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Top Reasons to Visit Beijing

Beijing, aged over 1000, capital of China for hundreds of years, is an ancient and modern city, with marvelous historic and cultural heritages, and fashionable and impressive high-rise buildings. This super metropolis in the world boast itself as the host city of 2008 Olympic Summer  Games and 2022 Olympic Winter Games.

As a insider, I am telling that this metropolis with many faces are worthy of your Beijing discovery and China tours. Its greatness and preciousness are almost beyond our words, but in here several top reasons and  Beijing highlights are listed.

Reading Guideline:

Great Wall

badaling great wall

Great Wall of China has been built for thousands of years, lying as a giant dragon in the north of China to guard China from attacks and invasions in the ancient. Great Wall creeps on mountains from western China to eastern China, and history's fade has made sections of Great Wall in Beijing the essential and the best preserved.

mutianyu great wall

Beijing has Mutianyu Great Wall, Badaling Great Wall, Jingshanling Great Wall, Simatai Great Wall,Jiankou Great Wall, with Mutianyu Great Wall and Badaling Great Wall the most popular to tourists and visitors, including several presidents of America, like president Obama. Marvelous, and amazing are not enough to describe your feelings when standing on the Great Wall.

Great Wall Travel Tips: Great Wall Tour is an outdoor activity, with stairs helping your climbing and cable car to save energy and time. Great Wall is suitable for youth, adults and senior citizens in good physical conditions. To the elders not suitable to climbing but still desire to see the beauty of Great Wall, I recommend Badaling Great Wall and cable car. To hikers, I recommended all sections of Great Wall, especially, Jingshanling Great Wall, and Simatai Great Wall.

Recommended Great Wall Tours:

3 Days Hike the Great Wall around Beijing

2 Days Great Wall Trekking from Jinshanling to Simatai

One Day Mutianyu Great Wall & Forbidden City Tour

The Forbidden City

forbidden city

The Forbidden City, a super palace complex, is the imperial palace for Emperors in the Ming and Qing dynasties, first built in 1406, covering an area of 720,000 square meters, with over 70 palaces. Magnificently and luxuriantly built, the Forbidden City stands  augustly in the heart of Beijing. In the past, the Forbidden City is forbidden to ordinary people, but now everyone from home and abroad is permitted, and heartily welcomed.

The Forbidden City, gloriously regarded as one of the Five Great Palaces in the World, and World Cultural Heritage, has great values in various fields and has housed enormous ancient valuable items, including china, bell, pottery, jewelry, painting, and calligraphy work. The Forbidden City's grandeur and tremendous value has attracted hundreds of millions of tourists and visitors to come, including the influentials and political leaders from foreign countries, like president Nixon, and president Clinton.

Together with Great Wall, the Forbidden City has been a national card of China, and the two are highlights of China, and the foremost recommendation to foreign tourists and friends. The Forbidden City Tour could a day tour, half-day tour, and a two-hour tour. To tourists interested in architecture, history and Chinese culture, a day tour is recommended for this huge Forbidden City. To tourists in shortage of tour time, half-two tour and two-hour tour is recommended, but a second-time tour to the Forbidden City is a big possibility.

Beijing Hutong & Beijing Courtyard

beijing hutong

Hutong refers to alley formed by Beijing old buildings, reflecting old lifestyle in old Beijing and looks of old Beijing, and it is a part of Beijing culture. Hutongs are arranged in a neat and orderly layout, like the whole layout of old Beijing. In ancient, those hutongs are in everywhere, like in residential areas and office areas, due to falling of old times and coming of new era, Beijing hutongs now are few in number, which are under national protection. Famous hutongs are Yandaixiejie close to Houhai, Nanluo Guxiang close to Beijing Bell and Drum Towers.

Beijing courtyard is also named quadrangle courtyard, or its spelling-siheyuan. Beijing courtyard is the style of old residential buildings  from the Yuan Dynasty: a personal house is inclosed by buildings in four sides, with a yard in the middle. Living rules are applied to buildings in the four directions, like the elder living in buildings in the north, which is a respect to the elder.

beijing hutong

Courtyards are integrated into hutongs, and the two tell Beijing culture chapter by chapter. In Huntongs, tourists can see Beijing courtyards, Beijing snacks and Beijing traditional handicrafts, which are local Beijing things without changes.

Tourists could have a relaxing day or half day in hutongs: riding a bicycle, strolling or taking a rickshaw are suitable for Hutong Tours. Things to do in hutongs: visit courtyards, see special stores with specific themes, and taste Beijing food and snacks.

Beijing Heritage & Beijing Culture

temple of heaven

Beijing has 7 sites of World Heritage: Zhoukoudian Peking Man Site, Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven,  the Ming Tombs, and the Grand Canal. All of these sites are the essential of Beijing history and culture, reflecting the past prosperity of Beijing  and legacy left by the feudal society. The feudal society shows the divine rights of Emperors: Forbidden City is the royal palace of Emperors, Summer Palace is the imperial garden of Emperors, Temple of Heaven is the sacrifice site of Emperors, the Ming Tombs are cemetery of Emperors in the Ming Dynasty, while Great Wall and the Grand Canal are huge projects made under the will of Emperors.

summer palace

The construction of those sites are money and time-consuming, imprinted with Chinese signs and symbols, and turned out to be stately and imposing. Chinese building theory, Chinese symbols representing then monarch’s power and reflecting Chinese people’s like are all applied to those construction.

Beijing Culture includes the above heritages representing culture in the upper level , also the culture from the ordinary. Beijing hutong and courtyard culture, Beijing food and snacks, and traditional handcrafts are authentic Beijing culture of ordinary people. Traditional Beijing handcrafts: Cloisonne, jade ware, snuff bottle, Chinese knot, hairy monkey, rabit statue(Tu Ye’r), paper cuttings, and clay figure.

Peking Duck & Beijing Food

What to eat in Beijing? Beijing, the capital of China and a massive metropolis, gathers cuisine with great flavors from the world. In Beijing, you can eat local Beijing food, food from other provinces of China, and exotic cuisines. As a tourist and visitor to Beijing, you should try Beijing food. Then what are Beijing must-try food?

peking duck

Peking Duck, also named Beijing Roasted Duck, is a famous Beijing food, and the most recommended food to Chinese people and foreign friends. This dish includes duck meat, dipping sauce, green onion or mashed garlic. How to eat Peking Duck: the whole duck is roasted, and it should be cut into slices. Use a white wrapper to wrap a slice of duck meat and other ingredients, and enjoy it.

beijing hotpot

Beijing food: other dishes like fried trip(爆肚), fried pig haslet(炒肝), lamb spine hotpot(羊蝎子), mutton hotpot (涮羊肉, and spicy crayfish (麻辣小龙虾) are the favorites of Beijing people.

Beijing snacks: rolling donkey(驴打滚/dessert), Tanghulu(糖葫芦), bean milk, Zhajiangmian(炸酱面/noodles with soybean paste), Aiwowo(艾窝窝/sweet rice cake), Guan Chang(灌肠).

Where to eat in Beijing: Gui Street(簋街), Wangwujiang Food Street(王府井小吃街), Guozijiang Street(国子监街), Huguosi Street(护国寺街). Except streets, some time-honored restaurants are recommended, such as Fangshan restaurant, where tourists can taste Beijing local dishes.

For tourists having special food requirements, Indian food, Thai food, Halal restaurant, western restaurant, and other exotic restaurants are also available in Beijing.

Convenient Transport & 144-hour Visa Free Transit

Beijing capital international airport

Beijing has two airports for civil aviation, and international flights to Beijing land in Beijing Capital International Airport. Beijing Capital International Airport has international flights to cities of most countries, like New York, Seoul, Kyoto, London, Los Angeles, Paris, Vancouver, Bangkok, Frankfurt, and Sydney.

Beijing two airports have domestic flights to most cities in China. And every day there are many flights available from Beijing to big cities like Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou,and Hong Kong. Still Beijing West Train Station has high speed train to Hong Kong West Kowloon, with about 9 hours duration.

Getting around Beijing: metro is my recommendation. Beijing metro is so developed that it can bring you to almost everywhere you would like to go in Beijing. Metro and public bus are cheap to users and taxi is comparably expensive.

Beijing has implemented 144-hour visa free transit policy to 53 countries and regions, which means that tourists having flights transit in Beijing Capital International Airport could stay 6 days in Beijing. It is a great opportunity to have Beijing tours.

Recommended Tours:

3 Days Beijing Visa Free Tours

 Interesting Things to Do in Beijing

What to do in Beijing, is a problem to first-time visitors to Beijing. In order to have a Beijing Discovery Tour, and Beijing Best tour, tourists could take the following advice.

Great Wall helicopter tour.

Climbing Great Wall is a normal way to see its gorgeous scenery, but there is a Helicopter Tour in Badaling Great Wall for tourists to have a bird’s eye view of the winding Great Wall, lofty mountains, and Beijing’s spectacular scenery. This tour has three flying routes lasting 15 minutes, 30 minutes and 45 minutes.

Recommended tours: 

Beijing Badaling Great Wall Helicopter Tour

Cycling around Beijing & Hutong

Beijing is bike-friendly, and welcomes local people and foreign friends to ride a bike instead of driving a car. Bicycle sharing and bike rental are popular in China, and bike-riding is a popular way to tour Beijing, relaxing and good for starting and ending a journey as you like. When having a tour in Beijing hutongs, Beijing old residential areas, gardens, and lakes, bike-riding is highly recommended.


In Beijing, several lakes have superb sceneries, and had been made parts of imperial gardens for leisure of Emperors and royal families. Nowadays, all of them open to the public and welcome tourists and visitors from over the world. Beihai Lake in Beihai Park, Kunming Lake in Summer Palace, Shichahai close to Bell and Drum Towers are popular lakes for cruise, especially in hot summer days.


Chinese tea, well-known to the world, is a healthy drink to prevent diseases and improve sleep quality. Chinese tea has several classes, and each class has a wide variety of tea. Chinese people have drunk tea for thousands of years, and has developed tea art in making tea. Nowadays, China has teahouses for people to have cups of tea, where people handpick tea-making tools and strictly control  the process of making tea to make tea of superior quality.

Tourists coming to China should have cups of tea in a teahouse, to learn how Chinese people make tea and Chinese tea art. Beijing has many supreme teahouses, offering good tea, with quiet environment for tea-tasting. Lao She Teahouse is recommended tourists, where tea performance, tea-tasting, Beijing folklore performances are offered every customer.

Peking Opera

Peking Opera is a national cultural treasure in Beijing, and it is one of the five traditional Chinese operas, performing legendary historical stories, the greats’ legends, folktales and stories in opera plays. Peking Opera is a fast way for foreigners to know Beijing culture, Chinese opera and Chinese ancient culture.

Where to see Peking Opera: Liyuan theatre located in No. 175, Yong’an Road, Xuanwu District and performance time is from 19:30-20:50.

Kong Fu Show

kong fu show

Kong fu is a traditional wushu which has many schools, like Taichi and Shaolin Kong fu. Shaolin Kong fu is one of the most famous Kong fu, created by Shaolin monks, used to guard peace in war time. In China, there is a big number of people playing Taichi and Kong fu, and  special groups would have Kong fu performances. Kong fu show is a must show in Spring Festival Gala that is a national celebration in China. Taichi and Shaolin Kong fu are also fit to people  in need of body building.

Where to see Kong fu show in Beijing

Recommended Kong fu show: the Legend of Kong Fu

See “the Legend of Kong Fu” at the Red Theater, located at No.44, Xingfu street, Chongwen district. The show is held for twice everyday, at 17:15 and 19:30.

Best Attractions in Beijing

tian'anmen square

Great Wall: Mutianyu Great Wall, Badaling Great Wall

Tian’anmen Square, Forbidden City, Jingshan Park, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Lama Temple

Beihai Park, Shichahai, Houhai

Bell and Drum Towers, Beijing hutong(Yandai Xiejie, Nanluo Guxiang)


Recommended Tours:

4 Days Best Beijing Tour

5 Days Beijing Family Tour

5 Days Beijing Budget Tour

Beijing Modern Architecture

Beijing, a modern metropolis, has glamorous and imposing buildings and skyscrapers, forming a high skyline. The following introduces some impressive buildings where tourists love to take pictures. Those buildings all have cool exterior, designed by famous architects, and they have become Beijing attractions to tourists.

National Museum of China

Beijing National Indoor Stadium(Bird’s Nest)

Beijing National Aquatics Center( the Water Cube)

National Center for the Performing Arts.

CCTV Headquarters

Wangjing SOHO & Yinhe SOHO

Phoenix International Media Center