The Best Things To Do In Beijing
Any city which has achieved the awesome feat of remaining relevant for close to eight centuries is certainly worth a visit. Especially when it is home to some of the most impressive and exquisitely designed palaces, temples and gardens, not to mention luxurious hotels, sprawling malls and modern art galleries. And that is far from being all there is to China’s cultural and political capital which is almost completely surrounded by Hebei Province and also bordered by Tianjin to its east. No wonder it is one of the most visited cities in the world. If you intend to sample its delights, you can be certain you will enjoy the experience of a lifetime.
Beijing’s status as one of the most visited cities in China and the world means that there is a plethora of options for reaching it from any point. Tianjin whose European style buildings and modern Chinese architecture are a key tourist attraction provides trains which can reach the capital with trips lasting between 35 minutes to just under 2 hours. Visitors to Hong Kong who also intend to make the most of their visit with a trip to the capital will also be able to enjoy a cross country ride with scenic views of the country during a train ride lasting 24 hours.
Everyone has heard about the Great Wall, but now you will be able to view it up close, climb sections of it and admire the view of the lofty mountains which surround one of the most impressive manmade structures on earth. The vast palace complex, the Forbidden City is also another spot which is worth visiting with its beautiful imperial gardens and Gate of Heavenly Peace which provides a great view of Tiananmen Square. Because no trip is ever complete without the opportunity to shop to your heart’s content, Silk and Yashow markets as well as Nan Luogu Xiang should be on your itinerary where you will be able to hone your haggling skills and come away with delightful bargains.
Tucking into local cuisine is also one of the greatest perks of travelling around the globe. A visit to establishments such as Da Dong Roast Duck and Li Qun will provide you with the opportunity to dine on the capital’s world-famous signature dish, Peking Duck, in style.
HERE ARE OUR PICKS FOR THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN BEIJING…
The Great Wall of China
Surely on the “Bucket List“ of most people, the Great Wall of China is one of the world’s most famous achievements, and is a great testament to the engineering brilliance of ancient China. Walk for a while, and step back into history as you imagine the trepidation of the guards as they peered into the distance, facing the Mongol invasion.
Forbidden City (Imperial Palace)
Visiting Beijing? You will need at least a full day to experience the Forbidden City (Imperial Palace)! Shut off from the world for 500 years, the 1000 rooms and 800 buildings of this massive complex are now open to the public – and the world has flocked to this magnificent achievement. Take your time to absorb the imperial life of the Ming and Qing emperors, admire the largest collection of ancient wooden structures in the world, and stroll through the lush gardens.
A visit to Tiananmen Square is to enter the heart and hub of China and its history. As you enter the largest Square in the world, you will be surrounded by power and history. The Museums of Chinese History and Chinese Revolution are just steps away, as is the Great Hall of the People and Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum. Pause to remember the tragedy of 1989, where Tiananmen Square was the site of a massacre of protesters.
What did Beijing look like before it became a modern metropolis? Visit the Beijing Hutongs to get a snap shot of the past and find out! The Hutongs are small neighbourhoods of narrow alleys that were formed by joining courtyard residences. Head towards the Drum Tower and the Bell Tower to find some of the most well preserved Hutongs in the city, but be quick, with modern development taking hold, they won’t be around for much longer.
Summer Palace (Yiheyuan)
The Summer Palace (Yiheyuan) was originally created as an oasis for the Chinese Royal Family, but instead turned out to be a focus for conflict – it was razed twice and was then rebuilt! The palace was later turned into a public park in 1924, and has now become an extremely popular tourist destination! Be amazed by the beautiful architecture – so unique to this land – and stroll through the 290 hectares of park where you will find plenty to explore and admire, including temples, pavilions and bridges.
Donghuamen Night Market
Follow your nose – and ears – to the Donghuamen Night Market in Beijing. Located at the northern end of Wangfujing, the market is an exciting combination of the wonderful aromas of the food stalls and the unmissable calls of the vendors competing for your attention – join the locals who flock here and go searching for a scrumptious meal you will never forget! The market is a truly fun experience, and with traditional stir fries on offer, or exotic foods such as scorpion, snake and bullfrog, you can be as conservative or adventurous as you wish!
Cities & Towns