Best-kept holiday secrets

(Beijing weekend)
Updated: 2007-04-27 10:12

If you are in Beijing as a tourist during the week-long May Day holiday: congratulations!

You are about to see, not only Beijing and China's great historical relics, but also the biggest flow of its domestic travelers!

Those keen to avoid the crowds may have decided the holiday from May 1-7 is not the best time to take in the major spots on the tourist map.

A smart option is to do as the Beijingers do: head to the capital's outskirts to appreciate some wonderful scenes without the crush inside the city.

BJW brings you an insider's guide with our pick of the 10 most beautiful and unexpected travel destinations.

These attractions are popular with locals, but largely unknown by visitors. Enjoy!

Best-kept holiday secrets

Huanghuacheng Great Wall

In summer, yellow flowers (huanghua) bloom everywhere at this part of the countryside, hence the village's name. The Great Wall here is the only part known to be submerged under water of the Xishuiyu reservoir. People can row boats, fish and cable slide over the lake, or hike on the old Wall.

This part of the Wall is under renovation, with work expected to be completed later this year, and will become the 5th restored part of the Great Wall open to tourists. Until then, people can go and see wall in its pre-restored state.

Location: Northwest of Huairou District, 70 kilometers from city, an hour and a half car ride.

To get there: Madianqiao on 3rd Ring Road Badaling Express Way, get off at Changping's Xiguan traffic isle Ming tombs direction Changling Tomb Jiuduhe Huanghuazhen Township, Sihai Direction. Or take bus No 916 at Dongzhimen, get off at Huairou Guoji Huiyi Zhongxin (International Convention Center), take deep blue bus opposite street with the signs of Xishuiyu, and get off at the terminal.

Qinglong Gorge

The so-called "black dragon" valley is home to a reservoir measuring 55.6 square kilometers, part of which is open to tourists for boating and yachting. Besides that there is the wild section of the Great Wall on the mountain that has not been renovated. It is best to take a cable car up the mountains, explore by foot, and then walk down. There is bungee, sliding and air gliding.

Location: 20 kilometers northwest of Huairou. 75 kilometers from Sanyuanqiao on North 3rd Ring Road.

To get there: Jingchen Express Way North 6th Ring Road JingmiLu turn right at Huairou Kaifang Traffic Isle head north on Huaifeng Road

Simatai Great Wall

This is local foreign expat's favorite part of the Great Wall, one of the few parts of the Wall that attains its original Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) looks. Mountain views here are more varied, meaning drastic rises and falls of the Wall. It is also a favorite of hikers, who usually walk from the nearby Jinshanling section, taking 4 hours. Many parts are quite steep, although you can take a cable car up the mountains.

Location: Gubeikou Township, Miyun County. 120 kilometers from the city, 2 hours to the Wall.

To get there: take bus No 980 or 970 at Dongzhimen, get off at Miyun Bus Station, and change to mini vans. A return minivan ticket costs 30-100 yuan, depending on how many people in your group, and how well you negotiate. Or drive via Jingcheng Expressway, get off at North Miyun exit, and change to 101 State Highway, before arriving at Gubeikou, Miyun County. 6903-1051.

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