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Beijing City Tour - Green Travel Guide - mah-jong, green tea, temples and the Great Wall of China

You won't be short of something to do if you decide to embark on a Beijing city tour; this is an area teeming with cultural heritage, alive with colour, smells and noise that will have your senses tingling with new experiences.

For the green traveller, there are plenty of ways to get around on your Beijing city tour that will both appeal to your eco-friendly ideals and immerse you completely in the Beijing culture and way of life. This is essential for anyone who wants to experience true ecotourism as in order to understand a culture, especially in urban environments, it's necessary to get away from the beaten tourist routes and mix with locals going about their everyday life.

Beijing city tours and getting around

What better way to find your way around than with someone who knows the urban landscape like the back of their hand? Consider booking MyGuide Beijing if you really want to get to know the city intimately; not only can you build your own itinerary, so the tour is unique to your individual needs, but your guide, the 'CEO' has an in-depth knowledge about all the sights you could wish to see.

Tours can be taken according to your interests and the amount of time you have to spare up to a maximum of eight hours, allowing for plenty of time for a Beijing city tour. Your CEO will pick you up at your (centrally located) hotel and provide all of the necessary transportation for you before dropping you back to the hotel at the end of the day.

These are ideal for those who want to create a completely bespoke tour and have planned their Beijing city tour before they leave home. It allows for plenty of research to be carried out first so that you can see exactly what you want to see and are not bound by the restrictions experienced on other guided tours.

However, of course there are other options which allow you to see the sights of Beijing in a more traditional touring group. Why not consider touring Beijing by bike, the city's favourite mode of transport and an ideal way to explore the Hutong laneways and experience the real Beijing.

Of course, no trip to Beijing would be complete without seeing one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Wall of China. On this tour you can hike the wall along the restored section, climb the watchtowers and experience the fabulous views from the top, then enjoy a traditional Chinese lunch at a nearby village and get a relaxing reflexology foot massage at the end of the day.

A good base for your Beijing city tour

The Rosedale Hotel and Suite Beijing is a four star, eco-friendly hotel with prices that start from just ?43 per night, which is great value for money for accommodation of this calibre. The hotel was recognised back in 2007 for being a 'Gold Leaf Grade "China Green Hotel"' and is committed to sustainable and eco-friendly practices.

Of course, this isn't your only choice, there are 81 other hotels in Beijing that are considered to be environmentally friendly so it's worth doing some reading before you go, especially if you're on a budget. However, we thought that the above hotel represented great value for money so it's certainly worth checking out.

Even more to do and see on your Beijing city tour

There are many ways you can experience the real Beijing, why not try a Beijing Hutong tour which you can take either by bike or pedi-cab? Alternatively, you can always go for the novelty of a Rickshaw tour, or try one of the many tours that take you around on the city's waterways.

Or you could just behave like the locals and find your way around on a bike that you have hired yourself. There are around 5000 bikes available to rent from 31 outlets scattered around the city so it shouldn't be a difficult matter to find one to hire; prices start at around 20 CNY (?2) per day with a deposit payable of around 400 CNY (?40) so it's a great way to get around if you're on a tight budget.

It's worth paying a visit to Sihuan Market whilst you're in Beijing too, as it's probably the most famous farmer's market in the city. Here you will find a host of ingredients used in Chinese cooking such from ginger to home-made sesame oil and the 15,000 square meter market with 500+ stalls promises to keep anyone busy for many hours.

The market sells produce from all of China's 22 provinces including meat, fruit, vegetables, tea, grains and spices and serves around one-third of the Xicheng district's 878,000 residents.

If you fancy sitting down to eat, then the Saveurs de Coree restaurant claims to be Beijing's very first 100% environmentally friendly restaurant. Food is cooked on a charcoal free grill indoors and a unique extraction system ensures that you won't come out with your clothing stinking of BBQ! Further to this, unlike a lot of Chinese cooking, this restaurant doesn't use any MSG to enhance flavours.

There is so much to see in Beijing that it's impossible to list it all here, the city is vibrant and alive with temples, waterways, bustle and colour and is a fascinating experience for any green traveller to undertake. Like many modern cities, it's not difficult to find ecotourist options and it's incredibly easy to immerse yourself in the everyday culture and see how the urban citizens of this city really live.

Photo credit Gedsman

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