An intriguingly dense city packed with historic sites, Beijing is both a reflection of the past and a transformative society embracing modern culture at every turn. Ancient hútòng huts serve as trendy pubs and eateries, while renowned institutions like the Peking Opera remind you of Beijing’s place on the world stage.
Things to do in Beijing
Home to at least six UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Beijing is like a promenade of history, with visitors thronging to the Forbidden City’s royal palace and the Temple of Heaven, and then climbing the Great Wall along the northern hills. Museums, modern art galleries and Chinese performing arts venues thrive in the central districts of Beijing, including classical dance, acrobatics, opera and theatre at the National Centre for the Performing Arts, nicknamed “The Giant Egg”.
Modern shopping malls are prevalent in Beijing but don’t miss the experience of haggling for treasures at Pānjiāyuán Market. If you can’t resist taking home some knock-offs, brace yourself for “fake” bartering at Silk Street and Yashow flea markets. For higher-end goods, shop for handmade tea sets and Tibetan yak wool garments in the historic Shijia Hutong district.
Eating out is a national pastime in Beijing. The Forbidden City and Dōngchéng Central areas offer specialty cuisine from Chinese Muslim cafes, and regional favourites such as Jiaozi, Jingjiangrousi and Mongolian hotpot.Try Peking duck, Beijing’s signature dish, at least once while visiting the city.
Getting around Beijing
Beijing is home to an extensive public transportation network.Modern and well-organised, it is best to travel to the city’s major attractions and destinations via the subway. Buses provide affordable routes, while the city’s bike sharing scheme offers dedicated bike lanes for those who prefer to travel on two wheels. For a quick and easy way to get around, you can hail a taxi or motor rickshaw, but if you have time to spare, then it is recommended to reach central attractions on foot, such as Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.