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Beijing Travel Guide

Visit Beijing

Beijing History
Beijing is both an ancient city, as well as a thriving metropolis; a fascinating mixture of old world culture, and the new, modern China. All of Beijing's faces should be seen and experienced.

As one of the six ancient cities in China, Beijing has been the heart and soul of politics and society throughout its long history.  Archeological findings show that Peking Man, dated 500,000 years ago, lived for a very long time in Zhoukoudian, a cave system in Beijing Municipality. From the warring states period (473 – 221 BC), Beijing was the capital of Yan State and was called Ji. In 1283, Beijing became the capital city of the Yuan Dynasty and was called Dadu by its Mongol rulers. After that Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty continually established in Beijing. So the interest of visiting Beijing is at one side to explore its glorious past, but at another side you will feel its modernity as well as an odd combination of the two.
Today with the crowded pedestrian streets in the city center and countless shopping malls scattered across the city supply and display commercial prosperity and vigor Beijing has the same feature like another big city in the world such as New York and Paris.

In 2008 Beijing became the focus of world attention when it hosted the Olympics. The games were a symbol of both China’s progress and China’s tradition, with high-class and eye-catching facilities and spectacular ceremonies.

To be the No.1 tourist destination of China, Beijing always gives you much more than you expected. There is so much to see, to do and to feel in Beijing that you really need to select. But anyway, that is already one reason to come back to Beijing for a next visit.

Beijing Highlights
Beijing reflects, better than anywhere, the splendid culture of Chinese history. The Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, the Ming Tomb, the Lama Temple, Beihai Park and even the tiny Hutongs can offer a step back in time to the Beijing of a hundred or more years ago guiding you to the inside of Chinese history and culture. Beijing has 7, 309 listed historical sites of varying importance, of which 42 are at the national level and 222 are at the municipal level.

The Badaling Great Wall
As the saying goes, one who fails to reach the Great Wall is not a true hero. Without visiting the Great Wall, no trip to Beijing or the country is complete. The Great Wall was a gigantic defensive project used in ancient times as early as in the 7th century B.C. For self-protection, rival kingdoms built walls around their territories, laying foundations for the present Great Wall. The Badaling section of the Great Wall is the best preserved and the most popular one amongst all the sections. It is more than 1,000 meters (3281 ft) above sea level, and commands a strategic position for transportation and defense in ancient times. It is easily accessible and has easy walking conditions.

Forbidden City
The Forbidden City situated exactly in the heart of the municipality was home to 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. It is the best preserved imperial palace in China and the largest ancient palatial structure in the world. The Forbidden City covers an area of about 72 hectares with a total floor space of approximately 150, 000 square meters. It consists of 90 palaces and courtyards, 980 buildings and 8,704 rooms. To represent the supreme power of the emperor from the God and the place where the he lived being the center of the world, all the gates, palace and other structures of theForbidden City were arranged on both sides of the south-north central axis. The splendid architecture of the Forbidden City represents the essence and culmination of the traditional Chinese architectural accomplishment.

Summer Palace
Equally famous as the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace is up to now the best preserved and the largest imperial gardens in China. The Chinese call it Yihe Yuan (Garden of Restful Peace), and the landscaped gardens, temples and pavilions were designed to achieve harmony with nature, to soothe and please the eye.  The park spreads across the low hills, including Longevity Hill, around Kunming Lake, and was divided into three main zones (administration, living, and relaxation).  The wonderful buildings and courtyards wander beside the lake, along the waterways and climb the low slopes of the hillside.  The arched bridges, pretty promenades, decorated ‘corridors’ and breezeways all lead visitors through ever-changing views and scenery. Here the marvelous marble boat, there an old theatre, over there an island reached by small wooden boat and in the distance the hills, with a temple on the hillside, framed by dark trees. 

Beijing Facts
Beijing the capital city of the People's Republic of China borders Hebei Province to the north, west, south, and for a small section in the east and Tianjin to the southeast. It has a population of 17.55 million people (30% migrants) living on 16,800 km2 distributed in 18 districts.

The climate of Beijing is a monsoon influenced continental climate with hot. Beijing has four distinct seasons: the gentle and bright spring, the hot summer, the golden autumn and the snow-white winter. Each of these seasons has its own unique characteristics and beauty.  The best time to visit is in September and October, the "Golden Autumn”. Spring is the season for dust storms. Summer can be oppressively hot and the tourist crowds tend to be the largest as well. Winter is cold and dry with infrequent, but beautiful, snow.

As the capital, getting to Beijing is easy straightforward and convenient. Rail and air connections link the capital to virtually every point in China, and fleets of buses head to abundant destinations from Beijing. Attention: It is not a good idea to travel in China during Chinese holidays, as it is the time when masses of Chinese people are traveling around. The hottest three national holidays in China are Chinese Spring Festival (in late January or February), International Labor Day (May 1 to 7) and National Day (Oct 1 to 7). Spring Festival is an especially crowded time to travel.

Beijing Activities
The prosperity of the city has endowed Beijing with varied and colorful nightlife. You can go out to spend their night time at cinemas, theatres, nightclubs, song and dance halls, Karaoke clubs, restaurants or bars. There are hundreds of bars in Beijing, and the famous bar streets like Sanlitun or Houhai. Or you can watch Beijing opera at cinemas or drink in the teahouses. Laoshe Tea House and Liyuan Theater are the best place for drinking some tea and seeing the Beijing opera.  And Kungfu shows and acrobatics shows you should not miss them. Besides you can have a walk in Chang'an Street to Tian'anmen Square.    

What to do

Beijing has several shopping districts offering a mind-boggling variety of goods for travelers from all over the world. The traditional shopping districts have been always Wuangfujing Street, Qianmen Street, Dongdan and Xidan Commercial Street but now it seems that Jianguomen Wai Street and Chaowai Street have risen to the top for the latest and most luxurious items. Cloisonné, Ivory Carving, Jade and Lacquer are known as the four best traditional handiworks of Beijing. In addition, Curios, Silk, Pearls, Snuff Bottles with Pictures Inside, and Artificial Flowers are also worth buying and well liked by tourists. All od those can be the most wonderful presents for friends.


After a day's Beijing tours, nighttime can hold other surprises for you. These can vary from traditional performances such as the Beijing Opera, acrobatics and martial arts to modern ones including concerts, ballroom dancing, pubs and clubs. Each and every one has its individual enchantment for the tourists. Tianqiao Area and Laoshe Teahouse are good venues for tourists to enjoy Chinese folk culture; while Sanlitun Bar Street and the nearby embassy area is an ideal choice if you are a party-loving night owl.


Beijing food or Northern food is a collection of varieties from Hebei, Shangdong, Lower Yangtze River, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang. Barbecuing, deep-boiling, roasting, smoking and braising are the typical cooking methods of Beijing food. Local products such as garlic, ginger, leeks, pork, spring onions, bean sauce, different spices, chilies and vegetables, particularly the Northern white cabbage, together with duck, pork, chicken, seafood, beef, and lamb are used to make many varieties of gourmet dishes. Beijing Specialties include Beijing Roast Duck, Beijing Imperial Court Food, Mongolian Hot Pot, Noodles with soybean paste and some local snacks such as Shao Mai, Dou Zhi (Bean Soup), Zha Gao (Fried Cake), Jiao Quan (Fried Bread Ring).

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