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72 Hours in the Chinese Capital

72 Hours in the Chinese Capital

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Published by: kyawkyawaung81 on Jan 27, 2014
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Beijing travel: 72 hours in the Chinese capital
 Some travelers can now visit the city visa-free for up to 72 hours. Here's how to cram the best of Beijing into three days
By Andrea Park, for CNN 20 May, 2013
 
For delicious, handmade noodles, Beijing's Noodle Bar is a solid choice.
 
Travelers looking to visit Beijing without the hassle of obtaining a visa are in luck: at the beginning of 2013, the Chinese government lifted visa requirements for tourists laying over in Beijing or Shanghai for up to 72 hours.  Are three days enough to take in the best of Beijing? It's a tight squeeze, but here’s how to make the most of a 72-hour trip to one of the world’s most vibrant cities.
More on CNN: Visas waived for Beijing transit travelers 
 
Day 1
Lama Temple was the residence of Emperor Yongzheng before he was enthroned in Forbidden City during the Qing Dynasty. Occupying more than 66,000 square meters, it's the largest Tibetan Buddhist temple in the city.
 
 
3 p.m.
: The best way to settle into Beijing after checking into a hotel is with a long walk from the city's
Lama Temple
 to
Houhai Lake
. Most choose to begin the trip with a quick temple visit, then a walk west through
Wudaoying Hutong
, a street that captures the spirit of the city’s hipster scene. You’ll find quirky shops selling everything from fixed-gear bicycles to succulent plants, and even a cat cafe. If you turn south until you hit Gulou East Street, and continue west through the hustle and bustle of endless vendors and cafes, you'll reach the
Drum and Bell Towers
. There's a 4:30 p.m. drum performance, worth checking out before heading to Houhai for a lakeside stroll. We suggest skipping Houhai’s bars and restaurants, which tend to be underwhelming tourist traps. And have fun trying not to get coerced into a rickshaw ride by the notoriously pushy drivers.
Lama Temple, 12 Yonghegong Dajie; Bell and Drum Towers, north end of Dianmen Dajie
 
iReport assignment: What are your favorite spots in Beijing?
 
 
7 p.m.:
 No need to leave this happening neighborhood for dinner.
Dali Courtyard
 offers some of the city’s best Yunnan cuisine, a region of China that takes culinary cues from neighbors Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam. Flavorful dishes such as crispy shrimp with lime leaves pair well with a mug of Dali beer and the intimate traditional courtyard setting. For a restaurant that hits closer to Beijing,
Mr. Shi’s Dumplings
 offers homey and typical but tasty Chinese dishes such as kung pao chicken and delicious pork and chive fried dumplings.
Dali Courtyard, 67 Xiaojingchang Hutong; +86 (10) 8404 1430 Mr. Shi’s Dumplings, 74 Baochao Hutong; +86 (10) 8405 0399
 
 
9:30 p.m.:
 For a few drinks, there's nearby
Modernista
, where you may be able to catch live music or dance performances. The bar has a Parisian jazz age feel, a lively crowd and reasonably priced drinks.
Modernista Old Cafe & Tapas Bar , 4 Baochao Hutong; +86 (0)13 6712
 
74747
 
More on CNN: For Beijing's best food, hit the hutongs
 
 
Day 2
For a less crowded Great Wall experience there's "wild" Jinshanling, about 125 kilometers outside of Beijing.
 
8 a.m.:
 If you're only in China for a brief visit and a trip to the
Great Wall
 is on your gotta-do list, the best way to get there is to hire a driver or join a group tour. The trip should take two to three hours, depending on which section you visit. Sections in the “wilder” parts of the Wall, such as Jinshanling or Jiankou, are unrestored and have fewer crowds.  Athletic types may want to join expat hikers for the day; Beijing Hikers frequently offers all-inclusive trips to the Wall at competitive prices.
Beijing Hikers; +86 (10) 6432 2876
 
 
4 p.m.:
 The best way to relieve achy muscles after climbing the Wall is a Chinese massage.
Dragonfly
 and
Hummingbird
 spas are dependable and clean with Western facilities and English-speaking staff.
Dragonfly Retreat, 60 Donghuamen Dajie; +86 (10) 6527-9368
 
Hummingbird Retreat, Tower 26, Central Park, Chaoyangmen Wai; +86 (10) 6533 6922
 
6 p.m.
 One of the top places to pick up traditional Chinese knickknacks and other fun souvenirs is the Silk Street Market. This is the place for handbags and inexpensive pearl jewelry, Chinese costumes and iPhone cases. Be prepared to bargain hard.

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