As China’s political and major economic center, Beijing offers every traveler full glimpse of the country’s ancient history and its fast rising modernization efforts. You’ll find well preserved ancient palaces lined up next to technologically advanced train stations, serene monasteries, and world-class sports stadiums. This city is home to two of the world’s most important historical spots, the Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. The capital city is also proud of its number one tourist destination; the Great Wall of China.
This dumbfounding achievement of old China snakes across the hills and mountains of Beijing. Wear good shoes and be impressed by the incredible artistry that has been made by primitive means to build this amazing structure that stretches over 6,000 kilometers in the outskirts of the city.
When To Go:
Beijing’s climate in summer might be insufferably hot and dry, while winter could be freezing cold. The best times to visit the city are from March to May (spring) and from September to October (fall). These calm seasons give the best atmosphere and also brilliant and colored landscapes. Interestingly, summer brings sweltering heat, and winters introduces cool temperatures and in some cases brings in some thick snow. While you have to be aware of the climate, you must additionally keep away from national holidays. Around this time, a large number of travelers prefer to explore Beijing’s historic museums, sacred temples, and other indoor tourist attractions.
Discover these interesting places and things to do when in the city of Beijing.
The Great Wall Of China (Mutianyu Section)
The most popular section at Badaling is the Great Wall of China (Mutianyu Section). It has luxurious views with a comfortable rise to choose from 2 types of funicular rides – open or closed. The descent can be done in an unusual way via slides on the singular driven sled (toboggans). On the wall you can buy souvenirs from friendly sellers.
Tip for a convenient way to travel – take a private transfer (car for the day) with a helpful tour guide to visit other cultural and wall locations. At the foot of the wall is the parking area, restrooms, snack bars with water and food, and if you visit during winter you will see an awesome spectacle of strong smog and fog. Despite the fact that the tourist areas of the wall are filled with modern buildings, you can still see, feel, and be inspired by the imposing presence of the Great Wall. It really is enormous! You can get here by bus from the bus station 918 Beijing Dongzhimen (located at the inner ring subway station).
The Great Wall Of China (Jiankou)
This section of the Great Wall of China (Jiankou) is the closest to Beijing and still well preserved. The steps are very high, up to half, and when you go down you get a good workout for the legs) but the climb up the tower 7 is worth it because of the beautiful view from the top wall of the city from one horizon to another. This section is a must if you travel to Beijing.
Climbers must be physically fit to walk through their ups and downs that follow the contour of the mountains; the path is oftentimes irregular making it not advisable for kids and people with knee problems. Come and visit early to see its lovely sunrise. Seeing the sun rise and then shine on the white wall in this section, is a truly amazing sight. The path on the wall in the Jiankou section is challenging because the wall has an overgrown part of brushwood or completely broken away. It goes down a steep hill and back, but you will be rewarded with fantastic views of the city.
Summer Palace (Yiheyuan)
Like other famous sites in Beijing, the Summer Palace (Yehiyuan) also makes a strong impression. Locals and tourists come here to relax by the lake, ride the boats, and be in touch with nature. You can spend the whole day in this extraordinary park and engage yourself in the variety of outdoor recreation offered in the vast sections of this place. Everyone can find a place for their soul, to contemplate and relax with the sound of nature in the background. You can go trekking, strolling, exploring the palaces and temples, to get lost in the maze of green and have a picnic in the imperial garden, climb to the temple of meditation or attend a local folklore performance.
More popularly known among the locals as the “Garden of Peace and Harmony”, the park is huge and divided into three parts; the Courtyard Hill, Longevity, and the Kunming Lake. You can pay only for the park, but you can still walk around the temple complex. Near the North Gate shopping street is Suzhou, an interesting sight along the river-lakes. Entrance fee, you can pay on the spot. Next come the various temples, climbing higher and higher, you will find yourself at the top to see the lake Kunming, Sea Temple wisdom and the Tower in honor of the Buddha – the official symbol of the Summer Palace.
Temple of Heaven (Tiantan Park)
The Temple of Heaven is located next to the subway, to reach it; you must go through the park (east, west or north) gate. You need to pay twice at the park entrance and the entrance to the temple grounds. Along the way, you can meet the locals spending free time, weddings in national costumes, and monks. The temple itself is impressive and imposingly stands high into the skyline of Beijing. The Altar of Heaven looks like a round three-tiered terrace, built of pure white marble slabs.
The stairs leading to the top of the altar is framed by carved marble balustrades with the image of dragons and phoenixes. Each tier consists of nine plates, and between the tiers you can see 9 steps, to symbolize the fact about the science of Chinese Cosmology where the sky is the magic number. At the center of the altar with a small round plate is the Stone Celestial Soul, or the focus of the firmament. There is a small museum where the utensil that was used in the commission of the Emperor is proudly displayed, as well as smaller models or replicas of the temple.
Jingshan Park (Jingshan Gongyuan)
The Jingshan Park is beautiful, filled with tracks, ladders and steps, on a hill. The climb is a bit hard but the views are spectacular at the top. From here you can see the Forbidden City, Beihai Park with a lake and mountains in the distance. Here you can also take pictures of the locals in their national costumes. Many come to capture the sunset. People come specifically for an hour and wait a few minutes when the light of the setting sun touches the city. The view is lovely especially in good weather. It is well maintained, nice, calm, and quiet. You can spend the whole evening and enjoy the slow passage of time watching Chinese residents play chess, dance or do the Tai-Chi on its spacious park complex. It is well organized and designed with great taste.
Juyong Pass Of Great Wall
The Juyong Pass is one of the most popular sections of the wall that is definitely worth a visit. From the highest point offers beautiful views of the surrounding landscape. From the outset, the slope of 45-50 degrees offers steep climbs to get to the next level. Handrails help almost throughout the climb. It looks scary from below but the challenging trail is all worth the effort. The plot is well prepared for the unprepared tourists. You can see a refurbished stair railing anywhere on this part.
The line itself will cool up with a lot of tourists coming from the front and behind. At one point the wall narrows, and forms a small plug of people, giving the impression of people coming in all directions. From the top there are stunning mountain views, broad walls, railway, highway and civilization in the form of some villages. You can go down a different route. It is not recommended for people with blood pressure, weak heart, and joint problems. And for ordinary people – it’s a good workout, especially when there is a water and a small towel to wipe the forehead.
The Palace Museum (Forbidden City)
A visit to the Palace Museum is worthy of respect. Commonly known as the “Forbidden City”, it is one of the key historical sites in Beijing that is mandatory to visit when in the city. There are a lot of tourists everywhere on weekdays and even during the hot summer season. The concrete stones, antiquity, and the audio guide make it even more interesting to explore.
All the central part and the path to the Imperial Palace gets literally plastered with the Chinese, there is no room to swing a cat. If you want to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the museum it is worth to go immediately to the right side of the palace called the imperial of longevity, which starts from the wall of nine dragons. Located in the heart of the city, be prepared to walk a lot because its territory affects its size and the number of buildings. The Forbidden City lets you experience China and its history. You just need to visit the unique museums and exhibit halls to fully understand its colorful past.
Tiananmen Square (Tiananmen Guangchang)
The Tiananmen Square is home to China’s largest area in the world. It is located next to the Imperial Palace and occupies a vast territory of more than 400,000 square meters. Level security is done at the entrance to the square and everyone must pass through the metal detector and have their bags checked by the police and military.
If you come to Beijing – it is necessary to visit the area. Near the mausoleum and the museum is the lost city. The museum exhibits all about the historical associations of the site, the one in 1949 and 1989. Mausoleum of Mao with his portrait still stands as it was twenty years ago. It is named in honor of the Tiananmen Gate – “Gate of Heavenly Peace”, which leads to the Forbidden City. It’s huge! It has a building of the Chinese parliament – “House of the People” and the opera house, which is a masterpiece of modern architecture.
Beijing Olympic Park
In the city of Beijing, everything is done with panache. The boulevard area for walking is lined with impressive structures and historical landmarks. The Olympic Stadium or the Beijing Olympic Park stands resembling a bird’s nest and beside it is the Palace of Water Sports (Beijing Water Cube). If you have a swimsuit, you can buy a ticket and have a good swim in the pool where 2008 Olympic swimming champions once earned their gold. At night it looks more stunning as all the lights are turned on to illuminate the area.
Beihai Park (Beihai Gongyuan)
Beihai literally means “Northern Sea”. The Beihai Park, as well as many other Chinese gardens in Beijing, was built on the model of the most beautiful parks and palaces of different regions of China. The buildings and landscapes of this park are the masterpieces of engineering and architectural design that display style and superb building skills and a wealth of art of creating the traditional Chinese Pagoda. This park was founded in the tenth century and is among the largest of Chinese gardens. Before the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1911 it was an imperial park.
This place was due to the Forbidden City, but since 1925 the garden has been open to the public. Near the park is a small home where the reigning Chinese leader officially resides. It is located in the northwest part of the Forbidden City, and you can walk through the park on foot or take a boat ride on the lake. One of the main attractions of the park is the White Dagobah which offers a magnificent view of the city. It is a pleasant place to stroll, relax, and admire the ingenuity of the Chinese architecture.