Beijing, the capital of the People's Republic of China, has stampeded into the 21st century. Communist China was an enigma to most Westerners until recently, but it emerged from the shadows in the past decade and hasn't slowed down.   Host to the 2008 Summer Olympics and now the third largest economy in the world, China is a force to be reckoned with.   Governed as a communist state, China has opened up to capitalism and the influx of money has pulled it up from an agrarian country to a major industrial power.

  The city formerly know as Peking may not be as flashy as Shanghai or Hong Kong, but for what it lacks in high octane mega-city action it more than makes up for with centuries old traditions and cultural sites.   You can visit the Forbidden City where emperors have lived for almost five centuries (the Ming Dynasty through the end of the Qing Dynasty), or you can see the most impressive modern buildings in the world (Beijing National Stadium, aka "The Bird's Nest").

  Beijing should be an excellent stop for my first trip to mainland China.   I'm looking forward to my first glimpse of The Great Wall (just north of the city), massive pictures of Chairman Mao and all the dim sum I can stand.

Government Links

Chinese Consulate - Los Angeles

US Embassy - Beijing

Transportation Links

Beijing Subway

Accommodation Links

Wangfujing International Youth Hostel

Templeside House Hotel

Far East International Youth Hostel

Site-seeing Links

The Great Wall (Badaling, Jiangjun Pass, Simatai, Jinshanling, Gubeikou, Baimaguan Pass, Beishicheng, Mutianyu, Jiankou, Dazhenyu, Hugnhuacheng, Xishuiyu, Juyongguan Pass)

Sleeping on the Wall - an interesting way to experience The Great Wall

Forbidden City

Tiananmen Square

Donghuamen Night Market

Guijie - "Ghost Street"

Beihai Park

Hutongs - traditional narrow streets/alleys


Temple of Heaven

Summer Palace

Ming Tombs

Movies & Books

The Last Emperor

Farewell My Concubine

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

RTW 2009 Leg 2

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