Whether you have a visa or not, below are some of the best things to do while visiting Beijing.
Keep in mind that Beijing is huge and can be tricky to get around without a little preparation. Traffic is pretty heavy and most people don’t speak English. There is not Uber or Lyft and the ride-sharing system in China is difficult without a local number and the ability to speak Mandarin. But you can definitely take taxis – and they are cheap. The subway is also easy to navigate and is reasonable but it is quite crowded. The Subway closes at 11 pm, so plan accordingly.
You simply cannot go to Beijing without visiting the Great Wall of China – unless of course, you have already seen it! This is one of the new 7 wonders of the world, which has fascinated the world for centuries. Although several different walls exist that you can visit, the Badaling Great Wall is the closest to the city and is where the majority of Chinese tourists experience the Great Wall. You can get there by local tourist bus. Expect large crowds. If you want to see fewer crowds, you can head to the Mutianyu, which is just as impressive but is an hour away.
Tiananmen Square is the largest square in the world. You can visit the National Museum, Railway Museum, People’s Monument, Chairman Mao’s tomb and views from the gates.
The Forbidden City is the most popular attraction in the city of Beijing. The Forbidden City housed the ruling Emperors and their households for 500 years during the Ming Dynasty. Until 1925, only the Emperor and his subjects stepped foot into the city. In 1925, the city was turned into a museum after the fall of the final Emperor. The Forbidden City spans across 180 acres and houses over 8000 rooms and 980 buildings. It takes a minimum of two hours to tour the city but you can easily enjoy the site all day.
The Temple of Heaven covers a massive area of 2,700,000 square meters. You can explore the temple by foot to see the echo wall, the Imperial Vault, the mount prayer altar and more.
Built in 1964, the Llama Temple was a residence for Eunichs of the Qing Dynasty. Here you can set your eyes on carefully crafted, ornate details while basking at the Guinness Book of World Records’ tallest Buddha carving (69 feet high), carved out of a single tree. Today it functions as a school of Tibetan Buddhism.
Jingshan Park is a pleasant place to visit where locals practice tai chi or take badminton lessons. Tourists often climb to the top of the mountain for an overhead view of the Forbidden City and panoramic views of Beijing or to relax in the bonsai tree gardens. The mountain was made from soil that was removed from the moat that surrounds the Forbidden City. This artificial mound was previously home to the Imperial Gardens.
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