Are you visiting Beijing for the first time? Check out our Beijing travel guide that provides essential information on Time, Eating and more.
Beijing, the cultural and political center of the People’s Republic of China, attracts a lot of tourists with its motley mix of the old and new. With a history spanning three millennia, the significant role of the city in shaping China makes it important that you begin your exploration of China with Beijing.
From exploring the city’s traditional palaces and modern architecture to sampling its signature Peking Duck and enjoying the Peking Opera, there’s so much to see and do in this global city. But before you go, check out our Beijing travel guide for first-time travellers!
Currency: Renminbi (RMB)
Seasons: 4. Spring (April — May)
Summer (June — August)
Autumn (September— October)
Winter (November — March)
Main Airport: Beijing Capital International Airport
Beijing travel guide: Ideal time to plan a trip to Beijing
Summers in Beijing are usually characterized by hot and humid climatic conditions, whereas winters are cold, dry, and windy. Spring (April-May) and Autumn (September-October) are the best seasons to visit Beijing. The fall, especially the October month — beautiful with the changing colors of nature and pleasant weather — is perfect for sightseeing! If you wish to avoid crowds, it is advisable not to plan your Beijing trip around the Chinese National Day Holidays (from 1st to 7th October) and Spring Festival (between late January to mid-February).
Getting around Beijing
This sprawling capital city of China offers many transportation options – public buses, trains, subway, taxi, bicycle rentals. Beijing’s ultramodern subway system is the cheapest and the most convenient mode of transportation in the city. Metered taxis are also available, but not all drivers speak English (so our Beijing travel guide recommends that you have your destination written down in Chinese characters on a piece of paper to show them).
Rental bicycles are the best options to explore Hutong neighbourhoods. Beijing also boasts an impressive rail network of high-speed trains that connect the city to the other parts of China. You can take an Airport Express train or airport shuttle bus or taxi to get into the city after your flight to Beijing lands at PEK airport.
Best places to eat in Beijing
This section of our Beijing travel guide lists the best dining options in the city, for we know that ‘food’ is indispensably associated with the exploration of any new place. Beijing’s several restaurants not only specialize in authentic local cuisine, but their rich menu that includes signature dishes of neighboring provinces is truly a delight for foodies! You’ll also find many Western restaurants and Asian restaurants in Beijing.
The must-try local dishes when you are in Beijing are the famous Peking Duck and dumplings. The best places to eat Peking Duck are Qian Jude Roast Duck and Li Qun Roast Duck Restaurant. Gorge on the lip-smacking dumpling at Baoyuan Dumpling Restaurant, Din Tai Fung, or Qing-Feng Steamed Dumpling Shop.
Drop-in at House of Shine or Shanshui Jian Yang-Xiezi for Chinese hot pot, Mian or Bei 27 Hao or Hai Di Lao or Xifu Noodle House for noodle varieties. If you’re a vegetarian, don’t get disappointed; the popular veg restaurants are King’s Joy, Jingsi Vegetarian Restaurant, Haiwanju, Baihe Vegetarian Restaurant and Ganges Indian Restaurant.
Beijing travel guide: Things to do in the city
The Great Wall of China: Visiting the Great Wall of China is understandably the top priority of every first-time traveller to Beijing. Hiking the Great Wall is a one-of-a-kind experience you shouldn’t miss!
Forbidden City: This best-preserved imperial palace, a stunning example of Chinese architecture, is the largest ancient palace complex in the world. Tour the Forbidden City to get a glimpse of the history, culture, and traditional architecture of China.
Tian’anmen Square: Situated across from Forbidden City, Tian’anmen Square is the largest Public square in the world. Surrounded by Soviet-style buildings, it is one of the most important historical attractions in China.
Hutongs: A network of narrow alleyways lined with traditional courtyard houses and shops; this is where you need to go to experience the old-world charm in Beijing.
Summer Palace: Regarded as the ‘masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design’, Summer Palace is a beautiful complex of palaces, gardens, pagodas, temples, waterways, and bridges.
The 798 Arts District: Check out Beijing’s contemporary art scene by going art gallery-hopping in the streets of the 798 Arts District.
Temple of Heaven: This temple complex is one of the top tourist attractions in Beijing known for its unique architecture and religious significance.
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