In discussions with some visitors to Beijing you would often hear their descriptions and some times complaints about the fact that they were lead to various stores or left for a long time at shopping arcades on visits to museums or historic sites around Beijing. I personally do not think much of tours as options to see the city, but many people do participate.
At any rate, now Sina.com reports that the Beijing Gov’t has not only confirmed (via their recent orders) that being the case, but are also mandating that the tour companies stop the practice. Here is a link to the article: http://english.sina.com/life/1/2007/0424/110414.html
So, now that you know this, isn’t it better if you explore the city on your own 🙂
I wanted to post a quick summary for those searching for information on places to live in Beijing…If you have a family with you and are looking for an area close to the WAB or ISB (International schools in Beijing), you may want to consider the area near by River Garden. Included here is an image / map I prepared based on a Google Earth snapshot of the area:
In this area you can find not only River Garden (established community) and Eurovillage but also Capital Paradise (to the West of River Garden — not seen on the image here), and Leman Lake (next to River Garden — they share a wall, not seen on the image either). All these developments are within 5-10 minutes by bus or bike from ISB and about 10-15 minutes from WAB (Western Academy of Beijing). As you can see from the image above, this area also includes a fairly well established shopping plaza with the proverbial Jenny Lou’s supermarket as well as a bunch of restaurants — even a Domino pizza franchise outlet, services like a Vet clinic, medical office, a tailor, as well as some shops for clothing and shoes, and of course a golf driving range.
If you have questions on this area do not hesitate to drop me a line.