About Beijing

China Stars International Friendship Games
About Beijing
About Beijing - the Olympic City
Beijing is the capital city of the People's Republic of China. This ancient city has been located in its current site for 3,000 years and is situated slightly inland in the north of the country. History abounds in Beijing as it has been home to three major Chinese dynasties in the past 1000 years. Once fairly inaccessible to outsiders, China, home to 1.3 billion people, is now welcoming visitors to explore its amazing heritage. Now the cultural and political centre of China, Beijing hosted the absolutely fantastic
Olympic Games
in August 2008. The Olympic spirit will still be alive for a long time to come!
Beijing was first declared the capital city of China by King Wu in 1057BC. The city has gone by many names since this time and it's current name was chosen by Emperor ChengZu during the Ming Dynasty in 1421. Prior to 1949, the western world referred to the city as Peking.
Beijing's climate features cold, dry winters and hot summers. January is the coldest month (-4 degrees celsius average) and July is the warmest (26 degrees celcius average). Stretching 160 kilometers from east to west and over 180 kilometers north to south, Beijing is home to about 15 million people.
Beijing is the political, educational and cultural centre of the People's Republic of China, while Shanghai and Hong Kong are the economic centres.
Beijing has an amazingly rich cultural heritage that is very easy for tourists to explore. Despite the turmoil of the nineteenth and twentieth centures, which includes damage caused by European military occupation, the Japanese invastion during WWII, the Cultural Revolution, and the recent intense development and urbanisation, Beijing has many tourist attractions rich in history.

Beijing City Layout:
Beijing local people often mention "ring roads" when talking about the city roads in Beijing. Ring Roads circle the city and the city has now six ring roads. The first ring road theortically goes around the Forbidden City, which is the middle of the city, but in reality, it doesn't exist. So the ring roads start with the Second Ring Road ( Erhuan ). People often consider the city within the Third Ring Road ( Sanhuan ) as the city proper. When people talk about the City Centre, it means the area around Wangfujing Street, Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. The city is administrationally divided into several districts. They are Chaoyang District, which goes from the centre of the city all the way out to the Olympic sites in the north; Dongcheng District lies directly to the east of the Forbidden City; Xicheng District to the west; Xuanwumen District to the south, and Haidian, holding many of the capital's universities, in the north of the city. There are now a number of subway lines so that Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Wangfujing, Qianmen, and Lama Temple can be reached by subway. There are many public buses connecting the city main sites and there are also tourist coaches to some major sites in the city and the suburbs.

Beijing is very big and not walkable. The present city still follows the basic outline of the Imperial City 500 years ago in the Yuan Dynasty with a clear north-south axis ( Changan Avenue ) and a lot of narrow lanes. The Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square are located in the middle of the city.

The area surrounding the Forbidden City once housed court officials and royal families. Some of these old residential houses can still be found in the hutongs or alleys. These hutongs have now been turned into popular tourist sites. Close to the south of the Forbidden City and within walking distance is Wangfujing Street, a busy commercial mall and a place with some famous hotels. To the Northeast of the Forbidden City is Chaoyang District, which holds some of the city's expatriate community and also many hotels for foreign tourists. Far to the North is the Badaling Great Wall and Juyongguan Great Wall. The Beijing Capital International Airport is located to the northeast of the city about 40 - 50 minutes drive away.
Many visitors to Beijing are keen on exploring the shopping possibilities that the city has on offer. Two of the most popular are the Wangfujing District and the Silk Market. Wangfujing offers an upscale, globalised shopping experience whilst the Silk Market features replica luxury brands, silk products and tourist souvenirs.

Shopping at places like the Silk Market will require you to bargain. When quoting a price, you can expect people to get as much as they think you think its worth. Foreigners are susceptible to paying too much as they don't realize how low prices really are in China. You need to have a realistic idea in your head what something is worth - in China .
Don't look at a coat and think "this would cost $200 in my country." That coat probably sells to Chinese for $20. So when the shopkeeper asks 1200 yuan for it, remember 120 is probably the local price.
Bargaining is a friendly, social art. Don't feel bad or shy about stating your price. Also never feel bad you might be going to low. Sometimes its necessary to counter an offer of 1200 with 50 or 75 in order to settle on 110. If a local Chinese is buying what you want, watch the transaction of cash and see how much is paid.
Often what you want is sold at more than one stall in the area you are shopping. Ask prices and bargain at several before buying. Always be prepared to walk away! You can always go back. Leave if its not going your way or you want to compare prices. The shopkeeper will most likely have a sudden price drop upon your departure. Even if not, you can return to bargain more or settle on their offer.
Shopkeepers may look annoyed if you bargain hard, but either (1) they are annoyed they cannot profit greatly from you, (2) looking annoyed is part of their bargaining act or (3) they were annoyed when you arrived. Never feel bad about having bargained so hard and feeling like you've cheated someone, no matter how much it may seem so. They will never sell you something at a loss !

For a whole lot more about Beijing click on the link below.
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