Beijing Travel Guide
" Everything you need to know before traveling to Beijing "
Beijing is the home of history and culture in China. The three great dynasties including Yuan, the Ming, and the Qing ruled the country from ancient Beijing. Any historical landmarks in the city such as The Great Wall, The Summer Palace, and Tian’anmen Square can be enough reason for history lovers to visit this city.
The city will not be good only for tradition and history lovers. In Beijing, chī le ma? (have you eaten?) is the way locals greet their neighbors, so you should expect a fantastic food culture in this city. If you don’t have enough time to visit all cities of China, don’t worry! Beijing offers food from all over the country; from hot and spicy dishes of southern China to the famous Peking Duck in the north.
In great and historical civilizations, like China, art plays a very important role in culture forming. In Beijing, the art is a highlight for the city; from Peking Opera, which is a great demonstration of contemporary art, to Kong Fu, handcrafts, etc. help visitors to understand and learn about folk and ancient culture of this metropolitan
Local Name 北京市 (/ˌbeɪˈdʒɪŋ/ BAY-JING)
Population (2018) 21,500,000
Time Zone UTC+8 (China Standard)
Area Code 10
Why Visiting Beijing?
Beijing offers a combination of old and new! While you are visiting the old and historical sites, you can enjoy the modern metropolitan. Beijing has 3,000 years of history and 800 years as the national capital.
Beijing is one of the six ancient cities in China. There are countless historic sites in the city and some of them are world recorded constructions. Among them, these items are notable.
- The Great Wall: The largest man-made structure in the world
- The Forbidden City: The Largest and best-preserved ancient palatial structure in the world
- Tian’anmen Square: The Largest City Square in the world
If you want to experience the abundant history and culture of Beijing, then find your way to the famous Hutongs of Beijing. Visiting the alleys will not only give you an overlook of the ancient Beijing, but you will also gain information about how their old life was and how their traditions and culture were developed. Hutongs are folk-custom museums, which present a window through the ancient lifestyle in Beijing.
Large metropolitans in the world have a combination of old buildings such as temples and new constructions such as skyscrapers. Beijing has the same feature and you will be stunned by this combination.
Chinese food and especially in Beijing are exceptional. Peking Duck and Dumplings are among the must-eats of the city. Besides, you can find restaurants, which serve the mouthwatering local cuisines of other parts of China. Also, you will definitely love street food in the street markets of Beijing.
Modern and ancient markets
Beijing offers a mixture of traditional and modern indoor and outdoor markets. Among traditional shopping districts, Wangfujing Street and Qianmen Street are notable offering local specialties such as antiques, silk, pearls, etc.
Nightlife in Beijing is not so much different from western countries. There are so many activities at night in Beijing. You can have an exciting time in night clubs of Beijing or get relaxed in well-decorated bars. Besides, there are lots of performances such as Peking Opera, which should not be missed by any visitors in Beijing.
Various Accommodation Options
Tourists will not have any problem with finding suitable accommodation depending on their budget and their factors. Hotels, star-rated hotels, hostels, and inns are prepared for tourists.
You can have a direct flight to Beijing from many international airlines (listed in the transportation section). Besides, Beijing has a very convenient public transportation covering almost all parts of the city. 23 metro lines, as well as fleets of buses, help you to get around the city without any problem.
Foreigners who come to Beijing, usually make friends with locals as they are very kind and hospitable. Learning a few Chinese can help you in your trip; however, there is a huge number of locals who can speak English fluently in Beijing.
What to See in Beijing
- 798 Art Zone
- Altar of Earth and
- Bailin Temple
- Baliqiao (Eight Mile Bridge)
- Beihai Park
- Beijing Ancient Observatory
- Beijing Art Museum
- Beijing Botanical Garden
- Beijing central business district
- Beijing Exhibition Center
- Beijing Financial Street
- Beijing Liao and Jin City Wall Museum
- Beijing Museum of Natural History
- Beijing National Stadium
- Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall
- Bell Tower and Drum Tower
- Big Bell Temple
- Capital Museum
- Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception
- Chanfu Temple
- Changchun Temple
- Chaoyang Park
- Cheng’en Temple
- China Railway Museum
- Chinese Aviation Museum
- Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Beijing
- Confucius Temple
- Dabaotai Western Han Dynasty
- Dahui Temple
- Ditan Park
- Dongyue Temple
- Fahai Temple
- Fayuan Temple
- Forbidden City (World Heritage Site)
- Fragrant Hills
- Geological Museum of China
- Grandview Garden
- Guanghua Temple
- Guangji Temple
- Guozijian (Imperial College)
- Haidian Park
- Haotian Pagoda
- Hutongs of Beijing
- Honglingjin Park
- Hongluo Temple
- Huguang Guild Hall
- Imperial Ancestral Temple
- Jietai Temple
- Jingshan Park
- Longtan Park
- Marco Polo Bridge and the Wanping Fortress
- Miaoying Temple
- Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution
- Ming City Wall Relics Park
- Ming tombs (World Heritage Site)
- National Aquatic Center
- National Art Museum of China
- National Museum of China
- New CCTV Tower
- Niujie Mosque
- Old Summer Palace
- Olympic Green
- Pagoda of Cishou Temple
- Pagoda of Tianning Temple
- Palace Museum
- Paleozoological Museum of China
- Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian (World Heritage Site)
- Prince Chun Mansion
- Prince Gong Mansion
- Purple Bamboo Park
- Qingnianhu Park
- Ritan Park
- Silk Street
- St. Joseph’s Church, Beijing
- Summer Palace (World Heritage Site)
- Tanzhe Temple
- Taoranting Park
- Temple of Agriculture
- Temple of Azure Clouds
- Temple of Earth
- Temple of Heaven (World Heritage Site)
- Temple of Moon
- Temple of the Sun
- The Great Wall
- Tiananmen Square
- Tiantan Park
- Tuancheng Fortress
- Wangfujing Church
- Wanshou Temple
- Western Zhou Yan State Capital Museum
- White Cloud Temple
- Wofo Temple
- World Park
- Wuzuolou Forest Park
- Xishiku Church
- Yuan Center
- Yuetan Park
- Yunju Temple
- Zhengyici Peking Opera Theatre
- Zhenjue Temple
- Zhihua Temple
- Zhongshan Park
Best Time to Visit Beijing
Beijing has four different seasons and tourists can experience windy weather in spring, hot and rainy weather in summer, awesome and pleasant weather in autumn as well as long chilly weather in winter. The best time for visiting Beijing is from September to October.
Spring (April – May)
- Temperature: 3°C (37°F ) – 13°C (55°F)
- Features: windy and dry, with great temperature difference between day and night
- Recommendation: Be prepared for sandstorms especially in the morning and at nights.
What to wear?
Bring lightweight clothing, long-sleeved shirts, T-shirts, one or two jackets and sweaters. The weather temperature is very different from day to night, so pack warm clothes for nights.
Summer (June - August)
- Temperature: 30 C (86 F) – 40 C (104 F)
- Features: Hot, Humid, and Rainy
- Recommendation: Check Weather Forecast
What to wear?
Bring linen shirts, thin skirts, thin T-shirts and other breathable clothes as well as a raincoat or umbrella for rainy weather. Also, don’t forget to bring sunglasses and sunscreen as you may face high-level UV.
- Temperature: 15°C (59°F) – 25°C (77°F)
- Features: The best season and the most beautiful and pleasant time
- Recommendation: In late October, you should be prepared for cold and even freezing weather.
What to wear?
Long-sleeved shirts and thin coats are suitable for this season. Also, long skirts and thin sweaters, windbreakers, casual clothes, jackets, suits, etc. are recommended.
Winter (November - March)
- Temperature: 5 °C (41°F) – 5°C (23°F)
- Features: Very cold and dry
- Recommendation: Drink more water and decrease long outdoor activities
What to wear?
Bring wool sweaters and thick down coats. If you are a winter sports lover, you can enjoy skiing in ski resorts in Beijing. In winter, you can enjoy the Chinese new year holiday as well
How Long To Stay?
The decision about the duration of your stay in Beijing might depend on many factors such as your timeline, budget, and must-see destinations. However, the shortest time you need to cover the essentials of Beijing is 2-3 full days.
Either you want to go to Badaling, or Mutianyu to visit the great wall of China, it is suggested that you allocate a full day to that. The next day would be enough to cover some of the most famous attractions such as Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and the temple of heaven. If you are looking at a more relaxed and in-depth visit, there are hundreds of things to do in Beijing and you can easily spend a week without getting bored.
Things to do in Beijing
Climb the Great Wall
The Great Wall is one of the Seven Wonders of the World in 2007 and classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987 with 2,500 years of history. The wall has 21,196 km of length and contains many sections. Some of these sections are restored and some of them are original. You can choose easy sections such as Mutianyu. Climbing and hiking the great wall is the most famous activity for tourists.
Explore the Forbidden City
Forbidden city, known as the Palace Museum and Gu Gong in Chinese, is the palatial heart of China functioned as the imperial palace for the 24 emperors of Ming and King Dynasties (1368-1911). Nowadays, the palace is located in the north of Tiananmen Square, another famous tourist spot in Beijing. The palace has a rectangular shape covering a total of 74 hectares making it the largest palace complex in the world. It’s surrounded by a 52-meter-wide moat and a 10-meter-high wall.
Discover the Temple of Heaven
Temple of Heaven is where the emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) used to hold their Heaven Worship Ceremony. It is considered the largest and the best sample among China’s ancient sacrificial buildings. Temple of heaven is also known as the holiest palace of China. The park around the temple has a regular function in which, people do their morning activities such as exercising, playing chess, dancing, etc.
Enjoy Rickshaw Ride in Hutongs of Beijing
If you want to experience the amazing history and culture of Beijing, don’t forget to visit the famous old lanes, known as Hutongs of Beijing. Visiting hutongs will not only give you an overlook of ancient Beijing, but you will also help you gain a better understanding of how their old life was and how their traditions and culture were developed. Houses in Hutongs are connected making communication and more easy in the community. Tourists who enter a Hutong can immediately feel the warmth relationships among its people, which is rare now in the fast-paced modern world. You can explore the lanes with the traditional way of transportation in ancient China called Rickshaw
Learn Cooking from Locals
When you are exploring Hutongs, you can join locals and learn to cook traditional Beijing dishes and therefore, have a much better experience in your trip.
Try Beijing Roast Duck
Eating the roast duck in Beijing is a must when you travel to China. Peking duck, also known to the Chinese people as “Beijing Kaoya”, is a popular and delicious dish with a long history in the country’s cuisine, culture, and even customs.
Walk in the Summer Palace
The Summer Palace is the world’s best-preserved imperial garden displaying Chinese horticulture and landscape with popular natural views and cultural interests constructed in 1750 during the Qing dynasty era. You can also take a boat in Kunming Lake to enjoy the landscape and make most of it.
See and Enjoy Peking Opera
Peking Opera, also known as Beijing Opera, is the largest opera performance in mainland China with over 160 years of history. Opera is a fantastic art for integrating music, performance, literature, aria, and even face-painting. Combining virtual and reality which is a special tactic of expression makes the opera largely free from the constraint of time and space in stage performance.
Buy Souvenir in antique markets
There are lots of street markets selling souvenirs as well as old arts and crafts. Panjiayuan Antique Market is the most famous and the largest antique market in China. Cloisonné, ivory carvings, jade pieces, lacquer carvings, antiques, freshwater pearls, and many other local specialties are sold here. If you want to see other antique markets as well, visit Xiushui Street and Liulichang Street as well
Enjoy the 798 Art District
Located in the Dashanzi zone on the North-East corner of Beijing, The 798 Art Zone or Dashanzi Art District (DAD) is the center of modern art, which has grown to be the exhibition center of China’s culture and art, as well as the world-famous cultural and innovative industries centralized area. *798 Photo Gallery, 798 space, Lord of Salt, At Café, Vincent Café, etc. are must-sees of the zone.
Be amazed by Beijing Kung Fu Show
China is the land of Kong Fu and you can see the best performance of the country in Beijing Kong Fu show known as The Legend of Kung Fu show. The show is performed by the best Kung Fu practitioners of China. Kung Fu show is a mixture of traditional martial arts and modern theatre performed in the famous Red Theater of Beijing.
Explore Beihai Park
Beihai Park is one of the largest and one of the best-preserved imperial gardens located in the heart of Beijing with over 1,000 years of history. Park is a fantastic tourist spot in Beijing because of two main reasons. Firstly, it’s a perfect combination of northern garden grandiosity and southern garden refinement and secondly, it has a classic integration of stunning royal palaces and serene religious constructions. More than half of the park is covered by the lake. White Dagoba, Hao Pu Creek Garden, Quiet Heart Studio, and Nine Dragon Screen are among the attractions inside the park.
Visit Yonghe Temple
Yonghe Temple (aka the Yonghe Lamasery and The Yonghe Lama Temple) is the biggest and most well-preserved lamasery in China, which is also known as the Harmony and Peace Lamasery because of its atmosphere built in 1694 during Qing dynasty era. The function of the temple has changed formally from a dwelling to a lamasery in 1744. You can also buy souvenirs from here.
Experience Nightlife in Sanlitun
Sanlitun is a famous district in Beijing filled with countless clubs, bars, and shopping malls. You can enjoy dancing in bars and parties or try cocktails in a quiet bar while listening to a piece of music.
Admire Beijing Olympic Park
As you may know, the 2008 Olympics held in Beijing. The Olympic park of Beijing is still open to the public to enjoy the architecture and atmosphere. The park was constructed to hold 10 venues, the Olympic Village, and other buildings needed for the Olympics operations. To boost Tourism, the sites were transformed into a complete multi-functional activity center for the city’s locals and visitors. Over 36 km of unwrapped steel with the 49,600 tons weight have been used in Beijing National Stadium.
See Amazing Pandas in Beijing Zoo
China is the home of the giant pandas. The main hub of Panda is Chengdu; however, you can find one of the best group of Pandas in Beijing zoo as well. Beijing Aquarium is another attraction of the zoo.
Try Local Snacks in Beijing
Visiting Beijing is not complete without trying local snacks in Beijing. Fried dough rings, doornail pasties, sugarcoated haws, and ‘rolling donkeys’ are some of the most famous snacks in the city. You can find and try these snacks in Nanluoguxiang, Ghost Street, and Wangfujing Snack Street.
Where to Stay in Beijing
Beijing is one of the 10 largest cities in the world. If you don’t choose the best location, you will face lots of problems with reaching tourist sites and you will get stuck in huge traffic jams.
If you are a first-time traveler, Wangfujing (王府井) area will be a great choice for you as it’s located close to the many landmarks of the city like Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.
Houhai （后海）or Nanluoguxiang（南锣鼓巷）Area are located near each other. If you choose here to stay, you will have a convenient accommodation. This location is close to many old and new attractions such as Hutongs, Lama Temple, Bell and Drum Towers as well as the Science & Technology Museum, the Olympic Sites, etc.
Qianmen Area is the historical center of Beijing with great access to many attractions and shopping districts of the city. Here, you can find a wide range of accommodation options depending on your budget.
How to Get to Beijing
Beijing has the largest transportation network of China. The largest airport, the biggest railway system, and the biggest city bus network are located here. The same is true for intercity transportation. As Beijing suffers from major traffic jams, it’s highly recommended to use public transportation such as metro.
There are two passenger airports in Beijing.
1. Capital International Airport (PEK)
The largest airport in China is called Capital International Airport located in the northeast of the city. Known as the “First Door of China”, the airport is the only one in Asia- Pacific, which has two control towers, three terminals, and three runways. Over 90 airlines and 1,400 flights from 223 domestic and international destinations have flights to this airport. It’s located in West Jichang Road, Shunyi District, 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) northeast of the city center.
Terminals: The airport has three main terminals:
- Terminal 1 (domestic flights)
- Terminal 2 (domestic and international flights)
- Terminal 3 (domestic and international flights)
International airlines with direct flight to Beijing Capital Airport:
- Air Algerie (AH)
- Air Astana (KC)
- Air Canada (AC)
- Air France (AF)
- Air Koryo (JS)
- Air Leisure (AL)
- Air Macau (NX)
- Air Mauritius Limited (MK)
- Alitalia (AZ)
- American Airlines Inc. (AA)
- ANA Airlines (NH)
- Asia Airlines (D7)
- Asiana Airlines (OZ)
- Austrian Airlines (OS)
- Azerbaijan Airline CJSC (J2)
- BR Eva Air (BR)
- Cambodia Angkor Air (K6)
- Cathay Pacific (CX)
- Cebu Pacific Air (5J)
- Delta Air Lines (DL)
- Deutsche Lufthansa Airlines (LH)
- Donghai Airlines (DZ)
- Dragonair (KA)
- Dynamic Airways LLC (2D)
- Egypt Airlines (MS)
- Emirates Airlines (EK)
- Ethiopian Airlines Share Co. (ET)
- Etihad Airways (EY)
- Finnair (AY)
- Garuda Indonesia Airlines (GA)
- Globus Airlines (GH)
- Hawaiian Airlines (HA)
- Hong Kong Airlines (HX)
- Iran National Airlines (IR)
- Israel Airlines (LY)
- Japan Airlines (JL)
- Jeju Air (7C)
- JSC Airline Taimyr (Y7)
- JSC Aurora Airlines (HZ)
- Klm Royal Dutch Airlines (KL)
- Korean Airlines (KE)
- LOT Polish Airlines (LO)
- Mahan Air (W5)
- Malaysia Airlines (MH)
- Mega Global Air Services (Maldives) (LV)
- Mongolia Airlines (OM)
- Nordwind Airlines (N4)
- Philippine Airlines (PR)
- PIA (PK)
- Qantas Airways Limited (QF)
- Qatar Airlines (QR)
- Russian International Airlines (SU)
- S7 Airlines (S7)
- Scandinavian Airlines (SK)
- Singapore Airlines (SQ)
- Sky Angkor Airlines (ZA)
- Sri Lanka Airlines (UL)
- Swiss international Airlines (LX)
- TAAG (DT)
- Tajik Air (7J)
- Thai Airways International (TG)
- Transaero Airlines (UN)
- Turkish Airlines (TK)
- Turkmenistan Airlines (T5)
- Ukraine International Airlines (PS)
- United Airlines (UA)
- Ural Airlines (U6)
- Uzbekistan Airlines (HY)
- Vietnam Airlines (VN)
- Vim Airline (NN)
- Yukutia Airlines (R3)
2. Daxing International Airport (PKX)
There is another newer airport in Beijing which is called Daxing International Airport. It is located 53 km from southern Beijing and has only 100 air routes.
Address: between Lixian Town and Yufa Town of Daxing District, 53 kilometers (33 miles) south of Beijing city center.
Beijing has the largest railway network in China. Jingjiu Railway from Beijing to Kowloon in Hong Kong, Jinghu Railway to Shanghai, Jingguang Railway to Guangzhou, and Jingha Railway to Harbin, etc. are the main railways from Beijing. In recent years, high-speed railways from Beijing to Shanghai and Guangzhou have also established. With the help of high-speed trains, passengers can reach Shanghai only in 4.5 hours and Guangzhou in 8 hours.
The city has 20 bus stations among which, 10 stations are located downtown including Liuliqiao Passenger Transportation Junction, Bawangfen Long-distance Bus Station, Lianhuachi Bus Station, Dongzhimen Long-Distance Bus Station, etc.
Get Around In Beijing
There are 23 Metro lines in Beijing covering almost every part of the city. Subway is the most time saving and the best mean of transportation for the busy Beijing with its unbearable traffic jams.
- Line 1: (East-West Line), Sihuidong – Pingguoyuan
- Line 2: (Circle Line): It is a line running beneath the 2nd Ring Road
- Line 4: Anheqiao North – Gongyixiqiao
- Line 5: Tiantongyuan North– Songjiazhuang (north to south)
- Line 6: Jin’anqiao – Lucheng (west to east)
- Line 7: Beijing West Railway Station – Huazhuang
- Line 8:
- North Section: Zhuxinzhuang – National Art Museum of China
- South Section: Zhushikou – Yinghai
- Line 9: Guogongzhuang – National Library
- Line 10: Circle Line from Bagou to Huoqiying
- Line 13: Xizhimen – Dongzhimen
- Line 14:
- West Section: Zhangguozhuang – Xiju
- Middle & East Sections: Shan’gezhuang – South Railway Station
- Line 15: Qinghuadongluxikou – Fengbo
- Line 16: Bei’anhe – Xiyuan
- Line S1: Shichang – Jin’anqiao
- Batong Line: Sihui – Huazhuang
- Daxing Line: Gongyi Xiqiao – Tiangongyuan
- Yizhuang Line: Songjiazhuang- Yizhuang Train Station
- Changping Line: Xierqi – Changping Xishankou
- Fangshan Line: Guogongzhuang – Yancun East
- Yanfang Line: Yanshan – Yancun East
- Western Suburban Line: Xiangshan – Bagou
- Airport Express: Beijing Capital Airport – Sanyuanqiao – Dongzhimen
- Beijing New Airport Line: Caoqiao – Daxing New City – Daxing Airport Terminal Building
There are over 1,200 bus lines in Beijing including regular downtown lines, suburban lines, night lines, and intercity lines. Also, tourist Bus Center Provides tourist buses to most of the major attractions in Beijing such as Forbidden City, Summer Palace, and Ming Tombs.
67,000 taxis are working in Beijing with a fee of 13 CNY for the first 3 km. Drivers calculate the fee with the help of meter, especially for downtown travelers.
There are over 86,000 public bicycles in docking stations and over 2.3 million dockless sharing bikes. People between 18-65 years old and over 1.3 m can rent the bike with Transportation Smart Card
Rickshaw is a very ancient Chinese way of transportation. You should negotiate with the puller for the fee and he will take you to the old lanes of Beijing called Hutongs. It’s a very good opportunity for you to understand and experience ancient Chinese culture
Transportation smart card
With the use of this card, you can take all subway lines, city buses, taxis, Airport Express Train, S2 trains to Badaling Great Wall, and public bicycles. Interestingly, some supermarkets, restaurants, parks, and department stores accept this card as well.
Flight to Beijing (PEK)
Beijing Food & Drink
As a capital of the country, Beijing probably is the heaven of Chinese food, for foodie travelers. You can fins all the Chinese cuisines and different styles on the restaurants. But here are the Best local foods that Beijing is actually famous for:
Peking Duck – Beijing Kaoya (北京烤鸭 běijīng kǎoyā /bay-jing kaow-yaa/)
Peking Duck is the most famous dish in Beijing. There are many restaurants in Beijing offering high-quality Peking Duck; however, it’s better to try it in restaurants specializing in this meal. The dish will be served with savory pancakes, spring onion, cucumber, and a sweet bean sauce. In some places, Peking Duck will be served with a blueberry sauce and pop rocks, which is amazing.
Chinese Egg Crepe – Jianbing Jianbing（煎饼）
Jianbing is a famous street snack in Beijing, which is great for the morning or afternoon. You can find stalls of this snack around the city in which, locals cook while you watching. Looking at this process can be amazing as well. There is an option of adding some ingredients such as cilantro, scallions, fried wonton, etc. If you don’t want to have such ingredients, you can just tell the seller. This snack is a good choice for breakfast or afternoon snack.
Dumplings – Jiaozi (饺子 jiǎozi /jyaow-dzuh/)
Dumpling is a typical meal in all over China, especially in Beijing. There are many options for you to have your favorite flavor. They can be made steamed or fried; however, the steamed ones are more popular in Beijing. You can also order some side dishes such as spinach and peanuts or garlic broccoli.
Mongolian Hot Pot – Menggv Huoguo 蒙古火锅 (Ménggǔ huǒguō /mnng-goo hwor-gwor/)
Like the Sichuan hotpot, Mongolian Hot Pot is also spicy. The origin of this meal refers to Mongolia; however, it has become popular in Beijing as well. Interestingly, charcoal is still used for heating the pot. You can ask your hotel stuff to recommend the best place for having this hot pot.
Jing Jiang Rousi — Shredded Pork in Beijing Sauce
Jing Jiang Rousi is originated in Beijing. It’s a simple dish comprising of sliced pork cooked in a sweet bean sauce with soybean wraps. Trying this meal is a must when visiting Beijing.
Noodles with Soybean Paste — Zhajiang mian
This is Beijing’s main noodle dish containing three main ingredients as wide hand-pulled noodles, vegetable pieces, and pork. Vegetables in this dish are very diverse depending on the season; however, it should be at least seven kinds of vegetables in a dish. It will be prepared very soon, so if you are in a shortage of time, you can count on this dish. Noodles with Soybean Paste is a very inexpensive lunchtime snack.
Beijing Imperial Cuisine (宫廷菜, gōngtíng cài)
You are definitely familiar with the Qing Dynasty as the most famous dynasty in ancient China. You can try the food of emperors of this dynasty. There are many restaurants specializing this food such as Imitation Imperial Cuisine Restaurant.
Donkey Burger 驴肉火烧 (lǘròu huǒshāo /lyoo-roh hwor-shaow/)
Donkey Burger is originated from Baoding in Hebei province, and in Beijing, you can find the specialized ones in a hot and crunchy bun with green pepper relish. The mixture of juicy meat with crunchy bun and sweet relish makes the food incredibly delicious.
Tudou Si — Shredded Potato土豆丝 (tǔdòu sī /too-doh srr/)
Tudou Si is a great option for potato lovers. The dish contains shredded and stir-fried potatoes with green peppers and seasoning. The dish can be served hot or cold. Potatoes may not look so delicious when you are looking at them but it should be mentioned that they are sweet and fantastic.
Tuckahoe Pie茯苓夹饼 (fúlíng jiābǐng /foo-ling jyaa-bing/)
It’s a very traditional Beijing snack consisting of pancakes wrapped in sugar, honey, and an assortment of nuts originated from the South Song Dynasty (1127–1279) era. Tuckahoe is a very useful herb in medicine and it’s very popular among Chinese.
Shopping in Beijing
The best shopping districts in Beijing
Situated near downtown Beijing in Dongcheng District, Wangfujing Street is one of the four prosperous business zones of the city. The street is about 1,600 meters or 1 mile long, which starts from the National Art Museum of China in the north and ends Changan Avenue in the south. Here, you can buy a wide range of products including cloths, silk, books, etc. in large shopping malls located in the street. Besides, if you become hungry or you are a café lover, a lot of these stores are located here.
Qianmen is a famous pedestrian street located within a route from Archery Tower of Qianmen in the north to the turning of Tiantan Park in the south with 840 meters (919 yards) of length and 21 meters (23 yards) of width. Here, you can various markets including meat markets, cloths markets, and jewelry markets. H&M, Haagen-Dazs, Sephora, ZARA, Qggle, COSTS CAFÉ, and SK Jewelry are among the most famous international brands, which can be found Qianmen Street. Besides, you find Chinese, International, and Muslim foods and restaurants here. Among the best Chinese foods, make sure to try Peking Duck here.
Xidan Commercial Street
Xidan is among traditional Chinese commercial streets in Beijing starting from Xuanwumen Gate in the south and stretches to Xinjiekou crossing in the north. Xidan Culture Plaza (the largest comprehensive entertainment place in Beijing), Xidan Shopping Center, Grand Pacific Mall, Joy City, Hanguang Department Store, Beijing Books Building, etc. are among the best stores and attractions of Xidan.
If you want to enjoy a full modern nightlife in Beijing, Sanlitun Village is a perfect destination for you. Here is a district, which is awake all night. You can have a great time spending time in shopping malls, bars, restaurants, cinemas, art stores, etc. in about 22 vertical and horizontal streets here. Besides shopping, you should spend a night in Sanlitun Bar Street’s night clubs and bars.
It’s one of the top landmark buildings in Beijing and you can see the huge LED screen on the roof (the most famous highlight of the building). Elegant and luxurious book stores, clothes, and fashion shops can be found here. A special feature of the palace is the great food of the restaurants here, which you cannot miss!
Xiushui Street, aka silk market, used to be an outdoor shop in the past but now, it’s a shopping mall. The mall has become one of the symbols of Beijing with over 1,000 stores and shops. Also, you can find different kinds of high-quality Chinese silks. Interestingly, most of the retailers can speak English here.
As the name suggests, the pearl market specializes in selling beautiful pearls covering an area of 4,500 square meters containing 8 floors. However, you can find seafood, digital products, watches, silk, clothes, etc. here as well.
Solana International Commercial Area
Filled with European-styled buildings, Solana International Commercial Area has a very romantic and warm atmosphere located in Chaoyang Park. Unlike other shopping districts in Beijing, you can enjoy a relaxing atmosphere and nice shopping as well as various restaurants and cafes in this area.
Dashilar Street is one of the most ancient commercial streets of Beijing hosting about 160,000 visitors every day. The street is famous for its antique shops. Among the shops in Dashilar Street, Ma Ju Yuan hat shop, Nei Lian Sheng shoe store, and Rui Fu Xiang silk fabric shop are remarkable.
In Lady’s street, you can buy general goods, cloths, hats, etc., which are imported from Guangzhou, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, etc. The street is most famous for its Korean and Japanese style cloths.
What to buy in Beijing
Chinese have a very popular method for curing disease and it has been efficient for a countless number of patients. The method is a combination of herbal medicine, acupuncture, cupping therapy, gua sha, massage (tui na), bonesetter (die-da), exercise (qigong), and dietary therapy.
Tea is a very popular souvenir in China, especially Beijing. You can find it in any grocery store in Beijing; however, Maliandao Tea Market is the best place. It consists of many streets and indoor markets selling various kinds of teas. Iron Goddess, Dahongpao, and Dragon Well are among the best Chinese tea types.
In almost every part of China, including Beijing, you can find high-quality jades. Chinese believe that jade is a stone descended from heaven. Carving in jades is extremely difficult, but Chinese artists do it in a very beautiful way.
Silk fabric was first produced in China in 3500 BC. Ruifuxiang Silk and Cotton Shop is a good destination for buying silk products. Soft smooth silk is a great idea for buying a gift!
China has a rich and long history and you can find many antique markets if you are an antique lover. These objects are the reflection of people’s life during ancient times. Curio City, Liulichang, and Panjiayuan Market are the best places for buying high-quality antiques.
China is one of the main hubs of electronic devices in the world. In Beijing, you can purchase a variety of computers, music players, digital cameras, mobile phones, and accessories. This city is a real paradise for electronics lovers. Zhongguancun, known as the silicon valley of China, is the best place for buying electronics.
In Beijing, you can find a large range of inexpensive jewelry, especially along Silver Street. If you would like more expensive items, Caibai in Xicheng district is a better idea.
Fresh Water Pearl
Beijing is a pearl hub for pearl lovers. The importance of this product for Chinese is such noticeable that they have a specialized pearl market. You can find pearls at a very reasonable price. However, if you want to buy pearls, like anything else in China, don’t forget bargaining!
You can find the most high-quality Porcelain in China as it was invented in this country. Dinner services, teapots, vases, etc. can be found in Beijing in Porcelain.
Leather goods, such as wallets, belts, handbags, and shoes, are produced in China with the best quality ever! However, you should be aware of counterfeit leather products as well.
Beijing Travel Tips
- Beijing isn’t cheap
There are many affordable activities in Beijing; however, you can use some tricks such as eating street foods and taking public transportation to reduce your costs.
- Beijing is large
Beijing is one of the largest metropolitans in the world and for making most of it, you should set aside at least a few days for visiting the city.
- Traffic is terrible
Be prepared for terrible traffic jams. There are some specific times in a day in which, traffic is lesser than other times. It’s better to gain information about the rush hours of the city.
- Use public transportation
Public transportation is the best method of exploring the city, especially the metro. Public transportation in Beijing is fine and it covers almost all parts of the city. This method also helps you to save more money.
- Be aware of Pickpockets
Pickpocketing is a common problem in Beijing, especially in Wangfujing and the Forbidden City. Try to carry the least cash money and valuable objects to keep safe
- Don’t drink tap water
Tap waters in China may not be potable. Drink bottled waters or boil the tap water.
- Check weather forecast
The weather can be extremely hot in summer and freezing in winter; therefore, check the forecast to avoid any problem.
- Public toilets may not be suitable
Public toilets are located everywhere in Beijing; however, some of them can be squat toilets. In this case, you should find international brand stores such as KFC, McDonald, etc.
Foreign Embassies & Consulates in Beijing
- Australia: No.21, Dongzhimenwai Dajie, San Li Tun, Chaoyang District, Beijing
- Austria: No. 5, Xiu Shui Nan Jie, Jian Guo Men Wai, San Li Tun, Chaoyang District, Beijing
- Canada: No.19, Dong Zhi Men Wai Da Jie, Chaoyang District, Beijing
- Denmark: No.1, Dong Wu Jie, San Li Tun, Beijing
- France: No.3, Dong San Jie, San Li Tun, Chaoyang District, Beijing
- Germany: No.17, Dong Zhi Men Wai Da Jie, Chaoyang District, Beijing
- India: No.1, Ri Tan Dong Lu, Beijing
- Indonesia: No. 4, Dong Zhi Men Wai Avenue, Chaoyang District, Beijing
- Italy: No. 2, Dong Er Jie, San Li Tun, Chaoyang District, Beijing
- Japan: No.7 Ritan Road, Jian Guo Men Wai, Chaoyang District
- Malaysia: No. 2, Liang Ma Qiao Bei Jie, Chaoyang District
- Mexico: No. 5, Dong Wu Street, San Li Tun, Beijing
- New Zealand: No.1, Ri Tan Dong Er Jie, Chaoyang District
- Norway: No.1, Dong Yi Jie, San Li Tun, Beijing
- Philippines: No. 23 Xiu Shui Bei Jie, Jian Guo Men Wai, Beijing
- Poland: No.1, Ri Tan Lu, Jian Guo Men Wai, Chaoyang District
- Portugal: No. 8, Dong Wu Jie, San Li Tun, Chaoyang District
- Russia: No.4, Bei Zhong Jie, Dong Zhi Men, Beijing
- Singapore: No. 1 Xiu Shui Bei Jie, Jian Guo Men Wai, Chaoyang District
- South Korea: No. 20, Dongfang Dong Lu, Chaoyang District
- Spain: No. 9, San Li Tun Lu, Chaoyang District
- Switzerland: No. 3, Dong Wu Jie, San Li Tun, Chaoyang District
- United Kingdom: 11, Guang Hua Lu, Jian Guo Men Wai, Beijing
- United States: Tianze Road, Chaoyang District, close to the Ladies’ Street, the Kempinski Hotel and the Lufthansa Shopping Center, Beijing.
You can exchange your money in Great Britain Pound, Euro, U.S. Dollar, Swiss Franc, Singapore Dollar, Swedish Crown, Danish Crown, Norwegian Crown, Japanese Yen, Canadian Dollar, Australian Dollar, Philippine Peso, Thai Baht to Yuan in the Bank of China in these branches:
- Wangfujing Branch
- Qianmen Branch
- Xidan Branch
- Dongzhimen Branch
- Xindongan Mall Branch
Also, currencies and checks with the face value of Eurodollar and Spanish Peseta are also acceptable for exchange. Some other famous banks in China also accept exchanging the money. Besides, some of the major hotels in cities of China provide an exchanging service for tourists.