Naturally, we love Beijing at the best of times but October is the month when it really comes into its own. Gone are the sweaty summer months and the occasional rains of September, replaced by bearable temperatures and the government-mandated blue skies of the week-long National Day holiday.
Of course, with the holiday come the hoards of out-of-town visitors, clogging up Beijing’s tourist hot spots (we’ve all seen the pictures of the Great Wall, gridlocked with foot traffic). With that in mind, we decided to take a look at some of Beijing’s under-appreciated areas, to help you plan the perfect daytrip – without the seething masses of people. Kipp Whittaker explores the arts scene in Caochangdi, a good alternative to over-hyped 798. Meanwhile, Margaux Schreurs heads off to the hutongs south of Qianmen to find out why Dazhalan is one of Beijing’s hottest areas for the creative crowd. Finally, I seek out culture and lao Beijing snacks in Huguosi and the hutongs west of Houhai. Strap on your walking shoes and fall back in love with the city.
If you have your heart set on getting out of town (and can still find decent flights), we look at two of southeast Asia’s hottest destinations – Singapore, for a stylish city break, and central Vietnam, for a relaxing week on the beach.
Elsewhere, we look at some of the new restaurants lighting up Beijing palates this month, revisit an old favorite – Zhen Ai Zhongguo – for some standout Shaanxi cuisine, and get jazzed on coffee cocktails from Rager Pies. I also get a glimpse into the privileged world of polo in Beijing, and find that there is a lot more to it than ponies and luxury brands.
Image: the Beijinger