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Beijing

Beijing Travel Guide

As one of the world's great ancient capitals, and the capital city of the world's upcoming second superpower, Beijing is the most important and interesting Chinese city, both for tourism and for appreciating China.

3 Top Reasons to See Beijing

1. Beijing is China's ancient AND modern capital.

Beijing served as the capital of six ancient dynasties for more than 800 years in total, the most famous being the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) and the Qing Dynasty (1644–1912).

It holds the greatest collection of the finest remnants of China's imperial past: the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven…

Though it’s not a big tourist draw, there is more to Beijing than its past. If you have no time to see Shanghai, then Beijing still offers you a chance to appreciate modern China — its hi-tech infrastructure and super-modern buildings like the “Bird’s Nest” National Stadium and Water Cube.

There is also a palpable prestige in Beijing, fitting for the capital of this proud and powerful nation. Sample it at Tian’anmen Square during the flag ceremonies at dawn and dusk, and at the Mausoleum of Chairman Mao.

The Great WalllA Beijing opera actor on the Great Wall: China's culture and architectural feats are top reasons to visit.

2. Beijing is a China culture hub.

Beijing is one of China's foremost cultural hubs, with its own duck dish, opera, housing style, dialect…

  • The world-famous roast duck is a must-taste food in Beijing. With a history of more than 600 years, the dish is China's most famous imperial dish and has become the cultural symbol of traditional Chinese food.
  • Beijing opera, one of the classic art forms of imperial China, is regarded as one of the cultural treasures of China.
  • The ancient alleys, the Hutongs, is the last place to see the traditional courtyard houses in Beijing. The best way to travel around is by taking a rickshaw.

3. Beijing is China’s No. 1 gateway city.

China’s biggest airport (the world’s second busiest), Beijing Capital Airport, serves around 120 destinations. There are many flight choices for visitors from all continents. It likely to be your best choice for entering or leaving China.

The new 144-hour visa-free transit policy makes Beijing a more convenient travel destination.

More Reasons to Visit Beijing>>>

Top Things to Do in Beijing

Visting the hutongs by rickshawDiscovering the hutongs the good old way.
  • Walk the Great Wall: On Trip Advisor in 2018, the top #1 and #3 things to do in Beijing are visiting  the Mutianyu and Badaling Great Wall sections.
  • Explore the Forbidden City: the second most popular attraction in Beijing. It is hard to get an idea of the great size of the imperial palace until you are in it.
  • Savor the Summer Palace — where one palace was forbidding, this one is inviting! Wander where the royals relaxed in the warmer months.
  • Discover the enchanting hutongs. Sightsee, shop, and dine in ancient residential and shopping streets.
  • Enjoy entertainment that's some of the best in the East —  acrobatics and martial arts performances, Beijing opera, ...
  • Dine on duck, Peking style, and other tasty Beijing cuisine.

More top things to do in Beijing>>>

The Best Times to Visit Beijing

Walking on the Great WallWalking the Great Wall in late spring is beautiful before the heat and crowds of summer arrive.

Beijing is approximately at the same latitude as Philadelphia in the U.S. (but drier in winter and wetter in summer) and Madrid in Spain (though colder in winter). See Beijing Weather.

Although you could travel Beijing throughout the year, autumn (September and October) is the most recommended season to visit for the relatively comfortable temperatures and the scenic beauty.

Beijing's air quality is being tackled with improved public transport, restrictions on the use of vehicles, and the relocation of factories. 

Breathing Beijing's air for six average days is the equivalent of smoking just one cigarette, which is not bad for a large developing world city. See What to Do on a Low Air Quality Day in Beijing.

Hotels

A traditional hutong hotelA traditional hutong hotel

Beijing is an international city with a vast range of accommodation options suiting every budget from luxury hotels to guesthouses. If you want to experience old Beijing life, you can opt to stay in a traditional hutong courtyard.

Dining

There is a limitless array of international cuisine to choose from in every price range in Beijing. It is easy to find Chinese restaurants, Western restaurants, vegetarian restaurants, Muslim restaurants, and Asian restaurants.

One of the most famous specialties of Beijing is roast duck.

Transportation

The subway is the cheapest way to get around. A private tour with a private vehicle is the best hassle-free option to avoid the traffic congestion and help you maximize your time.

From Beijing, it is easy to travel by plane or direct bullet train to most major China destinations, such as Xi’an and Shanghai. See more on Beijing Transport.

Travel Beijing Your Way

China Highlights guide at the Forbidden CityOur Beijing guide relates the history of the Forbidden City, whilst avoiding the crowds.

Beijing is such a large and complex city that going with a tour guide and driver helps make your visit less stressful and more rewarding.

Our well-designed tour plans cover the highlights of Beijing in ways that experience and customer feedback shows are best. They can all be customized to your interests and travel style.

Recommended Beijing Itineraries

Or you could just fill in a 4-minute Create-My-Trip form with your interests and requirements, and we will send you a quote and proposed itinerary within 24 hours.

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