Around Beijing

Now, living in Beijing can get to you. Being constantly surrounded by noise and crowds can irritate just about anyone. Here are some nice, relaxing places out of the city that are good for a day/weekend trip:
The Great Wall of Badaling [ 八达岭 = BāDáLǐng ] ( map )
A very touristy restored section of the Great Wall that's an easy train ride from Beijing North Station [ 北京北站 = BěiJīngBěiZhàn ]. The fare's 6 RMB each way and you can just use your Beijing Subway card.
Cuandixia [ 爨底下 = CuànDǐXià ] ( map )
A gorgeous Ming Dynasty village in the mountains 90 km northwest of Beijing that's an hour and a half drive away . A great day trip or stay at a local's house for 100 RMB or less as the perfect weekend getaway. Admission is 35 RMB.
Longqingxia [ 龙庆峡 = LóngQìngXiá ] ( map )
A magnificent gorge 100 km northwest of Beijing that's easily accessible by train then taxi, less than 2 hours away. An excellent day trip for some nature and fresh air! 40 RMB for admission and another 100 RMB for a return boat trip.
The Great Wall of GuBeiKou [ 古北口 = GǔBěiKǒu ] ( map )
Incredible section of the wall 150 km northeast of Bejing in Miyun [ 密云 ] that's unrestored and not crowded. Takes at least 2 and a half hours from Beijing. 5 hours to slowly hike towards Jinshanling. Admission is 25 RMB. We stayed at The Great Wall Box House ( map | reviews ), an amazing little guesthouse just a 5-minute walk to Gubeikou. Although it was a bit of a hassle to get to, it was one of our best experiences in China! Highly recommended!
Black Dragon Pond [ 黑龙潭 = HēiLóngTán ] ( map )
An artificial-looking nature park 150 km northeast of Bejing in Miyun [ 密云 ] with ponds and mountains. Takes at least 2 and a half hours by bus to get here from Beijing. 4 hours to slowly walk through. Admission is 45 RMB.
Get out of the city and take a trekking tour to hike over mountains to ancient local villages ( map | reviews ) or go camping at less known sections of the Great Wall with a guide.
We took the train to Tianjin [ 天津 = TiānJīn ] ( map ) as a weekend getaway from Beijing, but found it to be not the most interesting even after seeing the recommended sights. The Ancient Cultural Street is a traditional style street, but nothing to write home about. Five Avenues [ 五大道 = WǔDàDào ], the foreigner's area, is a nice area but probably not a must-see. The Italian Style Street [ 意式风情街 = YìShìFēngQíngJiē ] is nothing more than a bunch of overpriced restaurants in a fake Italian-style area. Unless you really want to get out of Beijing to a more toned-down city, it's not really worth the trip, if you ask me.