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Beijing's Sightseeing Bus Lines
    2008-09-14 18:31:27     CRIENGLISH.com

The 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games are nearly complete. Apart from people's enthusiasm for the Olympic movement and participation in sports, Beijing has seen two new bus lines introduced to take people through the city's main tourist attractions and Olympic venues. In today's "On the Road", our host Ning Yan will take us on a bus trip on one of these new lines.

The Beijing Public Transportation Group has introduced two new bus lines in Beijing providing convenient routes for seeing the city's main tourist attractions and Olympic venues.

Today, let's take route 1 which opened more than a month ago.

"Hello passengers and welcome on board our bus line which starts from Beijing South Railway Station and terminates at North Guanting Station on the second north ring road. The bus departs at 3pm and travels 18 kilometers one way in one hour, going via the Temple of Heaven, the Dashilar shopping area and Jingshan Park. The next stop is Yongdingmen."

Yongdingmen is the southern gate of the old city and one of the busiest downtown areas. Its gate tower was originally built in 1553 and was torn down in 1957 to make way for a street. The gate tower was restored to its original splendor in 2004.

The buses are luxurious double-decked ones with comfortable seats and TV sets. They are kept at a speed of 18 kilometers per hour, allowing passengers enough time to enjoy the passing scenery.

Heading northward, the bus passes by scenic spots and tourist attractions like Xiannongtan, or the Temple of Ancestral Farmers, the Temple of Heaven, and TianQiao. It also takes passengers to the newly completed Qianmen pedestrian street, another busy downtown shopping area.

Qianmen is always crowded with people who come to shop or simply to visit the centuries old stores, enjoying traditional architecture along the street.

"You can find all the famous food and snacks of Beijing here. Even the streetlights are designed in different shapes. Going further along the street, there are Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant, Ruifuxiang silk store and other famous brands. If you are tired of walking, you can hop on the old style cable cars, the only vehicles allowed along the street. "

The other place that you shouldn't miss in this area is the Dashilar shopping area. One of the oldest and most famous shopping areas in the city, people used to buy all their daily necessities here in the past.

Heading north, the bus comes to Tian'anmen Square which is about a ten minute walk from Dashilar.

In this largest city plaza in the world, you can find many landmark buildings in the city. They include the monument to the people's heroes, the Great Hall of the People, the history museum and Chairman Mao Zedong's Memorial Hall.

Heading further north along the eastern moat of the imperial Forbidden City, the bus passes by Huangchenggen Heritage Park, and the site of the Red Mansion of Peking University. We then arrive at the north entrance of the Forbidden City and the Palace Museum.

The Forbidden City is an imperial Palace complex, containing hundreds of buildings and some 9,000 rooms. Receiving tens of thousands of tourists each year, it is the largest and most complete ancient architectural sites in the world.

After the Forbidden City and traveling further north on the route, the bus comes to Shichahai Park, which features a mixture of traditional style architecture and modern entertainment facilities. Only several minutes walk from the bus stop you can reach the Houhai bar Street and the famous Drum and Bell Tower.

Chang Xian from Guangdong in southern China has just got off the bus. He says that the trip is worthwhile.

"I feel great traveling with this sightseeing tour. I have been to all the places I want to go to today in Beijing."

There are a total of 30 buses on the route. To cope with increasing demands from tourists, the Beijing Public Transportation Group plans to add more vehicles. Xu Kai is a senior official with the group.

"Soon we will add more buses to this line and we will continue to conduct various job training programs to improve service."



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