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Travel, Teach, Live in China

Beijing - Escaping the Tourist Trail
By:Thom Sanders

With holidays to Beijing being an increasingly popular choice for those of us in the west, it's a great chance to get out and explore. Beijing city is packed full of famous historical sites, and there are many Beijing tours that will take you round theses. This article, though, looks at some of the hidden gems of Beijing, that give you a real taste of this fantastic city, and avoid the tourists.

1. Visit a Hutong.

One of the most unique features of Beijing are the alleyways of its' old city, known locally as the hutongs. Beijing is not the only city in China to have them but it is the most famous for its hutongs. These little alleys are formed between the courtyard gardens of the city, many built back in the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties. You can learn a lot about the culture and daily lives of the people of Beijing by having a walk down these fascinating narrow streets and get to see a side of Beijing that many visitors to the city miss out on.

2. See the Peking Opera

Next we have a unique little bit of culture, the Peking Opera. This fantastic show is a comprehensive performance blending together, music, singing, pantomime, martial arts, acrobatics and a strong thread of dialogue to immerse its audiences in a story. This mixing of the arts means that the actors and actresses in the performance have to be skill in multiple disciplines, and through this hard works weaves a gem of a show, it won't fail to charm you.

3. A Trip to Panjiayuan Market

Just west of Panjiayuan Bridg this brilliant little antiques market is one of Beijings most famous. The market started out with humble roots as a small flea market, but has now grown into something much much more. Everything from paintings and calligraphy to furniture and ceramics is on sale here along with so much more. You can easily lose yourself for an entire day in amongst the 40,000+ stalls here!

4. Shichahai Lakes

Finally we have a stroll around the Shichahai Lakes. Although situated in the shadow of the Forbidden City, these beautiful lakes don't often see much tourist traffic. The lakes used to be part of the vast pleasure gardens that belonged to the Emperor and is formed of three lakes and a beautiful garden setting. A great way to enjoy a little afternoon activity.

Wendy Wu Tours offers a range of unforgettable Beijing tours along with other fantastic Shanghai holidays http://www.wendywutours.co.uk/resort/Cosmopolitan_Shanghai/.

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