Beijing travel guide
Beijing is a city where you need to return to year after year and even after a lifetime of visits you still wouldn’t have seen everything. The capital of China, Beijing has been a vital part of Chinese history and as such, it has a vibrancy and uniqueness that no other city in the world could ever compete with.
A city guide to Beijing is essential for planning your itinerary. This amazing city has a wealth of cultural attractions and so many places to experience and things to do that you need to plan ahead so not to miss out on the ones you want the most.
The Great Wall of China is the country’s number one tourist attraction and there are several sections of it that you can walk upon. Most tourists head to the Badaling section, around 60km north of Beijing. This part dates back to the Ming Dynasty and the government has reconstructed a lot of it, although there are parts where it is still in disarray. The views from the Great Wall are simply out of this world. If you want older, less touristy sections, then head out to the Huanghuacheng, Mutianyu, Simatai or the Jinshanling sections for a more authentic Great Wall experience.
The Lama Temple (Yonghe Gong) is the largest temple complex in Beijing and one of the most important in the entire country. In addition to this, the Lama Temple is the most important Buddhist temple outside of Tibet and as such, Buddhists from all over the country and the world, come here to worship. As soon as you enter the temple gate, you are greeted with the aroma of burning incense people offer and the sound of chanting and bells. A gigantic 17 meter tall statue of the Maitreya Buddha is the most prized possession of this amazing temple and can be found in the Wanfu Pavilion.
Located in the Chaoyangman area of Dongzhimen, the Dongyue Temple (Dongyue Maio) is a place of serenity and peace, dedicated to Tai Shan (Eastern Peak), which is one of the five sacred mountains in Daoism. Different from the Lama Temple, as soon as you step through the gates to this temple it is as if all the cares of the modern world and all its troubles are simply lifted from your shoulders. This temple takes you on a journey through the Chinese views on what happens when you die. Each department reflects a different section of hell you go to if you do wrong during your life. In addition to this, there are some beautiful ancient statues and inscriptions to view.
No trip to Beijing would be complete without a trip to Tiananmen Square. The largest public square in the entire world, this was the location made famous in the 1980’s when thousands of Chinese people held protests against the government. Today, thousands of people come here to take in the atmosphere and wonder what it was like to be facing dozens of tanks, police and the army.
Near here is the final resting place of Chairman Mao, whose preserved body you can view. You cannot take any sort of bags in with you and the guards keep you moving past the body of the Great Helmsman.
On every corner you will see some sort of accommodation. Hotels vary in size and price and the bigger the room the larger the price. Hutongs are the homes of the poorer people and date back to the Ming and Qing dynasties but some have been converted into hostels and hotels for Westerners to stay in. Be aware though that some hotels do not take in foreign tourists so please make sure.
You will never go hungry in Beijing; restaurants in Beijing are plentiful, each offering you a different taste of Beijing and the rest of the country. The two local dishes here are Peking Duck and Beijing Hotpot.
Beijing is a city which pulsates with vibrancy and colour. It is a city where your senses come alive and new experiences keep on coming. A city firmly in the present, it still retains that ancient atmosphere which makes it a fascinating and exciting place to visit.