Beijing, China – Top 7 places to see!
Are you looking for an idea for your next vacation ? Do you like exotic places? I suggest China, more specifically Beijing – most tourists start their visits to the Celestial Empire from the capital.
Beijing has everything … Are you looking for atmospheric pubs? Take a walk around Houhai Lake in the evening. Looking for a break from the bustle of the city? Visit one of the many Buddhist temples and immerse yourself in their atmosphere. Planning to buy souvenirs or try something exotic? Wangfujing Street is an unbeatable option. And most importantly, do you want to experience history? The Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, and the Great Wall of China are all open to you.
On the capital of China, we advise to allocate from 2 to 4 days. There is not enough time to see the most interesting places of the amazing Beijing, because the area of this city is 16,808 square kilometers! That is why I have prepared a list of the most important sights of this intriguing city for travelers with limited time.
Beijing, China – Top 7 places to visit!
The Forbidden City
If you’ve been to Asia before, you probably know that there are things in Japan, Thailand or other countries that might surprise you. What surprised me in the capital of China? Imagine a 15th century complex with more than 800 palaces and pavilions, a place that for hundreds of years was available only to the elite, that is the Emperor and his relatives. It is difficult to name the sensations that accompany our visit. The Forbidden City is shocking.
The size, the magnificent architecture and… the number of people who want to see it all. For me, the free walk through the entire palace complex took 6 hours, and the app on my phone showed over 14 km walked!
Heavenly Peace Square is across from the Forbidden City . The area may not be particularly beautiful, and that impression is reinforced by the heavy traffic around it. However, this is not what we would like to talk about. History is the key … Here in 1949 Mao Zedong proclaimed the People’s Republic of China . However, we remember much better the bloody riots between students and the Chinese army in June 1989. Also in Tiananmen Square is a monument to the heroes of the people and Mao Zedong’s mausoleum.
The Forbidden City
Jingshan Park and Coal Hill
After visiting such crowded places, it is worth taking a deeper breath of fresh air at Jingshan Park . It is located near the Northern Gate of the Forbidden City. It’s a gathering place for tai chi lovers and people who want to improve their Chinese calligraphy. Coal Hill is 48 meters high and was founded in 1421. The mound was built from the earth left after digging the Forbidden City moat.
It was here that emperors rested from everyday worries . There are five gazebos in the park. The most majestic of them, located at the top, is called the Eternal Spring Pavilion. It is worth going here just before sunset. This is when the Forbidden City takes on a warm hue.
Jingshan Park and Coal Hill
Great Wall of China
I had dreamed of seeing this place since I was a child. At the time, I still thought that the Great Wall of China was one long structure stretching across China . Well, that’s not exactly true. It’s a system of defensive fortifications – over 2,000 years it was built in many different places in the Chinese Empire.
The most popular site (since it is closest to the center of Beijing – about 70 km) is Badaling. After hearing about the congestion on this part of the wall, I opted for the easier solution – Mutyanyui. When I got there, the majestic wall was shrouded in fog . Only around noon did the new watchtowers begin to appear in the distance. And then I felt the grandeur of the place. The taste of a dream come true, the priceless…
Great Wall of China
Just two blocks from the Forbidden City is Wangfujing Street, a festival of emotions and colorful billboards . You will find everything that until now seemed inedible – scorpions, starfish, seahorses. Bon appetit!
Also, the so-called Golden Street is a contrast between kitschy souvenir stalls and the most exclusive brands in the world. Are you looking for souvenirs from your trip to China? This is a must-see.
The park complex with Kunming Lake in the center – the area of today’s park served as an enclave for the emperor as early as the 12th century. However, the site gained importance in the 19th century. During China’s defeat in the Second Opium War, the former summer residence (Yuanmingyuan) was razed to the ground. Due to a lack of funds, Empress Cixi ordered the complex to be expanded at the expense of Kunming Lake and moved the summer palace here.
If you thought we were talking about a visit to an “ordinary” park, you were wrong. The summer palace is a network of gazebos, gardens, and temples . More than 3,000 buildings in all! In the central part of the island, on a 60-meter high mountain called Longevity Hill you can find the oldest of them. The cherry on the cake is the Marble Rook, to which a kilometer-long porch called the Long Corridor leads. In a word, there is a lot to see!
Temple of Heaven
Another building on this list (after the Forbidden City) was built by order of Emperor Yongle . The Taoist temple was built from 1406 to 1420. Here every year the Ming and Qing emperors solemnly prayed for a bountiful harvest – their prayers were addressed to heaven.
The Temple of Heaven was restored before the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 . The effect is amazing. It was my first landmark on the Beijing map. I couldn’t stop admiring the architecture and the colors. In 1998, the building was added to the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List.
Aren’t you tired of visiting Beijing? And do you think this is just the beginning? When you still have some free time, it is worth going to other places – the former Yuanmingyuan Summer Palace, Beihai Park, the Drum Tower, Marco Polo Bridge or the Lama Temple.
Every country in Asia is completely different – in China, you won’t get tips that are perfect for a trip to Malaysia. Every country and every city is worth getting to know personally. And for an unforgettable experience, be sure to try the local cuisine . In China’s capital, order the famous Peking duck or try the hot pots, which are becoming increasingly popular among tourists. Either way, you won’t be disappointed. Good luck with your exploration!
20 interesting places to see in Beijing
Beijing captivates at first sight with its contrasts and uniqueness. We will tell you about the best sights to visit in the capital of the Celestial Empire.
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The Forbidden City
Be sure to start your exploration of Beijing with this gigantic palace complex in the heart of the capital. Once the residence of emperors and off-limits to ordinary people, the Forbidden City is now open to anyone who wants to experience Chinese history. Tourists can visit the Gùgung Imperial Museum located here and spend hours wandering around enjoying the magnificent architecture, the rich decoration of the halls, countless pavilions and pavilions surrounded by lakes and gardens.
Opening hours Open hours: 08:30-17:00 (April to October) and 08:30-16:30 (November to March).
Ticket price. : 40 yuan from November to March, 60 yuan from April to October.
Great Wall of China
This is the most popular sightseeing attraction not only in Beijing but in the whole of China. Just think: the wall is a gigantic man-made construction stretching almost 9 thousand kilometers through the North China; they say it can even be seen from outer space! At one time the wall served to protect the Empire from invasions of nomadic barbarians, and today anyone can climb its crest to feel the power of the ancient Chinese civilization.
Not far from the city of Beijing there are several sections of the wall, which are visited by tourists. The most popular and closest (60 km from the capital) is Badalin. There are several ways to get there. The first is by bus from the Deshenmen bus stop just behind the watchtower (you should take bus number 919, but note that not all of them stop near the wall). The one-way fare is 12 yuan.
You can also take a train from Beijing North Station (Xizhimen subway station, exit A). The ticket costs 6 yuan. The odd-numbered trains go from Beijing to Badalin, and the even-numbered trains go from Badalin to Beijing. It takes about 20 minutes to walk from Badalin station to the wall. A ticket to the wall costs 40-45 yuan. Opening hours are 06:00-22:00 in summer and 07:00-18:00 in winter.
You can find out how Chinese emperors lived right here, in one of the most impressive palace and park complexes of the Celestial Empire. It is better to get acquainted with the Summer Palace slowly, walking along the winding park paths and noticing the details that give the park and the palace a special charm. Everything here is a delight: bright yellow roof tiles, carved figures of dragons lurking on the slopes of pagodas, painted pavilions and window-paintings with a view of the lake – it’s just impossible to stay indifferent!
How to get there Directions: Take Metro (Line 4, stop Bei Gong Men station at the North Gate of the park). Opening Hours From April 1st to October 31st, 06:30 to 18:00 (the park area around the lake is open until 22:00). From November 1 to March 31 – 07:00-17:00 (the park area around the lake is open until 21:00). Attractions are open April 1-October 31 – 08:30-17:00; November 1-March 31 – 09:00-16:00.
Prices : Ticket costs 60 yuan (park + entrance to buildings), entrance ticket to Iheyuan Park is 30 yuan.
If you want to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the capital, you can go to Kunminghu Lake in the Summer Palace.
It is worth coming here to enjoy the beautiful views of the park and the unforgettable beauty of the sunset on the lake shore, as well as the largest bridge on the lake with 17 arches and its famous reflection in the mirror-like lake water – an amazingly harmonious and calming spectacle.
Temple of Heaven
Beijing is famous for its temples, of which there are a great many, but one of the most revered is the Temple of Heaven. It represents the unity of Heaven and Earth and every detail here is filled with special meaning. Especially impressive is the main hall of the round shape with a sky-blue roof – the embodiment of Heaven – supported by columns, symbolizing the seasons. After visiting the temple, take a stroll in the adjacent park, designed in the best traditions of Chinese garden art.
Opening Hours Open daily from 09:00 to 18:00: Temple of Heaven Ticket price : 30 Yuan from November to March, 35 Yuan from April to October.
Ticket price to the park. : 10 yuan from November to March, 15 yuan from April to October.
A symbol of modern China, Tiananmen Square invariably attracts crowds of tourists, and it’s clear why. For example, the famous ceremony of raising the national flag, which takes place here every morning and makes an indelible impression with its precise synchronization. Or the fact that the square itself is breathtaking in its sheer size and monumentality (just kidding – the square can hold up to a million people at once!). Or that Tiananmen is where the most important landmarks in China are concentrated. Anyway, whatever attracts you to the main square of the Chinese capital, you simply can’t miss it.
Tip If you want to admire the square’s scale, better come here early in the morning when it’s still lightly crowded.
The places of interest in Beijing worth seeing are not limited to palaces and temples. Chinese parks have also long since become one of the symbols of the Celestial Empire, and Beihai Park is no exception. The atmosphere of peace and harmony in this green oasis is immediately transferred to everyone who visits it. The winding paths, the cool lake with lotus blossoms, the lush greenery, and the shady corners of the park seem to have been created for contemplation and relaxation. This is a great place to spend the whole day, and the most beautiful corners of the park are begging to be photographed.
Prices Park entrance fee: 10 Yuan.
Address Street Wenjin 1, Xicheng District
One of the gems of temple architecture in China that you definitely need to see in Beijing – the Yongheggun Buddhist Temple should definitely be on your tourist list. Everything is striking here: the bright, original view of the temple buildings, combining Chinese and Tibetan styles (Tibetan Buddhism is practiced in the temple), lively colors and decor, and of course, the 26-meter sandalwood statue of Buddha, which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records. The temple is active, so you can also see how the rituals and prayers are performed.
Temple Address : 12 Yonghegong Street, Beixinqiao, Dongcheng District
Opening hours : Tuesday-Sunday 09:00 to 16:30
National Museum of China
It is here that the most complete collection dedicated to the history of China is located. The collection of the museum contains 620,000 items, telling about its various stages, from ancient times to the present day, as well as about the culture, art and rich historical heritage of the country. Ornaments, dishes, ancient armor, historical documents – it takes a whole day to walk around all the halls of the museum, but trust us, it is worth it!
Opening Hours Tuesday-Sunday from 09:00 to 17:00 Entrance Entrance to the museum is free.
Address East Chang’an Street 16, Dongcheng District
Another must-see park in Beijing! Built in 1186, the Xiangshan Park is one of the oldest in the country and one of the most beautiful. Ponds with pavilions on the shore, waterfalls and grottoes, flowering trees and lush greenery dispose to rest and create a relaxing atmosphere. And the most persistent can go up to the Lyuli Pagoda, an amazingly beautiful structure lined with jade green tiles, which offers a beautiful view of the park from above.
Tip: If you want to see the park in all its glory, go there in the fall (mid-October to mid-November), when the trees play in all shades of gold and scarlet. It is an amazing sight!
How to get there From Beijing Foreign Studies University, take bus No. 563 in 40 minutes.
Prices : The ticket to the park costs 10 yuan, you have to pay separately to visit the Buddhist temple complex.
Gunwangfu or Prince Gong Palace
Former residence of an imperial favorite, this palace and park complex now houses a museum and theater, and the park is open to the public. In the museum you can see what the princely chambers and residence looked like in its heyday (all thanks to the precisely restored interiors as well as the original decorative and interior items), and in the theater, lovers of the beautiful can experience the original genre of Chinese opera and circus.
Opening Hours Open daily from 07:30 to 16:30. Prices entrance ticket for 40 yuan and 70 yuan for the guided tour.
Address Address: Beijing, Xicheng District, 17 Haixi Street. Take bus 13, 103, 107, 111 to the Dianmen stop.
If you want to experience the evening life of Beijing and also see how people lived in the city in the old days, you can go to Lake Houhai. This area is famous for the fact that it still has the so-called Hutong – the traditional narrow lanes – and in the evenings there’s a lot of life. During the day you can ride a cycle rickshaw around the area and in the evening you can walk along the promenade by the lake and taste local cuisine in one of the restaurants (there are plenty of them for every taste) and listen to traditional music.
How to get there Bus: Take bus #5, 819, 107, or 124 to the Bell Tower stop.
For a diverse shopping experience in Beijing, head to the Silk Market, a mecca for shoppers of every kind. Here you can buy everything (well, almost everything). From 09:30 to 22:00 all seven floors of the mall are buzzing with life. Here you’ll find textiles and jewelry, accessories and antiques and even handmade goods. And remember: if you are interested in something – bargain, and bargain again! Prices here are often double or even triple, so don’t be shy.
How to get there Subway (Line 1, Yonganli Station) or bus 1, 37, 43, 120, 126, 205, 668, 673, 728, 729, 802, or 810 (Yonganli Lukouxi bus stop).
This inverted building will be of interest to any tourist. The “trick” of the mosque is that from the outside it looks like a typical Chinese temple – with a two-tiered roof, carved facade and other attributes. But inside it is a traditional Muslim shrine. In addition, it is the oldest mosque in Beijing, built in 996. The mosque has separate prayer rooms for women and men.
Address No.18 Niu Jie, Xi Cheng Qu, Beijing, China
Once the country summer residence of monarchs and the crown jewel of the capital, larger than the Summer Palace and known as the “Chinese Versailles”, today Yuanmingyuan is a picturesque ruin surrounded by artificial lakes and islets. The park, though abandoned, is surprisingly attractive precisely for its desolation and silence. There are no crowds of tourists and noisy tours, but you can have a great time if you want peace and solitude.
Museum of Applied Arts
Come to the Museum of Applied Arts to learn more about traditional Chinese arts and crafts. There are unique items made of bronze, stone, and wood, china and bone carvings, as well as paintings, enamel art, and calligraphy. There is also an impressive collection of gold, bronze and jade jewelry.
Address of the museum Address: 200 Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng, Beijing
It is a kind of Montmartre of China’s capital. Lulichang Street is a godsend for all lovers of art, antiques, and soulful unique things. On this colorful street with old houses there are workshops and stores of all kinds of artisans, where you can buy antiques and handmade things that you can’t find anywhere else. Jade jewelry, calligraphy scrolls, inkpots and brushes, paintings on mirrors, shadow puppets – the most original and unique souvenirs can be found only here!
Opening Hours Stores work from 09:00 to 18:00
Where to go Lulichang Street is in the Xuanwu district near the center of Beijing.
It’s interesting to go to Beijing Zoo, both adults and children, but not only because there are more animals here than in other zoos in the country. The main “star” of the Beijing Zoo is the giant panda, which has long been a favorite of all its visitors. You can admire these rare but lovable creatures every day.
Opening Hours Every day from 07:30 to 17:00.
Address Address: 137 Xizhimen Outer St, Xicheng, Beijing, China.
Beijing Botanical Garden
The Beijing Botanical Garden has an interesting but little-known museum. The Museum of Bees and Honey. This is a paradise for a sweet tooth! After all, here you will not only learn how to breed bees and collect honey, but also try many different kinds of honey. The employees of the museum will also tell you how bees communicate with each other.
Opening Hours Open from 08:30 to 16:30: museum hours. Prices General admission: entrance fee is 2 yuan.
How to get there : Take buses 318, 331, 360, 360, 563, 630, 696, 698, 714 to Beijing Botanical Garden or Temple of the Reclining Buddha stop.
Beijing Art Zone 798
Dedicated to all lovers and connoisseurs of unconventional approach and creative solutions! Art Zone 798 at No.4 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District, is one of the most interesting places in Beijing for anyone who wants to turn their idea of art upside down.
Traditional painting, graphics, sculpture and design of all kinds and suits take such fantastic, and sometimes phantasmagoric forms, that it’s hard to believe. You won’t be bored, believe me! Many art objects are free, others cost between 5-15 yuan. If you get tired of the abundance of creativity – there are cafes and stores where you can take a break before the next “throw”.