Here's Beijing as you've never seen it before! 160 places, many of which you'll be hard pressed to find any mention of on the internet... such as: THREE aviation museums; THREE railway museums; TWO car museums; TWO white pagodas; A park devoted to dragons; Another park devoted to old subway trains; An amazing collection of broadcast equipment; The only eunuch museum in the world; Beijing's best (and worst) graffiti; A garden where the last emperor of China worked; A museum devoted to 'Cephalostachya'... and more! In this 770 page volume, journalist and broadcaster Brian Salter shows you the Beijing that many Beijingers themselves don't even know. It draws on seven years' worth of research and visits and includes detailed how-to-get-there instructions for each and every venue. Beijing is the most amazing place to visit (and to live in) and I believe it should be on everyone's wish-list of places to discover. I hope this 770-page tome will whet your appetite!
Open any book or travel brochure on Beijing, and you can bet your bottom rmb* that it will wax lyrical about the joys of the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, the National Museum, and Tian’anmen Square. It might even find the space to talk about the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace and the Botanic Gardens.
But the likelihood is that you will find scant mention of the only Eunuch museum in the world; or of a museum dedicated to tap water; or watermelons; or honey bees; or of the wonderful collection of broadcast equipment in the eastern suburbs; or the largest public collection of MiG-style fighter planes in the world.
And that’s why I wrote this book. It draws on my many blogs, written over seven years, in which I wrote about the ‘Northern Capital’ and much to my surprise the blogs garnered many hundreds of visitors. Without wanting to blow my own trumpet (too loudly), I think that I now know the place better than many of my ex- Chinese work colleagues.
Every week in Beijing I would make a point of discovering something ‘new’. Maybe one of the over-150 museums; or another temple; or a park. Some were extensively written up in the tourist guides or on the internet; others I found either by accident or by word of mouth. And the problem soon arose as to what you could actually believe that you read on the web. For the truth is that very many web sites in China copy and paste other people’s write-ups, having never visited the sites themselves. Mistakes proliferate to the point where you have to double check everything that you read – even where a particular attraction is actually situated!
In this guide I have given directions to all the places visited, usually from the nearest subway station. (All the routes have been tried and tested!)
This book comes in five parts: Central Beijing – roughly equivalent to those sites found within Subway Line 2; northwest Beijing; northeast Beijing; southeast Beijing and southwest Beijing – all excluding the central area within Line 2
Don’t expect what you read to be full of dry and boring facts. My writing style is to tell it as it is, and if you find that too irreverent, well I’m sorry but that’s the way it is!
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