Beijing guide – top 10 tourist attractions in Beijing!

Tiantan Park Beijing
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Beijing guide – top 10 tourist attractions in Beijing!

Why Do We Need This Travel Blog On Beijing?

We were going to be travelling to Beijing with kids,  and we needed a specific kind of list. When we didn’t find much information on the topic, we decided to create this Beijing guide to show you the beauty of this city. When we started researching on our trip, we realized that the cacophony regarding information on things to do in Beijing was too much, and scattered all over the web. We have made it practical, concise and implementable.

About Beijing

  • Beijing is the capital city of China, and the latter is an Asian country.
  • Beijing currency is called Yuan Renminbi.
  • The rates are controlled by the Government, therefore the best place to exchange money in Beijing is the airport, or your hotel.  
  • If you are particular about the great season/s a city has to offer, the best time to take up Beijing excursions is from March to May and September to October. It is advisable that you avoid planning your trip to Beijing in July and August, as it gets too crowded.   

Beijing Guide – Top 10 Tourist Attractions In Beijing!

Before we came to the city, we had heard many stories about this place. That it’s one of the most polluted cities in the world, and that travelling to Beijing with kids isn’t exactly a great idea for the same reason. That the traffic jam and crowds are terrible. To be honest, we were extremely excited about our trip to China. We knew that it would be something different than all the places we’ve already visited in Asia. Well… we were right! But it was nothing that we expected. The city has something for everyone, whether one is travelling for a quick, day-trip to Beijing, or a lazy, week-long trip.  

Trekking at the Great Wall of China
Us, trekking at the Great Wall of China

Beijing guide- About Beijing

When we left for the city in the Beijing airport shuttle, we were expecting to see crowds, cars and all the hustle and bustle of the big city. However, we were surprised to see how peaceful it is!

Maybe because we were traveling off-season (March/ April). And maybe because all the information you can see in media are only the part of the story. Beijing may be polluted but it’s not true that this city is dark and you sometimes can’t even see the person you are talking to.

You may experience a huge traffic jam in there during Chinese New Year season but you won’t see it everyday.

It is possible that you will be waiting in a line for few hours, to get to the Tiananmen Square, but that is only during summer. There will be no line during all the others seasons of the year.

It’s true though that it’s very difficult to communicate in English in Beijing. The official language of Beijing is Chinese, and the city is fairly ritualistic about it. This city is still not tourist-friendly. Most signs are in Chinese language and it’s almost impossible to buy local SIM card (to use GPS in your phone). If you get lost you can’t ask anyone about the way. I mean, you CAN ask but you won’t understand the answer because it will be in Chinese.

Regardless all these flaws, Beijing is an amazing place with beautiful monuments and rich history. There is something magical and mysterious about this city, something that makes us want to come back there one day.

Lack of women in China due to one-child policy
Forbidden City Beijing

Beijing in numbers:

  • More than 21 million people live in Beijing
  • There are 16 districts in the city
  • The area of Beijing is 16 410,54 km2
  • The city is more than 3 000 years old.
  • The first traces of human habitation in Beijing area date back to 250 000 years ago 
  • There are embassies of 163 countries in the city
  • There are 144 galleries and museums in Beijing
Chinese Great Wall
Chinese Great Wall

Tips To Avoid Crowds

  1. Sightseeing from Monday to Friday.

Try to sight-see only during a week-day; Mondays to Fridays are the best. Avoid visiting the most famous tourist attractions if you are spending a weekend in Beijing.

2. Avoid visiting Beijing in summer.

The best time to visit Beijing is in spring or autumn. The weather is perfect for sightseeing and it’s not very crowded. Winter is good as well but you may get a little bit cold. The worst time to visit Beijing is summer. It may be really packed in June, July and August.

3. Travel by subway.

Beijing public transport is awesome. You can get to all main tourist attractions using subway. It’s cheap and easy to use.

Hotel Jen Upper East Beijing Best hotel Beijing
Beijing City

Top 10 Tourist Attractions In Beijing

1.Forbidden City (The Palace Museum)

Forbidden city (also known as The Palace Museum) is probably one of the most famous places in China. It’s the former residence of Chinese emperors. Why is it called Forbidden City?

Forbidden because the average citizen couldn’t go there.

City because it’s huge. The Palace Museum have more than 9 000 rooms.

Click to read more interesting facts about China.

Every year more than 14 million people visit Forbidden City. It’s considered as the world’s most-visited and a famous Beijing palace. 

Beijing guide

Address: 4 Jingshan Front Street

Opening hours: 8:30 am- 5 pm (April to October), 8:30 am- 4.30 pm (November to March)

Admission: $9 (April to October), $6 (November to March)

Getting there: Subway line 1 (Tiananmen East Station) or Subway line 2 (Qianmen Station)

Forbidden City (The Palace Museum) Beijing
Forbidden City (The Palace Museum) Beijing

2.Summer Palace

In our subjective opinion, Summer Palace is much better than Forbidden city. It has not only a beautiful architecture, but also a lake (Kunming) and a lovely park. It’s a place where everybody will find something for themselves. It is also considered to be one of the most romantic things to do in Beijing. No matter if you love history or nature, Summer Palace will be interesting to you for sure. Undoubtedly, it is one of the better places to visit in Beijing. 

Beijing guide

Address: 19 Xinjiangongmen Road

Opening hours: 6:30 am- 6 pm (April to October), 7:00 am- 5.00 pm (November to March)

Admission: $4.5 (April to October), $3 (November to March)

Getting there: Subway line 4 (Beigongmen Station) 

Summer Palace in Beijing
Summer Palace in Beijing

3.Tiananmen Square

We were surprised that you need to pass the security control before entering a Tiananmen Square. There are 4 main tourist attractions at the Tiananmen Square: The Great Hall of the People, Monument to the People’s Heroes, The National Museum of China and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong. If you are going to be spending at least 2 days in Beijing, make sure you include this place in your list for ‘what to see in Beijing in 2 days’. 

Forbidden city is situated right across the street, so you will need an entire day to see all these places. The Great Hall of People hosts some of the important events and concerts in Beijing. 

Beijing guide

Address: West Changan Street

Opening hours: From sunrise to sunset.

Admission: Free

Getting there: Subway line 1 (Tiananmen Dong Station) or Subway line 2 (Qianmen Station)

Tiananmen Square Beijing guide
Tiananmen Square Beijing needs one full day for exploration.

4. Temple of Heaven

We’ve heard from many Beijingers that Temple of Heaven is one of the most beautiful in the entire city. Well, we don’t agree.

The temple is really nice but we liked its surroundings even more! Tiantan Park is an amazing place and this is the main reason you should visit this area (more about the park in the next point).

Beijing guide

Address: Tiantan Road

Opening hours: 8:00 am- 5 pm (April to October), 8:00 am- 5.30 pm (November to March)

Admission for all attractions: $5.5 (April to October), $4.5 (November to March)

Getting there: Subway line 5 (Tiantan Dongmen Station) 

Temple of Heaven in Beijing China
Temple of Heaven in Beijing

5. Tiantan Park

The best park in Beijing! It’s the culture center to the local people. They play cards, laugh, sing and have fun; basically, it is one of the best things to do in Beijing in winter, as well as spring and fall. Tiantan Park is a great place to relax and get to know Chinese culture a little bit more. 

We absolutely love this park. For us, it was one of the best things to do in Beijing with children.

Beijing guide

Address: Tiantan Road

Opening hours: 6:30 am- 10 pm (April to October), 6:00 am- 10.00 pm (November to March)

Admission for all attractions: $3 (April to October), $1.5 (November to March)

Getting there: Subway line 5 (Tiantan Dongmen Station) 

Tiantan Park Beijing
Tiantan Park is a good place to explore with children, in Beijing.

6. The Great Wall

The Great Wall of China is not actually situated in Beijing. You need to drive for an hour to get there. For us, trekking there was an experience of a lifetime. It is also known to be one of the best hikes in China.

Click to read the whole post that we have written about The Great Wall of China. This place also holds some of the best concerts Beijing has.

Beijing guide

Address: Jinshanling

Opening hours: 8:00 am- 5 pm 

Admission for all attractions: $10 (April to October), $8.5 (November to March)

Getting there: Hire a guide. More about it here.

The Great Wall of China Beijing
The Great Wall of China, Beijing

7. Lama Temple

For us, Lama Temple is the most beautiful temple in Beijing. It’s peaceful and very spiritual place.

Watching local people praying, hearing a Buddhist music and smelling the scent of incense were something we will never forget.

Beijing guide

Address: 12 Yonghegong Street

Opening hours: 9:00 am- 4.30 pm (April to October), 9:00 am- 4.00 pm (November to March)

Admission for all attractions: $4 

Getting there: Subway line 2 or subway line 5 (Yonghegong Station) 

Lama Temple Beijing travel tips
Lama Temple Beijing

8. Temple of Confucius

This temple is mostly visited by the locals. Foreigners prefer to go to the neighboring Lama temple. And that is why you should visit the Temple of Confucius!

It is not crowded, the architecture is beautiful and the area is peaceful.

Beijing guide

Address: 15 Guozijian Street

Opening hours: 8:30 am- 6.00 pm (April to October), 8:30 am- 5.00 pm (November to March)

Admission for all attractions: $4.5

Getting there: Subway line 2 or subway line 5 (Yonghegong Station) 

Temple of Confucius Beijing
Temple of Confucius Beijing is a peaceful place with beautiful architecture.

9. Chaoyang Park

Our second favourite park in Beijing. It’s a great place for a walk and relax, far away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Chaoyang Park is huge, so you won’t get bored there.

Beijing guide

Address: 1 Chaoyang Park S Road

Opening hours: 6:00 am- 9.00 pm (April to October), 6:00 am- 8.00 pm (November to March)

Admission for all attractions: $1

Getting there: Subway line 10 (Tuanjiehu Station) 

Chaoyang Park in Beijing
That’s us; outside Chaoyang Park in Beijing.

10. Wangfujing Street (Beijing Snack Street)

Best place for shopping in Beijing! You can buy everything there, including souvenirs, clothes, gadgets and food.

Beijing guide

Address: Wangfujing Street

Opening hours: 10:00 am- 10.00 pm 

Admission for all attractions: free

Getting there: Subway line 10 (Tuanjiehu Station) 

 

Trekking at the Great Wall of China

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Famous Beijing Breakfast

It would be a sin if we forget to share this with you! The city is all about waking up early and rejoicing the first meal of the day. In every way, and every day. The mornings are divided into two parts: Zaoshang (pre- 9:00am) and Shangwu (9:00am to noon). According to the Chinese people, Jianbing is the best breakfast Beijing has, and is not to be missed! 

Transportation in Beijing

Beijing Public Transport:

  1. Subway:

    Like we have said earlier, the Subway in Beijing is cheap, fast and excellent!

  2. Taking A Taxi In Beijing:

    Taking a taxi in a country that doesn’t speak your language can be an experience which is a mix of daunting and ‘comedy of errors’. If you are travelling to Beijing with kids, you might want to avoid the stress of unfamiliar situations.
    If you are looking to hire a taxi in Beijing, these are the aspects to keep in mind:
    – Look for the sign of vacancy: If a taxi is with a red light behind its windscreen, it means that it is not occupied, and can be hired.

    – Wave!: Yes, it is true that a Beijing taxi can be hailed by waving at it.

    – In case you don’t want to be refused, inform the taxi-driver about your destination only after being seated in the car. If you tell him before boarding the car, he might drive off, which signifies refusal.

    – Avoid rush hours (7:00am-11:00am; morning) & (5:00pm-8:00pm; evening), when you plan your sightseeing in Beijing because that will help you cut down on chaos and hours on the road.

  3. Rent car in Beijing:

    – There are several offline and online options for car hire Beijing has, but your best bet would be to take assistance from your hotel, because that ensures everything like toll, waiting charges, over-time charges, number of kilometers, is pre-discussed and there are no last minute surprises.
    – Your car will come with a driver who has a Chinese license. You cannot rent a self-drive car in Beijing without a driver. If you are looking for an option where you can drive the car yourself, be in the know that you can’t, unless you have a Chinese driving license.
    – To understand what the going rate for car rent Beijing has, you might want to ask around before finalizing on one.
    – The taxi drivers in Beijing do not follow the GPS, nor it is accurate as other countries. For navigation, you will have to trust the local intelligence.  

4. Beijing Bike Tour

If it is your kind of mode of transport, then Beijing has plethora of options for bike tours. You can rent bikes based on the number of hours you will be needing them for. Some of them also have an option for you to explore Beijing at night.  

5. Beijing Airport Transfer

Check out this link to find the best airport transfer in Beijing.

6. Beijing Sightseeing Bus

If you are wondering what to see in Beijing in one day, the sightseeing bus operators have a one day tour packages, which will help you explore the city better.  

 

Where To Stay In Beijing?

While travelling to the city, it is important to ensure that the stay in comfortable and safe, because a restful sleep at night ensures that the days are utilized productively. We have mentioned below some of the best places to stay in Beijing:

  • If you are looking for an experience that lies between a hotel and a home, AirBnB Beijing is a great alternative. You will have plethora of options of choose from, based on your area of interest and the nature of your trip. 
  • Your best recommendation regarding Beijing family hotel will always come from people you know; so, asking around might be a good option. 
  • According to us, the best family hotel Beijing has is Hotel Jen Beijing, while Beijing Home Youth Hostel is preferred by backpackers and solo travellers. 
  • If you are looking for a romantic hotel Beijing has, you can look it up, as the city offers many options! 

The Perfect Beijing Itinerary

If you are looking to explore Beijing at night, you are at the right place. We have a few recommendations that you should not miss! We have also mentioned some of the free things to do in Beijing, just so that it is light on your pocket. Apart from that, Sanlitun Bar Street and surrounding area is known to be the Beijing Nightlife District, and can be woven-in perfectly into a 3 days Beijing itinerary, without wearing you out. According a  Beijing Nightlife Guide we came across, Sanlitun also has the best Beijing rooftop bar.

The city also has a lot to offer to someone who is on a short trip; if you read this article carefully, you can come up with your own list of ‘what to do in Beijing in one day’, without needing any other help! We have made a fair deal of effort to put together the most comprehensive travel blog Beijing has; hopefully it will serve you well. 

We have tried to cover most of your queries like where to go out in Beijing and what to see. We hope that you enjoy as much as we did, and come back with amazing memories of a culture-rich place.

 

 


See also: What to pack for China

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Disclosure: Yay for transparency! Some of the links in the article are affiliate, which means that if you book something by clicking on them, we will get a small commission with no extra cost to you. Your support helps this blog going.

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