Beijing, the capital of the People’s Republic of China and one of the world’s most populous cities. A truly modern metropolis rich with thousands of years of history, Beijing has something to offer everybody.
The name Beijing, means “Northern Capital”, and has been the country’s political centre for the majority of the last 800 years.
Taking an organised tour is a great and convenient way to see the city and its tremendous highlights, while also taking the pressure off you if you’re worried about dealing with the traffic and busy streets. It’s very normal to feel this way, a population close to Australia’s total in one city can be daunting for anyone!
A 2-day tour would be an absolute minimum, 3 or 4 days preferable, don’t try to rush this city and cram it all into one day! Here’s a few spots that shouldn’t be missed;
- The Forbidden City
- The Temple of Heaven
- The Great Wall at Mutianyu
- Tiananmen Square
- The Summer Palace
- National Museum of China
This list is just some of the highlights, with some, such as the Great Wall, worthy of having an entire day or more dedicated to them alone. The Forbidden City, Tiananmen square, Temple of Heaven and The Summer Palace combine for a great full day of city touring, without too much driving or wasted time transporting between.
A personal favourite of any organised tour is always the incredible included lunch!
Like all China, Beijing has its regional specialties and delights. Local restaurants are very accommodating to foreigners, with most having illustrated menus in English and helpful, friendly staff. You may have to point to what you want on menus at times but I find this adds to the fun of it all and goes part and parcel with the travelling experience.
Make sure to try some of these local bites when in Beijing;
- Peking Duck or Beijing Roast Duck
- Chinese dumplings – Jiaozi
- Gangou potatoes
- Noodles with Soybean paste
- Tuckahoe Pie
Once you’re in Beijing, the intense traffic can seem intimidating but getting around can be very easy!
The city’s subway system is very modern and intuitive, with easily readable maps and very cheap ticket prices. Around $1 will get you almost anywhere in the city!
Taxis are always available to take you where you need. I highly recommend, if you don’t speak any Mandarin, to get your hotel staff to write down your destinations and addresses in Mandarin and then show this to the taxi drivers! Always make sure they are using the metre to avoid being ripped off!
Beijing is the perfect place to launch any adventure in China, it’s size can be daunting but its clean and safe and has so much to offer. A truly captivating city showing off an incredible mix of China’s history and modernity.
Thanks for reading,