Beijing serves as an economic, educational, political, cultural and international trade center to the people of the People’s Republic of China. It is located north of China, strategically near a Port City of Tianjin and partly surrounded by Hubei Province.
Beijing not only serves as a critical transport hub and port of entry but also as the heart of politics and ancient cultural preservations. The perfectly intertwined ancient culture and exciting modern developments have made the city one of the most visited tourist destination with over 4.4 million visitors in a year.
Beijing has numerous and diverse tourist attractions scenes. These range from their well-guarded ancient culture, objects and structures such as the great wall, to modern and sophisticated architectural pieces of art such as the Nest-Shaped National Stadium.
The Great Wall: The Great Wall is a historical ruin built during the Ming Dynasty between 1368 and 1644. It is a fascinating great wall that runs over 372 miles. It contains 827 city wall platforms, numerous towers and 71 passes. The famous areas in the confines of this wall include Mutianyu, Gubeikou, Simatai, Badaling and Jinshanling.
Temple of Heaven: This is another exciting place to visit. Just like the Great Wall, The Temple of Heaven was built in the early 1400′s during the Ming Dynasty. It was mainly used to offer sacrifices to Heaven.
It is enclosed in a long wall with the northern part built in a semicircular form to symbolize the heavens and the southern part is a square to symbolize the earth. The design symbolizes the ancient Chinese belief that the earth is square and that the heaven is round. It contains a circular alter for Sacrifice prayers and another hall for Good harvest prayers.
Beijing Zoo: Located in Xicheng District, Beijing zoo was the first of its kind to be opened in China. It is home for a variety of animals, and contains several sites of historical interest as well as number of exhibition halls.
Beijing zoo has over 450 species and about 5, 000 animals in total that you can study and marvel about. The most exciting attractions to most visitors include the rare and wild animals of Chinese origin such as the Golden Monkey, Giant Panda, Northeast Tigers and the Milu deer. There are also other diverse animal categories including the American Bison, Kangaroos, Zebras, Elephants and Giraffes that attract large crowds.
National Stadium (Bird’s Nest): This definitely serves as symbol for creativity and sophistication. It is located in the Olympic Green Village in Chaoyang District. It was originally designed as the main stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games
The Bird’s Nest has since been opened as a tourist attraction center and still acts as a center for domestic and international sports as well as recreation activities. The form of the stadium resembles a big nest that nurses and embraces human beings: It kind of holds the hopes for their future, exciting right?
Forbidden City (Palace Museum): It is located in the City Center, also referred to as Gu Gong. It served as an imperial palace for 24 emperors of the Qing and Ming Dynasties. It was built between 1368 and 1644 during the reign of Emperor Chengzu. It was strictly forbidden to enter without the express permission from the emperor hence the name “The Forbidden City”
It is now known as the Palace Museum, the world’s largest and most complex palace sited on 74 hectares and sectioned into over 8, 700 rooms.
Beijing is a renowned transportation hub in the north of China with a well-developed transport network. It has several methods to choose from as one may find convenient. These include plane, long-distance buses, trains and cabs.
The city is also served with Beijing Capital Airport which is the largest in the country. There is a train network, 9 speedways, and 12 National highways radiating out to whichever direction you may wish to take from the airport.
With literally thousands of hotels and restaurants available in Beijing, you have unlimited options when it comes to dining. There are cuisines from various cultures too. The best thing is that you can opt for the quite fancy hotels and restaurants or simply go for the smaller and fairly affordable family-run hotels located all over Beijing city.
Some of the Beijing specialties include Beijing Roast Duck, Local Snack and the Imperial Court Food. These can be found at some of the Chinese popular restaurants such as Shaanxi, Huaiyang and Chaozhou. Don’t you worry if you can’t handle their test; Beijing also serves a variety of western cuisines with virtually unlimited options to choose from.
Just like most parts of China, Beijing has four seasons-long hot summer, short but windy spring, cool and pleasant autumn and a chilly but manageable winter. January temperatures can go as low as -20 degrees Celsius while the July-august temperatures can exceed 40 degrees Celsius. September and October is considered the best time to visit Beijing.
There are a lot of different kinds of accommodation in Beijing, like hotels, guest houses and Beijing apartments for rent. You can find accommodation easily online.
I don’t know about you but this sounds like a must-go destination before I take my last breath. Don’t however limit yourself to my list of attractions, explore the town and you will realize that there are hundreds of other places you can have fun at.
John Chen is a travel writer currently located in Bangkok, Thailand.