Updated: Jul 24
You need at least two weeks to uncover bits and pieces of Beijing, but I’d recommend over a month to fully embrace all that Beijing has to offer. Depending on your budget and schedule, mapping out your Beijing travels beforehand is a good start. I am going to offer these brief suggestions for hotspots, but know that there are many more places to experience in this amazing city.
The Forbidden City Otherwise known as the Palace Museum, here you will find the largest collection of buildings from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Construction began around 1407 and the Forbidden City is considered one of the nation’s powerful symbols.
The Great Wall of China I try and avoid major touristy locations, but you cannot deny yourself the experience of traveling to Beijing and not checking out the Great Wall. Here you will be met with over 2,000 years of history for a landmark that stretches across more than 4,000km over several provinces of northern China. Crazy, I know!
Panjiayuan Antique Market If you’re an antique lover, this is the place for you. There are thousands of stalls featuring crafts and antiques from various eras and dynasties. From trinkets to life-sized statues, vintage photographs, and nearly anything else that comes to mind, you are sure to find a special treasure at this market.
Temple of Heaven The Temple of Heaven is the largest existing masterpiece among China’s ancient sacrificial buildings. Founded in the 15th century, this UNESCO site symbolizes the relationship between earth and heaven (read here about UNESCO sites in Europe).
While touring around, make sure you try the Peking Duck, which has been prepared since the imperial era. This roasted duck dish has thin, crispy skin and is usually accompanied by spring onion, cucumber, and sweet bean sauce. Another classic must-try is the shao mai dumplings which are filled with ground pork, chopped shrimp, and a mix of local veggies. These are my faves, what have you tried during your Beijing travels?
Written by Nick M.,
Nick spent 2 years backpacking across Asia and ended up living in Thailand for a few years. He has traveled to China 3 times and plans to return to China to watch the Winter Olympics in 2022.