Beijing for the Active Travelers
Looking to stay active on your trip to Beijing? If your idea of a vacation is not the calm, secluded relaxation you may find in other destinations, you’ve come to the right place.
Bike Your Way Through Beijing
If you enjoy being active, one of the best ways to get a good tour of the city is by bike. Beijing is flat, so no grueling hills to deal with. We have lots of different bike tours you can choose from that show you different historical sites, take you through the winding hutongs, or give you a look at various neighborhoods in the city. Or just rent a bike for the day and explore on your own!
If you’re particularly fit, consider taking a bike ride out to Fragrant Hills, a beautiful setting just outside the northwest of the city. It’s especially nice in the fall, when the leaves turn a vibrant red color. There are tours that go out there, but it’s plenty feasible to just buy a map and lead your own excursion. The ride is about 20 km long, depending on the route you take.
See Beijing Biking for more ideas.
Hike, Camp, or Run the Great Wall
If you do only one thing when you visit Beijing, go see the Great Wall. While some parts have been restored and are well-traveled by hiking tourists, other parts are still rugged and remote.
For skilled hikers, try the Jiankou section. This unrestored section is particularly picturesque because its jagged route was built on steep mountains to either side, allowing for an impressive view in all directions.
Or you can hike Mutianyu, a little busier but still less crowded than the popular Badaling section. After hiking the Mutianyu section, you can slide back down on a toboggan run in a little, one-man metal sled-like contraption on a metal track. It’s a little scary, but well worth it!
The Great Wall Marathon is in May every year and for those that enjoy long distance running, this is the ultimate fitness feat and an extraordinary experience. You can also choose to run a half marathon or their 7.5k fun run.
Practice Tai Chi
Tap into your inner calmness with tai chi in Temple of Heaven Park. This martial art involves slow, concentrated movements aimed at releasing stress from the body. The low-impact nature of it is great for all ages and fitness levels, and especially recommended for those with arthritis.
Join into one of the large groups, or you learn from a pro by arranging your own Tai Chi Experience.
Most public parks have people practicing tai chi, and the largest are suitable for jogging, e.g. Chaoyang Park.
Hotel Fitness Centers
Looking for a full-fledged workout? Or maybe just trying to get some exercise on days when the air quality is particularly bad? One great option is a day pass to a hotel fitness center. There is no shortage of hotels in the capital city with quality fitness centers. See our Beijing Hotels pages.
Looking for something more than just a treadmill and a couple dumbbells? The Kerry Centre sports facility is truly something to behold, complete with tennis courts, a 35-meter lap pool, and a 235-meter running/rollerblading track.
Most western hotels have a fitness center, but be sure to check reviews online before you go because the quality varies. You don’t want to waste precious vacation time (or money) scoping out a gym that turns out to be a small room with a stairstepper and a watercooler—something that is not out of the realm of possibility here.
China Highlights Tailor-Makes Tours to All Requirements — Including Fitness
With all the delicious food in Beijing and sitting down traveling, we recognize that you may want to do some activities to stay fit. When booking a Beijing tour just ask and we can give suggestions to meet your requirements, and customize your tour itinerary where necessary. If no tour fits your needs, no problem. We can tailor-make a more active tour for you.
I updated this article on February 17, 2014
See all my travel articles
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