Beijing is a mega-city with populations of more than 20 million, a marvelous mix of modern living and old fashion manners. It is a challenge to decide what to see and what to do in Beijing with so many sightseeing and historical places. Here is our choice of the top 5 things to do on your Beijing tour.
1. Forbidden City
The Forbidden City, now also know as Palace Museum, was once the imperial palace for the last two successive dynasties in China – Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) for about 500 years. For many first time visitors to Beijing, this is the first must see attraction in Beijing. With the major artifacts from the former palaces having been shipped to Taiwan in 1949, people mainly come here to look at the massive palace itself and its spectacular architectures.
Just a kind reminder: The Forbidden City is closed every Monday except school summer vacation ( Jul 01 though Aug 31) and national public holiday.
People usually visit the Forbidden City after visiting Tiananmen Square since the two sites are connected. If you visit Beijing in a quite limited time, you may also cram the excursion to the Great Wall of China on a day trip following Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City. Click How to Visit Forbidden City for more detailed information.
2. Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Square is located in the heart of Beijing, the largest city square of this kind around the world, 880 meters from north to south, 500 meters from east to west, accommodating about a rally of one million people.
It is surrounded by Tiananmen Tower (Heavenly Peace Tower) on its north; the Grand Hall of the People on its
west; the National Museum on its east and the traditional Qianmen Street in its south. After visiting Tiananmen Square, people will go through the underground tunnel to Tiananmen Tower and walk to the north gate to the Forbidden City. Click How to Visit Tiananmen Square for more detailed information.
3. Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is the iconic landmark in China. It attracts millions of the Great Wall admirers flocking to Beijing from both home and abroad each year. The Great Wall of China around Beijing are open to visitors all year round with its different sections. The most popular sections include Mutianyu Great Wall, Badaling Great Wall, Jinshanling Great Wall, Simatai Great Wall, Gubeikou Great Wall and Jiankou Great Wall.
You may choose your favorite section to hike or just to feel. Some travelers even spend a few days hiking several sections of the Great Wall around Beijing. Click How to Visit the Great Wall of China for more detailed information.
4. Summer Palace
The Summer Palace was once a summer park in the later Qing Dynasty where emperors would come here to escape the hot and sticky weather downtown Beijing. It was actually more than a summer resort, it was also a working place where emperors would manage state affairs, meet officials from other provinces and foreign envoys as well.
The Summer Palace is the largest imperial garden with outstanding traditional architectures and stunning landscapes – long corridors, Taihu rockeries, ponds, bridges, lakes and dykes and the dominating Wansh Wanshou Hill.
Click How to Visit Summer Palace for more detailed information.
5. Temple of Heaven
The Temple of Heaven used to the place where the emperors in Ming and Qing dynasties would come here for a religious ceremony for praying for harvest. Today the most important legacy of the temple lies its splendid architectures and its century old cypresses.
Now the Temple of Heaven is a huge park rather than a temple as its name suggests. It is a paradise for retirees, doing all kinds of exercises, singing, dancing, flying kites, playing chess and many more in the morning.
Get up in the early morning and come here for a glimpse of the intriguing activities in the park, adding to your understanding of Beijing and China as well. Click How to Visit Temple of Heaven.
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Tip: 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 Beijing guided tours:
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
Any questions, just drop a line.