Nín hǎo travel family! When visiting this 3,000 year old city, you will find this interesting mix between old and new culture. Here’s our top 10 things to do in Beijing:
1. Take the Weidong ferry
The cheapest and best way to see South Korea while you’re in the area, Weidong is an overnight ferry that goes 3 times a week and cost US $91.50 but includes a meal. The boat lands in Qingdao (China) and you can take a cheap bus to Beijing. Or you can start in the other direction and head to Korea. Either way, this ferry makes it incredibly easy to see both nations.
2. Try the local food
We’ve all had Chinese food. But have you ever had REAL Chinese food? It’s a totally different experience, especially through the little mom n’ pop restaurants. A full meal will run you about $2 – $5. Worth trying out Chinese beer as well!
3. Hang out with the Locals
Isn’t that the reason we visit new countries? To learn about new people and ways of life. Some icebreakers are to go spectate public board games, play some electronic music for the locals to listen to, or even offering food and drink to those just sitting at a park bench or street corner. In the end, everyone wants to connect and feel loved.
4. Visit Tiananmen Square
An obvious worldwide attraction (with good reason), the square is very busy. So unless you want to compete with hundreds of tourists to take a selfie next to Mao Zedong’s tomb, it’s a good idea to come early. Also a tour guide would be a great idea as the landmark has fantastic history.
5. Dress up as the Emperor of the Forbidden City
Ever wanted to feel what its like to be the ruler of the most populated nation on the planet? Well you can have all the power and glory for a $2 donation at the Jingshan Park across the street from the Forbidden city exit. Some helpers will dress you up, put you in a big extravagant golden chair and let you take some epic photos. On top of that, the view from the summit is remarkable and allows you to see all of the Forbidden City. Great catch for sunset!
6. Eat crazy S#!T at the Dong Hua Men Night Market
Talk about a place to overcome your fears. We completely stumbled on this night market, and it ended up being the highlight of Beijing for us. These food stands will serve all your favourite dishes: tarantula, grasshopper, scorpion, starfish, sea urchin, silkworm, shark, snake. Then it gets into the really exotic dished like: sheep testicle, monkey brain, buffalo penis, etc. Anything you can think of, it will be for sale and seasoned to perfection. Those with a light stomach, don’t fear. There are tons of more ‘normal’ and very delicious foods there.
7. Toboggan down the Great Wall of China
There’s absolutely no way you can visit Beijing without seeing this World Wonder. The wall is over 8,800 kilometers and there are many sites to visit, so if you are looking for a thrill on top of it all, visit the Mutianyu location. For an extra US $20, you have the option of tobogganing down the Great Wall! And these things go really fast!
8. Go to a traditional Chinese tea ceremony
Our ceremony was included in our tour package to the Great Wall. The tour is free, but keep mind you will be pushed to buy some expensive teas afterwards! The ceremony starts with everyone sitting around an ancient Chinese table. The master of ceremonies will then show you all the various types of tea, some dating back hundreds or even thousands of years. It’s a very cool experience.
9. Stay at a Hostel
Beijng is visited by many awesome backpackers but the problem is the city is so big and populated it’s hard to come across them. So we suggest you stay in a large and highly rated hostel.
10. Take a train to Mongolia
Seriously. DO NOT MISS THIS PLACE. We visited 24 countries in Asia this year, and Mongolia may have been our greatest highlight. There’s an express train that will take you directly to Ulaanbaatar. It’s cheaper to do the local connecting trains, but it ended up taking us 5 days to get there. It depends on the type of adventure you’re looking for.
Well that concludes our top 10 for Beijing. Xiè xie for reading and enjoy!