The East is Red CR Restaurant/红色经典主题餐厅

(下面有中文版)

Some Chinese people might hate me for bringing this up, and to be fair, this is unlikely to be at the top of your Beijing sightseeing list. However, if you want to see something genuinely unique, then this place is for you.

Despite the turbulence and tragedy of the China’s 10-year Cultural Revolution, some have turned this agony into gimmick. “The East is Red” is exactly that, being a restaurant full of Cultural Revolution memorabilia and mystique. You’ll see revolution-era murals on the walls, waiters dressed as red guards, and replicas of old trucks and tanks. Upon entering, you’ll also be handed a little red flag to wave as your meal goes on.

The meal itself is unremarkable, being average, yet filling, Northeastern cuisine. Honestly, though, you’re not going to “The East is Red” for the food. You go for the dinner entertainment, which is a jaunty reenactment of struggle sessions, skits about evil capitalist Japanese and Americans, and dance routines with fake bayonets. Performances run twice daily, from 12:15-1pm, and from 7:15-8:30pm.

The restaurant is located a bit out of the way, in Chaoyang District. Chinese address:红色经典主题餐厅, 朝阳区东五环外白家楼266号. Believe it or not, there’s more than one Cultural Revolution-themed restaurant, and to read more about others, check out this link.

我提这样的景点可能会被一些中国人嘲笑,而且这里不会是你最想看的北京景点。但是,我保证这里应该是你在北京最忘不了的体验。

无论中国的十年文化大革命有多少灾难,有些人把这种痛苦成为生意的花招。《红色景点主题餐厅》就是这样,因为是一个充满文化大革命纪念品的餐厅。你会看到革命中的墙画,穿着红兵服装的服务员,还有革命性的卡车、坦克。一进来,你也会拿到一个小小的红旗,你吃饭中可以让它飘飘。

美食的话一般,就是普通东北菜,但是你不会为了美食而来到这个餐厅,对吧?你是为了看到表演而来的!这个餐厅的表演很有意思,因为是一种笑眯眯地谈“邪恶的资本主义美国、日本”的表演,也有斗争的会话表演,还有用假的步枪的跳舞表演。每天都有两场表演,下午12:15到13点,晚上19:15到20:30点。

餐厅离城市中心有点远。地址是:红色经典主题餐厅, 朝阳区东五环外白家楼266号。北京其实有其他文化大革命主题的餐厅,可以观看这个网站。

Hannah’s Top Touristy Beijing Picks

(下面有中文版)

I tend to recommend more unusual places or things to see, since I think it makes for a more memorable trip. However, I would be remiss if I neglected to mention some of the main things that attract travelers. Of all the things in Beijing, here’s what I found the most worthwhile:

***NOTE: For Great Wall info, check out my other post.

1) Boppin’ around Tiananmen Square
This is a no-brainer, and should be your first stop if it’s your first time in Beijing. This is because this is a great area to explore, because several historical spots are linked together: The Forbidden City, the National Museum of China, The Great Hall of the People, and even Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum. Obviously the most chilling part was the mausoleum, because visitors are not allowed to stop and take pictures, and must remove hats as a sign of respect. The end result is a brisk walk through a tomb, where most of the body is covered in a blanket (not that I’d want to see the whole body).

2) Seeing the Summer Palace
Another place on most “Top 5” lists, the Summer Palace is worth a stroll. As the name suggests, this is a place to visit in the summer. Many of the buildings are propped up on a hill, and there’s a nice collection of lotus flowers in the summer. If you’re lucky, you’ll also meet the erhu/violin/calligraphy street performer I met, who taught me a couple bars of Chinese opera.

3) Wandering in the Hutongs
Hutongs are the traditional neighborhoods of old Beijing, and though most of the areas have been renovated for tourism, they’re still fun to explore. Nanluoguxiang is a nice compromise between tourism and hutong life. The ACTUAL hutongs of Beijing are much less open to public, and are such twisted labyrinths, that if you find them, you shouldn’t be surprised to see a minotaur sipping tea with some of the locals.

4) The Temple of Heaven
The temple as a whole features pretty impressive architecture, much of which is restored due to previous wear and tear. My favorite parts were the “Circular Echo Wall,” “Three Echo Stones,” and “Celestial Heart Stone,” because when you stand on/near them, you can experience very unique acoustics. I won’t say any more. Just check it out!

5) Admiring graffiti in the 798 Art Space
This area is known for its explosion of art, which can be found everywhere, especially the walls! Though there are several museums in the area and boutique shops to enjoy art, I liked the spontaneous work spray-painted on buildings the best, which are very detailed and something I don’t often see in China.

6) The Bookworm Beijing
Okay, so if you’re only visiting Beijing, or even China, for a short while, this probably wouldn’t be high on your list, but for someone living in China, this well-stocked and active English bookstore is like a gorgeous oasis. Not only does it have many of the latest releases, but it also hosts events and activities for the literary world. I always make time for it on my Beijing itineraries. Check out their website here.

我比较会推荐稍微了不起、与众不同的景点因为这些地方让我的旅行更精彩。但是我也感觉不应该忽略那种“更吸引游客”的景点。我个人感觉这五个地方算是比较值得看。

  • 在天安门广场逛逛

这个是很容易的,是你去北京的第一站,因为这里很好探索景点,很多景点是合在这一部分,比如:紫禁城,中国国家博物馆,人民大会堂和毛主席纪念堂。无疑最使人恐惧的就是毛主席纪念堂,因为游客不能停下来拍照,而且要为了尊重他而摘下帽子。结果是你很快地走过陵墓,也看不到毛主席全身(当然也不是说我想看),所以会感觉有点奇怪。

  • 观看颐和园

这里也是排在前五位的北京景点,因为这里的风景也不错。按照它的英文翻译”Summer Palace,”你应该夏天去。楼在山上,而且夏天会有很多莲花。如果你运气比较好,你有可能也会见到教我京剧的在街头卖艺小提琴家。

  • 在胡同里漫步

胡同就是老北京的传统房子。虽然胡同是最近为了旅游业而修复的,它们还是很值得观看的。南锣鼓巷把旅游业和传统生活结合了起来,但是真正的胡同没有那么容易找得到,也不是很开放。这种像迷宫一样复杂的小区让游客很快就会迷路,如果你真的能找到,那么无意中看到弥诺陶洛斯也是很正常的。

  • 天坛

虽然这里因为磨损也是被修复的,这里还是有令人钦佩的建筑。我最喜欢的几部分就是天心石和太阳石,因为你站在那里的时候会发现很独特的声音……我不用多说了,你自己去体验吧!

  • 在798艺术区赞美“乱画”

这个艺术区是因为它的丰富艺术作品而成名的,这种作品也包含在房子的墙上!虽然到处都有博物馆、小店,我更喜欢墙上的又精细又无意识的画,尤其是因为我很少在中国会看得到这种画。

  • 《老书虫》书店

当然,如果你只是在北京或者中国很短时间,你肯定不会来到这里,但是如果你像我在中国比较久,这个有很多书、有活动的英文书店就像沙漠里的绿洲。它不仅是有最新出版的书,它也有很多文学活动。我每次到北京都会去这里逛逛。

The Great Wall/长城

(下面有中文版)

I wasn’t going to write a post about the Great Wall of China, because duh, everyone already knows about it, so it almost goes without saying that it’s a worthy sight to see. But, what many travelers might not know, is that there are many ways to do the Great Wall, and several different sections worth considering. For a more comprehensive list, check out this link, but for now, let me talk about the highlights, and also more unique ways to see this Wonder of the World.

Badaling — Only go here if you’re in a time crunch, want to see the Great Wall, and basically only want a selfie of you on the wall to prove you were there.

crowds-at-badaling
Image courtesy of China Travel Go

I have to mention this, because in the words of Admiral Ackbar: “It’s a trap!” True, it’s the closest section to Beijing City, and there’s even a convenient train that will take you there, so you can even skip over a tour group (and thus skip over some pointless trips to souvenir shops). However, it is basically Disneyland Great Wall, by which I mean it’s so renovated, it doesn’t even look real. To add to this, there are swarms of crowds, making it nigh impossible to get a good panoramic photo of the wall without tons of people in the background.

Mutianyu — Come here if you want to see great scenery, but also don’t want to literally scale a wall to find it.


This is probably the best compromise between accessibility, natural beauty, and being family friendly. It’s a couple of hours out of Beijing, so you would need to either buddy up with a tour group (hostels offer this service), or get a bus. Mutianyu is much flatter than, say, Jinshanling, less overtly renovated than Badaling, less wild than Jiankou, but still has gorgeous mountain scenery. What makes it stand out: you have the option of riding a toboggan down the Great Wall.

Jinshanling-Simatai — Come here if you want a wilder, but still solid, wall.

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Jinshanling-Simatai is much more rugged than Mutianyu, but is also not death-defyingly steep like Jiankou. Same as Mutianyu, it’s a couple of hours out ot Beijing, so you’d need to get some sort of transportation. The perk of this area is that it feels wilder, and so it’s easier to imagine what it must have been like in ancient times. When I went there, I liked that it felt more remote because of how it got slightly less traffic than other more renovated places.

Jiankou — Come here if you want to really CLIMB the Great Wall, and like adventures.

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Hannah, clinging to the last solid patch of Wall.

Here’s where it starts to get really wild. This part of the wall gets very little traffic, and that’s becuase it requires a lot more work to enjoy. Loose rocks, crumbling steps, steep cliffs, and trecherous climbs make this a truly adventurous trek. I was lucky enough to go with two boys who a) really liked to climb, and b) had no qualms about hoisting me up over the edges because I have weak noodle arms. To get here, you’ll have to get a small van to take you to the wall (and pick you up afterward!) Bargain liberally.

Scuba Diving the Great Wall — Come here to channel your inner mermaid/merman.

underwater-GreatWall
Image courtesy of Urbane Nomads

I had to include this one because it’s so cool. Due to the construction of Panjiakou Resevoir, part of the Great Wall is now underwater. While it’s not technically in Beijing, but rather in Chengde, Hebei Province, Beijing-based organizations lead underwater expeditions to see the Submerged Great Wall. You can’t go here with only an Open Water diving certificate, though. It’s 30 meters deep, meaning you have to know what you’re doing. Still, this would probably be the most unusual way to experience the Great Wall.

As I said, this is just an overview of the Great Wall coming out of Beijing, and even only the main culprits. The Great Wall is HUGE, so consider seeing it in other provinces like: Hebei, Gansu, Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Shanxi, and even Tianjin to get even more unique experiences. Just, for my sake, PLEASE don’t just give up and go to Badaling. For me?

长城
我本来是不想写一篇关长城的文章因为当然大家都知道不到长城非好汉的道理,所以不用我给大家太多介绍这个地方。但是很多游客并不知道怎么去欣赏长城。如果你想了解更多,请观看……但是现在我主要是先列出特别的部分。

八达岭
我必须提这一段因为就像《星球大战》里的Ackbar所说的:“是一个陷阱!”的确,是离北京市最近的长城,而且坐火车去也很方便,不用跟着导游去(也可以忽略导游最爱的纪念品店!)但是八达岭就像一种“迪斯尼乐园的长城”换句话说修复成不像现实的长城,加上有人山人海的游客让你自己拍不了没有人的全景照片。

***只有这个挑战值得让你去八达岭:你时间很紧张但是你还是想有你站在长城的自拍让别人知道你的确去过了。

慕田峪
这一部分应该是“可进入的,”“家庭友好型”和“美丽自然”最好的组合。这里离北京市几个小时之外,所以你需要跟着导游或者坐个大巴去(很多青年旅社有导游)。慕田峪比金山岭平多了,没有八达岭修复的那么厉害,也没有剪口缺那么野性,但是还是很好看的。最突出的是你可以坐平底雪橇下长城。

***如果你很想看风光,但是也不想真正地“爬”长城,来这一段儿吧。

金山岭-司马台
金山岭-司马台比慕田峪野性多了,但是没有像剪口那么厉害的。跟慕田峪一样,离北京市几个小时之外,所以你要坐巴士或者跟着导游去。这一部分比较好的地方是比较崎岖所以你会感到远古时代的气息。我去的时候更喜欢这里的偏僻感,因为不太修复的长城没有吸引很多游客。

***如果你想观看比较野性,但还是稳定的长城,就来这里。

剪口
这里就是很野性。这里的人更少,因为这里要花力气才能爬到的。活动的石头、摇摇欲坠的楼梯、陡陡的峭壁和危险的路——这些都是剪口的特殊冒险之处。辛运的是我爬剪口时,我是跟着两个又喜欢爬山又愿意拉着我弱弱的胳膊的男人。到这里,你要坐一个面包车,应该讲价是不用说的吧。

***如果你只是简单想“爬”长城,那就来这里。

潜水发现长城
因为这个选择更了不起,我是肯定会提的。因为这里的片甲口水库建筑,长城的一段建在水里。其实,这里离北京很远,因为在河北省的承德附近,但是很多北京潜水公司有旅团去观看。要提醒你:这里的水很深的,所以如果你只有开放水域潜水证,你不可以下水因为深度会超过30米。但是这样算是最了不起发现长城的方式吧。

***如果你想做你内在的美人鱼,来到这里。

这就是一种离北京市附近的长城概观,也只是最突出的部分。长城超级长,所以你也可以在其他省而观看,比如:河北,甘肃,内蒙古,辽宁,宁夏,陕西,山西和天津。但是你千万不要放弃爬八达岭……就算是为了我,好吗?