Formerly known in English as Peking, Beijing is the capital of China, the second largest city and one of the six ancient cities. With a history that is more than 3000 years, Beijing is an amazing mix of old and new – there’s so much history that it’s easy to be overwhelmed. For centuries Beijing has been the centre for cultural and business activities and is today a truly world class and international city.
Beijing has one of the largest subway networks in the world and all rides cost only 2 yuan, no matter how far you go or how many times you change station, making it easy to explore the vibrant entertainment districts.
There is an abundance of things to do in around Beijing; numerous theatres, restaurants, cultural quarters, parks, and golf courses. Beijing has several bar streets in Sanlitun, Houhai, Wudaokou and Asian Games Village as well as in the neighbourhood of the Worker’s Stadium, Chaoyang Park, and Beijing Lady Street.
The city hosts a wide variety of festivals each year -ranging from an International Beer Festival, International Food Festival and Art Festivals, to the more traditional Baiyun Temple Fair, Red Leaf Festival and Lonqing Gorge Snow and Ice Festival.
Food in Beijing
It’s a foodie paradise, with exceptional street food right through to exceptional high class restaurants. Beijing’s best-known culinary export, Peking Duck is delicious and esteemed for the thin, crispy skin, with authentic versions of the dish serving mostly skin and little meat. It’s also famous for its breakfasts – a great way to start the day is with a jianbing eaten in the street, a yummy crepe filled with fried bread, spring onions, chilli and an egg.
Shopping in Beijing
The city is a shopper’s delight – Sanlitun village is a good place to pick up designer clothes and treat yourself to a Starbucks, as is the China World Mall Summit Wing. And of course, no trip to Beijing is complete without seeing the Great Wall, which is about an hour or so drive to the north.
Must sees in Beijing
- Forbidden city – The Forbidden City is located in the centre of Beijing. It is the largest ancient palatial structure in the world, hosting one of the most important five palaces in the world.
- Tiananmen Square – Tiananmen Square is one of the largest public squares in the world. It is located in the centre of Beijing, very close to the Forbidden City.
- Temple of Heaven – The Temple of Heaven is situated in Southern Beijing and is considered Beijing’s most holy imperial temple. It’s architecture and landscape design is definitely one not to miss.
- Summer Palace – The Summer Palace boasts an array of stunning gardens, lakes and palaces located Northwest of Beijing city.
- Yonghe Temple – Yonghe Temple, also known as Lama Temple, is a stunning piece of architecture dating back to the 1600’s.
- Wangfujing – Wangfujing is on one for keen shoppers. It is one of the most famous shopping streets in Beijing. Located in the Dongcheng District of Beijing, it is popular with both locals and tourists.
- Jingshan Park – Jingshan Park is a vast public park located North of the Forbidden City, covering over 20 hectares. It is homes to beautiful landscapes including an artificial hill that boasts views of The Forbidden City.
- Houhai – Houhai is the largest of three lakes situated in central Beijing and is more recently known as a hub for nightlife, featuring many bars, restaurants and cafes. Very atmospheric at night with lights lighting up the lake.
- Beijing National Stadium – Beijing National Stadium, or also lovingly known as ‘the nest’, is a stunning landmark located South of the Olympic Green.
- Silk Street – Silk Street is near Yonganli of Beijing Chaoyang District and is home is over 1,700 retail vendors.