7 not-to-be-missed UNESCO sites in Beijing

September 28th, 2020
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UNESCO World Heritage Centre annually selects places of special cultural or physical significance with universal value to humanity by putting them on the World Heritage List aimed at protecting them for future generations to see, touch and appreciate.

Beijing is a city with a total of 7 heritage sites listed in the UNESCO List. This is evidence of Beijing’s splendid culture and long history, an important part of the total 55 UNESCO sites in China, making Beijing one of the most visited destinations in China.

Planning your Beijing tour? Interested in knowing which are the 7 UNESCO sites in Beijing? Here is the list of the 7 UNESCO sites in Beijing.

1.Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian 周口店北京猿人遗址
Located 42 km south-west of Beijing, Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian is home to the remains of Sinanthropus pekinensis, who lived in the Middle Pleistocene and remains of Homo sapiens sapiens dating back to 18,000–11,000 B.C along with various objects.

The site is an essential reminder of the prehistorical human societies of the Asian continent, an testament to the process of evolution. It was added to the UNESCO List in 1987.

Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian

Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian

The site was discovered and explored in 1921 by the Swedish geologist J. G. Anderson. In 1926, a cave of hominid teeth and a whole skull were explored by the Chinese archaeologist Pei Wen Zhong.

Later Some 100,000 objects, including rough chipped stone tools, heat-affected stones, burnt bones, ash deposits, etc., as well as fossilized grains, were found.

Admission: 30 Yuan
Add: Zhoukoudian, Fangshan District, Beijing
Opening hours: 8:30 a.m – 4:40 p.m.(all year round)
Beijing Day Tour with Peking Man Site
How to get there
Public bus: Take Bus 917 from Tianqiao Bus Terminal and get off at Fangshan (房山), then change for the local bus 38 and alight at the site of Peking Men.

2. Great Wall of China 长城
The original section of the Great Wall of China goes back as early as 220 B.C., under China’s first Emperor Qin Shi Huang, who ordered the construction of the sections of earlier fortifications.

Later the fortifications were joined together to form a united defence project against invasions from the nomadic north. The Construction went on till the Ming dynasty (1368–1644).

The total 22,000 km long Great Wall of China was included as the site of UNESO Cultural Heritage in 1987 for its superb military architecture, technology and art of ancient China.
Check out How to Visit Great Wall of China.

Great Wall of China

Great Wall of China

The Great Wall around Beijing is an essential part of the Great Wall of China, mostly built in the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644), and The most powerful Yuan Dynasty (1271 A.D – 1368 A.D) and the last Qing Dynasty (1644 A.D – 1911 A.D) did nothing about the building of the Great Wall since they were “barbarians” against whom the Great Wall of China had been built, supposed to keep them from invading and looting.

Now having a Great Wall Tour has become a must for visitors coming to Beijing for the first time. If you visit the Great Wall for the first time, basically you need to plan ahead to know when to visit, which section to visit and how to visit. You can either travel independently doing all the researching on your own or turn to a local travel agency.

3. Forbidden City 故宫
Located in the heart of Beijing, the north of Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty (1368 – 1911), home to 14 Ming and 10 Qing emperors over the following 505 years.

The Forbidden City, now known as the Palace Museum has about 1000 rooms and landscaped gardens, a priceless testament to Chinese civilization during the Ming and Qing dynasties.

It was declared UNESCO Heritage site in 1987 for its masterpieces in the development of imperial palace architecture in China.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Note: Monday is still open during Chinese Public Holidays
April 1st – October 31 ( 8:30 – 17:00 ) Admission: 6 Yuan
Last Entry at 16:10
Tickets sold until 16:00

November 1st – March 31 (8:30 – 16:30) Admission: 40 yuan
Last Entry at 15:40
Tickets sold until 15:30

By Subway ( to south gate ): Take Line 1 and get off at Tian’an men East or Tian’an men West
Check Forbidden City Travel Tips for more information.

4. Summer Palace 颐和园
Located 10km in the northwest of Beijing, Summer Palace was once the largest imperial garden in Beijing. It is a vast expanse of lakes, gardens and palaces dominated by Longevity Hill and the Kunming Lake.

It was originally built in 1750, largely destroyed in the war of 1860 and restored on its original foundations in 1886.

It was inscribed as UNESCO Heritage site in 1998 for its masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design, a harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value.
Check How to Visit Summer Palace for more information.

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

High Season (From April 1 to Oct. 31) Admission: 30 Yuan
Open: 6:30
Tickets stop selling at 18:00;
Close: 20:00

Low Season (From Nov. 1 to Mar. 31 next year) Admission: 20 Yuan
Open: 7:00
Tickets stop selling at 17:00;
Close: 19:00

How to get to Summer Palace by subway

1. Subway Line 4:
Take subway line 4 to the northwest direction and get off at the last but one of Beigongmen (北宫门) and exit from Exit D and walk to the west, soon you will see the north gate ( Beigongmen Gate )to Summer Palace 颐和园 (entrance fee:RMB30) on your left side.

2. Subway Line 10
Take subway line 10 to Bagou station at the end of Line 10, and then get a taxi from outside the station to the New Palace Gate (新建宫门). Or you may just walk for about 1.5km from Bagou Station to the New Palace Gate.

Get off Bagou Station, follow your nose, you will meet a river, then turn right and walk along the river bank till the New Palace Gate of Summer Palace. If confused upon which way to go upon leaving the subway, just follow the crowd.

5. Temple of Heaven 天坛
The Temple of Heaven (Tiantan) is located in the southeast of central Beijing. It was an imperial Sacrificial Altar in Beijing visited by the emperors in Ming and Qing dynasties for praying for good harvest annually.

It was originally built from 1406 to 1420 during the reign of the Yongle Emperor, who had the construction of the Forbidden City in Beijing. Check How to Visit Temple of Heaven for more information.

Temple of Heaven

Temple of Heaven

It is an ensemble of religious buildings and landscape gardens. The Temple of Heaven was listed as UNESCO World Heritage in 1998 for its masterpiece of architecture and landscape design which simply and graphically illustrates a cosmogony of great importance for the evolution of one of the world’s great civilizations.

Gate:6:00-22:00
The main buildings inside the park
From March 1 to June 30: 8:00 – 17:30
From July 1 to October 31: 8:- 18:00
From November 1 to February 28: 8:00 – 17:00
Entrance Fee: 15 yuan ( high season ) and 15 yuan (low season)
Kindly reminder: Through tickets selling is stopped at 16:00

Get to Temple of Heaven by subway: Take subway line 5 and get off at East Temple of Heaven Station (Tiantan Dongmen Station ) and take exit A. The East Gate entrance is right there. For the public buses to the east gate, you may try bus 6, 35, 36, 39, 41, 43.

6. Ming Tombs 明十三陵
Located around 43km northwest of central Beijing, the Ming tombs are a group of mausoleums built in Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). The Ming Tombs in Beijing are collectively known as the Thirteen Tombs of the Ming Dynasty since there are totally thirteen Ming emperors buried here.

Dingling ( One of the Mng Tombs)

After the construction of the Imperial Palace (Forbidden City) in 1420, the Yongle Emperor, the third emperor in Ming Dynasty started to chooset his burial site and built his own mausoleum.

His successive emperors had their tombs in the same place. The site of Ming Tombs is added to UNESCO World Heritage in 2003 for their cultural and architectural tradition and their integration into the natural environment.
Check out How to Visit the Ming Tombs for more information.

Entrance Fees:
Changling Tomb: RMB 30 (November.01 – March. 31); RMB 45 (April. 01 – October. 31) Dingling Tomb: RMB 40 (November.01 – March. 31); RMB 60 (April. 01 – October. 31) Zhaoling Tombe: RMB 20 (November.01 – Machr. 31); RMB 30 (April. 01 – Oct. 31)
Sacred Way: RMB 20/30)
Opening Hours:
Changling Tomb: 08:30 – 17:30 Dingling Tomb: 08:30 – 18:00 Zhaoling Tomb 8:30 – 17:30
Sacred Way: 8:30 – 18:00
Tickets stop selling about half a hours before the tombs are closed
How to get to Dingling Tomb: Take the Bus 872 from Deshengmen Bus Terminal

7. Grand Canal 大运河
The Grand Canal Hangzhou is the final section of the Grand Canal ( China ), also known as Beijing-Hangzhou (Jinghang) Grand Canal.

It is oft-lauded as the earliest and longest artificial waterway in the world starting from Beijing in the north and ending at Hangzhou in the south for a total length of 1776 km. It is the world’s largest and most extensive civil engineering project prior to the Industrial Revolution.

Grand Canal

Grand Canal

On June 22, 2014, the Grand Canal was listed as the site of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage.

It is the 46th world heritage in China including 27 sections and 58 elements of the Grand Canal with a length of 1011 km. The world heritage crowned Grand Canal covers 6 provinces, 2 municipalities and 25 prefecture-level cities.

06611Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Beijing:

Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)
Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)
Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)
Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line

How to Visit Chengyang Wind & Rain Bridge

September 25th, 2020
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Chengyang Wind &  Rain Bridge (程阳风雨桥) often refers to the scenic area of the same name which mainly includes Chengyang Bridge itself and the eight Dong minority villages in the area. The scenic area is located 19km north of Sanjiang County (三江), Liuzhou in  Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China. Entrance fee: 60 yuan.

Built in 1912,  Chengyang Bridge, also knows as “Yongji Bridge”,  is a covered bridge, an architectural wonder which features the unique blend of the bridge, the corridor and the pavilions.

The bridge has 3 piers, 2 platforms ( at the both ends), five tower-type pavilions with upturned multi-level eaves. Made of the cedar and stones, Chengyang  Bridge is 64.4 meters long, 3.4 meters wide and 10.6 meters high above the river known as Linxi River.

Chengyang Bridge is one of the 5 wind and rain bridges in this Dong minority region which include eight Dong villages – Ma An Village, Ping Village, Ping Tan Village Yan Village, Dong Village, Da Village, Ping  Pu Village and Jichang Village, collectively known as Chengyang Eight Villages.

Each  village has an impressive drum tower and an opera stage. The drum towers are the social places in the villages built like magnificent pagodas with multi-level eaves. One tall drum tower represents the center of a village.

You will also see hundreds of wooden houses, paddy fields and rivers with water wheels, a typical Dong minority portrait.

A visit to Chengyang Wind & Rain Bridge Scenic Area is often included in your travel plan when you are either planning  your Guiyang tour or Guilin tour since it is located in the mid-way between Guilin and Guiyang. Now Guilin, Sanjiang and Guiyang are connected by bullet trains, very convenient to visit the three places in one travel itinerary.

Follow me to have a glimpse of the Dong minority villages. The eight Dong minority villages are dotted in a large area, not easy for a day tripper to cover them all. Basically people would visit Ma An Village which is just across Chengyang Bridge, and nearby Yan Village and Ping Village.

The photo of Chengyang Bridge taken from its west end and its east end linked to Ma An Village.

Chengyang Wind & Rain Bridge

Chengyang Wind & Rain Bridge

Crossing the bridge

Crossing Chengyang Bridge

Crossing Chengyang Bridge

The river under the bridge known as Linxi River, limpid water with water wheels flanked by paddy fields with a background of wooden houses, a typical Dong village scene.

Chengyang Linxi River

Chengyang Linxi River

The Drum Tower at Ma An Village

Ma An Village Drum Tower

Ma An Village Drum Tower

The Helong Wind & Rain Bridge linking Ma An Village and Yan Village.

Helong Wind and Rain Bridge

Helong Wind and Rain Bridge

The Drum Tower at Yan Village

The Drum Tower at Yan Village

The Drum Tower at Yan Village

The Yan Village with the river flanked by wooden houses.

Yan Village

Yan Village

The Drum Tower at Ping Village

The Drum Tower at Ping Village

The Drum Tower at Ping Village

The Ping Village

The Ping Village

The Ping Village

The wooden House and Rice Fields

The wooden House and Rice Fields

The wooden House and Rice Fields

The narrow lane in the Dong Village

The narrow lane in the Dong Village

The narrow lane in the Dong Village

How to get there?
1. Take the bullet trains to Sanjiang from Guangzhou, Guilin and Guiyang. Arriving at Sanjiang South Railway Station. Then you take bus from the station to Sanjiang West Bus Station where you connect the local buses heading to Linxi (林溪) and get off at the stop of Chengyang Wind & Rain Scenic Area ( 6 yuan).

2. Take buses to Sanjiang from Guilin, Longji ( Longsheng) in Guangxi or Congjiang, Rongjiang or Guiyang from Guizhou. Then connect the local buses heading to Linxi (林溪) and get off at the stop of Chengyang Wind & Rain Scenic Area ( 6 yuan).

Where to Stay?
You are highly recommend to stay at Dong Village Hotel, a wooden 4-story house by Linxi River, just standing by another Wind and Rain Bride north of the world famous Chengyang Wind & Rain Bridge.

Each room has a balcony with a clear view of Chengyang Wind and Rain Bridge. Contact Michael Yang: 0772 – 8582421.

Each room has a balcony with a clear view of the two wind and rain bridges.

Each room has a balcony with a clear view of the two wind and rain bridges.

Further Readings


Top 10 Things to do Guilin
How to Visit Longji Terraced Rice Fields
Li River Cruise
Daxu Ancient Town

Any questions, just drop a line.

How to Visit Kaiping Diaolou from Guangzhou

September 21st, 2020
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Plan your Guangzhou tour?  A side trip to Kaiping County, 130km southwest of Guangzhou is highly recommended. Kaiping is world famous for its Diaolou (fortified village houses ), pristine villages and old townships. Kaiping Diaolous and villages were named as World Cultural Heritage in 2007 for their harmonious fusion between Chinese and Western structures.

Kaiping Diaolous were originally built in the early Qing Dynasty and fully developed in 1920s and 1930s. There are mainly three kinds of fortified village towers:  Watch Towers, Communal Towers and Dwelling Towers. Watch towers were built to guide against any possible forays by bandits; communal towers were built collectivly with the fund raised by all the villagers.

They would hide themselves in case of bandits’ attack. These kinds of communal towers were often built behind villages while watch towers were built at the entrance of a village. Dwelling Towers were built as a combination of a residential house and a watch tower. Today, approximately 1,833 diaolou towers remain standing in Kaiping County.

All the diaolou towers are now scattered around the villages in Kaiping County.  Some villages have been chosed by the local tourism bureau to be open to the public. These selected villages have been turned into a large “Diaolou Tourist Site” with tourism administration.

A combo ticket allows you to visit three villages where the most representitive diaolou towers stand. The three villages are Zili Village (自立村) in Tangkou Township, Majianglong Village (马降龙村) in Baihe Township and Jinjiangli (锦江里) in Jiangang Township.

Most of the tall and impressive diaolou towers were funded and built by oversea Chinese returning home from South Asia, Australasia, and North America.  The Kaiping diaolou towers were built in a variety of architectural styles featuring a perfect combination of traditional Chinese watchtowers and classical European architecture.

The combo ticket also allows you to visit Li Garden ( 立园) in Beiyi Xiang,which was built in 1936 by Mr. Xie Weili, a Chinese emigrant to the United States.  On your village trip in Kaiping, you can visit Chikan (赤坎), the charming old town with the featuring Qilou structures.

How to go to the selected villages in Kaiping from Guangzhou?

1) Take buses: you may take buses to Kaiping Yici Bus Station from Guangzhou Bus Station ( by the Guangzhou Railway Station) : 145-149 Huanshi West Road, Guangzhou Tel: (020)86661297.  When you reach Yici Bus Station in Kaiping, you may connect local buses to your selected villages.

2) Hire a private vehicle with a driver or self-drive. It is highly advised to hire a private car or van to tour freely around these villages.

Now follow me to have a glimpse of the diaolou towers, Li Garden and Chikan in  the villages and townships in Kaiping.

Dialou Towers in Zili Village of  Tangkou Township

The two Diaolou Towers behind the small Zili Village

The two Diaolou Towers behind the small Zili Village

The two Diaolou Towers behind the small Zili Village

The two Diaolou Towers stand amid the paddy fields

The two Diaolou Towers stand amid the paddy fields

The two Diaolou Towers stand amid the paddy fields

Diailou Towers in Majianglong Village of Jiangan Township

The diaolou tower is harmoniously nestled in the greenery of the village.

The diaolou tower is harmoniously nestled in the greenery of the village.

The diaolou tower is harmoniously nestled in the greenery of the village.

The walled Diaolou towers in Jiangan Village

The walled Diaolou towers in Jiangan Village

The walled Diaolou towers in Jiangan Village

The three magnificent diaolou towers in Jinjiangli Village of Baihe Township.

Ruishi Lou,the highest tower in Kaiping

Ruishi Lou,the highest tower in Kaiping

Ruishi Lou,the highest tower in Kaiping

Shengfeng Lou, one of the most beautiful towers in Kaiping

The charming old town of Chikan

The the streets of shophouses with an arcade on the ground floor, the fusion of Chinese and western styles.

The the streets of shophouses with an arcade on the ground floor

The the streets of shophouses with an arcade on the ground floor

The streets are viewd from the bridge over Tanjiang River in the town

The streets are viewd from the bridge over Tanjiang River in the town

The streets are viewd from the bridge over Tanjiang River in the town

Tip : Hassle-free Guangzhou Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Guangzhou:


Guangzhou Half Day Tour  from US$75 p/p
Guangzhou Highlight Day Tour    from US$80  p/p

Guangzhou Day Trip to Kaiping  from US$95  p/p

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Guangzhou
How to Visit Guangzhou in One Day
Guangzhou Pearl River Night Cruises
How to Visit Chen Clan Ancestral Hall Guangzhou
How to Visit Mausoleum of the Nanyue King
How to Visit Kaiping Diaolou from Guangzhou