While reaching to the future with modern mass-transit, rose-line highways and futuristic buildings, Beijing also clings to its ancient dynastic past in a way no other Chinese city can. Bicycles are the main form of transportation and few buildings reach beyond two stories high. These are Beijing’s Hutong. With more and more of these neighborhoods being razed daily to make room for new high-rise apartment blocks, the battle between old and new is played out before your eyes. Get lost in the labyrinth that is the Forbidden City. Gaze into the sky above the Temple of Heaven. Take a royal holiday at the New Summer Palace. And of course, scale the world’s most impressive site - The Great Wall of China.
Beijing is enormous and most easily accessed by regular use of taxis. The Forbidden City and Tianamen Square mark city center, with four major “ring roads” radiating outward. Most hotels, restaurants and sites are within the first two ring roads, with the Summer Palace situated northwest of city center and the Great Wall roughly 70 miles from Beijing. The remaining Hutong are clustered immediately east and north of the Forbidden City and continue to be the best part to town to find accommodation in terms of both price and accessibility. Major nightlife - both gay and straight - centers around Sanlitun, flowing north along Sanlitun Street and south into the Worker’s Stadium area.