My wife and I have often spoken of going to China (our Asia travel experience is limited to Japan and Thailand thus far), and we’ve also spoken of going to the Olympics one day, so the next Summer Games seems an ideal way to kill two birds with one stone.
The idea is to attend a couple of events as part of a larger China trip. Needless to say, this would involve some advance-planning and logistics-arranging above and beyond our usual travels.
I’ve looked at the IOC and other official websites, but there’s little practical information up so far. So, here are a few questions:
(1) Do the individual events (from arching to wrestling) follow the same schedule every games? Meaning, Day 5 always has this swimming final, day 10 always has this track & field preliminary, etc.
(2) Can anyone speak to what might be the best value in Olympic-viewing? T&F and Gymnastics are big ticket items, but they also involve many events/competitors going on simulataneously. I would think some sports might be more difficult to appreciate from the stands than others (we’re spoiled by the access TV coverage provides). Also, are any events even better live than you might imagine from the TV coverage (particularly if it’s a “marginal” sport–we think these might be the most fun)? Any pearls from experienced Olympic-attenders would be appreciated.
(3) How good is Beijing as a starting (or ending) point for excursions into the country (which, aside from The Wall, we admit to knowing very little about)? Is the train a good/efficient/safe way to travel there, or will we need to do some flying too? (In Thailand, we did both, but English is more common there)
(4) Any recommendations on booking lodging in China? I imagine this is one of the things we’ll need to do first. Any recommendations on booking lodging for the Olympics? How early do we need to do it?
(5) How good/easy/intuitive is public transportation in Beijing? We had few troubles navigating Tokyo–is it analagous, or much different/harder? Initial maps indicate that most of the events will be within the city limits, so this question may dictate the flexibility we’ll have in assessing our accomodation choices.
(6) Does anyone have any other advice/suggestions/recommendations about the Summer Games or China in general that we should keep in mind?