Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rediscovery - Beijing

1. where is this elegant fan site? so near and yet so far to Ttiananmen squre:-) I am no stranger to Beijing , will share with you how to have fun with Beijing the different way:-)

2. Have been to Beijing numerous times (more than 50?) over the years for business + a little leisure, but never like the one I did in August recently which was so relaxed and enjoyable for a free and easy journey. Never really realized that Beijing can be so fun and colourful and got so much to offer…..maybe I should give the tips to Beijing Tourism Administration so that they can market Beijing to the international repeat visitors differently so as to secure more tourism revenue and change their stereotyped impression of the municipal.

3. In total, I spent 6 days 6 nites in Beijing, everyday is a different and new experience.

4. When we landed in BJ airport, my usual loyal taxi service came to fetch us and that was already into the midnight. After arrived at the hotel my friend helped to book with ctrip then realised that the booking was cancelled as we arrived too late and the entire hotel was full with no more room left. Surprisingly that i was so cool, and requested the frontline staff to recommend one nearby and they pointed us to the ideal one which we stayed for the next 6 nites:-)

5. We stayed in a budget boutique hotel named Piao 飘Home Hotel chain, located very near the most famous shopping street Wangfujing 王府井 (just like Orchard Road in Singapore), and 5 minutes walk to Forbidden City East Gate 故宫东门, 15 minutes walk to Tiananmen Square天安门广场 and city green lung park. It is clean, neat and spacious with free broadband service. It has more than 200 rooms and when we checked in on the first day, we were told that we could only stay for 3 days as they are running full occupancy till end August and we need to check daily whether there is chance for extension of stay. Anyway, our star was shinning so we managed to secure the room till we departed for home. The above 3 pix were taken at New Dong An Shopping Mall where HotWind Shoes Bar located. And the metal well recorded the history of Wangfujing where it began. And you can see the street scene with a unique view where u can see little kid wearing the bear-ass pant which you cant find in other modern cities

6. As my friend Hong has not been to Beijing for more than 15 years, so I became her special tour advisor for all the play and fun throughout our stay. We did not do the usual sightseeing of attractions, instead, we went for the site inspection of Aman Resort in Summer Palace 颐和园 arranged by a friend whom we were supposed to meet in Singapore but could not find a common window and at the end was fated to sit next to each other on SQ plane to Beijing and chatted for 4 to5 hours. It is a very unique, serene and different Aman, occupancy rate is quite high with attentive service. Thanks to the hospitality Exec Manager VP who so kind to show us around the facilities, exclusive villa, delux rooms and the quiet green.

7. The nice and patient taxi driver who waited for us to do the inspection and subsequently sent us to the next spot Qian Men 前门Pedestrian Street (the rejuvenation progress is unexpectedly slow, many shops and activities are still not ready since my last visit in Aug 08) for the well-known Du Yi Chu都一处烧卖 dumpling lunch. Then we took the subway just RMB 2 back to wangfujing and happily shopping at New Dongan 新东安Shopping Mall and found a shoe shop named Hot Wind 热风which went the extra N miles to help mend my shoes at no cost even though it was not their product and even if I buy nothing from them. Amazing!! Superb excellent service!! Do not think I can find a shop like that in Singapore or elsewhere in the world. They even humbly said that the repair may not be well done but they will try their best and advised me to collect in 3 days’ time. After realizing that I would depart 2 days later, they said they will rush it out for me.

8. After the long day under the hot sun, we went to Taipan Regency 大班丽晶 in the evening for massage and dinner. After treatment, Hong remarked that it was the best massage cum food package (more than value for money) which she has ever experienced and would certainly want to have repeat visit before flying home.

9. Must congratulate Beijing to have the efficient subway system at such a reasonable rate of RMB 2 to any places (key attractions including Bird's nest and cultural/business districts) on the lines 1, 2, 10 etc. This is key to attract FIT travellers as they can then go to the key sites within minutes avoiding the jams. The station staff are polite and ready to help direct traffic and routes. Avoid taking it at peak business hours as the trains are really packed beyond imaginations.