Attractions in Beijing
Beijing is a huge city. And it offers a huge amount of sights and attractions. There are no problems finding photo objects in this city. We have visited Beijing several times and know well that we have to come many times to get most of the capital of China has to offer. However, here you get a top list of what to see.
Temple of Heaven Park
Perhaps the best example of Ming architecture in all of Beijing? Not far from the Forbidden City you will find this park (by Tiantan Donglu) which is an almost 270 acre oasis. The park contains the ceremony for good harvests, the place where heaven and earth meet and not least the echo square, where even the slightest whisper is heard far away, if it had not been for the thousand other tourists who are also trying to create their echoes.
- See DigoPaul for dictionary definitions of Beijing, China. Includes geographical map and city sightseeing photos.
The place of heavenly peace
Imagine a place that can gather a million people without too much trouble. Then you have the place of heavenly peace. It is often referred to as the world’s largest public space. In English, the place is called Tiananmen Square. The site was built during the Ming Dynasty around the year 1417.
The Summer Palace sounds like a big house, but is so much more. This is a huge park area in the north of Beijing with a large lake (Kunming) excavated with manpower. The Summer Palace area is on UNESCO’s World Heritage list and dates back to 1750. More than 70,000 square meters of building mass can be found here, as well as beautiful statues, gardens and fresh air.
The Forbidden City
On UNESCO’s World Heritage List you will find this mythical imperial city with 800 buildings and over 8,000 rooms. The Forbidden City belongs to the Ming and Quing dynasties, and the history behind it is fascinating and frightening.
The bell tower and the drum tower
North of the Forbidden City near the 2nd ring road you will find the bell tower and the drum tower (Gulou Dongdajie). The bell tower belongs to the Quing Dynasty and dates back to the end of the 13th century, but today’s tower dates from the 18th century. Built around 1273, the drum tower is the historical center of the ancient Mongol empire.
Not far west of the bell tower and the drum tower you will find one of the most colorful and exciting temples in Beijing. The Lama Temple is perhaps the best-preserved Tibetan Buddhist temple outside of Tibet. The temple is world famous for its giant Buddha statue which you will find in one of the many temple buildings.
The Chinese Wall
To get to the wall you have to travel a little outside Beijing itself. This is our planet’s largest building, the wall is 6400 kilometers long. Construction work started by the Ming Dynasty in the 1300s and was first completed in the 1600s. Of course, the wall is included in UNESCO’s World Heritage list. To see the wall you travel to Badaling (about 70 km northwest of Beijing) or Mutiànyù (90 km northeast of Beijing).
Tourist in Beijing
Beijing has an incredible amount to offer, and it’s common to want to see “everything” for the long haul. On the other hand, you will have to travel over great distances, as the Beijing area is huge, and it is not particularly rewarding to go through point-of-view point-by-point just to tell others that you have been there.
Our proposal gives you some of the most important sights and attractions, while giving you time to experience Beijing’s atmosphere.
Day 1 in Beijing
Start the day early at Tiananmen Square or Tianmen Square, as it is called in English. If you show up at sunrise, you will also receive the flag hoist, but we suggest you sleep a little longer. You may not see that much, as many Chinese (and tourists) are in place for this scene. The place of heavenly peace is, in short, the world’s largest place, where more than a million people can gather. The square is the symbolic center of China and you have many attractions around it. Prominent on the square is an almost 38-meter-high obelisk erected in 1958. This monument is called the “Monument to the Heroes of the People.” South of the obelisk you will find the Mao mausoleum. If you are to see the dead Mao, you must calculate well in advance. The queue is always long. The area also houses the congress building (People’s Great Hall), the Chinese History Museum and the Chinese Revolution Museum.
The Forbidden City and Summer Palace
After completing the Tiananmen Square, you head towards the Forbidden City. Enter the Gate of Heavenly Peace, which is flanked by a giant Mao portrait. The Forbidden City was briefly and unavailable to any people except the Emperor and his court for nearly 500 years. Here you will find countless temples, ceremonial places, residential houses, gardens, statues and other sights.
Once you have digested this fascinating complex, we suggest you have lunch near Heavenly Peace Square. There are several restaurants to choose from here. Then take a taxi to the Summer Palace. The Summer Palace was a gift from the Emperor to his mother. The Summer Palace Park is located in the Xicheng area northwest of Beijing. The Summer Palace and its green areas are also popular places of excursion for Beijing residents. In addition to beautiful houses and statues, the Summer Palace offers a fascinating lake. The Kunming Sea was excavated with the help of around 100,000 workers and is actually an artificial pond.
Eat a simple meal in the Summer Palace area before taking a taxi to the drum tower and bell tower. The drum tower was originally built as early as 1273 as a symbol of the center of the Mongol Empire. The nearby bell tower was originally built at about the same time, but was rebuilt in the 18th century. Between these towers there are a number of bike taxis that are more than willing to take you on a tour of the hutong that surrounds the area. You should definitely do this. Just remember to arrange the price in advance. A hutong is the original settlement in Beijing. There are not so many hutongs left, because Genghis Khan and his army ravaged Beijing during his conquest. The Hutongs offer low houses, narrow alleys and lots of small factories, restaurants and shops that are partially pulled out onto the streets.In many ways, it is like going back hundreds of years. At the same time, these are vibrant and vibrant neighborhoods where many people live.
Nightlife in Beijing
After a shower and some relaxation in the hotel, we suggest that during the evening you visit one of Beijing’s most popular bar streets, where people relax and have fun. The streets are called Sanlitun and Sanlitun Lu and are located in Chaoyang district. The vast majority of foreigners living in Beijing have this area as their favorite.
Day 2 in Beijing
The Great Wall of China
The day starts with a trip to the Great Wall of China. You can of course take a taxi or let the hotel or your travel agent arrange a sightseeing with a Chinese operator. Mao should have said that if you have not walked the wall, then you are not a real human being either. The Great Wall of China is the world’s largest and tallest building. It is 6400 kilometers long. Calculate at least an hour’s drive from Beijing to the Wall. There are several places where your visit can start, but we suggest Badaling. The part of the wall that passes Badaling was built during the Ming Dynasty and started around the year 1368. From the entrance you will see that the road (on the wall) to the right is full of Chinese tourists. The reason is that this is the path Mao chose when he took his famous hike on the wall from Badaling. And for your information: The Chinese Wall does not appear from the moon.
On the way back to Beijing, we suggest you stop at the Ming Tombs. Here are 16 Ming emperors buried. It is possible to climb into the tomb of one of the emperors. In addition, the area offers a beautiful park with impressive statues. Note especially the animal statues that stand along the road through the park. Every other animal stands and knees, respectively. This symbolizes that one animal keeps watch over the emperor, while another shows respect and kneeling. The Ming tombs are located approx. 50 kilometers north of Beijing. Ask your taxi driver or guide to stop at one of several “happy restaurants” between the Great Wall of China and the Ming Tombs if you’re hungry. These are Chinese restaurants especially aimed at tourists. The food is reasonably priced and good.
Early evening you can spend on shopping. The most typical shopping street is Wangfujing Dajle in the Chongwen area. This street is located about a mile east of the Forbidden City. Further south in Chongwen you will find the pearl market, which sells everything from copy goods. So does the silk market at Yonganli Subway Station along Dongdan Street. Ya Xiu Silk Market is a newer copy market where several floors are filled with copy products of famous goods, but also lots of good and cheap Chinese products.
Pekingand in Beijing
A visit to Beijing will not be complete without eating a real Beijing duck. We suggest the Quanjude restaurant. The Chinese use the whole other, and both skin and meat are eaten. The bones that are left over are often used to cook soup. The highlight for many with peking duck is when served in the form of duck breast cut into thin slices. This is put into a thin lump or pancake with accompanying sauce and rolled like a Mexican wrap. Often, helpful waiters and waitresses stand by and help you with the dishes.