I was a little overwhelmed by it all when first arriving to my hostel in Beijing after the fun I had trying to get cash at the airport to pay for a train ticket and yea, don’t ask. Anyways, I got to the hostel and quickly pinched a map from the front desk and started to plan out my days whilst in the city of toxicity. Actually the pollution while I was there (to be fair) wasn’t too bad, however I did get into a great habit of masking up like the rest of them, mainly because the first day I didn’t and I woke up crook the following day.
Sickness aside I had a long list of things to do, which made me realize, especially after my visit that you could spend a large amount of your time just getting around Beijing to see it all. Which if your planning to see more of China, can take up more time than you may expect. However being such a gigantic city, if you don’t have the time to see it all, stress less for I have a killer list of things you must see and do upon your stay.
Great Wall of China
The most important and basically the only reason I came to Beijing was for the Great Wall of China. I don’t care if you come to Beijing and only see this, I would still tell you it is worth it just for that. I came here, well not just for that but my main reason really was to do a solo 5 day Great Wall of China Hike. Which turned out to be an epic fail, although it made for a funny story where I managed to escape death by Asian imprisonment. full story to come.
Sunsets over the Great Wall of China
With the Great Wall of China finally ticked of my endless bucket list (and by endless, I mean I honestly add 1 thing on average to it every week!), I had a few more days up my sleeve to get immersed in the Chinese culture.
The next big attraction you need to see is the Forbidden City. Here is where there are over 8000 buildings built from 1406-1420 in the reign of the Ming Dynasty. Inside the Forbidden City is the Palace Museum which holds a whopping collection of 1,800,00 sets of artifacts from Chinese history.
It is a photographers haven if you are looking to capture old school traditional China. I spend nearly 5 hours just cruising around this museum taking photos. Bear in mind, this Forbidden City covers a lot of ground and is just north of Tiananmen Square. And by just north I mean literally across the road.
Forbidden City Panoramic
So obviously before I paid for my visit to the Forbidden City, I cruised through the famous Tiananmen Square which sits basically a little south of the Centre of Beijing. Tiananmen Square holds great cultural history as several important events have been held here throughout Chinese history. What’s just as amazing about it is, it’s the fourth largest city square in the world.
On another one of my days visiting Beijing I had a more relaxed day and checked out the Temple of Heaven, which holds the Hall of prayer, the Imperial Vault of Heaven and the Circular Mound Altar which are all surrounded by an amazing garden that covers 2.73 square kms. Being quite large the Temple of Heaven grounds are just a fraction smaller than the area of which the Forbidden City covers.
Inside the Temple of Heaven
I would have to say that the Temple of Heaven was one of my favorite places to visit, not just for the temples but because in the surrounding gardens there were loads of people playing music, performing martial arts, playing games and really having a great time. I liked this as I could go around watching everything and everyone, just soaking it all in. I spent a good 3-4 hours here and simply walked back to my Guest house as it was so close. It’s called the King Joys Inn Hotel, its reasonably cheap and is close to Tiananmen Square, the Temple of heaven and also the Metro. I suggest this place for its location, if you’re interested check it out here.
Temple of Heaven
Next up I couldn’t miss the famous Birds Nest. So I went and checked this out just as the sun was setting, so I could see it both during daylight and of an evening. I believe during the evening the Olympic Stadium looks much nicer and still holds a good vibe surrounding it with lots of people, flying kites and playing about.
Myself at the famous bird’s nest Olympic Stadium
During the evening there is another great must do in Beijing and that is to eat Beijing Duck. This, obviously by its name is famous to Beijing, and I tell you it really is delicious. Although don’t skimp out on paying for the cheapest dish you could possibly find. Here you are going to want to experience the real deal. The cost, especially if you are a foodie is certainly worth it.
Being in Beijing by myself, I had a full 10 days, which was to make sure I had enough time to complete my hike and still see as much as possible. But my suggestion, if you are going to Beijing you wouldn’t need much more than 3-5 days to see a majority of the great ‘tourist attractions’.
Who else has been and believes I missed an important thing to see and do whilst in Beijing?