Beijing is a fascinating city with many things to do, including historical attractions and experiences. Here are my top ten things to do in Beijing .
1. The Great Wall Of China
This may sound clichéd but this is the No. 1 thing to do in Beijing – even though The Great Wall is not restricted to Beijing. It is over 8000 km long extending from the East to the West of the country. We went up the Juyong Pass. The views are spectacular and the experience is phenomenal. You get to tick off one of the New 7 Wonders of the World on your bucket list and earn the bragging rights – and the T-shirt, as well as the certificate that you can buy there. It helps to be fit as the wall is steep. Do wear comfortable shoes.
2. Tiananmen Square
Visit the world’s largest public square, the scene of many important events in Chinese history and one of China’s most famous landmarks. Chairman Mao Zedong, the founder of modern China, now lies there in his mausoleum. Hundreds of visitors queue to pay their respects everyday. Go at dawn or dusk, if you can, to see the elaborate flag-rising and lowering ceremonies.
3. The Forbidden City
The Forbidden City was the residence of the Chinese royal family and dates back to the 15th century. The imperial palace was home to 24 emperors and is recognized as one of the five most important palaces in the world.It was thus named because no one could enter or leave it without the emperor’s permission and is surrounded by a moat. Almost as big as a city, it is reputed to contain around 9000 rooms within 980 buildings which have beautiful names such as the Palace of Heavenly Purity, Palace of Earthly Tranquility, Hall of Supreme Harmony and Hall of Mental Cultivation.
4. Temple Of Heaven
This has been one of the most important places in China for the past 5 centuries. Apart from the religious and historic significance, it is a centre for social gatherings (mainly for senior citizens). In the early mornings, you can see people practising kung fu and tai-chi and at any other time, you see people entertaining each other with music or playing cards. I was fascinated with a couple posing for wedding pictures.
5. Summer Palace
This is the largest royal garden in China. Built in 1750, it used to be a summer retreat for the emperors and is now a retreat for locals and tourists. Consisting of beautiful pavilions, hills, bridges, mansions and a huge lake, it is a lovely place for a leisurely stroll and a boat ride. Locals also come here for fashion shoots and we saw several in progress.
Read Part 2: Top 10 Things to do in Beijing: Experiences here .
Read about my other experiences in China here.
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