Beijing is a thriving and large city, and is the capital of the People’s Republic of China. It is truly the cultural and historical hub of the country, and as such is the primary destination for travelers within China. After hosting the 2008 Olympic Games, Beijing now boasts modern infrastructure, even better public transportation, and countless international accommodation and restaurant options. There is truly something for everyone that will take a flight to Beijing .
The first destination of most travelers to Beijing is Tiananmen Square, the largest public plaza in the world, and one with a rich historical background. Surrounding this mammoth square are such landmarks as the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, the Monument to the People’s Martyrs, the Great Hall of the People, and several museums worth a visit. Tiananmen Square is rarely empty, and is a fascinating place to watch tourists and locals alike, as it is a popular meeting place.
Another must-visit destination in Beijing is the Forbidden City. This is hands down the most important palace in the country, and was once home to the Imperial Courts of the Ming and Qing dynasties. The entire area is relatively untouched, and resembles what it would have looked like in centuries past. It is possible to simply explore the palace and the surrounding gardens and courtyards on foot, although there is so much to absorb a guided tour would certainly be beneficial. Find a few hidden cafes and shops here, but for the most part it is a primarily historical destination.
Located only a hour’s journey from the city of Beijing is a restored section of the Great Wall of China. For visitors in Beijing, it worth the small amount of traveling to be able to see this iconic landmark. Arrange a private shuttle or taxi, or just hop on a public bus, which will take you directly to the Badaling section of the Great Wall. It is significantly colder and windier atop the wall than it is in the city, so come prepared with an extra jacket or windbreaker. The stunning views and natural beauty of this amazing structure is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so be sure not to miss out.
There are plenty of fabulous museums located in Beijing, each allowing visitor to better understand the history of this incredible nation. Many of the most popular are concentrated in the Dongcheng historical section of the city, including the National Museum of China , the Mao Dun Former Residence, and the Beijing Police Museum. There are also plenty of art galleries to let you experience Asian art throughout history, including the Imperial City Art Museum, the Soka Art Gallery, and the Wan Fung Art Gallery.
Of course, no trip to Beijing would be complete without sampling some of the renowned cuisine. Beijing duck, also called Peking duck, is the speciality of the city, served with thin savory pancakes, scallions, and plum sauce. Other local favorites include hot pot meals, where meat and vegetable are cooked in hot broth right at the table by the guests.