With lockdown restrictions slowly being lifted here in the UK, many of us are looking forward to seeing family and friends again. Although it will take a while longer for the travel restrictions to be lifted, many will already be looking forward to and planning their holidays abroad for when it’s safe to do so. One of the places that is worth considering visiting is Beijing. It’s steeped in history and offers a look into both the old and new worlds. It’s a popular destination for travellers as there is plenty to see and do.
How to get there
China is one of the few places there are a variety of climates to choose from. You could spend the summer in the Southern city of Chengdu but there are plenty of other incredible destinations to see. Beijing offers a wealth of places to explore and is relatively easy to get to. The best way to get to Beijing from the UK is to fly. A direct flight takes around 12 hours and it is best to shop around for the best flight prices. You will also need a valid Chinese visa to enter China.
Where to stay
You won’t struggle to find accommodation in Beijing. Apartments, hostels and hotels are in high demand, but the good ones can be hard to find. To get the best out of your visit, you’ll want somewhere central. The two main cities are Tianjin and Beijing so these could make a great base while you travel around. It’s important to look for a good price, and make sure the place you choose fits your budget. To give you an idea of the cost, do your research well and find guides to read online for how to save money in Beijing.
We have created this article with some of the must-see sights, both contemporary and historical, for Beijing. There is plenty to see and do in this bustling city, which has come a long way since its beginnings in AD 202. This makes it the perfect destination for holidaymakers to head to once the tourism restrictions are lifted. If you’re looking to take a dip in the Pearl River, but want to stay dry, you should head to China’s capital for a hot summer night in the capital’s numerous bars and pubs.
See below for our 5 must-see attractions in Beijing.
The Forbidden City
The Forbidden City is a massive complex of palaces and villas that date back to the reign of the Emperor China and is one of the biggest structures in the world. Jingles Garden was built by an emperor in the 3rd century BC and has been a National treasure since 1961. It is located at the corner of Zhongshanmen, Songjiangmen, and Xuanwumen and contains beautifully preserved buildings and a pool filled with piranas. Bailey’s Studio was started in the 1980s and is located on the north side of the Forbidden City.
The Great Wall
A once central part of life for the Chinese people, the Great Wall is now one of the most iconic buildings in Beijing. The wall was used for defence purposes for the emperors, and for the recreation of the commoners. Today, it is still used by the general public to train their fitness. A special variety of shoes have been developed for those interested in learning how to climb the wall. The shoes are made up of three layers that allow the climber to slowly climb the rocks. The Wall can be seen from all over Beijing, including Tiananmen Square. People have traditionally used the wall as a way of crossing the country to get to various places and as a personal challenge. Temple of Heaven an ancient relic, was once home to the emperor, the diviners, and other scholars.
Home to the famous Bird’s Nest Stadium and the iconic Great Wall, Tiananmen Square in Beijing is one of the most famous places in the city. Within it lies the largest public square in China. If the weather’s nice then it’s worth visiting just to soak up the history of the country. The square holds many, many historical dates and one of the most significant dates is in 1995. The square was host to the funeral of Chairman Mao. He would have been 100 years old in 1995, an unimaginable age at the time. It remains a huge symbol of Communism in the country and in the square.
When travelling in Beijing, one of the most important things to do is visit the Summer Palace. It is situated about an hour’s train journey from Beijing’s city centre and is considered to be the largest and most complete traditional Chinese garden in the world. It’s also one of the first Confucius places to be built and one of China’s most significant historical sites. It was founded in 1644 in the northern part of Beijing. It’s worth visiting on a clear day, as it is well known for its extensive gardens and flower beds. The picturesque lakes are home to a wide variety of trees and birds. It is also said that both Emperor Qianlong and Empress Dowager Cixi used to reside in the Summer Palace.
Temple of Heaven
Originally built during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127 AD) in the first century AD, the Temple of Heaven has long been one of the most renowned and iconic sites in Beijing. Formerly known as the Temple of Heaven in honour of the goddess of weather known as the Heaven Lady, the site was later renovated in 1904 to commemorate the Nanjing Treaty and to honour China’s first Emperor, the Daoguang Emperor. However, the temple underwent further changes during the reformist period of the Cultural Revolution and became Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. The Temple of Heaven is one of the largest outdoor Imperial palaces in the world. Covering 2.6 hectares (8.8 acres) it features an archway with a sky blue cypress ceiling and two rows of four-coloured ginkgo trees.
Ming Dynasty Tombs
The Great Wall has more than just spectacular scenery, it is an architectural marvel. Some sections of the wall are more than 300 years old and stand at over 24km. Not only is it great for people wanting to see the wall for the first time, but it is also a must-see because of the Ming Dynasty tombs found inside some of the sections. The city’s hills were the burial sites of many of China’s emperors, the walls built to keep the city safe. It is the only wall where you can see more than one tomb. Beijing Museum of Ethnology was built to house the greatest collection of Chinese art in the world, the Beijing Museum of Ethnology is a must-see when visiting Beijing. It is the largest museum of ethnology in China, with over 200,000 items.
Beijing is a wonderful city to visit. It’s laid out with the main town nestled between the sprawling suburbs. It is a small yet bustling city with many interesting sights, restaurants, markets, museums and the Great Wall to explore. It’s not necessarily a destination for everyone, but an overnight stay in Beijing will change your perspective of the city. It’s definitely worth taking the time to see it for yourself.