By Abigail Hinto
BEIJING, China – The week of the China Open is a perfect opportunity and the perfect time to visit Beijing. That is the Golden Week in China, a week-long holiday, when they celebrate their National Day. The infamous Beijing traffic is gone, so it’s easier to get around the city and the weather is just right. The tourist spots will be more crowded though, but you can have your pick and choose where to go. Definitely set aside a day outside the tournament to visit the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. I took a guided tour with www.beijingtourguide.com. For only RMB200, you’re in a small tour van (we were just 5) where you get an English-speaking tour guide to show you around the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, a stop at a jade factory where you get your lunch that’s included in the package, a silk factory tour, and of course a hike to a section of the Great Wall. Since we were only five in the group, we were able to decide amongst ourselves to skip the more famous section of the Great Wall (Badaling Wall) and opt for the one without the cable car, the tougher hike, but the lesser crowds, the Ju Yong Guan section.
The China Open is held in the Olympic Park, and it’s quite far from the city. So it’s better to stay at a hotel that’s within the Olympic Park area. The Intercontinental Hotel-Beichen is the official tournament hotel and is right in front of the Olympic Park. If you stay there, you may get a room that has a view of the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube which are impressive architectural structures and beautifully lighted at night. Just a note, if you book with the Intercontinental for the week of the tournament, make sure they confirm your reservation because they can cancel your reservation for you without any notification because it would be fully-booked for the China Open. From the hotel, it’s a 10-minute taxi ride to the tennis stadium.
Beijing is huge and you’ll never run out of options to see and do. And with the tournament on, there are only so many things you can squeeze in your days. But as they say, do as the Beijingers, when in Beijing, have a Peking Duck at Da Dong Restaurant.
Abigail Hinto was covering the China Open in Beijing for Tennis Panorama News.