There are a few capital cities in the world that are simple yet enigmatic. Beijing is one of them. With a 1000-year-old history and culture, well-preserved, there is no place as fascinating as Beijing!
Sprawling imperial gardens, historical landmarks, and magnificent temples – the capital city of China has all quaint qualities of the old world.
There are plenty of things to do, tons of places to visit, and numerous experiences to have in Beijing. We have narrowed down to 7 experiences that you must cherish in this wonderful city.
1. Wander the Summer Palace
When visiting Beijing, the Summer Palace should be on the top of your to-do list. One of the best places to visit in Beijing, the Summer Palace is a well-preserved imperial garden. Built in 1750, this UNESCO World Heritage Site served as a summer retreat for the royal families. The Summer Palace consists of beautiful pagodas, grand palaces, lush gardens, and a huge man-made lake. Keep half a day at hand to see the beauty of this place in its entirety.
2. Spiritual healing at the Yonghe Lama Temple
The Harmony and Peace Palace Lamasery or the Lama Temple is the largest Tibetan Buddhist temple in Beijing. Built during the Qing Dynasty in the late 1600s, this temple is quite popular among Buddhist worshipers. The highlight is the large statue of Buddha, carved out of a single piece of sandalwood. Do not miss the 500-Arhat-Hill and the Three Bronze Buddhas from the Past, Present, and Future, while paying a visit to the Lama Temple.
3. Take a stroll around Beihai Park
One of largest and the oldest imperial gardens in China – Beihai Park or the Northern Sea Park is a favourite among the locals. With over 1000-year-old history, the park covers 71 hectares of land. There are plenty of bridges, pavilions, and gardens – making it the perfect place to relax. Jade Flower Island, Chanfu Temple, and the Five-Dragon Pavillion is a must-see in Beihai Park. On a regular day, you can find the locals exercising, meditating, or simply enjoying the tranquility of the place.
4. Explore the charming “Hutongs” of Beijing
If you want to experience the authentic Beijing, explore its “hutongs“. Hutongs are the narrow alleyways connecting various traditional courtyard houses – they are basically the suburbs of Beijing. Wander these alleys on a bicycle, taste authentic local food, shop at quaint stores, and enjoy the suburban Beijing life. Visiting the hutongs is definitely one of the top things to do in Beijing.
5. Experience the nightlife of Sanlitun
A party animal in Beijing can be easily spotted in the lively neighbourhood of Sanlitun. It’s “the” place to hangout and enjoy the nightlife. The party haven of local youth and expats – Sanlitun is brimming with pubs, bars, restaurants, and shopping malls. Looking for a place to let your hair down? Sanlitun is the address!
6. Marvel at the Tiananmen Square
On October 1, 1949, at this very place, Mao Zedong founded People’s Republic of China; it’s the most important place for any Chinese citizen. Anytime of the year, the square is filled with tourists and locals alike, making it one of the top Beijing tourist attractions. The must-see landmarks at the Tiananmen Square include the Great Hall of the People, Monument to the People’s Heroes, and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong.
7. Shop for antiques at the Panjiayuan Market
If you have 2 days in Beijing, then make sure you visit the Panjiayuan Market. From arts and crafts to artifacts – this massive flea market is an experience in itself. With over 3000 plus dealers and over 50,000 visitors per day, there is anything and everything you can find in here. Though open throughout the week, weekends are much more interesting. Brush up your bargaining skills and do compare prices with the other dealers before settling in for a deal.
Some of you might find this list incomplete without the mention of the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven – we have it all covered in our blog 10 Must-Have Experiences In China. Check it out!