The longest ramparts in the world, the largest palace in the world; the things that compete for the best and largest in the continent all cluster together in this city. Though the era of emperors has ended, Beijing still gives the impression of an imperial city. Here are 8 ways to enjoy Beijing which will surprise you if you learn more.
The dignity of a red wall and golden roof / Peeking into the lives of emperors of the ‘Forbidden City’
It is the largest palace in existence on earth. In the City, there are as many as 800 buildings and 8,880 rooms, and it takes 30 minutes just to walk across it. For about 500 years from Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty in 1421 until the last emperor Puyi of the Qing Dynasty, 27 emperors lived in this place. Its official name now is the Palace Museum. The 10-meter high red wall and golden roof, and the vast Taihedian Plaza where emperors’ coronation ceremonies were held are particularly impressive.
Tip: Go to Jingshan Park if you want to take pictures of the entire Forbidden City.
A picture of the entire Forbidden City can be taken only from the gazebo in Jingshan Park. You can reach it by walking up the hill after crossing the road at the back gate of the Forbidden City. It is also the place where Emperor Chongzhen killed himself.
8,851km of victorious human history / Climbing up the Badaling Great Wall
An 8,851 km long rampart that is said to be visible from satellites, it was first built during the era of Emperor Shi of the Qin Dynasty (B.C. 259 ~ B.C. 210) to keep Xiongnuzu out. It starts at Shanhaiguan in Hebei Province and leads to Jiayuguan in Gansu Province via Beijing and Huanghe. There are many ramparts built in Beijing, among which the Baldaling Great Wall is the easiest one to climb. If you take a cable car, it takes you just below the staircase of the Great Wall.
Tip: Select a ‘Daily tour’ in order to take a tour of the Great Wall.
The Great Wall is located in the mountains 3 hours away from the downtown of Beijing. It is difficult to reach via public transportation, making it wise to go via a daily tour offered by a travel agency. In general, the Great Wall and the Summer Palace are included in any such tour.
Vacation house of ‘Queen Mother Xi”, an emperor above emperors / Solving a picture puzzle in ‘the Summer Place’
It is the biggest royal garden in China, which was built by Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty in 1764. However, the person who loved Summer Place even more than Emperor Qianlong did was Queen Mother Xi (1835 ~ 1908). Queen Mother Xi created Kunming Lake, as big as a sea, by digging into bare ground, and built Wanshou Mountain using the soil excavated at this time. The lake was created by emulating West Lake in Hangzhou. The extravagant vestiges of Queen Mather Xi can be also seen in Luoshui Dian, where she ate 100 kinds of food at one meal, and Foxiangge, where she offered a Buddhist prayer wishing for longevity.
Tip: Check out the 728m-long corridor of Summer Place, listed in the Guinness Book of Records
The 728m-long outdoor corridor of Changlang is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest gallery in the world. It is said that there are 14,000 hostorical Chinese paintings in the upper part of the corridor and no two pictures are the same.
800-year-old alleys entangled with each other like a maze / Walking along old ‘Hutong’
The term “Hutong” refers to the narrow old alleys scattered inside the old ramparts of Beijing. Hutong were first constructed in 1267, and their number once reached as many as 6,000. Even in 1950, there were said to be ‘as many as cow hair’, but they are currently vanishing gradually due to modernization. In the surroundings of the Forbidden City, there are many Siheyuan Hutong, where dignitaries of Mingqingdai or celebrities lived. A Siheyuan is a square-shaped house in which four 3-room houses are arranged on the east, west, south, and north sides of a garden. While a single family lived in such a house in the past, they have become multi-household residences at present.
Tip: Take a ‘Hutong rickshaw tour’ to explore a Siheyuan house
To experience a Siheyuan house where local people live, take a Hutong rickshaw tour or stay in a Siheyuan hotel. Hutong rickshaw tours start in front of the old residence of Guomoruo near to Qianhai Lake.
Leisurely appreciating the very witty Chinese arts / Viewing the ‘Beijing 798’ gallery
Chinese modern art is changing rapidly. The genre is wide-ranging, encompassing classic Oriental painting, pop art, handicrafts, and sculpture. The Beijing 798 Special Zone of Art is a place which clearly showcases the current state of Chinese Art. The gallery was built by utilizing an abandoned factory to embody works of art in the raw. If one looks around carefully, a surprisingly large number of works can be seen which portray modern China in a gloomy yet witty way.
Tip. Simply don’t fail to view the Beijing 798 gallery!
If you like art installations, we recommend the UCCA gallery, the collectors of which are a Belgian couple and, if you are curious about Chinese modern painters, we recommend the Dangdiatangren Art Center (Yishuzhongxin).
Cute alleys that you will love to walk alone / Indulging in shopping in ‘Nanluoguxiang’
Of the Hutongs of Beijing, the most vibrant Futong with the biggest number of things to eat and buy is Nanluoguxiang. It is on the north of the Forbidden City, and its 787m road is connected to 16 Hutongs on either side. The road at the center is lined with pretty cafes and open-air bars built by remodeling Siheyuan and shops that sell accessories or souvenirs. It is a good place at to eat snacks such as various skewered foods or ice cream.
Tip: While visiting Nanluoguxiang, have a look at Yandaixiejie as well.
If you walk 5 minutes from Nanluoguxiang, you will arrive at Yandaixiejie, an old tobacco pipe street. Though it is only about 200m long, the street is notable for its outstanding shops selling Chinese-style post cards and cheap sunglasses.
To watch a range of Chinese performances while drinking tea / Laoshe Chaguan
If you want to quickly experience the performance culture of China, go to Laoshe Chaguan. People are able to watch about 10 performances in a Qing Dynasty-style tea house while drinking traditional tea, and the line-up of acts is very varied. The performances range from traditional Beijing opera, comic talks, acrobatics, and magic shows, to face-changing, with no time for any dull moment. Though they are short and fragmental performances, they are nonetheless special, as people can enjoy a buffet-like variety of entertainment. The highlight is ‘Face Changing’, which is the last performance, and features the actor’s face changing in a twinkle, seemingly by magic.
Tip: If you want to watch Beijing opera, why not see in person?
Go to the special theater, Liyuan Juchang, and vividly encounter the heart-breaking story of Bawang Xiang Yu and Yumeiren of the Chu Dynasty.
Sometimes like an emperor, sometimes like an ordinary person / Try to eat grilled duck and zhajiangmian
Beijing grilled duck is a food that the gourmand Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty particularly liked. After grilling a whole duck, a cook thinly cuts and serves the meat and skin separately on the spot. If you put a piece of crispy skin and a piece of fatty and savory flesh on a thin piece of grilled wheat cake and then wrap it together with a slice of cucumber or green onion, it is delicious. Don’t forget to coat it with some sweat Chunjang source. Besides this, we also recommend Beijing zhajiangmian which you eat by mixing it with blanched vegetables.
Tip. Do you feel oily after eating Chinese food?
Rinse your mouth with tanhulu. This is made by skewering a hawthorn fruit and coating it with a sweat starch syrup. It soothes an oily stomach as it is sweet and crispy at the same time.
As always, countless Halla Group employees at the Mando R&D Center, Mando’s Beijing branch office, and Mando Beijing Trading in Beijing, the capital city of China, are doing their very best to research and develop new products. Let’s take a closer look at what each of Mando’s offices in Beijing is doing!
Mando Beijing China (MBC) - Production base for the Chinese market
In 2003, Mando opened Mando Beijing China (MBC) in the Miyun District of Beijing, China. Since then, MBC has been producing braking and suspension products for the Chinese market. It continues to maintain a robust market present today. China is a critical market for Mando as it generates approximately a quarter of Mando’s sales revenue. To reinforce its footing in the market, Mando is planning to supply high value-adding products such as ADAS systems, braking, steering, suspension, electronic parts to local Chinese businesses.
Mando R&D Center China (MRC) - Total solution for technological research and clients
The next place we are going to look at is the Mando R&D Center China (MRC). Fully funded by Mando, MRC opened in June 2003. The MRC is equipped with testing facilities capable of testing all of Mando’s products produced in China, and it is home to the Beijing Summer Test Site and Heihe Winter Test Site (test site built according to international standards).
MRC offers total solutions for clients searching for braking, steering, suspension, or ADAS systems. Its current focus is to secure adequate cost competitiveness and R&D capabilities that will enable Mando to compete against other global corporations. Not only that, MRC uses its technological expertise to assume a leadership role when dealing with car brands, and addresses client requests in real-time based on close communication with Mando’s Global R&D Center in Pangyo, Korea, to continue its support for clients in the market.
MRC also studies the performance, durability, and noise testing for all products supplied to car brands in China. To showcase new technology developed based on its studies, MRC invites researchers and procurement personnel from GWM, BHMC, and FAW. MRC offers live demonstrations using actual vehicles to give them a chance to experience and evaluate the new technology. With these regular interactive events involving new technological breakthroughs and live vehicle demonstrations, MRC continues to bolster its efforts to promote Mando’s technology to clients.
Mando Beijing Trading Company (MBTC) - Marketing initiatives to penetrate the Chinese market deeper and wider
With trading offices in Beijing and Shanghai, Mando Beijing Trading Company (MBTC) has been a great success in penetrating the Chinese market, which is regarded the most critical region among all overseas business operations for Mando. MBTC actively pursues policies to diversify its client base, and engages in marketing activities aimed at not only major global OEM companies in China, but also major Chinese local corporations.
Mando’s presence in China is not just about business and commercial success. It has also attracted interest with a wide range of corporate social responsibility initiatives developed to interact with the locals and build trust in the community. Most notably, Mando cemented its reputation as a “good” business when it received the “Star of Philanthropy” from the Miyun District in recognition of its scholarship program and volunteer service within the District.
Mando continues to research more advanced new technology to deliver more sophisticated services to its clients. Thanks to its unrelenting commitment towards research and development, Mando won the “Most Outstanding Researching Corporation Award” and the “Outstanding Development Corporation Award” at supplier awards events hosted by Great Wall Motors and Geely respectively. In all, Mando is pulling all of its resources to help accelerate the development of the local community and its automotive industry in Beijing, the storied and historic capital city of China.