The Best Way to Enjoy Your Trip to Beijing

A visit to The People’s Republic of China would be incomplete without visiting its capital city Beijing. The city is like any other metropolis in many ways and yet different in more ways than one. Be prepared to be surprised when you visit Beijing because the city is still not in sync with the western world. It is a strange mix of the modern and an old world charm. The locals here still hold on to their traditions while forging ahead with the times. What will strike you is the stark difference in how people move around in the city you come from and the mode of transport in Beijing. While you might spot a few fancy cars here, you will be taken aback by the hordes of Chinese riding bicycles.

Beijing Zoo

China has a unique culture and ancient history which is well showcased in Beijing. For the tourist there is a lot to see and do. Talking of uniqueness, China is home to one of the most exceptional creatures on Earth – The Giant Panda Bears. These animals are found nowhere else in the world except China. Visitors to Beijing can catch a glimpse of these gentle species in the Beijing Zoo. The zoo may not be like one of those modern facilities seen around many parts of the world, but it is clean, well maintained and the animals are cared for. The zoo is home to many other rare creatures too.

Shopping

Right in the heart of the city is Wangfujing Street the main shopping hub. No matter where you are staying in Beijing this place can be reached by walk. It is not a very large shopping area considering you can walk from one end to the other in approximately half an hour. Yet, it is a shopper’s paradise with a couple of shopping malls and quite a few department stores selling goods alongside small stores and small matchbox size shops. You can spend a day here shopping for all kinds of “Made in China” goods. It is a good place to pick gifts and souvenirs to take back home. If you have the stomach for it you can taste authentic Chinese street food sold in the road side food stalls. It is a lively place; jam packed with locals and tourists throughout the day.

The CCTV Tower

The CCTV tower is another place of attraction in Beijing. It is an observation tower from where you get a bird’s eye view of the city below. The observatory houses the Radio and Television stations and there is a nice revolving restaurant adjoining the view point where a meal can be enjoyed in serene surroundings.

Tiananmen Square

You must visit the Tiananmen Square that has history attached to it. It was here that resistance to dictatorial ruling took place in 1989; the incident is referred to, as June 4th in China. There is not much to do here; but it is a place where people gather in the evenings. You can catch kite flying enthusiasts engage in their favorite activity and watch kites of different shapes and designs soaring in the sky. These kites are nothing like you would have seen before.

The Summer Palace

The Summer Palace which was once the abode of the Chinese emperors is close by. The palace has been converted into a park and is open to public. The architecture of the palace is typically Chinese and quite magnificent. Adjoining the palace is a lake which adds to the picturesque setting. It is a place worth visiting, to soak in a part of history and to enjoy the peace and tranquil the place has to offer. You will need the latter if you have been around the thronging crowds on the streets of Beijing.

Temple of Heaven

The last place recommended in the itinerary is Temple of Heaven. This is a temple complex surrounded by a huge park. The park is special and has over a thousand genera of trees growing within its precincts. Some of these are believed to be over hundreds of years old. The main attraction in the complex is a massive tower situated in the center of the temple. The tower is built completely of wood and is considered an engineering marvel as there is not a single nail hammered into it. Each piece of wood used in the tower is designed to fit snugly into the pieces surrounding it like a jigsaw puzzle.

The city has a night life too, with clubs, bars and live shows. You can enjoy theater performances which are a depiction of traditional Chinese art form. Restaurants serving international cuisine dot the city so you will not have to experiment with new foods and flavors if you don’t want to.

There are a number of classy and hotels where you can stay while on your visit to Beijing. Apart from these you can find medium and low cost accommodation as well, which provide basic amenities, like serviced Beijing apartment.

Written by John Chen who is a traveler and writer, and who is currently living and working in Thailand.

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