Art Gallery. Housed in what was formerly the Imperial Archives, Wan Fung presents a range of traditional and conservative paintings and sculptures by Chinese artists. Visitors should ask for Kathy Dai, who speaks English well and is very knowledgeable regarding the artists and their works. Open daily 9 am-5 pm. 136 Nanchizi Dajie (just east of the Forbidden City), phone 6523-3320 or 6512-7338.

Red Gate Gallery. Occupying the third-floor corridors of the China World Hotel, Red Gate features contemporary works by many of the country�s top young artists. The doors of Zheng Xuewu and the mixed media employed by other artists are pioneering in their subject matter. Daily noon-6 pm. China World Hotel, 1 Jianguomenwai Dajie, phone 6605-2266.


SciTech Plaza is the best department store in Beijing. Don�t expect anything uniquely Chinese, but if you need clothing, electronics or other export-quality goods, this is the place to shop. Expect to pay export-quality prices. Open daily 9 am-9 pm. 22 Jianguomenwai Dajie, Chaoyang District, phone 6512-4488.


The Foreign Language Bookstore carries language books and tapes, books about China, novels, music tapes and CDs, art and art supplies. Daily 9 am-8:30 pm. 219 Wangfujing St., phone 6512-6903 or 6512-6905.

Also on Wangfujing, the Jianhua Leather and Fur Store sells Russian-style fur hats, popular among non-Chinese residents as well as tourists from colder climates. Daily 8:30 am-8:30 pm. 192 Wangfujing, phone 6525-0801.

The Jingdezhen Porcelain Shop sells porcelain from the famous, centuries-old factory in Jingdezhen (an area in the south of China). 9 am-6 pm. 149 Qianmen St., Chongwen District, phone 6301-4823. White Peacock Art World, visible from the Second Ring Road, is a huge arts and crafts shop that�s very touristy but convenient. Assistance in shipment of goods overseas provided. Daily 9 am-7:30 pm. Deshengmenwai Dongbeibinhelu, Xicheng District, phone 6201-1199.

Yuan Long Embroidery and Silk Company offers mostly silk but also carries carpets and porcelain, old and new. Daily 9 am-6:30 pm. 55 Tiantan Lu (Temple of Heaven Road), Chongwen District, phone 6702-0682.


The Friendship Store is a one-stop shopping store for Chinese export products and souvenirs. Everyone should stop in just to see the selection of silks, porcelain, cloisonne, embroidery, antiques and jewelry. In the past, the Friendship Store cornered the market for many quality traditional Chinese goods. Prices have become a bit more reasonable with the advent of local competition, but they�re still not as good as those in the markets and smaller stores. Daily 9 am-9 pm. 17 Jianguomenwai Dajie, phone 6500-3311.


The stalls of the following markets start to open around 9 am daily; most close at sunset.

Xiu Shui Market, also known as �Silk Alley,� is an alley running south from Xiu Shui Street and the U.S. Embassy to Jianguomenwai Avenue. Best buys are silk garments and down jackets and coats. Pirated CDs and CD-ROMs, which can be purchased there for 15 or 20 yuan each, are often of a quality compared to foreign-made ones. (But they�ll probably be confiscated by customs when you leave the country, so they�re not the smartest investment.)

Hong Qiao (Tiantan) Market offers antiques, produce, clothing, porcelain and more. The cloisonne on the third floor is a good buy. Not actually an open market, it�s in a long row of metal shelters. On Tiantan Street, across from Yuan Long Embroidery Store, near the Temple of Heaven.

Ritan Park Market. Across the street from Ritan Park Restaurant, at the southwest gate of Ritan Park, this market stretches for blocks with stall after stall of clothing of all types. Most of it is poor quality, but if you have the time to search, you may find good bargains.


Running north from the main street of Changanjie, near the Forbidden City, are Wangfujing Street, Xi Dan Street and Dong Si Street. These three streets contain the department stores, clothing shops, toy stores, drugstores and all sorts of other stores where the local Chinese shop. Because of the incredible crowds, avoid going on a Sunday, unless your aim is to people-watch and not to shop.

Check out Sun Dong An Plaza, Beijing�s first megamall, opened in early 1998, but don�t look for upscale merchandise there. Eventually the shopping complex will have a cinema, a video arcade and live entertainment. At the corner of Wangfujing and Goldfish Lane (west of the Palace Hotel).


The Shard Box Man (Shen De Ge), in the embassy area, is wildly popular among expats for his �shard boxes.� Made of silver, with tops made from shards of old porcelain, these boxes can hold jewelry or other decorative items. Daily 9 am-6 or 7 pm. 1 Ritanbei Lu, phone 6500-3712.

Theatrical Prop and Costume Shop, in the historical Qianmen area, offers Beijing Opera supplies. Even if you�re not going to buy, stop in to look. Monday-Saturday 9 am-5 pm. 32 Xichaoshijie, behind Qianmen Street, Chongwen District, phone 6702-2853.


Ten years ago, �Beijing nightlife� was an oxymoron. Today, loosened government policies and a critical mass of expatriates have given rise to a large number of thriving and diverse nighttime entertainment establishments. Jazz clubs and bars of every stripe share space with auto-repair garages in the bustling Sanlitun area north of Jianguomenwai. Dance to techno beats at Nightman Disco or Poacher�s Inn. Enjoy a more traditional form of entertainment at the Lao She Teahouse, sitting among photos of Henry Kissinger and other statesmen who have stopped in for green tea and a show.

Not listed here are the ubiquitous karaoke bars, the hub of nighttime activity for the Chinese. Find them in every hotel as well as on every corner in the downtown and tourist areas of Beijing. (You�ll distinguish them by some Chinese characters followed by the letters OK or KTV.) Be warned: Some karaoke bars charge outrageous prices and have been known to rough up customers who refused to pay an extortionate bill. If you want to try a karaoke bar, go to one in a hotel. It�s expensive, but at least you know what you�re getting into.


Lao She Teahouse includes tea and light snacks (such as nuts and crackers) in the cover charge. The traditional Chinese comedy (xiangsheng) and singing may not appeal to non-Chinese-speakers or those looking for Western-style cabaret. But many of today�s most powerful statesmen have visited this teahouse and had their picture taken with the grinning manager. Shows nightly 7:40-9:30 pm. Cover charge: 40 yuan-130 yuan, depending on where you sit. No credit cards. 3 Qianmen Xidajie, Chongwen District, phone 6303-6830.

Tianqiao Teahouse features a variety of Beijing-style cabaret acts, such as singing, magic shows, fire eating and �cross talking,� a comic dialogue reminiscent of Abbott and Costello. Shows 7-9 pm. Cover charge of 330 yuan includes tea and snacks. 113 Tianqiao Market, Xuanwu District, phone 6304-0617.


Minder Cafe. Solidly located on the beaten expatriate path, the bar is packed on many weeknights and on weekends. Get there early for a seat. A cover band (the city�s best) performs six nights a week, Tuesday-Sunday. Daily 9:30 pm-1 am. Dongdaqiao Xiejie, off North Workers� Stadium Road (Gongti Beilu), 220 yards/200 meters east of City Hotel, phone 6500-6066.

CD Cafe. For jazz fans, this the best choice. Conveniently located at the E. Third Ring Road, south of the Agricultural Exhibition Center, the CD Cafe is Beijing�s best known jazz club. There are live performances every Thursday through Sunday night, with jazz by China�s top quintet, the Liu Yuan Jazz Quintet. The atmosphere is laid back, and often well known�and not so renowned�jazz musicians climb on stage to join the fun. Keep an eye out for Cui Jian, China�s most famous rocker, who sometimes comes by late at night to play his trumpet with his old buddy and saxophone player Liu Yuan. 20 yuan cover charge. Daily, opens approximately at 7 pm. Xiaobawang Overpass, 55 yards/50 meters south of the Agricultural Exhibition Hall, Dongsanhuan (E. Third Ring Road), Chaoyang District, phone 6501-8877, ext. 6516.

Keep in Touch Cafe. Across from the mammoth Kempinski Hotel, in northeastern Beijing, it�s the capital�s finest showcase for homegrown rock and cutting-edge bands. Owned by Wang Yong, one of China�s original rockers and loosely named for aspects of the Buddhist faith, Keep In Touch presents the area�s best groups, including the legendary Tang Dynasty, as well as Grey Wolf, the top rock band of China�s northwest Xinjiang Autonomous Region. China�s only all-female rock band, Cobra, also plays there. Daily, opens approximately at 7 pm, and performances begin at 9:30 pm. Cover charge varies with act. Directly across from the Kempinski Hotel and behind Subway Restaurant, Liangmaqiao Lu, Chaoyang District, phone 6462-5280.

San Wei Bookstore (Three Flavors Bookstore). While the ground floor is a decent bookstore, upstairs the San Wei Bookstore has re-created a traditional scholar�s study, making for one of the most unusual and relaxing places in the city. On Friday night, San Wei presents jazz by the Wide Angle jazz band, featuring some of Beijing�s better musicians. On Saturday night, it�s traditional Chinese music�an excellent performance that can be savored by both the experienced and the newly initiated. 30 yuan cover charge. Daily, opens approximately at 7 pm. 60 Fuxingmennei Dajie, Xicheng District (across the street from the Minzu Hotel, look for English-Chinese sign), phone 6601-3204.


NightMan Disco. By way of a tunnel armed with lasers and rings of moving lights, you descend into the lowest level of this multistory, techno-music behemoth. Weekends are packed. The gay and lesbian scene in Beijing is way underground, but Saturday nights at NightMan will draw a gay male crowd. Live rap shows offer a break from the dance music deejay Richard pumps until 2 am. Free for foreigners. Hepingli Beilu, Hepingli District, phone 6466-2562.

Poacher�s Inn. Back in its old location, it�s Beijing�s favorite expatriate hangout and pickup joint, reopened under different management in March 1999. Things don�t heat up until 11 pm, and don�t even bother going unless it�s Friday or Saturday night. 50 yuan cover. Sanlitun Lu (Sanlitun Friendship Store, beside the Spanish Embassy), 2nd floor. Phone 6532-5674 or 6532-3063.


Frank�s Place caters to homesick U.S. citizens resident in Beijing. Good burgers and chili. Full bar. Daily 11:30 am-1 am. Major credit cards. Gong Ti Dong Lu, across from Workers� Stadium, Chaoyang District, phone 6507-2617.

Schiller�s 2. Sister pub of the original across from the Kempinski Hotel, it�s still a good place run by one of Beijing�s smoothest operators. Great happy hour. Opens at around 5 pm and stays open late, but most seats are occupied by regulars by 6 pm. 1 Sanlitun Beilu, Chaoyang District, phone 6464-9016.

Mexican Wave. A Mexican-style cantina with a very casual atmosphere. The expat crowd can get rowdy. Full bar. Daily 10 am-2 am. No credit cards. Guanghualu, one block north of Jianguomenwai, phone 6506-3961.


Until recently, recreation was not a priority for the Chinese, who spent many hours working and the remaining hours tending to household duties. With the recent appearance of the �Beijing yuppie� and the influx of visitors from other countries, recreational facilities have bloomed throughout the city. Most major hotels have facilities catering to the foreign community. However, Chinese are still learning through trial and error, so prices and facilities often change. Ask at your hotel about aerobics classes, ballroom dancing and other organized activities that are beginning to sprout up around town.


Golf has become the latest fashion among China�s burgeoning wealthier set. Plenty of information about golf in the Beijing area can be found at Frank�s Place, so stop by the bar, or call and ask for advice (Gong Ti Dong Lu, across from Workers� Stadium, Chaoyang District, phone 6507-2617). The attendants at the golf courses we spoke to do not understand English, so you may need a translator to reserve tee times.

Beijing Shun Yi Golf Club is about a 40-minute drive from Beijing. 18 holes, 7,101 yards long. March-December 8 am till sundown. Booking must be made two days in advance. Tuesday-Friday about 800 yuan for greens fee, caddie, shoes and club rental; Saturday and Sunday approximately 1,000 yuan. Call 8947-0245 for reservations and directions to the club.

Chaoyang Golf Club. This nine-hole course is open daily 9 am-8 pm. 230 yuan on weekdays, and 340 yuan on weekends. Additional 250 yuan per day for equipment rental (shoes and clubs). Shan Si Lu, Tuan Jie, Hu Xiao Qu, Chaoyang District (just east of Zhaolong Hotel), phone 6507-3380 or 6501-8584.


Most major hotels have pools and health clubs or exercise equipment available to hotel guests. A few of the hotel health clubs open their facilities to nonmembers on a per-use basis:

China World Hotel has the best health club in the city. There are a 24-yard/22-meter lap pool, multiple treadmills and Lifecycles, squash courts, and free weights and weight machines. 150 yuan per visit. Daily 6:30 am-10 pm. China World Hotel, 1 Jianguomenwai Dajie, Chaoyang District, phone 6505-2266.

Kempinski Hotel offers one of the best health club deals. It doesn�t have a lap pool, but the weight machines are excellent, and there are squash courts for enthusiasts. 100 yuan per visit. Daily 6 am-10 pm. Kempinski Hotel, Liangmaqiao Lu, Chaoyang District, phone 6465-3388, ext. 73 or 5721.

Chang Fu Gong New Otani Hotel has an indoor swimming pool, sauna, running machine, stationary bicycle, weights, exercise machines and aerobics classes. Daily 7 am-10:30 pm. 120 yuan per visit. 26 Jianguomenwai St., phone 6512-5555.


The Fragrant Hills, northwest of the city about 17 mi/28 km, is a favorite place for hiking, especially in the autumn when the changing leaves make for spectacular scenery. There are also temples to visit along the trail. If you have the energy, climb to the peak to watch the sunrise. Many elderly Beijingers practice tai chi and sing on the peak at dawn. The main entrance is closed until 8 am, but several pathways next to the Fragrant Hills Hotel will lead you into the park. Daily from dawn to dusk. Free. Bus 360 goes directly to Fragrant Hills Park.


Some of the major hotels have tennis facilities for guests. The following are open to all:

China World Hotel operates an excellent indoor tennis center with three courts, pro shop, and immaculate changing facilities. Open 6 am-10 pm, the price of courts varies based on time of day and number of players. China World Hotel, 1 Jianguomenwai Dajie, Chaoyang District, phone 6505-2266, ext. 33.

Great Wall Sheraton has an outdoor tennis court open daily 6 am-10 pm. 70 yuan per hour before 7 pm, 90 yuan per hour after 7 pm. Dongsanhuanlu, Chaoyang District, phone 6590-5566.

Chang Fu Gong New Otani Hotel has an outdoor court open daily 7 am-10 pm. 70 yuan per hour. 26 Jianguomenwai St., phone 6512-5555.


Beijingers (and the Chinese in general) are crazy about soccer. Intranational games are held throughout the spring and parts of the summer. For sports fans, The Beijing Scene is the best source of information about rugby matches, soccer games and other spectator sports. Look for listings for these three venues:

Capital Gymnasium offers table tennis, handball, badminton, ice hockey, gymnastics, skating, soccer and other sports. 54 Baishiqiao St., Haidian District.

Beijing Workers� Stadium hosts international soccer matches as well as other sports. Workers� Stadium Road, Sanlitun, Chaoyang District.

Xian Nong Tan Stadium, near the Temple of Heaven, was the first stadium in Beijing and hosts a variety of matches and meets. Xuanwu District.

Day Trips

To Long Qing Gorge. A scenic gorge about 50 mi/80 km northwest of the city center, Long Qing has attracted tourists since the Ming dynasty. Vertical rock formations jut above the mist on the river�an image that will seem to visitors the quintessential Chinese landscape. Bus service is available from the long-distance bus station at Deshengmenwai for about 15 yuan. Deshengmenwai Station is at Beijiao Market, Deshengmenwai. The station opens at 8 am, phone 6204-7095. Catch the return bus, which has varying hours, at the Long Qing Gorge Station.

To Zhoukoudian and the Peking Man Site. A famous archaeological site, 30 mi/48 km southwest of Beijing, where fossils and implements of people living in the Beijing area up to 700,000 years ago have been found. A museum at the site is open Wednesday-Sunday 9 am-4 pm. Free. Phone 6930-1272. Open daily 8 am-7 pm. Catch the bus to Zhoukoudian at the Tianqiao long-distance bus station, 32 Beiwei Rd., phone 6303-7770.

To Badachu Park. A lovely park, located in Beijing�s Western Hills, with eight ancient temples and apricot trees blooming profusely in spring. A chairlift will take you up into the hills. Daily 8 am-5 pm. Free, but each temple charges 0.50 yuan for entrance. About 15 mi/24 km west of downtown Beijing, take Bus 347 from the Beijing Zoo. Buses run from about 6 am-8:30 pm. Badachu Park, Xi Shan, phone 6887-4661.

Beijing Calendar


TIANANMEN SQUARE, one of Beijing�s most famous landmarks, has had its historic pavement replaced with more than a million granite slabs in preparation for official celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the People�s Republic of China on 1 October. Elsewhere in Beijing, few festivities, performances and exhibitions are announced very far in advance. The best way to keep abreast of what�s happening is to check the free publication City Edition, available in many hotels. One popular form of entertainment available throughout the year is the Chinese acrobatics shows, where you�ll see seemingly impossible stunts performed without nets. With luck, you can catch a demonstration of martial arts and even a glimpse of traditional, fantastic Beijing opera.

To call any of the numbers listed in this calendar from outside China, you must first dial your country�s international access code, then China�s country code, 86, followed by Beijing�s city code, 1.

For more information about these and other events, contact the Beijing Tourism Administration, 13 Xiagoufu St., phone 554-096. Information sources outside the country are the China National Tourist Offices. In Australia: 44 Market St., 19th Floor, Sydney, NSW 2000, phone 02-9299-4057. In Canada: 480 University Ave., Suite 806, Toronto, ON M5G 1V2, phone 416-599-6636. In the U.K.: 4 Glentworth St., London NW1 5PG, phone 0171-935-9427. In the U.S.: 350 5th Ave., Suite 6413, Empire State Building, New York, NY 10118, phone 212-760-9700.

Information in this calendar is subject to change and should be confirmed.

Throughout FebruaryBeijing Opera. A subset of Chinese opera, Beijing Opera is a combination of song, dance, acrobatics and other crowd-pleasing stunts. The emphasis is less on music than on visuals. See performances at Liyuan Theater every night at the Qianmen Hotel, 175 Yongan Rd., Xuanwu District, phone 6301-6688, ext. 8860. Performances also at the Chang An Grand Theater, 7 Jianguomennei Dajie, phone 6510-1309; at Beijing Hu Guang Guild Hall, 3 Hufangqiao, Xuanwu District, phone 6351-8284 or phone 6352-9134; and at Zheng Yi Ci Traditional Peking Opera Theatre, 22 Xiheyan Dajie, phone 6318-9454 or pager 6524-8855, dial 6667 (English).

Throughout FebruaryAcrobatic Shows. Two sites with regular performances: Universal Theater, with performances by the China Acrobatics Troupe, located northeast of Dong Si Shi Tiao Li Jiao Qiao and north of the Poly Plaza, phone 6502-3984 or phone 6502-2649, 7:15 pm; and also at Chaoyang Theater, 36 Dongsanhuan Beilu, Hujialou, phone 6507-2421, 7:15 pm.

Throughout FebruaryMartial Arts. Regular performances by famous wushu masters take place at the Beijing Wuyi Diyuan Theater, at the eastern gate of the Olympic Sports Center. Call for schedule and times: phone 6491-2157 or phone 6490-2233, ext. 450.

MARCH 2000

8 MarWomen�s Day. A national holiday honoring women.

Early March date to be determinedLantern Festival. Occurs on the 15th day of the first lunar month, marking the end of the Spring Festival period. Lanterns are lit and hung in front of residences, and family members get together and eat yuan xiao, a sweet flour pastry with sesame-seed filling.

Throughout MarchBeijing Opera. A subset of Chinese opera, Beijing Opera is a combination of song, dance, acrobatics and other crowd-pleasing stunts. The emphasis is less on music than on visuals. See performances at Liyuan Theater every night at the Qianmen Hotel, 175 Yongan Rd., Xuanwu District, phone 6301-6688, ext. 8860. Performances also at the Chang An Grand Theater, 7 Jianguomennei Dajie, phone 6510-1309; at Beijing Hu Guang Guild Hall, 3 Hufangqiao, Xuanwu District, phone 6351-8284 or phone 6352-9134; and at Zheng Yi Ci Traditional Peking Opera Theatre, 22 Xiheyan Dajie, phone 6318-9454 or pager 6524-8855, dial 6667 (English).

Throughout MarchAcrobatic Shows. Two sites with regular performances: Universal Theater, with performances by the China Acrobatics Troupe, located northeast of Dong Si Shi Tiao Li Jiao Qiao and north of the Poly Plaza, phone 6502-3984 or phone 6502-2649, 7:15 pm; and also at Chaoyang Theater, 36 Dongsanhuan Beilu, Hujialou, phone 6507-2421, 7:15 pm.

Throughout MarchMartial Arts. Regular performances by famous wushu masters take place at the Beijing Wuyi Diyuan Theater, at the eastern gate of the Olympic Sports Center. Call for schedule and times: phone 6491-2157 or phone 6490-2233, ext. 450.

APRIL 2000

4 Apr�Tomb Sweep Day (Ching Ming). Each year families visit their ancestors� graves to pay their respects. They clean the graves, place flowers on them and burn ghost money.

Late April dates to be determinedPeach Blossom Festival. Spring is celebrated in the Botanical Garden through the beginning of May. People gather for picnics or just to enjoy the sea of blossoms. Botanical Garden, Wofosi Lu, phone 6513-0828.

Throughout AprilBeijing Opera. A subset of Chinese opera, Beijing Opera is a combination of song, dance, acrobatics and other crowd-pleasing stunts. The emphasis is less on music than on visuals. See performances at Liyuan Theater every night at the Qianmen Hotel, 175 Yongan Rd., Xuanwu District, phone 6301-6688, ext. 8860. Performances also at the Chang An Grand Theater, 7 Jianguomennei Dajie, phone 6510-1309; at Beijing Hu Guang Guild Hall, 3 Hufangqiao, Xuanwu District, phone 6351-8284 or phone 6352-9134; and at Zheng Yi Ci Traditional Peking Opera Theatre, 22 Xiheyan Dajie, phone 6318-9454 or pager 6524-8855, dial 6667 (English).

Throughout AprilAcrobatic Shows. Two sites with regular performances: Universal Theater, with performances by the China Acrobatics Troupe, located northeast of Dong Si Shi Tiao Li Jiao Qiao and north of the Poly Plaza, phone 6502-3984 or 6502-2649, 7:15 pm; and also at Chaoyang Theater, 36 Dongsanhuan Beilu, Hujialou, phone 6507-2421, 7:15 pm.

Throughout AprilMartial Arts. Regular performances by famous wushu masters take place at the Beijing Wuyi Diyuan Theater, at the eastern gate of the Olympic Sports Center. Call for schedule and times: phone 6491-2157 or phone 6490-2233, ext. 450.

MAY 2000

1 MayLabor Day. Public holiday. The city is decorated with flowers, especially Tiananmen Square. In the lobby of the Mao Zedong Memorial Museum are displayed for this one day only giant posters depicting four Communist leaders�Engels, Marx, Lenin and Stalin. Dongchen District.

4 MayYouth Day. The day commemorates a 1919 demonstration by youth against imperialist aggression.

May dates to be determinedTemple Celebrations. Buddhist and Taoist temples mark the times when the moon is full and/or when the moon is at its slimmest.

Throughout MayBeijing Opera. A subset of Chinese opera, Beijing Opera is a combination of song, dance, acrobatics and other crowd-pleasing stunts. The emphasis is less on music than on visuals. See performances at Liyuan Theater every night at the Qianmen Hotel, 175 Yongan Rd., Xuanwu District, phone 6301-6688, ext. 8860. Performances also at the Chang An Grand Theater, 7 Jianguomennei Dajie, phone 6510-1309; at Beijing Hu Guang Guild Hall, 3 Hufangqiao, Xuanwu District, phone 6351-8284 or 6352-9134; and at Zheng Yi Ci Traditional Peking Opera Theatre, 22 Xiheyan Dajie, phone 6318-9454 or pager 6524-8855, dial 6667 (English).

Throughout MayAcrobatic Shows. Two sites with regular performances: Universal Theater, with performances by the China Acrobatics Troupe, located northeast of Dong Si Shi Tiao Li Jiao Qiao and north of the Poly Plaza, phone 6502-3984 or 6502-2649, 7:15 pm; and also at Chaoyang Theater, 36 Dongsanhuan Beilu, Hujialou, phone 6507-2421, 7:15 pm.

Throughout MayMartial Arts. Regular performances by famous wushu masters take place at the Beijing Wuyi Diyuan Theater, at the eastern gate of the Olympic Sports Center. Call for schedule and times: 6491-2157 or 6490-2233, ext. 450.

JUNE 2000

1 JunChildren�s Day. Public holiday. An International Arts and Crafts fair, which includes a children�s art exhibit, is held in Shangdi Park, Haidian District.

18 JuneDragon Boat Festival. In honor of the revered poet Qu Yuan, races by long, thin boats (decorated to look like dragons) take place to the accompaniment of drums and gongs. The race is said to help maintain the balance between yang and yin. Consumption of sticky rice dumplings wrapped in weeds is another feature of this festival. Children are marked with red pigment and wear spice-filled sachets. Though observed throughout the country, the most elaborate race takes place at Nanning (reached by daily flights from Beijing).

June dates to be determinedTemple Celebrations. Buddhist and Taoist temples mark the times when the moon is full and/or when the moon is at its slimmest.

Throughout JuneBeijing Opera. A subset of Chinese opera, Beijing Opera is a combination of song, dance, acrobatics and other crowd-pleasing stunts. The emphasis is less on music than on visuals. See performances at Liyuan Theater every night at the Qianmen Hotel, 175 Yongan Rd., Xuanwu District, phone 6301-6688, ext. 8860. Performances also at the Chang An Grand Theater, 7 Jianguomennei Dajie, phone 6510-1309; at Beijing Hu Guang Guild Hall, 3 Hufangqiao, Xuanwu District, phone 6351-8284 or 6352-9134; and at Zheng Yi Ci Traditional Peking Opera Theatre, 22 Xiheyan Dajie, phone 6318-9454 or pager 6524-8855, dial 6667 (English).

Throughout JuneAcrobatic Shows. Two sites with regular performances: Universal Theater, with performances by the China Acrobatics Troupe, located northeast of Dong Si Shi Tiao Li Jiao Qiao and north of the Poly Plaza, phone 6502-3984 or 6502-2649, 7:15 pm; and also at Chaoyang Theater, 36 Dongsanhuan Beilu, Hujialou, phone 6507-2421, 7:15 pm.

Throughout JuneMartial Arts. Regular performances by famous wushu masters take place at the Beijing Wuyi Diyuan Theater, at the eastern gate of the Olympic Sports Center. Call for schedule and times: 6491-2157 or 6490-2233, ext. 450.


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