Many tour operators offer Beijing tours. You can also hire your own car and driver to get around.
Overeseas Adventure Travel
; 1-800-493-6824) took us on our three-week tour of China and Tibet; Tibet is now closed to tourism. The trip was expertly planned, the guides were superb, and transportation by coach, plane, train and Yangtze River cruise was excellent. Most meals were included, and the hotels were pleasant. However, beds are notoriously hard in China. I brought along a yoga mat for exercise and padded my bed with it.
Continental flies nonstop (13 hours, 40 minutes) to Beijing from Newark Liberty International Airport; the lowest recent round-trip fare was about $1,373. Air China and United fly nonstop from JFK Airport; the lowest fare was about $1,497.
Americans must get visas before arrival. Information is available at
. Travel agents can arrange for visas via express mail.
Places to stay
Many hotels are booked for the Olympics. To save money, consider renting an apartment by searching on
Three recommended hotels are
(20 Nan Luo Gu Alley;
), a clean and comfortable boutique hotel in the center of a traditional Chinese neighborhood;
the Emperor Hotel
(33 Qihelou St.; ), a modern hotel with a good rooftop bar across from the Forbidden City; and the
(8 Goldfish Lane;
), one of Beijing's top hotels, with excellent service, spacious rooms, and a good location near the Forbidden City and shopping areas.
Several travel guides have come out in time for the Summer Games, including
Frommer's Beijing Day by Day
Beijing City Notebook
by Moleskine, and Mobil Travel Guide's
National Tourist Office
- Anne Chalfant