Is your family planning to take it easy and relax in Beijing over October holiday? The last few weeks have shown us varied weather – some days with perfect temps and blue skies, and others with less desirable air quality. It might be a great time to get out and about. Instead of braving the crowds at some of the more predictable tourist sights, create your own schedule to explore what interests your family via the Beijing subway system.
Our “new” Shunyi Line 15 has been open since December 30. Still, how many of you have actually tried it out? I admit to only using it once or twice since that maiden voyage, but it’s not for lack of interest. Usually there just isn’t enough time to make a game plan and go for it. To get you started, here are some suggestions.
First, the logistics. Anyone unfamiliar with how to ride the subway out here, refer to the blog with all of the particulars by clicking here. Buying a subway card will only be beneficial if you use it, so perhaps the first time out you should just purchase tokens for the day. Get ahold of a subway map, complete with the colored lines (one of several online sources is explorebj.com/subway). It’ll just make your life easier by having this to refer to throughout the day as you make your stops. Parking seems to be an issue at these stations – it’s currently under construction at the Expo Center – but you could easily ride your bike to the station, park along the access road between the station and the Expo Center, or drive to the Sunhe station on Jingshun Lu where parking is available.
From whichever Shunyi Station you choose, you’ll be on Line 15 until it ends at Wangjing West (Line 13). Then you simply have to plot out where you want to go. Keep in mind that to get to the heart of the city, you should plan on about an hour-long trip. Here are some suggestions:
*Qianmen Dajie is a lovely reconstructed boulevard south of Tian’anmen Square. Full of shops, restaurants and great ambiance, it has extra charm of being situated in the center of Beijing. Someday I’d love to try Capital M near there for lunch or dinner – I’ve heard it’s a divine treat. From the end of Line 13 south, go on Line 2 until you reach the Qianmen stop.
*In the same area a touch closer, you could enjoy the more modern walking mall of Wangfujing – daytime for shopping, or nighttime for the food market. From the end of Line 13 south, take Line 2 to Line 1 (Jianguomen), ending at the Wangfujing stop.
*The Houhai Lake area is always lovely, full of walking and boating adventures, local shopping and quaint eateries. While the subway doesn’t stop at any one particularly convenient location, there are several options depending on your desired route. From the end of Line 13, take Line 2 west to the Jishuitan stop, which is at the far northwest corner of the Houhai area. If you want more the north center area, stop at Guloudajie. You’ll wind up walking a ways regardless.
*If the weather is nice, a visit to the Temple of Heaven is easy to get to via subway, and a stop by Hongqiao Pearl Market is a must. From the end of Line 13, take Line 2 west until it transfers to Line 5 (Yonghegong/Lama Temple) down to the Tiantan Dongmen stop.
*I still find the Olympic Park fascinating to visit, andthere often plenty of things to do in and around the area. From the end of Line 13, take Line 10 west (Shaoyaoju) to Line 8 (Beitucheng), which is at the very south central opening of the Olympic area.
There are a lot of places to go, things to see, and adventures to take. Give the Shunyi subway a try!