City Guide: Beijing
Beijing is not only the capital of China, but also one of the most interesting cities in terms of sightseeing and tourism in the whole region. In this city guide, we’ll explain what you need to see in Beijing and why visiting is such a great experience!
There are a lot of highlights in Beijing and I’ll focus on the city itself in this guide as I’ll have a special post about the Chinese Wall online in a couple of weeks. I’ve decided to go that way as I think that Beijing itself has more than enough to offer to justify just writing about it. That said, let’s get into the highlights of visiting Beijing!
The famous Forbidden City in Beijing
There’s no doubt that visiting the Forbidden City in Beijing is one of the real highlights of paying the city a visit. You are entering through the Meridian Gate, which is impressive in itself.
Once inside, you’ll find one of the most opulent buildings I’ve seen in some time, the Hall of Supreme Harmony, which is just massive and really impressive – it’s like a different version of the Pyramides of Gizeh.
Obviously, there are many people here regardless of the time you are visiting, but you can surely take impressive pictures nevertheless. It’s also worth having a close look as the following structures might look similiar, but they are all different.
Speaking of which, there are a couple of other noteworthy buildings, which were all built during different times and reigns and thus have a slightly different style. For example, there’s the Gate of Supreme Harmony.
Not any less impressive is the smaller Hall of Preserving Harmony, which has a really distinctive style.
I could go on about a couple of more particular buildings, but I think that it’s worth exploring this place on its own. Let me tell you that there’s so much more to see and it’s really worth it!
Just wander around the Forbidden City and you’ll find beautiful buildings, interesting art and much more. It’s definitely one of the highlights in all over China.
When in Beijing, visiting the Forbidden City is definitely a must, in my opinion.
Tiananmen Square & the Imperial Ancestral Temple Beijing
Around the Forbidden City, you can find various further important sights of Beijing. Just by the entrance, there’s the Imperial Ancestral Temple Beijing, which could well be part of the Forbidden City, too. It’s a really beautiful temple in a similiar style as the palace.
Yet, what I particularly liked about this structure are the gardens, which are totally beautiful.
When in the area, you can also explore some hutongs, traditional Chinese houses.
Another spot not far away that’s supposedly a must-visit in Beijing, is Tinanmen Square.
Here, you can see the Tiananmen, which is known as the entrance to the Forbidden City.
The square itself is quite nice as well, but it’s not a spot that’s on the same level as other sights in Beijing. Sure, there are a couple of noteworthy structures as well, for example the National Museum of China.
You can hardly oversee the Great Hall of the People either.
The Mausoleum of Mao Zedong is also supposed to be one of the sights here.
In general, I didn’t find the sights around Tiananmen that special. It’s nice to have a look at those, but it’s no must to go here, in my opinion. For example, I liked the Clock Tower, which you can see from here more.
The Railway Museum just around the corner also has a really nice historic charme.
Nevertheless, this wouldn’t be an area I would visit if I’d just have a day in Beijing. However, you can easily combine Tiananmen with visiting the Forbidden City, so it might be worth it after all.
The unique Temple of Heaven in Beijing
The second sight in Beijing, which I think is a real must-see is the Temple of Heaven, which is located a little further South from the Forbidden City.
Not only is the Temple of Heaven itself really beautiful and quite different to the Forbidden City, but the whole area is really nice.
For example, you can find several nice buildings, which are worth having a look at.
Then you can enjoy a nice view of the skyline of Beijing.
More importantly though, there’s a really lovely garden, which I enjoyed tremendously.
For example, look at these incredible flowers!
There are also a couple other noteworthy structures in the extensive gardens, including the West Annex Hall, which you can visit as well.
Personally, I really enjoyed the Wanshou Pavillon, which is just unique and very nice.
There’s a lot more to see here, but I think that you can already understand why visiting this area of Beijing really is worth it!
The fascinating Summer Palace Beijing
The third sight in Beijing, which you can’t miss, is the Summer Palace. It’s located in the North-West of the city, a little outside of the city center.
This also means that it’s really big space with a huge garden, which is a highlight in itself.
That might also be the reason that I actually enjoyed walking through the gardens the most.
There’s also a somewhat historic inspired shopping area called ‘Suzhou Street’.
No doubt, the Summer Palace Beijing itself is fascinating, too.
There are several different structures located on the highest point of the park.
This means that you can enjoy really beautiful views of the so-called Kunming Lake.
The different designs and styles of buildings are really interesting as well, but the Summer Palace itself was just really crowded when I visited.
That also made walking along the Kunming Lake a little less enjoy than it could be. Nevertheless, it’s still really nice to walk here and just enjoy the views.
Even though my visit was a little more strenous due to the incredible crowds, I still think that visiting the Summer Palace Beijing is a real must.
Wangfujing, the Olympic Park and other areas in Beijing
There’s a lot more to see in Beijing, which is why I’ll just briefly go through some other things I enjoyed. First of all, there’s the Olympic Park, which has the National Stadion for example.
Here, you can also find the so-called Olympic Forest Park, which is a huge park with various lakes, little islands and much more – a very enjoyable spot to escape the crowds.
Another nice park, which is just an example for several more smaller parks, is the Tuanjiehu Park, located on the 3rd Ring Road.
If you are into shopping, you should definitely go to Wangfujing, which is the main shopping area in Beijing. It’s also not far away from Tiananmen and the Forbidden City.
Other than that, I thought that visiting the Chinese Ethnic Culture Park can be an interesting experience if you are into culture.
As I’ve said before, there’s way more to see in Beijing and around, but I think this already gives you a good impression of why vistiing Beijing is really worth it.
Overall impressions of Beijing
Before visiting Beijing, I didn’t really know what to expect of the city. Suffice to say, I was really impressed. The Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace are each spots, which are so huge that you could spend days just visiting those. Then there are various more interesting areas to see and various highlights around the city as well. So, even if Beijing hasn’t been on your travel map yet, it should be now!
Do you have any questions about Beijing? Feel free to ask or share your impressions in the comments!