Beijing Travel Tips for Senior Visitors
With fascinating history and culture, Beijing is an appealing and friendly tourist city welcoming senior travelers across the globe. As the capital and gateway city of China, Beijing is quite accessible for visitors over 50 and promises an easy and fun tour experience.
The first concern of most elderly travelers might be their health conditions and limits of energy. However, a thorough and detailed travel plan could help to kill most of your worries. For example, it is vital to stock enough of your prescription medicines, buy a travel insurance and guard yourself against unexpected troubles. Here below we present some useful tips that elder travelers care most for a trip to Beijing.
No matter where you visit, heath is always the most concerned issue. Before traveling to Beijing, you shall take a thorough physical check-up and prepare enough prescription medications according to your trip length. Simultaneously, you may carry your original prescriptions from your doctor and history medical records in case of emergencies. If you have allergies, make a list and keep it in your pocket.
Climbing mountains is not advisable for most people over 60, but it is doable for you to ascend Chinese Great Wall. Badaling and Mutianyu are best-preserved and most popular sections of the wall in Beijing, and both have cable cars to deliver tourists up and down.
However, you'd better skip Badaling section chosen by most Chinese local travelers. To escape from crows of weekends and holidays, pick the Mutianyu part and use the cable car to protect your sensitive knees. Please note that the cable car cannot get you to the summit, while you could choose to explore further or stay still for a while according to your physical condition.
When traveling in Beijing, senior travelers are suggested stay at a hotel with central location as most core sightseeing sites are clustered around the city center. A hotel with prime location gives you more chances to explore the neighborhood and search for food within walking distance in your free time.
Besides, you may consider some international brands hotels which offer barrier-free English speaking staff, western styled buffet breakfast as well as standard quality service. There are plenty of decent hotels near Wangfujing Street for your choice. Pick one and make bookings as early as possible.
Usually, elderly people get more vulnerable stomachs to alien food. Beijing cuisine features a salty and strong flavor which might not be suitable for all senior travelers. To eat healthy, you shall be careful for the street food in Beijing in case of a diarrhea though they seem always alluring.
The wisest choice is to eat at a 4 or 5 star hotels that offers western meals, or seek highly-rated restaurants for local specialty like Peking ducks by doing some researches. Besides, you should always have the bottled water (generally RMB 2 per bottle) as tap water is undrinkable in Beijing and other parts of China.
In fact, Beijing is a wonderful travel destination all year round as most historical sights the capital holds are slightly affected by the change of seasons. However, with respect to climate and weather, September and October (except the National Holiday from Oct.1 to Oct.7) are the best months for a visit to Beijing when the temperature is really mild and comfortable. There is less rain and more clear days.
Besides, spring from April to May is also favorable as the sandstorm occurs less. Summer is the travel peak season of China, which should be avoided if you hate crowds. Winter is dry and cold, but the snow scene is spectacular in the Great Wall and Forbidden City and you have a chance to experience the Chinese lunar new year in Beijing.
Senior travelers will find themselves spoiled by abundant sightseeing places that Beijing holds, such as traditional palatial architecture, Great Walls, ceremonial monuments, museums, parks and foot-crowded commercial streets.
Forbidden City: Beside the resplendent palaces on the central axis, you are also recommended to venture into the site chambers and halls to dig out the hidden gems like the imperial kitchen and bathroom.
Great Wall: It is the best for seniors to take the cable car or chairlift to ascend and descend the Great Wall in a less energy-consuming way.
Hutong Alleys: It is especially a bonus for senior travelers to check out the old hutong neighbors by an old-fashioned rickshaw. You could walk less but experience more.
Summer Palace: Summer Palace is a large leisure park with splendid palatial architecture and serene garden landscape. Do consider a boating on the enchanting Kunming Lake.
Temple of Heaven: On the basis of the classic Chinese style architecture, senior visitors are highly recommended to catch the morning exercise of local elders, and even join them for a free Tai Chi class.
You could try to find a couple of travel companions who share the same interests with you. Comparing visiting a foreign country alone, traveling with companions could let you take care of each other, and you will not feel lonely during the trip.
No matter you are on a private tour or travel independently on your own, do not make the tour itinerary too full or rush between sites in a hurry. A highly condensed itinerary would make visitors quite exhausted, and probably you need to walk a lot. In the historical Beijing, a slow-paced tour would let you have an in-depth exploration of the rich culture in ease and comfort.
Subway is super convenient and dirt cheap in Beijing, which makes it one of the best ways for travelers to move around. However, you probably heard of the terrible traffic in the city, especially at rush hours (7am-8am, 18 pm-19pm). The subway would be fully packed with passengers like sardines in a can. The super crowds make it crazy situation that a senior cannot handle. Meanwhile, at rush hours, it is nearly impossible for you to get an available taxi without any reservation.
Beijing dazzles travelers with its wide selections of commodities from clothes, souvenirs, antiques, jewels to toys, etc. Many seniors are antique and curio lovers. But, you shall be very careful for tourist traps as many of them are faked or shoddy goods. Shop owners in Beijing get used to offering a high price that is negotiable, so always bargain hard for your desired rate (except at the major department stores).
The easiest way for seniors to achieve a worry-free tour is to go with a travel agency that accommodates every steps of your journey according to your pace and preference. Your one-to-one travel expert will assist you to handle all the international bookings of hotels and train tickets. Private driver will arrange beamless transfers between spots and help with the luggage on and off the car.
Moreover, your personal guide would let you gain an in-depth discovery of Beijing through explorations of some off-the-beaten path hutongs, recommendations on authentic local cuisines, immersive cultural experiences like calligraphy and Taichi classes. Read more on Why a Private Tour.