The capital of the peoples Republic of China, Beijing perfectly combines the ancient and the modern, with buildings celebrating it’s cultural past nestling amongst modern architecture befitting a city full of economic and political power.
The 2008 Olympic Games ensured that the eyes of the world were on Beijing, watching it proudly take it’s place as one of the worlds finest tourist destinations. China is changing and no destination showcases these changes more than Beijing.
Where to Stay
A vibrant and exciting city Beijing is full of luxury hotels, fashionable stores and trendy nightspots. Once a popular backpacking destination the city offers accommodation to suit any budget, ranging from youth hostels to five star luxury. Refurbishments in time for the Olympic Games ensured that the cities hotels are both plentiful and well maintained.
Basic rooms can be found at the Tian Rui Hotel, but don’t let the budget price put you off, situated in the traditional WangFuJing district, the rooms in this hotel are both clean and fresh with WiFi and air conditioning. Just over 1km from both Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City this hotel is the perfect base for sightseeing around the city.
The PentaHotel offers a more modern alternative, attached to the New World Shopping Centre this hotel has terrific subway links into the rest of the city. The rooms in the hotel are comfortable and well maintained with flat panel televisions and high speed internet access, other hotel facilities include a pool and sauna.
For those wanting pure luxury and opulence the 5star Sofitel Wanda Beijing, offers 417 rooms and 43 suites, all designed to bring together French design and Chinese tradition. The wide range of restaurants offers a variety of excellent cuisines including Chinese and Japanese. A luxurious hotel with a beauty that will take your breath away.
Where to Eat
Beijing is all about the food, from street food to high end restaurants it has it all. All the favourite Chinese foods of the west are readily available, as are some slightly less recognisable local delicacies. Restaurants designed for tourists may give you the comfort of familiar food but to experience the true food culture head to the restaurants favoured by the locals.
Whether you want dim sum appetisers or a large banquet, the taste of Beijing will satisfy your palate.No trip to Beijing would be complete without tasting the most famous dish of all, Beijing Roast Duck served with pancakes and plum sauce. For traditional quality head to the Quanjude Beijing Duck Restaurant. Visit the Qianmen Branch in the Chongwen District, which with it’s 150 year history has seen many famous faces passing through its doors.For traditional street food take a trip to the Guijie/Ghost Road District, running from East to West along Dongzhimen Street the street vendors compete with more traditional restaurants for your business.. Follow the lead of the locals, they will head the the best and safest places to eat. Ghost Road isn’t just a food experience it is a slice of Chinese culture.
What to Do
Visit the Forbidden City Imperial Palace Complex, this awe inspiring piece of architecture is beautifully preserved. This 9,999 room complex is still guarded by the deep moat and high walls, giving you a glimpse of genuine Chinese tradition and history.
No visit to Beijing would be complete without a visit to a temple, for both the history and the feeling of tranquillity. Highly recommended is the Temple of Confucius – as the greatest thinker and educator of Ancient China it is only fitting that the Confucius Temple is truly magnificent. Built in 1302 this temple has been a place of worship throughout the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, until the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911.
Leave the city and travel 40 miles North to the Badaling section of the Great Wall of China, your reward is the spectacular view that this well preserved piece of history offers. At over 1000 metres high this structure, classed as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, offers amazing views coupled with the history of both bravery and despair.
When to Visit
The long hot summers can be humid with temperatures exceeding 40F and the winters can be harsh, making the months of September and October the ideal time for travel. During these months the humidity will have decreased but the temperature is still pleasantly inviting, similar conditions can also be expected during the spring months but sandstorms may diminish the air quality.