Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Beijing

Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:46pm EDT
 
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By Ben Blanchard

BEIJING (Reuters Life!) - Beijing is China's rapidly changing and endlessly exciting capital, a modern metropolis clinging on to the vestiges of a proud imperial past.

Punishingly hot in the summer, numbingly cold in the winter, and often covered in a pall of choking pollution, it is nonetheless fast becoming one of Asia's hippest cities with a booming art scene, gorgeous boutiques and heavenly food.

Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors get the most out of a 48-hour visit. Almost everyone needs a visa, unless you have a Singaporean, Bruneian or Japanese passport in which case they'll just stamp you in at the airport.

FRIDAY

6 p.m. - Ease yourself into the chaos that is Beijing with a pre-dinner cocktail at China Bar on the 65th floor of the Park Hyatt in the central business district, opposite the World Trade Center. Observe the city's vast expanse while gently sipping chocolate martinis (beijing.park.hyatt.com).

7.30 p.m. - You cannot come to Beijing and not eat Peking duck. Da Dong has probably the most authentic duck (Sanlitun branch 6582-2892), but for a less touristy, more sophisticated experience Duck de Chine is the place to be seen (6501-8881).

9.30 p.m. - Sanlitun is Beijing's bar street, and drinking options range from beers and pole dancing to sultry mojitos in swish luxury. Boutique hotel The Opposite House has two great watering holes -- Mesh on the ground floor, and the darkly chic Punk in the basement (www.theoppositehouse.com).

SATURDAY   Continued...

 
<p>A foreign visitor rides a bicycle past Wumen Gate at the Forbidden City in Beijing August 1, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Lee</p>