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How to Plan a Beijing Tour

Beijing, a mesmerizing city with over 3000 years of history, always ranks the first among the top must-visit destinations in China. Be it the royal splendor exuding from ancient palaces, temples and gardens; easy lifestyle retained in labyrinthine Hutongs; hundreds of restaurants serving palatable local and international cuisine; fantastic places to hang out at night; or various markets to pick up traditional Chinese crafts, Beijing has everything to make your trip a once-in-a-lifetime one.

Feel intrigued? Start your planning now and discover the real Beijing from an insider’s view!

When to Visit

Every April to October is Beijing’s high season, during which April to May and September to October are considered the best times to go for having the most comfortable weather, while summer (June to August) is a bit hot for enjoying outdoor activities.

Beijing’s winter (from late November to February) is quite cold, yet offers lowest travel prices, and sometimes spectacular snow scenery.

We also recommend you avoid travel in Beijing during crowded public holidays like Labor Day (May 1-3) and National Day (October 1-7). Or refer to our Beijing Weather to choose your favorite time of travel.

Great Wall
How to Get to/around Beijing
  • By Airplane
    Beijing Capital International Airport located 25km away from city center has direct flights to 147 domestic destinations and 132 overseas cities, making it quite easy to reach the ancient capital by air. You can use the airport taxis or shuttle buses to transfer to downtown.
  • By Train
    Five railway stations run trains between Beijing and nearly all major cities in China, like Xian, Chengdu, Shanghai, Guilin, Hangzhou, etc. Bullet trains are increasingly favored by people as a quick travel option, say the 5-hour high-speed train from Beijing to Xian.
  • Within-city Transport
    Beijing has an extremely convenient transport network covering city bus, metro and taxi which provides easy access to its tourist spots. And metro is the best way to get around during rush hours.
Highlights You Should Not Miss

a. The Great Wall is the most famous icon of China. Traveling in Beijing, one can’t miss to walk on some of its famed sections, like Badaling, Mutianyu or Jinshanling, to feel the awe-inspiring majesty of this 2000-year-old engineering feat that peppers the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

b. Forbidden City was the royal residence of 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. You will be stuck by its exquisite palatial buildings and extravagant artifacts vividly showcasing the luxury life of ancient imperial family.

    • Forbidden City
    • Temple of Heaven
    • Beijing Hutong

    c. Summer Palace is famous for its exquisite royal garden landscaping perfectly fusing classic Chinese structures like decorative palaces, pavilions, corridors and bridges with surrounding natural scenery.

    d. The Temple of Heaven, a large temple complex where ancient emperors performed religious sacrifices and rituals, is now a popular park for locals to relax and do their morning exercises, fly kites, play instruments, etc.

    e. Beijing Hutong is the epitome of Old Beijing. The best way to explore is riding on a rickshaw or bicycle through maze-like narrow lanes, checking out traditional courtyard homes, which gives rare glimpses into the real lifestyle of locals in Beijing's century-old neighborhood.

    Beyond the above, Beijing still has a huge range of museums, temples, tombs, parks and shopping streets that let you discover more the charming city has to offer.

How Many Days to Stay

Generally two or three full days are recommended for first-timers to enjoy Beijing’s most famous attractions including the Tiananmen Square & Forbidden City, Summer Palace and Great Wall of China. Also explore the Temple of Heaven and old hutongs to get a good feel of Beijing local residents' daily life.

The typical tour routes like 3-Day Glory of Imperial Beijing Tour and 4-Day Beijing Essence Tour will give you some inspirations of seeing the very best of Beijing .

Forbidden City

With ample time, you can go for a Beijing Insight Tour, taking a visit further to the Fragrance Hill, Ming Tomb and some ancient temples like Lama Temple. The Great Wall Hiking tours ranging from 1 day to 7 days are ideal for fully absorbing its breathtaking scenery and historic grandeur.

Find more options on our Beijing tour page, or just tell us your travel ideas and we will help you tailor-make a Beijing tour to your interests.

Where to Stay

Beijing has numerous accommodation options including international luxury, courtyard hotels, inns and hostels. Before booking, you may firstly consider the hotel's location you prefer, then find one to suite your budget, personal style and liking.

Wangfujing Area

You can find many 5-star hotels in centrally-located Wangfujing area, where Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City as well as fine shopping and dining venues are all within walking distance. It’s also convenient to travel to other landmarks with many public buses and subways.

Courtyard Hotel

• Houhai & Nanluoguxiang Area

This is Beijing's old quarter that offers mostly boutique courtyard hotels in well-preserved Hutongs, thus guests will mingle with locals and experience the most authentic Beijing culture. The nightlife is colorful, with a good mix of bars, cafes, stores and restaurants to enjoy.

Beijing Dining

Beijing is rightfully famed as a city of food lovers. You can explore its dining scene from the Peking Duck, a perennial favorite among both locals and travelers, at Quanjude (全聚德) or Bianyifang (便宜坊), have a taste of exquisite imperial dishes once prepared exclusively for the royal family, and also get tantalized by the huge variety of traditional snacks like chaogan, baodu, douzhi & juanquan, lvdadun, etc. found on bustling Beijing food streets including Wangfujing Snack Street and Guijie Street.

Beijing Food

Beijing boasts a wide scope of food from all parts of China and across the world for diners to please their appetite. Check more Beijing dining.

Beijing Shopping

One of the best places to shop in China, Beijing offers shopaholics everything at their heart’s desire - from international luxury brands to uniquely souvenir items like cloisonné, snuff bottles, dough dolls and facial mask of Peking Opera, at a maddening amount of glitzy malls, designer boutiques and marketplaces.

Beijing’s Top Shopping Areas:

• The grand Wangfujing Street and Xidan Commercial Center are best to hunt for name-brand fashions.
Old Qianmen Street is beloved for its traditional architectures and Chinese-style goods.
• Also try Panjiayuan Market and Liulichang for curios, antique stuff, crafts, etc.

See more what and where to buy in Beijing

Beijing Nightlife

Beijing by night is one the most invigorating metropolis in China. Party-going visitors simply cannot miss the exciting bar scene in Sanlitun. While South Luogu Lane is unique in its tranquil bars hidden in traditional old Hutongs.

For foodies, the neon-lit Guijie Street (簋街) and Dashilar (大栅栏儿) are the best places to satisfy the late night cravings.

If interested, you can watch traditional performing arts like Peking Opera, acrobatic show of Chinese Kung Fu to gain more insights into Chinese culture. Read more on our Beijing nightlife to find how to enjoy your night in Beijing.

Sanlitun
More Travel Tips
  • 144-hour Visa-free Transit Policy
    The 144-hour visa-free transit policy makes it convenient for passport holders from 51 countries to have a short stay in Beijing without a visa, visiting the essences of Beijing such as Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Great Wall at Mutianyu during the limited transit time.
  • Travel with a Tour Guide
    A visit to Beijing mainly focuses on its imperial remains. It’s best to travel with a guide who will give fresh insights into its history, traditions and way of life, leading you to discover the real Beijing. Besides, a professional tour guide can guarantee hassle-free convenience throughout your Beijing tour.
  • Pack Essentials
    a. Valid passport and Chines visa (except for 72/144 visa-free tourists)
    b. Appropriate clothes based on the weather, like jackets and long sleeves in spring/autumn, T-shirts in summer, down jackets, sweaters and scarves in winter.
    c. A pair of sturdy and comfortable shoes for hiking, walking, etc.

The original URL of this pagehttp://www.chinatours.com/travel-guide/beijing/plan-a-trip.html

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