The Best of Beijing
If you find yourself with a couple of days’ stop-over in Beijing, or you’re simply passing through on a little adventure of your own, then you’re more than catered for when it comes to things to see, do, and enjoy here.
This is a huge city, one which is brimming with history, architecture, culture, and also a touch of the modern, and is also a city which you will never get to see every corner of during one visit, but you can sure as hell try! The best bet is to identify what you want to see and work with that, so you’re not spending the early part of your day wandering around aimlessly, missing all the good stuff!
Sightseeing is obviously very important in a city like this, and it is something you should certainly do to the max. There are certain parts of Beijing which shouldn’t be missed, and certain parts which if you have the time for you could easily fit in too. Obviously the Great Wall of China is within reach of Beijing, and unless you’re planning on heading off for a few weeks’ trek, seeing just a portion of it should be enough. The views from here are stunning, and you’re truly visiting one of the most famous and most iconic structures in the world. You can visit in many different ways; you could hire a taxi for a set price to take you there and bring you back to the city itself, or you could book a private tour with a guide, so you’re truly getting the most out of your time. The choice is yours, and there are group tours on offer too, if you prefer to be a little more sociable!
The Forbidden City, Tian’anmen Square, and The Temple of Heaven are the other three places which should definitely be visited, with no excuses spared! These are the most iconic parts of Beijing, and no visit is complete. It’s advisable to head to these areas early in the day, to avoid the worst of the crowds, and to remember to clear your camera memory card, as you’re sure to take plenty of photos when you set eyes on the colourful, traditional Chinese architecture.
If you have time, then heading to The Summer Palace and hiring a boat on Kunming Lake is a lovely way to pass the time, or you could head to The National Museum to check out the fantastic exhibitions of authentic Chinese architecture and history, as well as the National Art Museum too. It’s a must do to grab as much culture as possible during your visit to Beijing, because you’re unlikely to find another city in the world which encompasses such a colourful and diverse way of life, and in Beijing it truly is written on every corner.
Of course, this being a large city, you can expect plenty in the way of gastronomy, and Chinese cuisine is certainly up there with some of the best in the world. Flavours are deliciously fresh and sharp when tasted in their homeland, so heading to one of the many Beijing restaurants on offer will fill your evening entertainment perfectly. You will find something for every budget – from street food on the go whilst you’re heading around the attractions on offer, to a la carte, seriously swanky establishments, with stunning views over the city skyline. Simply choose your budget and enjoy the dishes on offer, with a glass or two of your favourite beverage of course!
You may want to kick back and relax during your Beijing stay, in which case you’re well catered for in terms of spas, offering a range of treatments to enjoy. Alternatively, a little retail therapy could be in order!
Beijing is fantastic for shopping, and one of the most famous and oldest shopping streets in the city is Wangfujing Street. This is within easily reach of the city centre, just 15 minutes from Tian’anman Square. Here you will find small shops next to huge multiple level stores, such as Beijing Department Store. You won’t struggle to meet your credit card bashing needs here. Alternatively. The Place is a real take on the modern, with a huge LED TV screen on the roof. This is where you can tick off the box for luxurious clothing, so anyone with a penchant for designer wares should be heading here. There are also many upmarket food places around here too.
Beijing is a busy, bustling, and huge city, but despite that fact it is easy to get around, and the friendly locals are eager to help new visitors learn more about their city and their culture, making this a truly complete experience. Anyone with a few days to spare in Beijing should certainly get out and explore to the max, as there really is no other city on earth quite like it.
Photo Credit: Mathias Apitz (München)