Value travelers wanting to explore more of China can easily have affordable fun in Beijing.
The key is to live like the locals do. Beyond the tourist-filled Great Wall and popular attractions like the Forbidden City, Beijing presents other charms that dazzle and disarm, even on a tight budget.
SCRUMPTIOUS LOCAL DISHES
There are many scrumptious offerings waiting to be discovered in quaint stalls in street markets. This is where you can enjoy hearty and authentic Beijing meals without blowing your budget.
Many locals frequent Gui Jie (Ghost Street) on Dongzhimennei Street for its diverse food options available from morning until night. Among the favorites here are the spicy crabs and poached fish dishes.
In the evenings, there’s the Donghuamen Night Market (at the entrance of North Street, Wangfujing) that offers delicious stir-fried and stuffed specialties, and for braver souls, even scorpions on sticks.
The Nanluoguxiang area in the Dong Cheng district is a favorite hangout of locals and tourists. You can check out trendy shops right next to historical structures.
These shops feature a wide variety of quirky toys, hip t-shirts, pottery and local crafts. If you get tired of shopping, there are cafes and bars where you can unwind.
If you’re more a hunter of antiques and collectibles, visit the Panjiayuan Antique Market in the Chao Yang district, which offers artwork, antiques, porcelain and folk culture finds. Many locals prefer to come here on Saturdays and Sundays, when the collectors who know their stuff also come out.
Ri Tan (Temple of the Sun) Park in the Jianguomen area is another shopping haunt preferred for its cheap clothes and accessories.
If you really want to get to know Beijing, hop on a bike the way many residents do. For around P300 or less for a day’s rental, you get an extraordinary glimpse of Beijing, at your own pace, and get a feel of the city’s commuting life. You can stop as you wish, too, and check out interesting places you see on the way.
And if you're looking to stay fit while in Beijing, there's no need to fork out precious yuans to do so. Just rise and shine early and hit the city parks and outdoor gyms that can be found practically everywhere in the city. There, you can go through exercise routines while socializing with the elderly locals who will gladly share interesting stories.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
To get away from the crowds, many Beijing residents go to the Lianhuachi Park, which offers amazing views of lotus flowers. Like the more popular parks frequented by tourists, it also has rock gardens, ponds and pavilions.
By the end of the trip, you'll have learned about attractions, activities and local secrets that not every traveler gets to experience.
Beijing is just one of the many exciting international destinations that have been made more accessible by Cebu Pacific with its trademark low fares.
The country’s largest airline, it also flies to Guangzhou, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Macau, Taipei, Osaka, Seoul, Busan, Singapore, Bangkok, Brunei, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh, Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur.
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