Welcome to the capitol with the largest square, the biggest temple complex and the greatest fortification: welcome to jewel of Orient, welcome to Beijing! This capitol city was the point of governance for civilization that gave us paper, gunpowder and silk, and its ancient core still stands after hundreds of years. It offers its visitors unforgettable experience of seeing one of the Seven Wonders of the World, a UNESCO World’s Heritage Site and the city square that can host more than 1 million people, combining long tradition, conflicting history and contemporary lifestyle, all in one place.
Not everything in this city is about tradition and honor: Beijing is also the capital of fakes, so be careful what you’re buying, and pay attention to change, especially in taxies, because it can often be returned with fake bills, or not at all, so make sure to carry ¥5, ¥10 and ¥20 notes.
Cost of Living:
When to Visit
March – May Best time to visit; colorful scenery and comfortable temperatures. Tourists are fewer and hotel prices tend to drop this time of year.
June – August Peak travel season; high prices and temperatures. The Dragon Boat Festival is a traditional holiday held in June and includes many activities such as dragon boat racing and eating Zongzi.
September – October Best time to visit; comfortable temperatures and days are often sunny. The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most important traditional Chinese Festival celebrated with dragon performances, lion dances and sharing moon-cakes.
The full name “The Purple Forbidden City” comes from the Purple Palace, which was the emperor’s residence in the center of it, and created in correspondence to the ancient belief that the Purple Star (Polaris) was actually the Purple Palace where the Heavenly Emperor lived in the center of the heaven. It was forbidden to enter this palace without emperors’ permission during their five centuries long rule, especially its Inner Court, but being a Palace Museum today it is open for visitors. Tours allow us to explore this magnificent fortified castle with a giant moat, massive walls, several gates and towers, two main courts and numerous rooms and chambers.
April to October: Daily 08:30AM-05:00PM (Last entry at 04:10PM; Ticketing Time 08:30AM-04:00PM)
November to March: Daily 08:30AM-04:30PM (Last entry at 03:40PM; Ticketing Time 08:30AM-03:30PM)
Price: ¥60 (Apr.-Oct.); ¥40 (Nov.-Mar.)
Treasure Gallery: ¥10 (in Palace of Tranquil Longevity, including the Opera Museum and Stone Drum Museum)
Clock and Watch Gallery: ¥10 (in Hall for Ancestry Worship)
This monumental site is the largest public square in the world, equally famous and notorious, being the witness of both glorious and horrific events in Chinese history. It is an iconic sightseeing spot in Beijing, being the place where Mao Zedong proclaimed People's Republic of China, and therefore the place for celebrating national holidays through military displays and parades, but also the location of vital state’s institutions, such as National Museum of China, The Great Hall of the People, Mausoleum of Mao Zedong and Monument to the People’s Heroes, visited by citizens and tourists daily.
Besides Great Pyramid of Giza, which has an honorary status, Great Wall of China is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of The New World. This grandiose and ingenious fortification was continuously built, rebuilt and repaired since 700BC, and for centuries considered one of the greatest manmade structures. Although it is an urban legend that The Wall can be seen from space, its shape, size and length still take the breath away from everyone who looks at it, and there are as much as four sites easily available for visiting from Beijing: Badaling, Mutianyu, Huanghua Cheng and Simatai.
Badaling (70km NW):
Open: Daily 07:00PM-06:00PM (Nov.1 to Mar.31); 06:30AM-07:00PM (Apr.1 to Oct.31)
Price: ¥35 (Nov.1 to Mar.31); ¥40 (Apr.1 to Oct.31)
Mutianyu (90km N):
Mar.16 to Nov.15: Monday to Friday: 07:30AM-06:00PM; Weekends: 07:30AM-06:30PM;
Nov.16 to Mar.15: Daily 08:00AM-05:00PM
Price: Adults ¥40/Seniors (>60) and Children (1.2-1.4m (3.9-4.6 feet) height) ¥20; free for children under 1.2m (3.9 feet)
Huanghua Cheng (60km N):
April to October: Monday to Friday 08:30AM-05:00PM; Weekends, May 1 to 7, and October 1 to 7: 08:AM-06:00PM;
November to March: Daily 08:30AM-04:30PM
Price: Adults and children over 1.2m (3.9 feet) ¥45/ free for children under 1.2m (3.9 feet)
April to October: 08:00AM-06:00PM (Site is cleared at 04:30PM)
November to March: 08:00AM-05:30PM (Site-cleared at 04:30PM)
April to October: 06:00PM-10:00PM (Ticketing Time: 06:00PM-09:30PM)
November to March: 05:30PM-10:00PM (Monday-Friday), 05:30PM-09:30PM (Weekends) (Ticketing Time: 05:30PM-08:10PM (Monday-Friday), 05:30PM-08:40PM (Weekends))
Price: Adults ¥40/ Children (1.2-1.5m (3.9-4.9 feet) height) ¥20; free for children under 1.2m (3.9 feet)
If there could be an equivalent of the Luxor’s Valley of the Kings, Ming Tombs could be the Asian version of it. This complex of imperial mausoleums from Ming dynasty is the most representative example of the feng shui design, and one more of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Beijing. The eternal resting place of 13 emperors has only three restored tombs open and swarming with visitors, usually on their way to visit the Great Wall, since these two tours are often combined.
April-October: Daily 08AM-05:00PM
November-March: Daily 08:30AM-04:30PM
Spirit way: ¥30
Chang Ling: ¥45 (¥35 off-peak)
Ding Ling: ¥65 (¥45 off-peak)
Zhao Ling: ¥30 (¥20 off-peak)
Beihai Park is a former imperial garden attached to the Forbidden City, but nowadays a huge park and one of the monuments that represent Asian gardening at its best. This thousand-year old park is piece of art with its beautiful pavilions, and fairy-tale like sceneries of frozen lake in winter, or lotus blossom in summer time, surrounded by willows. It is a great place for a quiet stroll and relaxation, maybe even a lunch break, since there are some food kiosks to be found around.
April-October: Daily 06:00AM-10:00PM (all buildings close at 05:00PM)
November-March: Daily 06:30AM-09:00PM (all buildings close at 04:00PM)
Summer Palace is the best place to enjoy traditional Chinese architecture and aesthetics, both in buildings and gardens, and you will have the opportunity to make some iconic photographs in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. This palace is best known as a favorite retreat of Empress Cixi, who loved this place so much that she even revived it after two devastations. Since large part of enjoying this sightseeing spot is the magnificent view across the lake, chose a nice and clear day to visit, along with some comfortable shoes, because there is a lot of walking included in this tour of the largest Royal Park in China.
Apr.1 to Oct.31: 06:30AM-06:00PM (for scenic spots 08:30AM-05:00PM
Nov.1 to Mar.31: 07:00AM-05:00PM (for scenic spots 09:00AM-04:00PM)
Entrance Fee: ¥30 (Apr.1 to Oct.31); ¥20
Combination Ticket (including entrance fee and the following sites): ¥60 (Apr.1 to Oct.31); ¥50 (Nov.1 to Mar.31)
Dehe Garden: ¥5 (Apr.1 to Oct.31); ¥5 (Nov.1 to Mar.31)
Tower of Buddhist Incense: ¥10 (Apr.1 to Oct.31); ¥10 (Nov.1 to Mar.31)
Wenchang Hall: ¥20 (Apr.1 to Oct.31); ¥20(Nov.1 to Mar.31)
Suzhou Street and Danning Hall: ¥10 (Apr.1 to Oct.31); ¥10 (Nov.1 to Mar.31)
Once the place where emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties worshipped the Heaven and prayed for good harvest during the Winter Solstice, today this magnificent temple is a UNESCO World’s Heritage site as an exemplary structure of ancient Oriental civilization. Spread on the area larger than The Forbidden City, this praying site is a witness to religious syncretism of architecture, aesthetics and astronomy, with its several temples, shrines and a magnificent park created in 20 th century, offering its visitors aura of peace, contemplation and a feeling of fine tune-in with nature.
Gates: Daily 06:30AM-10:00PM
The scenic spots inside the Temple of Heaven:
Mar.1 to Jun.30: 08:00AM-05:30PM
Jul.1 to Oct.31: 08:00AM-06:00PM
Nov.1 to Feb.28: 08:00AM-05:00PM
Entrance Fee: ¥10 (Nov.1-Mar.31); ¥15 (Apr.1-Oct.31)
Combination Ticket (including the entrance fee, Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, Circular Mound Altar & Echo Wall): ¥30 (Nov.1-Mar.31; unavailable after 3:30pm); ¥35 (Apr.1-Oct.31; unavailable after 4pm)
Hall of Ceremonial Music & Palace of Abstinence: ¥10 (Nov.1-Mar.31); ¥10 (Apr.1-Oct.31)
Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, Circular Mound Altar & Echo Wall: ¥20 (Nov.1-Mar.31); ¥20 (Apr.1-Oct.31)
This temple is the actual Buddhist temple (unlike the Temple of Heaven, which isn’t a temple anymore), and it is the largest temple complex outside Tibet. The architectural wonder holds numerous statues in various halls and pavilions, each one dedicated to something specific: happiness, health, harmony, peace, etc. Taking photographs is not allowed in the halls, which actually allows the visitors to enjoy the museum of statues, and experience the unique vibe of this place. Also, on the last day of the first lunar month monks perform masked "Devil Dances", offering an exciting and wonderful sight to the visitors.
April-October: Daily 09:00AM-04:30PM
November-March: Daily 09:00AM-04:00PM
Audio guides: ¥20 ( + ¥200 deposit)
Be careful when you pay cash on the taxi drivers. A lot of times they change the money and return them back fake, insisting that you gave them. So the best way to avoid this is to pay with the exact amount of money that they ask you, so no need for change and make sure you write the serial numbers from all the notes on a peace of paper.
This old merchant quarter in between lakes offers its visitors a glimpse in the past: you can walk around or ride in a rickshaw and enjoy authentic sceneries of preserved streets during the day, enjoy a tour with tasting tea, snacks and traditional opera in Mansion of Prince Gong; or you can stop by to the near Hou Hai Bar Street in the evening, to experience an unforgettable nighttime in Beijing that combines traditional scenery of lanterns on the lake with modern type of fun in bars, or, if you choose, a traditional one in a tea house.
The Chinese government blocks most of the internet communications such as Google (gmail), Facebook, Instagram, Youtube etc. It is wise before you visit the country to download a VPN application at your phone in order to be able to connect.
We recommend “Express VPN” because it is compatible with the Chinese Internet platform. https://www.expressvpn.info
798 Art District got its name after one of the factories included in former factory district designed by Eastern Germans during the ‘50ties, and this area changed its purpose many times, until it was recently obtained by artistic community and became the synonym for art in Beijing. This is a complex of galleries, shops, cafes, bars and restaurants that is very modern and popular, usually very crowded during the weekend, where you can see some of the best contemporary art pieces in China, but also just enjoy the buzz of the place and artists and art lovers who are wondering around.
Open: most galleries are open from 11:00AM-07:00PM, and closed on Mondays
Price: Varies; for precise information about opening hours and admission fees check the official websitehttps://www.798district.com/