Let the Beijing Games Begin

Old meets new, East meets West in this ancient city that has been transforming itself for the XXIX Olympiad, just a week away.


To gear you up for the XXIX Olympic Games, which begin next week—on lucky 8/8/08 (8 is a lucky number for Chinese)—this week we’re featuring Beijing and China, increasingly popular destinations.

China, particularly Beijing, has been high on a lot of people’s dream trip list, and I’m no exception. In fact, I’ll be on a plane next week headed to Beijing to attend the Olympics and check out the development explosion that has hit this Asian capital in preparation for the Games.

From dozens of new hotels and restaurants to a burgeoning art scene and restored and renovated tourist attractions, I’ll be blogging about my finds at TravelMusings and Twittering about them under the name TravelMuse from Aug. 8 to 18.

We already had this issue in the works before I knew I’d be going to Beijing, so our destination coverage this week comes from no fewer than four of our writers who have been to Beijing this year already, and one who visited two years ago. Each has a different take: from traveling as a family with two school-age children, to one with a 4-year-old toddler, to a married couple and finally two solo female travelers.

Because of the range of experiences, we have a few more new articles than what is usually visible on our homepage, so be sure to look for them here and via links in the main articles.

Here’s a rundown of what you’ll find:

Maggie Rauch moved to China a year ago and is a freelance writer for a variety of outlets, including the new China Sports Today. (Yes, I will be attending the Games with her.) She’s contributed our Insider’s Beijing article, and be sure to read her Olympic hotel coverage, which we ran a few months back for those travelers who planned ahead.

John Higham, along with his wife and two kids, spent a good amount of time in China during their year-long world tour a couple years ago. He has graciously shared excerpts from his writings that will be featured in an upcoming book about his family’s experiences. Read his entertaining take about his family-travel and cultural tips, recommendations for a day trip to the Great Wall, and how to plan for a Yangtze River cruise. If you missed it earlier this summer, read his teenager daughter Katrina’s essay on her review of hiking the Great Wall.

Miranda Young, who penned the excellent Las Fallas festival article for TravelMuse in February, returns with a Top 10 Beijing sites list, how to buy jade during your China vacation, an Offbeat column on Guilin, located in southern China, and a feature on the unexpected surprises of traveling to China with a 4-year-old.

Robin Cherry, though not a mom, always seems to find the cool spots that appeal to kids, especially teens, when she travels. Read her picks for finding fun ancient and modern family sites around the city, while Murrey Jacobson shares his tactics for getting around Beijing.

In a compilation piece, I’ve selected a variety of challenges that a first-time Western traveler might face in Beijing, China, with solutions offered from several of our writers. I hope you find it a useful list.

Travel Inspiration and Advice

In the rest of our new coverage, learn how to plan a last-minute family vacation and where to find some last-minute summer deals, the growing market of Sweet 16 getaways, a Taste Buds column on where to restaurant weeks in the United States, what the best walking cities are in the country, and part two of our insurance tips series, on who should consider travel insurance and why.

We hope you enjoy the coverage, and don’t forget to read our TravelMusings and TravelMuse Photo blogs! As always, let us know how we’re doing.

Now I’m going to go brush up on my nascent Mandarin.

Happy trails!

Donna M. Airoldi
Editorial Director

Destinations: Beijing, China

Themes: Family Travel, Historical Vacations, Experiential Travel

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