Beijing is a great city, famous Tiananmen Square is big enough to hold one million people, while the historic Forbidden City is home to thousands of imperial rooms and Beijing is still growing. The capital has witnessed the emergence of more and higher rising towers, new restaurants and see-and-be-seen nightclubs. But at the same time, the city has managed to retain its very individual charm. The small tea houses in the backyards, the traditional fabric shops, the old temples and the noisy street restaurants make this city special.
Nowhere else can you find so many historic sites so close to each other. The famous Forbidden City and nearby Tiananmen Square, mark the centre of Beijing. North, lies the popular Qianhai Lake, where locals cool down in the hot summer months. The Chongwen district to the south of the Forbidden City, houses the Temple of Heaven, while the Chaoyang district in the east is well-known for its trendy restaurants and bars. Preparing the Chinese capital for the 2008 Olympic Games saw many old buildings getting refurbished and new skyscrapers erected. New restaurants, clubs and bars have also sprouted up and made the city more vibrant. Yet, Beijing is still managing to retain its traditional charm. A stroll alongside the city's old shopping streets with its many silk, antique and tea shops give visitors a unique insight into Chinese culture. And of course, Beijing is also a culinary capital. From traditional Chinese dumplings to the original Beijing Duck, Beijing's hundreds of restaurant and food stalls are sure to stimulate your taste buds.
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The 400 000 square metres large area is a key historic centre of Beijing. It was here that the former Communist Party leader, Mao Zedong, declared the founding of the People's Republic of China on 1st October, 1949. Today, thousands of visitors come here every year to see Mao's remains in the mausoleum. Visit the Great Hall of the People that houses the country's National People's Congress and admire the 15th century Qianmen City Gate, which once divided Beijing's ancient inner city and the suburban areas.
Address:Tiananmen Dong, Beijing
Built by Emperor Yongle in the early 15th century, the 720,000 square metres of Forbidden City was home to the imperial household. It was opened to the public in 1949. The well-preserved area boasts more than 800 buildings and 9,999 rooms. The Hall of Supreme Harmony, beautifully decorated with thousands of Dragons, was used to celebrate the Chinese emperor's birthday. The Palace of Heavenly Purity served as the emperors' living area and features several bedrooms.
Address:Tiananmen Dong, Beijing
The Summer Palace was once used by the imperial family as a retreat from the stress of Beijing city life. The grounds include a range of buildings and gardens including the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity, as well as the stunning Fragrant Buddha Tower, which offers superb views of Kunming Lake.
Address: 19 Xin-jian-gong-men Road, Beijing
This enormous park was built in the early 15th century, around the same time the Forbidden City was constructed. The park hosts several intriguing buildings. In the north of the park, a stone carved stairway leads up to the entrance of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests with its cylindrical blue-tiled roof and a beautifully decorated ceiling. It was struck by lightning and burnt to the ground in 1889 but was carefully reconstructed the following year. The Hall of Abstinence was used by emperors for fasting. In the south you will find the Round Altar—a three-tiered marble platform.
Address:7 Tiantan Nei Dongli, Beijing
Undoubtedly one of the world's top tourism destinations, the Great Wall is a stunning monument stretching over 5,000 kilometres and is even visible from space. When in Beijing, the most convenient place to view the wall is from Badaling in Yanqing County, situated around 70 kilometres from the Chinese capital. Take one of the Tourist Buses leaving from Qianmen Station or Bus 919 departing from Deshengmen Station. Other sights open for tourists to explore the wall are Mutianyu, Huanghuacheng, Simatai and Jinshanling.
Address: The Great Wall Of China
Chinese cuisine is no doubt one of the most popular across the globe - and it is not surprising that you'll find the best Chinese food in China! A visit to Beijing is not complete without having sampled the local speciality, the crispy Beijing Duck, which is served with pancakes, spring onions and fermented bean paste. However, Beijing also has a lot of fabulous international restaurants - from Brazilian to Japanese cuisine plus American-style fast food.
This elegant restaurant offers great views of the Forbidden City. It specialises in fusion cuisine, combining Mediterranean and Asian flavours, and boasts a very comprehensive wine list.
Address: 95 Donghuamen Dajie, Beijing
Set up more than 80 years ago by royal chefs, the Fangshan serves Chinese dishes such as Beijing Duck. It is based inside a grand mansion in a beautiful location alongside Lake Beihai.
Address: 1 Wenjing Jie, Beijing
China Grill serves international cuisine with the best products of meat, fish and seafood. Here you will find a great wine selection and 360 degree views of Beijing. The restaurant is located inside the hotel Park Hyatt Beijing.
Address: 2 Jianguomenwai Street, Beijing
Nobu Beijing serves a new style Japanese Cuisine with South American flavor. Try their marvelous signature dishes or local specialties like rock shrimp tempura with cream spicy sauce or sashimi salad with matsuhisa dressing.
Address: 83 Jian Guo Road, Beijing
If you want luxury this is the place to go to. Yu restaurant have seven designed private dining chambers and a tea bar served by a tea master as a complement to a delicious dinner.
Address: 83A Jian Guo Road, Beijing
Beijing has long been a centre of trade. Today, it boasts over 13,000 stores spread across the city, offering anything from original Chinese handicrafts to international designer fashion. Wangfujing Street is among the most popular shopping miles in town. It is home to new, shiny shopping malls and department stores selling trendy, expensive brand-name goods. Shoppers here will also find foreign language book stores, some arts and crafts shops as well as restaurants. HongQiao Market, aslo known as the Pearl Market, has 3 floors of pearls and jewelry to shop from. Here you can also find electrical equipment, clothes and traditional Chinese artifacts.
Beijing's top shopping centre boasts 120,000 square metres of shops in a modern ambiance. It is home to well-known Western and Asian brands and houses a Sony Science Museum and a cinema.
Address: 1 Dongchang'an Jie, Beijing
This is a premier choice for the city's well-off with all the famous designer brands from Christian Dior to Gucci.
Address: 1 Jianguomenwai Dajie, Beijing
This chain sells high-quality tea from across the region. The friendly staff brews small cups of tea for customers to sample.
Address: Danyao Dasha, Wangfujing Dajie, Beijing
This traditional textile shop has been around for more than 110 years and sells hundreds of cotton, wool and silk textiles.
Address: 5 Dazhalan Xijie, Beijing
In Beijing you will not have a problem finding a place to stay, no matter your budget. Just make sure that you have booked a hotel before arrival as this is not a city where you would like to travel around in order to find an accommodation.
Stay at a luxury hotel, just around the corner from the Tiananmen Square, boasts an indoor swimming pool in the design of a tropical lagoon. It has 555 art decor style rooms and offers all the amenities you'd expect from a deluxe hotel, including a Spa and a Fitness Centre.
Address: 1 East Chang An Avenue, Beijing
This traditional and centrally-located hotel offers a range of tastefully decorated rooms, some with a view over the Forbidden City. The hotel features an 8-lane bowling alley and indoor tennis and squash courts.
Being in Beijing for business or pleasure, JW Marriott Hotel is the most luxurious hotel you can find. It is a 5-star hotel located close to the business district and shopping facilities.
Address: 83 Jian Guo Road, Beijing
Enjoy a luxurious stay at this 5-star hotel which is situated less than a minute from the Beijing Capital airport and just 16 minutes from the centre of Beijing. Here you will stay at one of the largest hotel rooms in Beijing with floor-to-ceiling windows and with all the modern comfort you will need for a pleasant stay. You will also find great hotel facilities here such as fitness centre, swimming pool, spa and restaurant.
Address: Terminal 3, Beijing Capital International Airport, Beijing
If you are looking for a budget alternative you do not need to look further, in fact Dragon King Hostel provides some of the cheapest beds in the city. In addition the hostel is ideally located in the heart of Beijing, only minutes away from the central subway line 5. All rooms are with air-condition and free Wi-Fi.
Address: 78 Dongsi Jiutiao, Dongcheng, Beijing
The Beijing Capital International Airport is located around 27 kilometers north of Beijing´s city centre. At present, the airport consists of three terminals.
The cheapest way to into town is to take CAAC´s comfortable airport shuttle bus. The ride takes between 40-90 minutes, depending on traffic and origin/destination. The shuttles leave the airport from outside gates 11-13 in the arrival level of Terminal 2. Buses depart every 15-30 minutes.
There is also an airport express train called ABC or Airport to Beijing City. The airport express covers the 27.3 km distance between the airport and the city in 18 minutes, connecting Terminals 2 and 3, to Sanyuanxiao station in Line 10 and Dongzhimen station in Line 2.
The subway is the best way to move around the city and avoid traffic jams in Beijing. Currently, there are 8 lines in operations, including the newly-opened ABC, or Airport to Beijing City airport line, Line 10 and the Olympic Branch line.
The five existing lines are, Line 1, Line 2 or the Loop Line, Line 5, Line 13 and the Batong Line. The subway runs from 5 am to midnight daily. Subway stations are marked by blue signs with a "D" (for Ditie or subway) in a circle. Route signs are in Bilingual.
Taxis are the default mode of transportation for most foreigners in Beijing. As many as 3 million people take the cab everyday so fear not, you will never ran out of taxis in this city. There are at least 70,000 cabs in Beijing. Have your destination written down in Chinese.
Beijing taxi drivers are generally honest and friendly. Expect to get your change and tipping is discouraged. Taxi from the airport to the city centre takes approximately around 50 minutes, depending on the traffic. Ask for your receipt by saying "Fapiao."
The Beijing Bureau of Communications takes complaints concerning taxis, minibus or other vehicles. No operator, but an English recording that gives instructions for faxing your complaint—which of course will mitigate your anger right away. Tel No. +86 10 6835 1150.