Wangfujing Street, the most famous walking commercial street in China, is a must for foreigners to visit when traveling in Beijing, and the daily number of visitors reaches to 300,000 with the highest record topping a million.
Nowadays, Wangfujing has also played the role as an Olympic image-shaping ambassador, apart from a shopping and leisure place for travelers at home and from abroad. A young man from Canada told the writer that Wangfujing is the first stop he visited in China. He saw Wangfujing in a publicity film about Beijing's bid for hosting the 2008 Olympic games. He was deeply attracted by the prosperous spectacle there. Later Beijing defeated Toronto and thus got the right to host the 2008 Olympics.
He said, "At that time, I decided that I must go to visit Wangfujing. And I have since then paid more attention to news reports about China, especially reports about Olympics in China. I have found that many TV pictures were chosen from Wangfujing, so Wangfujing is the door to Beijing's Olympics".
There are many other foreign travelers sharing his ideas. They are seen taking photos in front of the Olympic symbol everywhere in the street and many more visitors buy souvenirs at the shops with exclusive right to sell Olympic commodities.
Hutong tour: getting an experience in old Beijing
There is an old saying popular with elder Beijingers. They say there are 360 well-known hutongs in the city and many more are not famous. More than 4,000 hutongs are named. Among them, the longest ones are Dongiaominxiang and Xijiaominxiang, and the narrowest one is the southern end of Gaoxiao hutong to the north of the Eastern Zhushikou Street in Beijing's Chongwen District with its width being only 65 centimeters.
"Hutong tour" becomes one of the tourism items for foreign travelers after they arrive in Beijing. Especially in recent years, many sightseeing tricycles are added to some famed scenic spots in Beijing and foreign friends can travel by tricycles, savoring culture hidden in hutongs.
An American traveler, named Michael who was touring the Shishahai area by a sightseeing tricycle printed "goto hutong", said he had a little difficulty in walking, so he planned to travel in Beijing by tricycle. He was deeply impressed by the tricycle man, saying, "He has a good command of English", raising his thump in praise of the pedaling young man.
Apart from riding human-pedaled tricycle, many foreign travelers tour in hutongs by renting bikes. They believe that to do so is not only cheaper, but also freer than touring by joining tourist groups.
Study tour: overwhelmed with Chinese culture
Inspired by "China fever" and Chinese language craze", a large batch of foreigners come to China on study tours.
Universities and colleges in Beijing have opened short-term Chinese-training classes since 2002, and foreign students have received basic oral, aural and reading training. They can take part in the social practices including Peking Opera, calligraphy, Taijiquan (Chinese boxing) and Chinese painting and other traditional culture of China, in addition to traveling in Beijing together with their teachers.
Most of the short-term Chinese-training classes last three to four weeks. They have great attraction since their initiation. A teacher of the training class said, "More and more foreigners have come to learn the Chinese language since Beijing's successful bidding for Olympics. Our classes were full of learners at the very beginning. The number of foreign applicants is on the increase.
The writer bumped into a French family traveling in the city. The host, named Pierre, said in Chinese, "We have stayed in Beijing for more than a month and I once studied in a short-term Chinese-training class. Now, it is not very difficult for me to chat with Chinese ". He said he would go to Xi'an together with others and visit terracotta warriors and horses there. When asked what he was planning to do in the future, he said smilingly, "Time is pressing as there are many interesting places for sightseeing in China. Perhaps, we would go to Yunnan and my family wants to go to Shangri-la.
By People's Daily Online