Alone in Beijing for Chinese New Year

What to do? All suggestions will be seriously considered.

The Discussion: 25 Comments

Get a pad and some pencils to go sketching?

February 13, 2007 @ 1:26 am | Comment


February 13, 2007 @ 3:02 am | Comment

Do they allow fireworks inside Beijing anymore? A few years ago I spent Chinese New Year’s Eve in Shanghai at the jazz bar on the top floor of the Westin Hotel. From their, we had a 360 degree view of the city at midnight when fireworks started coming up everywhere. It was quite a sight.

February 13, 2007 @ 3:58 am | Comment

Take a walk in Tiananmen Square and practice Falun Gong there. If you have a lot of down time, this simple afternoon activity could end up filling up your whole week-long break with reeducation!

February 13, 2007 @ 4:36 am | Comment

Richard, just in case you might have some blogging fever, why not rejoice us with an update of the “Emperor’s Jewels”? I have the impression they could use that, and while you’re at it, add a few words on why you considered them worthy to enter the Hall of Fame.

In case you don’t have that urge, go to Songpan in Sichuan and go hiking / horseriding for a couple of days. Does miracles to a stressed mind.

February 13, 2007 @ 6:06 am | Comment

Do some charity work. Find one of those guys on the subway that’s severely disfigured and hang out with him for an entire day. Tell him you’ll give him a budget of 1000 kuai and see what he decides to do with it. Write it up the next day.

February 13, 2007 @ 8:26 am | Comment

go to Ditan for the Miaohui, the traditional new year temple fair

February 13, 2007 @ 11:14 am | Comment

Miaohui is a good idea, but I wouldn’t go to Ditan- overcrowded and overrated. There are plenty of others, or at least there should be. Longtanhu and Liulichang should be interesting.

Otherwise I’d recommend getting out into the suburbs. Get some fresh air and a bit of exercise out in the mountains north and west of the city.

February 13, 2007 @ 1:23 pm | Comment

One thing in Beijing that I keep meaning to do but fail is find the underground city. I think you can get into it from the south of Tiananmen square and it sounds generally like quite a cool thing to do – getting a first hand glimpse into the paranoia of the Sino-Soviet split.

Alternatively you could make the most of global warming and get out and hit some golf balls: that’s my plan.

February 13, 2007 @ 1:36 pm | Comment

Hey Richard, sorry I missed your earlier invite; I was in New York.

I might (20% chance) be in Xicheng with family over the holiday, or I might be in Shanghai with my other side of the family.

I’ll PM you if I’m free.

February 13, 2007 @ 1:43 pm | Comment

I appreciate the suggestion and will check out as many as I can. And thanks to this plaintiff post, I actually got invited to a C. New Year’s eve party!

February 13, 2007 @ 6:19 pm | Comment

Get earplugs, a good book, a big pile of DVDs and relax.

February 13, 2007 @ 6:57 pm | Comment

Beijing around Chinese New Year: cold & deserted. My suggestion is to get out, either to Harbin if you haven’t already seen the bingdeng, or to somewhere south, where at least it’s warm.

February 13, 2007 @ 7:16 pm | Comment

I second the Miaohui suggestion. I was always a sucker for a good “county fair” back home so I guess I’m hokey enough to love the miaohui. Anyway, I like ’em.

February 13, 2007 @ 8:15 pm | Comment

Hmmm….. Guest post on chinaloawvlog,, danwei, imagethief, and…… time’s chinablog?

February 13, 2007 @ 8:41 pm | Comment

Miaohui – an outdoor fair I presume? The last place I want to be right now is outdoors….

I like Will’s idea about the books. I hear there are now some real bookstores here where I can buy real books – Can anyone tell me where these stores are? (I was amazed at what I saw for sale in Shanghai’s bookstores last year- though I didn’t see any China Lonely Planets for sale.)

February 13, 2007 @ 9:20 pm | Comment

I’ve not lived here long enough to know where the real good bookstores are, but I’ve found the foreign language bookstore really isn’t too bad. Also, there’s a pretty sweet store on Gongti donglu (The worker’s athletic park east road? ok translation) by Chaoyang men subway. I checked it once after work, and it has a pretty decent supply of french, japanese, and english books (not to mention classical music galore, but no ABBA)

February 14, 2007 @ 9:19 am | Comment

I meant to say the foreign language bookstore at Wangfujing for the first one.

February 14, 2007 @ 9:20 am | Comment

why would anyone WANT to do anything? i’m looking forward to doing nothing at all for 9 days. the most ambitious thing i plan on doing is shopping.

February 14, 2007 @ 10:20 am | Comment

9 days is a long time to be alone doing nada.

February 14, 2007 @ 10:24 am | Comment

Bookstores: The Foreign Language Bookstore on Wangfujing has gotten a lot better — they now actually have stuff that you might want to read! (Ditto Wangfujing bookstore down the road, though the FLB has a slightly better selection of English books.) And there’s the Bookworm as well, on Sanlitun Nan Lu behind the formerly derelict high-rise.

I’d been trying to figure out what I would spend my time doing over the holiday, since my vacation travel plans are shot, but it now looks like the answer is simply “keep going to work as usual.”

February 14, 2007 @ 1:55 pm | Comment

The underground city is kinda cool. Worth a look. Bundle up and do some exploring, would be my suggestion. The one thing that’s neat about Beijing in the dead of winter is that you can go to these typically overcrowded tourist attractions and have them all to yourself.

Oh, one time a few years ago I went to the Ice Festival at Longxinxia – ? – I don’t think that’s quite right. Anyway it’s about an hour or an hour and a half from Beijing, somewhere out around Miyun Resort city. The Ice Festival was pretty damn neat. I also went out to the Simatai Great Wall in the dead of winter. It’s gorgeous. Just wear a hat, scarf, gloves and long underwear.

And I love the Drum Tower at any time of year.

Hang in there Richard. I’ll be there in two weeks with antihistamines and good cheer!

February 14, 2007 @ 5:14 pm | Comment

Do go see the ice festival in Harbin, Richard, if you can. The huge snow sculptures are every bit as impressive as the more famous ice creations. Be sure to grab a hot lunch or dinner at Old Chang’s make your own bing joint on the pedestrian mall in the Russian heart of downtown. I froze my arse off in the northeast for three weeks in January 2005 and loved every minute of it. Winter is the best time to appreciate Dongbei.

February 15, 2007 @ 10:14 am | Comment

Do I really want to go anywhere where they make sculptures out of ice? I mean, cold is my nemesis…

February 15, 2007 @ 11:19 am | Comment

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