Beijing on a budget

Beijing is one of the most enigmatic and energetic cities on Earth. City slicking can come with a hefty price tag, but there are lots of ways of seeing the sights without blowing the budget. If you’re putting plans together for a tailor-made China holiday, here are some ways to see the best of Beijing on a budget.


Discovering Beijing on a budget

It’s no surprise that travelling around China has become more expensive. The economy is growing faster than most other nations and the availability of flights and tours has put China firmly on the map as a tourist destination. You used to think of Paris, Rome and Barcelona when the words city break cropped up, but people are willing to travel much further to get their urban kicks these days and metropolises like Beijing are drawing growing crowds. The good news is that it is possible to see Beijing on a shoestring. Just like any other city, you can spend as much or as little as you like when it comes to dining, getting around and booking a bed for the night. If you’re not able to splash the cash on luxury hotels and fine dining, you can still enjoy this city.

One of the best ways to save money is walking. Eliminate the cost of taxis and public transport and get to know the city in the best way possible: on foot. Getting lost is part and parcel of the experience, and it can often lead to the discovery of unexpected gems. It’s also worth using the Internet to scout out savings. When it comes to eating, embrace the local traditions, and avoid any establishments that are emblazoned with neon lights and multi-lingual menus. By opting for street food and low-key eateries that are popular with locals, you can guarantee quality and affordability.

You don’t have to spend a fortune on entertainment either. Here are some of the best free sights and attractions in buzzing Beijing:

  • Tian’anmen Square: perhaps the most iconic square in the world, this historic attraction is a must for every visitor. Visit early in the morning or evening to catch the flag raising ceremony.
  • Guomao: Guomao is a futuristic hub, which is filled with glass-walled skyscrapers and eye-catching architectural features. It’ll cost you a drink, but if you head up to the bar on the 80th floor of the China World Trade Centre, you’ll get similar views to those on offer at the CCTV tower for a fraction of the price.
  • Hutong: hutong is the local term for alleyways. Wondering Beijing’s labyrinth-like streets is a wonderful way to see the city without spending any money. Head to the Forbidden City for winding, tree-lined streets, secluded shady spots and temples tucked away from the trodden tracks.