Beijing is the capital city of China and is the nation’s political and cultural centre. Beijing is full of magnificent imperial palaces, temples and parks. It is an ancient city with a modern face, you can enjoy fine dining in Michelin star restaurants to delicious street vendor food costing next to nothing. Its most popular attractions are summarised below:
The Great Wall
The Great Wall is one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions. The best-preserved and most imposing section of the Great Wall is at Badaling, which is located 72 kilometres (45 miles) away at the north-west of Beijing. During a typical China Links Travel tour you will visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall which is not so crowded as the Badaling section. It is possible to take a ski lift up onto the Wall and even enjoy an exciting toboggan ride down it again! The wall has an average height of 7 metres (24 feet) and a width of 6 metres (19 feet) at the bottom.
The Summer Palace
The Summer Palace is a masterpiece of Chinese gardens, architecture and palaces . Located 15km from Beijing, it covers an area of 2.9 square kilometres, the 60 metre high Longevity Hill dominates the scene set in the tranquil waters of Kunming Lake. Added as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998 it is popular with both tourists and locals.
The Hutong Tour of Beijing is a unique cultural experience that allows you to take a glance on the traditional local life. Beijing’s famous Hutongs or alleyways are unique housing structures that have been home to Beijing’s families for centuries. A “Hutong” is an ancient, narrow city alley or lane formed by “Si He Yuan” – a four sided courtyard.
One of China’s oldest, largest and best preserved ancient imperial gardens, this is the place local Beijingers of all ages come to relax, walk, jog,tai-chi etc. The centre of the park comprises a magnificent lake upon which the imposing White Dagoba stands as the parks main landmark. The mixture of ancient monuments and modern exhibitions make this the ideal place to explore Beijing’s history, culture and natural beauty.
Wang Fu Jing Night Market
Try a taste of traditional Chinese street food in this bustling night market, exotic delicacies that you certainly won’t find at home are in abundant here. The central location makes it easy to reach from most parts of town. With most of the street off-limits to motorised traffic it’s great to explore by foot.
The Forbidden City
Beijing’s fabulous Palace Museum is the largest palace complex in the world, comprising an inner and outer court, with approximately 8,700 rooms. Building started during the Ming Dynasty, the Imperial Palace is where twenty four Emperors took to the throne and reigned for nearly 500 years. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, the galleries display an extensive collection or art and artefacts from the Ming and Qing dynasty.
With a total area of 440,000 square meters, Tiananmen (Gate of Heavenly Peace) Square can hold one million people, making it the largest city centre square in the world and the spiritual heart of China.
Temple of Heaven
The Temple of Heaven was originally built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1911). As a place for the emperor to worship heaven, it underwent numerous reconstructions during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). In 1998 the Temple of Heaven was added to UNESCO’S World Cultural Heritage list.
This magnificent piece of modern stadia architecture was the focal point for the spectacular 2008 Summer Olympic Games track and field events and opening and closing ceremony’s, also known as the “Birds Nest”. Since the Olympics, visitors can still enter and appreciate the interior view.
The largest and best maintained example of a Tibetan Buddhist temple in Beijing. Built in 1694 as a residential palace for Prince Yin Zheng, when he became emperor and moved to the Forbidden City the building was converted to a temple. In 1744 it became a lamasery housing Buddhist monks from Tibet and Inner Mongolia – today it is an active Tibetan Buddhist Centre.