Making the most of your holiday to Beijing
By Rebecca Evans
Beijing, the capital of the People’s Republic of China and one of the most bustling cities in the world. Brimming with ethnic delights and rich heritage, this is a destination for culture lovers and keen travellers who want to absorb the magnificence the world has to offer. Personalised China holidays tick all of those boxes.
On a seven-day stint, plan five days of excursions and exploration. Make time to recuperate so that the shine isn’t stripped from your sojourn.
Wander through Beijing’s central Tiananmen Square, the fourth largest city square in the world and view the monument to the heroes of the revolution. To the east of the square, pay a visit to The National Museum of China where you can appreciate authentic national art. The museum also holds a myriad of exhibitions surrounding the nation’s history.
Beyond the gates, to the north of Tiananmen Square lies the remarkable Forbidden City. Known to the Chinese as Gu Gong, the Palace Museum was the home of no less than 24 emperors. Don’t forget to stop and watch the soldier’s rising and lowering of the flag at sunup and sundown each day.
Head out to the Chongwen District and pay a visit to the incredible Temple of Heaven. One of Beijing’s most famous landmarks, the complex spans over 2,700,000 square meters making it four-times larger the Forbidden City. Feng shui masters believe it to be where heaven meets earth.
While in Chongwen pay a visit to Longtan Park. Quintessentially oriental, this recreational area is adorned with moon bridges, pavilions and rock gardens. Carved dragons also feature in abundance around the park controlling the waters of Dragon Lake. Eat lunch or dinner at one of the many teahouses and restaurants and be sure to sail the lake on an authentic dragon boat.
Absorb the grandeur of the world’s largest ancient architecture. A visit to Beijing simply wouldn’t be complete without experiencing China’s most popular landmark.
Badaling Great Wall is frequently recommended but be warned – it will be bursting at the seams with tourists. Take an alternative path; the scenic low-intensity Mutianyu Great Wall. Or advanced hikers may prefer to take the more challenging route from Jinshanling to Simatai.
A World Heritage Site, Summer Palace has been described by UNESCO as ‘a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design’ and that it most certainly is. A visit here is to allow yourself to be affected by the ambience of Zen. Pavilions, palaces and temples are sprinkled over Longevity Hill and surrounded by the enchanting Kunming Lake.
After a rejuvenating day, spend your evening hitting the nightlife scene of Sanlitun bar district.
Take a taste of contemporary China at the 798 Art Zone. Located in Dashanzi, in aged, decommissioned military buildings, spaces here have been rented and developed into galleries, studios, restaurants and bars. Celebrate your final evening in Beijing with a seat at the highly-acclaimed Chaoyang Acrobatics Theatre.