Not Only Olympic Games

The 2008 Olympics are for sure a​ world-wide event attracting thousands and thousands of​ visitors. Let’s see how the​ Government will adjust together the​ 15 millions citizens with the​ foreign human flood in​ hot and humid August

For sure is​ not the​ best time to​ go. And somehow we​ perceive a​ kind of​ contradiction between the​ sport ethic of​ fair play.. and the​ human right deception China is​ constantly trying to​ mask. Luckily impossible in​ its 100%.

Further reasons why this metropolis is​ worth a​ visit are to​ be discovered in​ its past rather then in​ its present. From Chinese mythic bicycles,​ to​ Tai-Chi practice,​ tea houses and old hutongs or​ special foot massages you will have a​ glance of​ what the​ Chinese Republic is​ and was.

To escape from the​ mass touristy attractions,​ entertainment,​ anonymous luxury accommodations and expensive cliché,​ or​ simply to​ hide away from the​ city smog and confusion there are a​ few things that someone can do to​ discover some Beijing traditional pearls.

Fragrant Hills,​ in​ the​ north-western corner of​ Beijing,​ is​ a​ good place for weekend outings and picnics. Formerly a​ Qing imperial garden,​ today Fragrant Hills makes an​ easy short climb in​ the​ suburbs of​ Beijing. It's also home to​ the​ Fragrant Hills Hotel,​ designed by I.M. Pei (Louvre Museaum Pyramid). Take buses 331,​ 726 to​ the​ last stop. ¥10,​ students ¥5. From here,​ if​ you like green,​ have a​ visit to​ the​ Botanical Garden,​ next door.

Steps away from the​ east gate of​ Fragrant Hill,​ Beijing Botanical Gardens offer acres of​ greenery and flowers where Sir Johnston,​ teacher of​ the​ last emperor Puyi,​ had a​ villa in​ Cherry Glen,​ a​ silent and beautiful retreat in​ the​ Gardens. in​ the​ spring,​ the​ gardens hosts special exhibits of​ tulips,​ peach,​ plum blossoms and peonies. Buses 331,​ 726. ¥10,​ students ¥5.

A smart cool place to​ visit,​ not so common among tourists,​ is​ the​ 798 Art Zone,​ a​ part of​ the​ Chaoyang District. a​ thriving artist community set among 50-year old decommissioned military factory buildings of​ unique architectural style. it​ is​ often compared with New York's Greenwich Village or​ SoHo,​ but faces impending destruction from the​ forces driving Beijing's urban sprawl.

The Hutong Villages of​ Beijing most represent the​ traditional housing of​ Chinese locals. Some of​ the​ streets in​ the​ Qianmen Hutong have a​ history of​ about 500 years,​ with unchanged street layouts. the​ Hutongs are the​ perfect place to​ get a​ glimpse of​ Chinese daily life. Unfortunately,​ the​ majority of​ Hutongs have been demolished to​ make space for modern buildings. However some of​ them are still well preserved and converted in​ lodgings for tourists. They offer the​ warmest atmosphere you can imagine while keeping the​ traditional architecture,​ decoration and style. Hutongs are considered very valuable and are popular to​ some kind of​ tourists. if​ you can transform an​ attraction into a​ place where you can rest,​ and live for a​ while as​ you were in​ XIX century,​ well,​ maybe this is​ the​ best way to​ experience Beijijng.

Many of​ the​ hutongs have been transformed in​ youth hostels often run by former European travellers that decided to​ stop their run,​ save this enchanted peaceful places and establish a​ business. They offer all the​ comforts you can expect on​ private rooms decorated with taste and making use of​ traditional colours and red-wax piece of​ furniture. All rooms,​ as​ in​ traditional hutongs,​ face an​ inner secret garden well kept and decorated with marble statues and plants.

And finally,​ how would you move around these typical Hutong Villages? Rickshaws that can weave in​ and out of​ their narrow streets are the​ answer. But for a​ more personalized and traditional approach to​ this Country of​ bicycles,​ (the so called Bike kingdom) we​ recommend you rent a​ bike a​ healthy,​ environmentally friendly,​ convenient,​ economical,​ safe and fun means of​ travel transportation and recreation! China truly is​ producing and using more bicycles than any other nation in​ the​ world. Cycling in​ China is​ a​ kind of​ life style for the​ Chinese people. Don’t forget that in​ the​ traffic and in​ the​ narrow alleys of​ the​ Hutongs bikes are the​ best means to​ explore the​ city and is​ a​ super-individual way of​ transport by your own pace! There are some companies like the​ Bicycle to​ rent your own bike.

So what are you waiting for? See the​ Olympics in​ the​ freshness of​ your home with a​ beer and some friends and let other melt in​ the​ smoggy sun. Experience Beijing in​ Springtime.

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