Plan your Beijing tour? Fortunately the massive Beijing is manageable due to the fact that Beijing’s top attractions are relatively clustered with easy access by metro.
Basically you cannot wait to see Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City, a muse-see combo which has imprinted on your mind through multi-media in the past. After finishing your visit to Forbidden City, move on and climb up Jingshan Hill to have a panoramic view of Forbidden City and Beijing as a whole along Beijing’s ancient central axis.
You will definitely go to Summer Palace, the largest former royal garden – the crystallization of China’s splendid landscape. Temple of Heaven should be on your muse-see list, the imperial place for praying for harvest.
Hiking Great Wall of China should be your top priority of your Beijing trip. Of all the sections of the Great Wall, Mutianyu Great Wall is favored most by international tourists.
#1. Mutianyu Great Wall
This section of wall is free from over crowding. Renovated, it is safe to walk and you may take cable Mutianyu Great Wall car to ascend and thrilling descent using toboggan. Mutianyu Great Wall is suitable both for seniors and kids, but is also very challenging if you are ready to hike from the watchtower no.18 to the watchtower No.23, a very tiring trudge up a long flight of steps! It is the most favorite section among international tourists.
#2. Summer Palace
A world cultural heritage site, Summer Palace is the epitome of Chinese traditional landscaping. You should be there on your first trip to Beijing. The long corridor is very impressive, leading to the marble boat. The Tower of Buddhist Incense, buildings, pagodas, bridges, trees and the lake recreate magnificent natural landscapes. There are so many amazing photogenic opportunities here.
#3. Temple of Heaven
Temple of Heaven was a sacred place where the emperors in Ming and Qing dynasties prayed for harvest and harmony for each year. Now the historical site is surrounded by a large park where people usually do morning exercises, sing, dance, play chess, musical instruments, shuttle-cock kicking and full on gymnastics on bars, etc. a very good place to mix with the locals.
#4. Forbidden City
Of course, you cannot afford to miss the magnificence of this palace, home to the emperors in Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. You must bring your passport in order to buy tickets. Basically it is closed on Monday.s Visiting Forbidden City needs a lot of walking! Put on your comfy shoes. It normally take at least 3-4 hours to explore properly.
#5. Lama Temple （Yonghe Temple）
Everything you would expect from a Buddhist temple, a monastery of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism – the prayer wheels, the incense, the people sending their prayer to Heaven. In the temple you can see the world’s largest Buddha made of a single piece of wood.
#6. Jingshan Park
A great place to have a panoramic view of Forbidden City as well as the whole Beijing city along the central axis. The park is just across the street north of the exit gate to Forbidden City. So after you visit Forbidden City, there is an underground tunnel that leads to the entrance to the park. There is a very small entrance fee. You walk up to the top of Jingshan Hill in the enter of the park, you will have a bird’s-eye view of Forbidden City.
#7. Beihai Park
Once it was the winter palace for Ming and Qing dynasties (1368 – 1911), but its history goes back to Yuan Dynasty ( 1271 – 1368). It is recommended to go there in early morning to see people doing all kinds of morning exercises; doing traditional Chinese dancing, tai chi, and sword exercises. You will see elderly men doing calligraphy writing on the ground with huge brushes using water.
#8. 798 Art Zone
It is a place to encourage creative expression in various art forms. You will see the shows in the galleries and also experience many quirky shops, cafes and restaurants. The art zone is located in an architecturally interesting old factory. From time to time, different galleries put on small events.
#9. Tiananmen Square
Basically it is the must-see place for your first trip to Beijing, from where you go a little further and enter the Forbidden City. You can see Mao’s Mausoleum, the National Museum of China, the Monument to the People’s Heroes.
#10. Back Lakes ( Houhai )
This area of Beijing is also known as Shichahai, home to the three lakes of Xihai, Houhai and Qianhai, as well as the most extensive old hutong neighborhoods. In fact, “Back Lakes” here refers to not only the “Back Lake” (Houhai), but also Xihai ( West Lake) and Qianhai (Front Lake), the three lakes put together. You can have a nice walk, visiting hutongs, shopping for souvenirs, boating, cycling……
#11. National Center for the Performing Arts
Amazing building inside and out. It is a trendy and avant-garde landmark designed by French architect Paul Andreu.The center is an ellipsoid dome of titanium and glass surrounded by an artificial lake, like a huge egg or water drop floating on water. It is located to the west of Tiananmen Square and the Great Hall of the People, and close to the Forbidden City.
Find Tours: Beijing Night Tour including NCPA.
Travel Tip: How to Visiit National Center for the Performing Arts.
Review: NCPA at Tripadvisor.
#12. Old Summer Palace (Yuanmingyuan)
Now in ruins, the Old Summer Palace(Yuanmingyuan) was once hailed as the garden of all gardens. The original site featured elaborate gardens, statues and fountains.Today the old imperial garden turns to be a huge public park.Whatever history you have been told, just enjoy the amazing view here!
Review: Old Summer Palace at Tripadvisor.
#13. National Museum Of China
Though not a universal museum like the British Museum, Louvre, Hermitage, or Smithsonian, as a national museum, the National Museum of China is top on the list, one of the five or six greatest museums in the world. It’s free to enter with ID so make sure to bring your passport along .
#14. Ming Tombs
Listed as UNESCO world cultural heritage, Ming Tombs provide people a kind of real experience. That tells why this place is a popular place for native Chinese, especially those who are attracted by history.
#15. Olympic Sites ( Bird’s Nest…..)
Both Bird’s Nest and Water Cube are easily accessible through subway, cheap and fast. Take Subway Line 10 and get off at Beitucheng Station. Then interchange for Subway Line 8 and get off at the next station to the north – Olympic Sports Center or the second station – Olympic Park ( Olympic Green ). Once you come out from the subway, you are inside the Olympic Park. The park itself is free to the public.But you need to pay the entrance fees to enter the buildings.