With the coming of the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, more and more guided tours of this city in China have been
established and China itself has become one of the fastest growing tourist locations in the world.
For the US, the borders of China are open and tourists are welcome to get visas for travel in this country.

Because Chinese is such a difficult language to learn, signing up for one of the many guided tours of the country
is the best option. Otherwise, the complications of travel and language barriers make it difficult for a couple or
family to really see the country in the best way possible.

Most guided tours of China include several cities as well as intra-China flights from city to city.
This is preferable to driving as this is a very large country.
Otherwise, you can just pick a city and spend your time there. For example, a tour could involve
the city of Beijing (formerly “Peking”) where the Olympic preparations are being made.
From this city, you can visit the infamous Tiananmen Square, where many protesters were killed in 1989.
Now, it is a peaceful meeting place where visitors can see MaoTse Tung’s entombed body and an official museum.

Almost all guided tours of Beijing also include a walking tour of the Forbidden City—a place where ancient emperors
lived and ruled the country. Although it has been burned down and rebuilt several times, the tourist definitely gets
an idea of how the ancient royalty lived and several of the large statues and the garden are still standing.
The Summer Palace in Beijing is on a lake nearby and includes the longest covered walkway in the world.
Bring your most comfortable shoes as there is a great deal of walking involved.

Guided tours around Beijing also commonly include a visit to a portion of the Great Wall of China.
On the bus ride out to the wall, the visitor can see bits and pieces of the wall snaking along the tops of the mountain.
At the visitor center, the tourist can take a cable car up to the base of the wall, where a short walk takes you to the
wall itself. Good walking shoes are vital here as well because the wall isn’t flat when one walks on it and is instead
very irregular and slanted in places.

Other places to see on guided tours of Beijing are what the Chinese call the “hutongs”.
These are very narrow alley-like passageways that can, in part, be traveled through using Chinese pedicabs—bicycles
attached to surreys for two riders to sit on and enjoy the scenery. The lucky tourist will get to visit a school inside
one of the hutong areas where very small children are taught from as young as two years of age. Private homes in the
hutongs can be visited as well so the tourist can see how genuine Chinese people live. Because you are on a guided
tour, you will have the advantage of an interpreter.

None of the guided tours of Beijing are complete without a trip to the shopping areas.
The infamous “Silk Alley” contains a plethora of what otherwise would be street vendors—all trying
to get your attention and all hoping you don’t know how to bargain. Bargaining in Beijing is essential so
bring your money and an extra suitcase to pack your well-loved souvenirs in.

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