Beijing's Offbeat Attractions
When visiting Beijing, there are lots of interesting sites to see with rich history, but sometimes all of the temples and monuments, though lovely, can run together a little bit. Why not spice things up by seeing something a little more memorable? If cities were people, Beijing would be your crazy grandma who always has some new crazy story to share, as the unexpected is always expected, and “off-the-beaten-path” describes the majority of this lovable capital.
Here are just a few of the offbeat attractions worth seeing if you find yourself getting a bit, shall we say, “templed out”.
Atypical Art Areas
If you’re into the arts, make sure to hit up the famous 798 art district. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous though, not far away is Caochangdi, a Chinese village on the outskirts of the city dotted with art galleries, including that of the famous Ai Weiwei. In fact, it was Ai who first decided to emigrate from the 798 area out to the countryside.
While the dirt paths and small village shops vastly contrast the built-up-ness of 798, make no mistake – Caochangdi is home to a number of the high-profile galleries of Beijing. Though the area is tough to maneuver, it pays off. The best strategy is to bring a phone and a list of gallery phone numbers, as maps and addresses are next to useless here.
After gallery-hopping, try Caoba, a Caochangdi bar that hosts movies on their rooftop terrace.
- Locations: 798 Art District (798艺术区), Caochangdi (草场地)
- 798: Take bus 408, 420, 571, 701, 847, or 983 to Jiangtai lukou xi (将台路口西), walk southeast to Jiuxianqiao Rd, then turn left.
- Caochangdi: Take the 402, 418, 688, 909, 955, and 973 all go there. Get off at either the Caochangdi (草场地) stop or the Nangao (南皋) stop.
China Honey Bee Museum
Take a trip up to Fragrant Hills, which is especially beautiful in the Fall as leaves change colors, and while you’re there, wander into the Honey Bee Museum. Here you’ll learn all about the history and evolution of bees, beekeeping practices, and even sample different kinds of honey. One subject of particular interest is the different dances bees use to communicate with one another.
- Location: Fragrant Hills Botanical Garden (West of the Sleeping Buddha Temple)
- Hours: 8:30am to 4:30pm
- Price: 2 yuan
- Getting there: Take bus 318,331,360,360 fast 563,630,696,698,714 to Beijing Botanical Garden Station (北京植物园) or Temple of the Reclining Buddha Station (佛寺站)
Beijing Wax Museum
Learn about all of the great figures of Chinese history from ancient emperors to recent pop icons and everything in between at the Beijing Wax Museum, located in the Hall of Abstinence in Ditan Park. There are three exhibition halls, housing well over 100 figures.
- Location: Ditan Park Hall of Abstinence
- Hours: 8:30am – 4:30pm
- Price: 5 yuan
- From the Subway: Take subway line 2 or 5 to Yonghegong and walk north
China Highlights Caters for Mainstream AND Offbeat!
We specialize in tailor-making tours to suit your interests. Though our Beijing tours don’t cover all the over 70 Beijing Attractions we have information on, just let us know if you want to visit one of the more offbeat ones (or something else entirely), and we will do our very best to work it into your itinerary for an excellent value price.
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