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We visited China when we were heading to Osaka and Kyoto. Unfortunately, we only know the city of Beijing, which is incredibly perfect as it has technology, trinkets and a lot of history involved in the most populous city on the planet with at least 20 million people.

Beijing is full of things to do. You could spend weeks exploring the city's different attractions, getting lost in the hutongs and sampling the local dishes. With just a few days in the Chinese capital, we wanted to see and experience as much as we could.

The Great Wall is the symbol of Chinese civilization and stretches an impressive 8,850 kilometers. It was built from the 3rd century BC to the 17th century AD to protect the Chinese empire against foreign intrusions. It is the largest military structure in the world and is obviously a must-see when visiting China.


Brazilians need a visa to enter the country, but if you are going to stay for up to three days as it was the two times we went to BEIJING, in this case you can get it at the airport itself.


Almost as famous as the Great Wall of China is Peking Duck in Beijing. There are many places to obtain this delicious bird. The place I would recommend is Da Dong Restaurant. It's a little pricey, but the duck is simply wonderful. They cook the duck in a new method that renders the fat crispy and lean. Cooks cook the birds in an open kitchen in the middle of the restaurant. Once your duck is cooked to perfection, one of the chefs cuts your duck table side into 102 perfect slices of meat.

A trip to Beijing is an opportunity to see how big and different our world is. It's easy to hire a tour company to help you around the difficult tours or you can do what many have done before and produce an adventure at your own pace like we did. All of the above attractions would cost less than $90. Less than 100 dollars to see the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and two Peking Duck dinners! Do yourself a favor and take the subway (all signs are in English and cost 2 RMB per ride), eat at strange and exotic restaurants, meet new people, and most importantly, be your own tour guide, but carry an offline translator on cell phone, because we suffer a lot, no one speaks the blessed English.

There are the majestic imperial buildings, perfectly preserved in gold and blood red, sharing the same sidewalk with Soviet masterpieces meant to intimidate.

In the years before and after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, modern marvels of glass and chrome emerged. It all makes the city of Beijing a study in superlatives; the grand scale of the city planning a headline-grabbing campaign.

And yet there is a Beijing that is growing organically on a human scale, particularly within the narrow hutongs (tenements), small alleys that separate the houses from the traditional courtyard. Unique restaurants, music venues and boutiques are opening up in these fast-paced neighborhoods. You are never spoiled for choice when planning what to do in Beijing.

We even saw snow in Beijing, the taxi and food costs more or less the same as in São Paulo, we expected much less from China and were positively surprised.


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