Visiting Beijing - Top Tourist Attractions in Beijing, China
If you are looking for somewhere interesting and different to travel to then I can recommend a trip to Beijing, China. There are frequent flights into Beijing with major airlines, making travel to Beijing easy and convenient. There are also a large number of hotels and hostels available to suit evey budget.
One thing you should take note of when visiting Beijing is that most of the everyday people that you may encounter (e.g. taxi drivers) do not speak English so it is advisable to have some things written down and to have details of your accommodation in Chinese when you are out and about so that you can get home again easily! Most hotels will be able to give you a card with the address details in Chinese that you can show to taxi drivers.
Beijing (previously known as Peking) has some great tourist attractions, a lot of which you can cover in a break of maybe 4 days or so. There are lots of standard day trips that are organised from hotels to the big places of interest.
The Great Wall of China
The great wall of China is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the world and can be accessed as a day trip from Beijing. There are many points of entry to the great wall and some are more touristy than others. If you take a day trip organised by a hotel then you may not get much of a choice to which point of the Great Wall you get taken to.
As the Great Wall has turned into a big tourist machine, there are various other stalls and attractions that surround it. you can even take a ride on a somewhat bizarre small rollercoaster type thing to get to it! you may see bears and camels tethered near the entrance with their owners charging money to have your photo taken with them.
The Forbidden City
A visit to the Forbidden City is a must - there is a huge amount of history here and the architecture is amazing. This place was the palace of the Emperors for almost 500 years from the Ming Dynasty onwards and now houses the Imperial Museum. Tours are very organised and you are ushered through the palace in polite queues. There are some significant antiquities housed in the museum that are really worth seeing.
The Forbidden City is located right in the centre of Beijing so is very easy to get to.
The Summer Palace
The Summer Palace requires a short trip out of Beijing City and is set in large gardens with a huge lake. Tours can be taken in dragon type boats across the lake and the palace is a place to wander round and take in the tranquility of the area.
Tiananmen Square is probably most famous for the protests that occurred there in 1989 where hundreds, possibly thousands of protesters were killed by government tanks. The square is the largest one in the world and it borders on the Forbidden City, being connected by the Forbidden Gate.
There is not really much to do here but just marvel at the size of it and perhaps reflect on all those who died in 1989.
Visit Old Beijing
Although a lot of the old traditional parts of Beijing are fast disappearing as they are bulldozed to make way for newer more modern homes and offices, it is still possible to see some traditional old Beijing houses and alleys (Hutongs) if you look hard enough. Take a trip round on foot or venture onto the public trains to take you to different parts of the city.
The Temple of Heaven
The Temple of Heaven is another of Beijing's great tourist attractions. It was built in the 15th Century and was used as a place of prayer for the Emperors.
The area around the temple has a large park which is popular with local Chinese who often exercise there in the mornings.
Other Popular Beijing Attractions
There are other attractions to see and experience in Beijing. One thing that is almost essential is to have the local dish of Peking Duck. There are plenty of restaurants who serve this but even if you don't get to try that you should go to any of the local Chinese restaurants and you will be treated to fantastic food at great prices. You should also check out the local beer!
Another trip that is frequently done in Beijing is to one of the silk factories. Here you will see the process of spinning the silk and making various things from it including silk hand cream and silk duvets.
Also look out for old men who sit around in the parks perhaps playing cards with their friends or tending to their caged birds. Or the many people who practice various forms of martial arts in parks around the city.