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Monday, August 11, 2008

Beijing insider guides

If you are considering a trip to Beijing after being inspired by the Beijing Olympics' Opening Ceremony (or my own Cool Travel Guide to Beijing), then check out these insider guides to the city:
The Beijinger is an excellent Beijing-based, English-language magazine and website with a weekly what's on guide including listings for every kind of arts and entertainment venue and event, from hip-hop clubs to Chinese opera performances. Check out their links to websites for hundreds of arts galleries, bars, restaurants, clubs, and more. They also produce local guidebooks, such as The Insider's Guide to Beijing, available online, including tips from 40 resident contributors, and indispensable immersion guides, such as a Mandarin phrasebook with a section on Beijing slang to a guide to using taxis (trust us, this will become more valuable to you than your Lonely Planet).
Beijing Notebook is a blog by Suzie, an Italian-based German who until recently lived in Beijing for three years. Take a look at her 5 things to do when in Beijing, Beijing Shopping Where and How, and Beijing de Luxe: Cool Visits, Sees & Tastes. Suzie also has helpful links to sites such as the Beijing Weather Forecast and Daily Air Quality Report.
* 'After the Gold Rush: 20 ideas for your Beijing visit' in the Guardian's Travel section is by resident travel writer Damian Harper and includes superb suggestions ranging from hiring a bike to cycle the hutongs to doing a self-guided Maoist slogan tour. (You'll need that Mandarin phrase book for the latter of course.) The Guardian Travel also has Beijing insider tips and guides to top 10 shops and top 10 places to eat in Beijing.
* The Beijing Guide, the site of an American-operated, Beijing-based travel agency mainly exists to sell its tours, however, there's tonnes of other useful stuff on here, from restaurant and shopping reviews to practical tips like activating your mobile phones.

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