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Last updated : Nov 2009
Beijing Tours - Excursions
Beijing Tours Guide - TravelPuppy.com
Bus Tours

China International Travel Service (tel: (10) 6601-1122 or 8292) and the China Travel Service (tel: (10) 6462-2288) both provide full-day city tours with complimentary pick-ups from many hotels. The Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven excursion lasts approximately eight hours and costs US$31 with lunch included offered by China Travel Service (Mon, Wed and Fri) or U$44 with China International Travel Service (Tues, Thur, Sat and Sun), although this includes the Summer Palace as well.

Half Day Excursions

Tour of hutongs

These are ancient housing areas where small single-storey dwellings situated around courtyards form a maze of narrow streets. The best way to explore hutongs is to walk or by rickshaw. Bringing an English-speaking guide will allow you to to talk to the locals and possibly even see their homes. China Travel Service (tel: (10) 6462-2288) and China International Travel Service (tel: (10) 6601-1122 or 8292) book 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hour rickshaw tours with an English-speaking guide for US$22 per person.<

Whole Day Excursions

Great Wall and Ming Tombs

The Great Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, covers thousands of miles, the closest section to Beijing is at Badaling. The wall stretches between watchtowers and is sufficiently wide for five horsemen. Badaling Great Wall (tel: (10) 6912-1483) is open daily (09:00-16:30) and admission is RMB35.

The Ming Tombs can be reached by the Spirit Way, which is guarded by large statues of men and animals. All the tombs are open daily (times vary for each tomb but are usually 08:00-17:30) and admission is RMB30 for most tombs, except Ding Ling (RMB35) and the Spirit Way (RMB20). Thirteen of the Ming emperors are buried around the valley but only one of the original underground burial chambers – at the Ding Ling tomb (tel: (10) 6076-1424) – is open to the public. The best way to go is by taxi or take a coach tour with China Travel Service (tel: (10) 6462-2288) or China International Travel Service (tel: (10) 6601-1122 or 8292).

Fragrant Hills

Located approximately 28km (18 miles) northwest of Beijing and best reached by taxi, the Fragrant Hills (tel: (10) 6259-1155) are thickly wooded with pine trees and were once a favourite hunting ground for emperors. Pagodas, temples and pavilions are dotted around the park, which is open daily 06:00-18:00 and costs RMB5 to enter. The summit of the highest peak is easily reached by a chair lift (RMB40 one way; RMB70 return).

Summer Palace

The Summer Palace (tel: (10) 6288-1144) situated in the northwestern suburbs, was a retreat for the royal court to escape from the heat of the city and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The former imperial residences are situated on the shores of Kunming Lake, which contains small islands, ornamental bridges and a marble boat that used to be a teahouse. The Summer Palace is easily reached by taxi. In summer, it is open daily 0630-1800 and admission costs RMB20; in the low season, it is open daily 07:00-17:30 but the entrance rises to RMB30.