There is a famous saying that goes like this, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." This saying can most effectively be applied when it comes to travel, may it be in Rome or somewhere different like Beijing perhaps.
What this saying usually means is to abide by the rules of the certain land where you currently are. However, we can also use this saying to mean that whenever we are at a certain place, we can take a cue from the locals and experience this particular place the same way they do.
Here are some tips which can help you get the most out of your vacation in Beijing the way it is supposed to be: how the locals do it.
Sophie Murray-Morris chronicled for Metro how she exactly lived it up like a local in Beijing. She suggested skipping the usual places tourists go to and explore what other sights the city could offer.
- Get craft beers from Sanlitun district
In this district, there are an abundance of restaurants and breweries which serve craft beer. Aside from the burgeoning nightlife in this district, there are also a handful of shops as well as an art gallery.
- Light an incense in the Lama Temple
This temple is well known as the "Palace of Peace and Harmony" and with its gorgeous architecture, you'll simply find that here. Aside from lighting up an incense as well as offering your prayers, you can also see here the statue of Maitreya; a remarkable 26-foot high statue carved from a very rare tree which can make your trip to this temple all the more worthwhile.
- Take a stroll around Beihai park
Murray-Morris compares this park to Hyde Park, indicating just how impressive it is. Though Beihai Park is not too far from tourist-heavy attractions like Tiananmen Square and Forbidden Palace, it is a place where you can go to slip away from the clamor of tourists and just indulge in the beautiful sights this park has to offer.
- Go on a Ghost street food crawl
If there is anywhere you should go around Beijing which can offer you all sorts of food at reasonable prices, Guije or Ghost Street, as it is fondly known is definitely the place for you. This road has 150 different restaurants and you will most likely never run out of options to choose from.
- Opt to ride the Metro
Riding the Metro is not only the more logical but also the cheaper option when it comes to transportation. Buying tickets aren't that difficult anymore since the instructions come in the English language which is you can understand easily if your skills on the native language are a bit shaky. Though taxis are also readily available, if you intend to go for a more practical approach, use the Metro instead.
- Join a hiking group instead of a pre-packaged tour
Carole Cadwalladr of The Guardian reveals that she joined a hiking tour named Beijing Hikers to accompany her in exploring Beijing.
According to her, they headed to "Yanqing District, where there is an empty, broken-down stretch, truly in the middle of nowhere - a six-hour walk starting near the village of Chang Yu Cheng, up one of the pointy mountains to a Ming dynasty watchtower, 1,550m above sea level. When we finally get there, the view is astonishing - mile after mile of wall, zig-zagging crazily across the landscape, disappearing into the horizon beyond."
Not only do you get to see a different side to Beijing, you also manage to get to know other locals and maybe even befriend them along the way.
Doing as the locals do is probably one of the best travel advices; this is because the locals are clearly in the know of the best things their place has to offer. So if you are thinking of living it up locally in Beijing, you can go and try out these tips and enjoy what Beijing has in store for you.
from Cimagine Media Group: Discover Beijing V: Living Like A Local