Top 10 Things to Do in Beijing

1. Visit Great Wall

No visit would be complete without a trip to the Great Wall, which is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. As an astonishing feat of engineering, the Great Wall of China was first built during the Spring and Autumn Period and continued into the Warring States Period more than 2,000 years ago. After the Qin Dynasty unified China, the Great Wall as linked up and expanded, which laid the foundation for what we today call the Ten-Thousand-Li Long Wall. In the Han and Ming dynasties, the Great Wall was further constructed, and the work involved was tremendous. The Great Wall you see today is mainly the Great Wall constructed in the Ming Dynasty.

Great Wall of China

2.Visit Forbidden City

Located in the heart of Beijing, China, the Forbidden City, also known as the Palace Museum, is the imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty, where 24 emperors ascended the throne and exercised their strong power to the nation. As the largest remaining ancient palace complex in the world, Forbidden City shares the honor of being one of five world-famous palaces with the Palace of Versailles in France, Buckingham Palace in England, the White House in the U.S. and the Kremlin in Russia.

Forbidden City, Beijing

3.Visit Hutongs

The Hutongs are one of the unique features of Beijing; they can most simply be defined as the old city alleyways. There are thousands of Hutongs surrounding the Forbidden City, most of which came into being in the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties. Beijing’s Hutong culture is a unique gem of Chinese culture. There is much to see, both from the historical and the personal perspective. The Hutongs of Beijing reflect the lives of ordinary Beijing people – the opportunity to roam through Beijing’s old, narrow Hutong streets is understandably attracting more and more overseas visitors.

Beijing Hutong

4. Shop at Silk Market

Described as “the third best-known tourist destination in Beijing after the Great Wall and the Forbidden City”, Silk Street (aka Xiushui Market) attracts approximately 20,000 visitors daily (from 9am to 9pm) on weekdays and between 50,000 to 60,000 on weekends. This 35,000m² complex houses 1,700 retail vendors and over 3,000 salespeople spread over seven floors and three basement levels. Be prepared to bargain hard for the best price.

Silk Market, Beijing

5. Watch Acrobatic Performances

Acrobatics has been part of Chinese arts since 2,000 years ago or so. Chinese acrobatics requires superior skill; its attractions arises from its characteristic super-human, magical and risky moves. Exciting acrobatic performances have been deeply loved by tourists from all over the world. Beijing Chaoyang Theater (36 Dongsanhuan North Road, Chaoyang District.) has “the best acrobatics in Beijing”.

Chinese Acrobatics — best in the world

6. Watch Kung Fu Show

One of China’s most famous exports is the myriad forms of Kung Fu. Meaning “attainment through effort”, Kung Fu is a western umbrella term that covers many martial arts. Many of them performed by the Shaolin-trained monks who play-fight their way through a mazy plotline filled with impressive stunts such as snapping iron bars over their heads. The Legend of Kung Fu staged in the Red Theatre (44 Xingfu Dajie, Dongcheng District.) features unsurpassed, breathtaking Chinese Kung Fu and a story.

Kung Fu Show

7. Eat Peking Duck

Peking Duck, or Peking Roast Duck, is a famous duck dish from Beijing that has been prepared since the Yuan Dynasty, and is now considered one of China’s national foods. The dish is prized for the thin, crispy skin, with authentic versions of the dish serving mostly the skin and a little meat, sliced in front of the diners by the cook. Ducks are bred specially for the dish, which after 65 days are slaughtered and seasoned before being roasted in a closed oven or a hung oven. The meat is often eaten with pancakes, spring onions, and hoisin sauce or sweet noodle sauce.

Peking Duck

8. Visit the Exhibition of National Treasures

A rare gathering of some of the most splendid treasures illustrating China’s long history promises to delight visitors to Beijing at the Capital Museum. The exhibition has gathered 169 of the best pieces from 55 museums across the country. The exhibits are the pick of the crop, and rarely if ever leave their home museums.

Capital Museum, Beijing

9. Worship at a Local Church

For visitors to Beijing, a downtown church provides not only a place of worship but also a good place to understand the religion’s history in this vast Asian metropolis.

Catholicism was introduced into China during the Yuan Dynasty. In 1582, Matteo Ricci, an Italian missionary, came to China to promote Catholicism. Since Catolicism is a western concept, the Catholic churches’ architectural patterns in Beijing are similar to western churches, mainly Romanesque and Gothic.

Wangfujing Catholic Church, Beijing

The first protestant missionary from Britain arrived in Beijing in 1807. In early 20th century, Christians established more than 60 churches in Beijing, and Beijing became one of the centers for western missionaries.

10. Biking in the City

Biking through the streets of Beijing is a cool way to see the city. Traffic jams will have little effect on you. You can cycle at leisurely pace from site to site, stop for a local lunch, explore old alleys (Hutongs) and become one with the Chinese in the bike lane.

Biking in Beijing

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