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Things To See in Beijing, China

What makes sightseeing in Beijing so fascinating is the stark contrast between the new and the old found throughout the city. And yet while you might see ultra modern structures alongside architecture which has been there for centuries, they all seem to complement each other perfectly making the city more interesting if anything.

One thing you will need to bear in mind before setting off on any tour of Beijing is that it is huge. Taking off without at least some advance planning about what you want to see and how you’re going to get there will only result in your not getting to see very much at all. Most visitors recommend starting in Tian’anmen Square and taking it from there. It is a pretty practical thing to do because it is in fact located at Beijing’s geographical centre so everything is a little more easily reached from here. With regard to the rest of the sightseeing tour, you decide.

Beijing is home to over 260 places of interest with new ones being built all the time. And as well as the attractions of the man made variety, there are also the hills, lakes and hot springs in the surrounding area. As a general guideline, the main attractions in the city are listed below and more details can be found by clicking on each one but there really is an endless amount places to visit and things to see in the Chinese capital.

As well as those located in the city, however, there are also a number of tourist attractions which lie just a few hours outside Beijing. The most noteworthy of these is of course the Great Wall which we have included in the collection below but you should also consider visiting the ‘Thirteen Tombs’ (Shisan Ling) which is where you will find the burial place for thirteen of the Ming emperors, the Eastern Qing Tombs (Qing Dong Ling), another burial place for emperors but also empresses, princes, dukes and the like and the Cudrania Pool Temple (Tanzhe Si), Beijing’s largest temple with a history which dates back to the third century.

Attractions in Beijing

  • [%EMPTY%]

    , Beijing, China

    The closest part of th Great Wall (Wanli Changcheng) to the city is located at Badaling and you will need to allow at least half a day to get there but buses and trains travel on a regular basis from the capital. Is it worth it? Well it's the only man made attraction which can be seen from space and stretches for over 6,000 kilometres. You decide!

  • The Forbidden City

    , Beijing, China

    Also known as the Imperial Palace or Gugong, this was the official residence of the emperors for almost five hundred years and is now the biggest and best preserved piece of architecture in the country as well as being home to almost a million priceless artefacts. Its location in the centre of the city means that it's an integral part of any sightseeing tour of Beijing but allow plenty of time to spend exploring the whole thing as it covers a massive area of over 70 hectares.

  • Tian'anmen Square

    , Beijing, China

    The largest urban square on the planet, Tian'anmen Square measures about 880 metres by 500 metres and can easily hold one million people. The scene of many events throughout history, the one that most of us remember is the student demonstrations in 1989. Today the square is packed with tourists all year round and is used for state ceremonies and the like. It's not the square itself but the buildings which surround it which make it so fascinating.

  • The Summer Palace

    , Beijing, China

    Once a summer residence for the Jin Dynasty, the summer palace now serves as amazing public gardens which lie about 10km to the northwest of the city. As will all of the other Imperial residences the architecture is spectacular but in the gardens you will find little lakes, a bridge with no less than 17 arches, sculptures and the Painting Walkway - a path through the gardens which features over 14,000 traditional Chinese paintings.

  • The Ming Tombs

    , Beijing, China

    Located about 50 kilometres northwest of Beijing, the Ming Tombs are certainly worth the trip. Burial ground for thirteen of the emperors of the Ming Dynasty, only two of the tombs are actually open to the public having been restored back in the 50’s. While the buildings themselves probably appeal more to those with an interest in architecture, the site was chosen originally because of the wonderful scenery and this is what most people who visit the site find most impressive.

  • The Temple of Heaven

    , Beijing, China

    Located in the Chongwen district in the southern part of the city, this temple dates back to the early 15th century. In ancient China, the emperor was regarded as the ‘Son of Heaven’ so to show reverence to heaven, many ceremonies took place for sacrifices. This temple was built for this very reason and consists of a series of different buildings including the Altar of Heaven which is built entirely of marble and the Hall of Prayer for the Good Harvest which is now the symbol of the city.

  • Beijing Grand View Garden

    , Beijing, China

    Covering an area of over 120,000 square metres, the Grand View Garden is located in the Xuanwu District southwest of the city. A classical garden dotted with pavilions, halls, temples and miniature gardens the Garden is home to over forty scenic attractions. The best time to visit, however, is during the Spring Festival which is held to see in the Lunar New Year or if you can catch a traditional ceremony this will also be pretty memorable.

  • The Great Wall

    , Beijing, China

    The closest part of the Great Wall (Wanli Changcheng) to the city is located at Badaling and you will need to allow at least half a day to get there but buses and trains travel there on a regular basis from the capital. Is it worth it? Well it stretches for over 6,000 kilometres. You decide!

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