Departs and Operates
·Tour Type: Exclusive Private Tour
·Vehicle: Car or Van
·Departs: 8:00am or 1:30pm
·Returns: 12:00am 5:30pm
·Duration: Approx. 4 hours
·Pick-up: Your midtown Hotel
• This tour will give you the highlights of Beijing, both old and new. You’ll first head to the Shichahai lake area. Once the domain of only those of the imperial class, Shichahai is now a popular place for both Beijingers and tourists to relax and unwind. Shichahai is noted for its deep-rooted cultural significance, as old Hutongs and courtyard homes abound. After our walk through Shichahai we’ll head on over to the Drum and Bell towers, which were used during the Ming and Qing dynasties to help people keep track of the time (there were no digital watches back then!)
• The 2008 Summer Olympics brought Beijing (and all of China) to the forefront of the world, and cemented the country as one of the world’s new superpowers. You will get to see the monumental sights of new Beijing’s crowning achievement, such as the Bird’s Nest Stadium and the spectacular Water Cube
1. You will be picked up from your hotel, and we will make our way to the Shichahai lake area. On the way there we will pass through Ping’an Avenue, which literally means " Long Peace Road". It is also called the second" Chang'an Avenue, a main artery in Beijing. It used to be an old and narrow street. After reconstruction and renovation, the street was reopened to the public on August 28, 1999. It has turned into a classical Ming and Qing style street, and you will see many old courtyards, former palaces and other structures reminiscent of imperial China.
2. We will arrive at the Shichahai lake area. Shichahai is a famous scenic area that includes three lakes (Qian Hai, meaning Front Sea; Hou Hai, meaning Back Sea and Xi Hai, meaning Western Sea), surrounding places of historic interest and scenic beauty, and remnants of old-style Beijing residences, Hutong and courtyards. Shichahai is always a good place for local Beijingers' recreational life, and in the last 200 years, many governmental officers, celebrities, monks and nuns chose to build mansions, temples and nunneries in Shichahai. Thus, Shichahai's attraction lies not only in its natural beauty, but also in the historical value of its architecture. The lakeshore is packed with young people chatting, drinking and generally relaxing as wood pigeons coo overhead. In recent years it has become famous for nightlife because it is home to several popular restaurants, bars, and cafes. We will take a leisurely stroll along the lake, where we will gradually come across Yandai Xiejie Street.
3. Yanandai Xiejie (Tobacco Pipe Lean Street ) is a quaint 800-year-old hutong located directly north of Yinding Bridge between Qianhai and Houhai in the Shichahai area and the south of the Drum Tower. The street used to be well-known for sellers of long-stemmed pipes, hence the name. Now, it is a street lined with numerous antique stores and trendy bars. After walking through the street, we will come arrive at the old Drum and Bell Tower.
4. The bell and drum were originally used as musical instruments in China. Afterward, however, they were used for telling time. As early as in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220), there was 'a morning bell and a dusk drum'. Telling the time by bell and drum played an important role in helping people live and work regularly when there was no other means to keep track of the time. As a result, bell and drum towers became public architectures, and were widely constructed in almost every city throughout the country since the Han Dynasty. In the history of their construction, the bell and drum towers of Beijing are the largest and highest. Their layout is unique, in that they were placed fore-and-aft, not as the traditional sense of standing right-and-left horizontally. We will walk around the towers, and we will go up into the Bell Tower, which will give you a great bird’s-eye view of the city.
5. We’ll then head to the northern area of the city, in order to go to the Olympic Green. The Olympic Green was the center of the event that captivated the world for two weeks in August of 2008, and is where a majority of the Olympic events took place. The highlights that you will see today include the Bird’s Nest (officially known as the Beijing National stadium) and the Water Cube (the Beijing National Aquatics Center). The stadium gets its nickname from its outward design, which originated from the study of Chinese ceramics, implementing steel beams in order to hide supports for the retractable roof, thus giving the stadium the appearance of a "Bird's nest". The Bird’s Nest hosted the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, athletic events, and football final of the 2008 Summer Olympics, from 8 August to 24 August 2008. Since the Olympic’s end, the Bird’s Nest has been used to host events ranging from opera to a ski park.
6. The site of Michael Phelps’ Olympic triumph, the Water Cube design combines modern technologies with Chinese traditional values. In tradition, Chinese conceptualized a square Earth and a round Heaven, and this formed the design’s central theme. Moreover, the cube shape dominates ancient urban buildings. The National Aquatics Center's design is of traditional style to meet all its functional requirements. The National Aquatics Center looks like a huge blue box, from which it takes its nickname: the Water Cube. The Water Cube is blue in order to reflect sunlight. The National Aquatics Center shines in the sunlight like a pearl in water. From the inside of the National Aquatics Center, you may discover that the pneumatic cushions of all sizes are just like sea bubbles.
7. After our walk around the Olympic Green, we will drive directly back to your hotel, and you will be dropped off, thus ending the tour.