Beijing, the sprawling capital of China, is a city of captivating contrasts. From its historic temples and palaces, like the iconic Forbidden City, to its modern skyscrapers and bustling shopping districts, there is something for everyone to discover
Beijing, the sprawling capital of China, is a city of captivating contrasts. From its historic temples and palaces, like the iconic Forbidden City, to its modern skyscrapers and bustling shopping districts, there is something for everyone to discover in this vibrant metropolis. Immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of China by exploring the city's many museums and galleries, taking a leisurely stroll through the beautiful Temple of Heaven Park, or indulging in some of the best street food in the world.
What To Do
- Explore the Forbidden City: This ancient palace complex, once the home of the Chinese emperors, is a marvel of architectural grandeur and cultural significance. With its vast array of temples, palaces, and courtyards, the Forbidden City offers a glimpse into China's imperial past.
- Walk the Great Wall of China: One of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Wall is a must-visit for any traveller to Beijing. Choose from several popular sections, including Badaling, Mutianyu, and Jinshanling, for stunning views and an opportunity to explore the wall's ancient fortifications.
- Visit Tiananmen Square: This iconic public square is the heart of Beijing, and a visit here will give you a glimpse into the city's modern political and cultural history. Don't miss the chance to visit the nearby Mao Zedong Memorial Hall, dedicated to the founding father of the People's Republic of China.
- Stroll Through the Temple of Heaven Park: This beautiful park, set in the southern part of Beijing, is a popular spot for locals to relax, practice Tai Chi, and admire the stunning Temple of Heaven, one of the city's most important religious sites.
- Visit the Summer Palace: This stunning imperial garden, located in the western suburbs of Beijing, was once a favourite retreat of the Chinese emperors. With its lush greenery, tranquil lakes, and magnificent palaces, the Summer Palace is a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
- Discover the Art and Culture Scene: From the National Museum of China, which chronicles the country's history and culture, to the 798 Art Zone, a vibrant hub for contemporary art and design, Beijing has plenty to offer for art lovers and culture seekers.
- Indulge in Street Food: Beijing is a food lover's paradise, with a wide variety of street foods to try, including jianbing (savoury crepes), roujiamo (meat sandwiches), and dumplings. Explore the city's many food markets, like Wangfujing Snack Street, for a delicious culinary adventure.
What To Eat
When it comes to food, Beijing offers a delicious and diverse culinary scene that is sure to tantalise the taste buds.
- Peking Duck: A classic dish made famous in Beijing, this roasted duck is served with thin pancakes, scallions, and sweet bean sauce, and is beloved for its crispy skin and rich flavour.
- Jianbing: A popular street food in Beijing, Jianbing is a savoury crepe filled with egg, vegetables, and sauces, making it a quick and tasty breakfast option.
- Hand-pulled Noodles: A staple of Beijing cuisine, these chewy noodles are made from wheat flour and boiled to perfection, making them a must-try for anyone seeking an authentic local experience.
- Chinese Tea: Chinese tea is renowned for its delicate and soothing flavours, with options such as Jasmine and Longjing tea being particularly popular.
- Craft Beer: Increasingly popular in Beijing, the city has a thriving craft beer scene, with many bars and breweries offering a range of locally brewed options to sample.
- Subway: One of the most convenient and affordable ways to get around Beijing, the subway system is extensive and covers most of the city. Prices range from ¥3 to ¥10 ($0.45 to $1.50) depending on the distance travelled.
- Taxis: Taxis are widely available in Beijing and are a convenient way to get around, although prices can be higher than the subway, especially during peak hours. Prices start from ¥13 ($1.90) for the first 3 km, with an additional ¥2.3 ($0.35) per km thereafter.
- Buses: Buses are an affordable way to get around the city, with prices starting from ¥1 ($0.15) per ride. However, they can be crowded and navigating the routes can be challenging for non-Chinese speakers.
- Didi: A popular ride-hailing app similar to Uber, Didi is widely used in Beijing and is a convenient and affordable way to get around the city. Prices are competitive with taxis and can be lower during off-peak hours.
- Bicycle Rental: Beijing is a bike-friendly city, and there are many bike rental companies offering bicycles for rent by the hour or day. This is a great way to explore the city at a leisurely pace and enjoy the sights and sounds along the way. Prices range from ¥10 to ¥50 ($1.50 to $7.50) per day.
- Walking: For those who prefer to explore on foot, Beijing is a compact city, and many of the main sights and attractions can be easily reached by walking.
These are just a few of the many options available for getting around Beijing, making it a convenient and accessible destination for travellers.
When To Go
Spring (March to May)
Pros: Mild weather, vibrant cherry blossom season in April, comfortable outdoor activities.
Cons: Pollen season and high levels of air pollution.
Typical temperatures: 40-60°F (5-15°C)
Summer (June to August)
Pros: Warm weather and long daylight hours, outdoor activities such as hiking and sightseeing.
Cons: High humidity and temperatures, peak tourist season.
Typical temperatures: 68-86°F (20-30°C)
Autumn (September to November)
Pros: Comfortable weather, clear skies with low levels of air pollution, and the harvest season for fruits and vegetables.
Cons: Cooler temperatures and shorter daylight hours, occasional smog.
Typical temperatures: 40-60°F (5-15°C)
Winter (December to February):
Pros: Mild temperatures and fewer crowds, festive season with holiday lights and decorations.
Cons: Cold weather, limited outdoor activities, higher levels of air pollution due to increased use of heating.
Typical temperatures: 20-40°F (-6-4°C)
Beijing is a bustling city with a rich cultural heritage and many exciting attractions, but it is important for tourists to take precautions to ensure their safety while visiting.
It is recommended to carry only essential items, such as a passport and a small amount of cash, and to be cautious of pickpocketing and theft, especially in crowded areas such as tourist sites and public transportation.
It is also important to be aware of air pollution levels, especially in the winter months, and to take steps to protect your health, such as wearing a mask and drinking plenty of water. Additionally, it is recommended to familiarise yourself with emergency services, such as the police, hospitals, and embassies, in case of any issues.
Lastly, it is important to respect local customs and laws, including not taking pictures of sensitive sites such as military installations.
By following these simple tips, tourists can have a safe and enjoyable experience while exploring all that Beijing has to offer.
Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveller, there are several options for getting to this fascinating city. Here are a few of the most popular ways to travel to Beijing:
- Flight: Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) is the main airport serving the city, with flights from major cities around the world. This is the most convenient and fastest way to get to Beijing, and there are a variety of airlines to choose from, with many offering flights on a daily basis.
- Train: Beijing has several railway stations, including Beijing Railway Station and Beijing West Railway Station, that connect to other cities in China. This is a great option for those who want to see more of the country, as trains offer scenic views along the way.
- Bus: Buses are a popular and affordable way to travel to Beijing from nearby cities.
- Road: For those with a car or who prefer to rent one, driving to Beijing is an option. However, it is important to be aware of the traffic conditions, as well as local laws and regulations, before embarking on this journey.
No matter how you choose to travel to Beijing, you're sure to experience a journey full of adventure and excitement.