Best of Historical Beijing

I got to spend 3 days in Beijing on my recent trip to China. Here are the highlights of the capital:

Forbidden City

Anybody visiting Beijing has to make this a must visit. The complex houses the different buildings that were once used by the ancient emperors. Entering the area around the city itself requires security checks. Then you’re going through like 3 main gates before reaching the main palace. This place is huge! The imperial garden at the end was nice.

Jingshan Park

Right at the back of Forbidden City is Jingshan Park which gives some nice views of the Beijing skyline. It houses several pavillions which you can reach easily with a short hike. Entrance is cheap too at only CNY2

Wangfujing Street

Wangfujing Street is the main shopping street in Beijing. If you’re looking to do some high end or branded shopping, this is the place.

Olympic Park

The 2008 Summer Olympics was one of the most successful games ever held and the facilities are still well maintained. The unique architecture and design of these buildings are just marvels to admire. Besides the Bird’s Nest stadium, there’s also the Watercube and Olympic towers lighting up the night.

The Great Wall – Mutianyu

We decided to go to the Mutianyu section of the wall as my friend wanted to ride the toboggan down from the wall here. The more popular section was Badaling but since it was a Saturday also, we were afraid that would be crowded. Mutianyu turned out to be a perfect choice. Just seeing it for real gives you goosebumps.

Silk Street

Well not actually a street. It’s a building which apparently is a great place for souvenir shopping. You’re going to have to drive a hard bargain as prices start high and actually can go very low. The shopkeepers are quite persistent as well.

Qianmen Street

I can’t believe I didn’t thought of this place when I first planned my itinerary. When we arrived, most shop were already closed. Each building along this street are uniquely designed. It’s almost as if you’re in a theme park looking at them. Makes a good photo op. Not sure if the prices of souvenirs are competitive though.

CCTV Building

We were just here to admire the futuristic architecture of this building. Just amazed!

Yuyuantan Park

Going to an attraction on a Sunday can be quite stressful. The crowd is crazy when we went here. We thought of trying to go for the Cherry Blossom Festival as we’ve hardly seen flowers bloom in spring. The flowers are beautiful! However, the sheer number of people on that day just put me off.

Summer Palace

Another attraction we checked out was the Summer Palace. Even crazier crowd! It didn’t felt anything spectacular especially after Forbidden City and Great Wall. It just felt like another park and with crowds going through narrow paths, I didn’t think this was something special. Perhaps if we went to the opposite side of the lake we would have a more picture perfect view of the palace.
Beijing had a lot of historical attractions to explore given that it’s one of the oldest city. Forbidden City, Jingshan Park and Great Wall was my favourite. My tip would be to avoid going to city attractions on a weekend. Next post will be on Xi’an.

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