For thousands of years, the majestic sights and sounds of Beijing have appealed to travellers from all around the world. This mysterious and interesting region offers something for everyone, and first time visitors are often pleasantly surprised with the outstanding number of attractions available in this ancient city. Although it is almost impossible to experience everything Beijing has to offer in one visit, below are some of the city’s most popular landmarks and activities:
Featured Beijing Hotels
Beijing is a fashionable and vibrant city that boasts a significant number of famous historical landmarks, as well as breathtaking scenery that offers many unique photo opportunities for tourists. Renowned landmarks such as the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square are located in the centre of Beijing, and many visitors begin their sightseeing excursions in this area.
The Forbidden City was an ancient seat of power for over 20 emperors, who reigned from the 15th to the 20th century. Thousands of artists completed this amazing structure and the colossal complex now spans an area of 720,100 square metres. It features 9,000 bays of rooms and halls in the traditional style of China’s monarchical grandeur, and its main gate, referred to as the “Gate of Heavenly Peace,” leads to the modern area known as Tiananmen Square, thus connecting the past and present in a curious manner.
The Great Wall
Almost all travellers would agree that a trip to Beijing is not complete without a visit to the Great Wall of China. Built through numerous reigns over the course of approximately 10 centuries, this monument spans an area from the Gobi desert to the mountains of Korea. The only man-made creation visible from outer space, it is the world's largest handmade structure.
Imperial Gardens and Mausoleums
The Grand Imperial Garden, located in Beijing's Summer Palace, was home to multiple Chinese Dynasties spanning over 4,000 years. It boasts the most expansive and luxurious of all China's royal gardens and is truly a sightseer's paradise. Various emperors throughout the last four centuries created spectacular museums for themselves on the surrounding lands. These are referred to as the Ming Tombs and are also a famous landmark in this ancient city.
Perhaps one of the most fascinating structures in the city of Beijing is the Holy Temple of Heaven. Here, emperors paid homage to Heaven's glory, and completed various religious rituals throughout the centuries. Additional temples that tourists should add to their must-see list include the Great Bell Temple, where emperors during the Qing Dynasty prayed for rain, and the Altar of Earth Temple, where various emperors prayed to the God of the Earth. All Beijing's temples are worth seeing, and many individuals devote an entire morning or evening to touring these mesmerising structures.
Those who are interested in observing authentic Chinese life should consider meandering through Beijing's old streets and alleyways. Wangfujing, an activity-filled shopping district located only twenty minutes from Tiananmen Square, is a great place to purchase souvenirs, enjoy a tasty lunch and observe the hustle and bustle of daily life in China.
Beijing Silk Market
The world-famous Beijing Silk Market is another location in which visitors can find a broad selection of genuine antiques, crafts and handmade jewellery. Souvenirs, apparel, rugs and pottery can all be found at this location, and precious gems and pearls can be acquired in the Pearl Market, which is adjacent to the Silk Market.
Numerous travellers also enjoy viewing live performances by China's talented acrobats at one of the city's numerous theatres. These establishments operate seven days a week, with something to please every visitor, regardless of his or her budget or preferences.
Food is regarded by numerous tourists as one of the highlights of a Beijing holiday. Local homemade specialities in the city include Peking duck, Mongolian hot pot, and zhajiang mian, the latter of which is a dish made of rice noodles and garnished by savoury meat sauce. Holidaymakers can choose from many restaurants in the Old Beijing region, where the fare is delicious and the service incomparable.
Regardless of the specific activities and attractions in which one is interested, a trip to the beautiful and thriving city of Beijing is guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience.