Heading to Beijing tomorrow and over Christmas for 4D3N. I like traveling free & easy so like always, research of things to do is a MUST before going. Here is my research to share of what is the ”top must dos” if you have limited time in Beijing or decide to go for a short trip.
1. Great wall of China at Mutianyu is recommended. It is further from the center but less crowded.
2. Forbidden City
Consisting of over 9,000 rooms and spread over 250 acres, this large palace complex was built between 1406 and 1420, but was burnt down, rebuilt, sacked and renovated countless times, so most of the architecture you can see today dates from the 18th century and on wards during the Qing Dynasty. Rent multi lingual guide recorder either at Meridian Gate ( southern gate of Forbidden city ) or the Gate of Divine Prowess (Northern gate of Forbidden City) and return it when you finish your tour of Forbidden City. After you visit the Imperial Palace and go out of the Gate of Divine Prowess, you can enter into Jingshan Park, climb a bit and overlook the panorama of the Imperial Palace. In the evening, especially in summer, Forbidden City is brilliant. Colored lights from all directions lighten Meridian Gate, the Gate of Divine Prowess, turret, palace wall and other main palaces.
3. Tiananmen Square
Tiananmen Square is definitely on the top list. Located in the heart of Beijing City, it is the site for massive parades and rallies, which is the largest square of this kind in the world. This was the site when in 1949, from a rostrum on Tiananmen (the Gate of Heavenly Peace), Chairman Mao proclaimed the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. Tiananmen Square is surrounded by Tiananmen ( Gate of Heaven Peace ) on its north ; the Great Hall of the People on its west, the meeting place of national people’s congress of the People’s Republic of China; on the east of Tiananmen Square is the National Museum of China, and visiting the exhibition is like reading concise China General History; there are Monument to the People’s Heroes and Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum on the south.
At sunrise and sunset the raising and lowering ceremony of the Chinese National Flag is well worth the watching. The precision of the young troops is very well performed. Go there about 30 minutes early to have a good seat. Spend the time to see the people (soldiers, tourists and locals) makes the square a true highlight for the first time visitors.
4. Temple of Heaven
Temple of Heaven as a real highlight of Beijing. It is located in the southern part of Beijing, and has been one of the most holy places for the whole country for more than five centuries. It used as a complex of sacrificial buildings for the Ming and Qing emperors, and is the largest one in Beijing among several royal altars to Heaven, Earth, the Sun, the Moon and other deities or symbolic forces of Nature. If you go to the Temple of Heaven in the early morning, you can see groups of people practicing all types of kung fu and taiji. Many people contentedly entertain each other with music,songs or quietly playing cards. You can also practice with them if you are so inclined. This is another good activity for the jetlagged. What makes the temple unique is the century-old trees – line upon line of Chinese cypress, Chinese juniper and scholar trees. Some of the cypresses are more than 600 years old. Dr Henry Kissinger, when he visited the temple, stated that while the USA could recreate the Temple of Heaven if it desired, it could not create the trees!
5. Summer Palace
As the largest royal garden in China, Beijing’s Summer Palace is actually a parklike imperial retreat spread out over 10 square miles. The Summer Palace in northwest suburban Beijing is the largest and most complete imperial garden existing in China. Once a summer retreat for emperors, this 290-acre park is still a retreat for the tourists, who can relax here or walk around ancient pavilions, mansions, temples, bridges and huge lake. Summer Palace mainly consists of Longevity Hill (Washoushan) and Kunming Lake. Much of it is covered by Kunming Lake. With masterly design and artistic architecture and integrationg the essence of Chinese garden arts, the Summer Palace has a title of “Imperial Garden Museum”. It is an imperial garden most completely reseved with richest landscapes and concentrated
buildings. The Summer Palace was added to the world cultural heritage list in 1998.
6. Wangfujing Shopping
There is 2 big malls there Oriental Plaza and Sun Dong An”, which is confusing because its Chinese name is “Xin Dong An”.
The Wangfujing station (118) on Line 1 has an exit which takes you directly into Oriental Plaza(the newer of the 2 shopping malls).
Beijing Peking Duck
Beijing duck is the local flavor of Beijing. Savoring Beijing Duck is a “musts” for those visiting Beijing for the first time, which you cannot miss. The traditional method of preparing Beijing Duck has a history of over a hundred years and boasts a great reputation to this day. If you ask which is the best Beijing duck house ( restaurant ) in Beijing, different people will offer you different answers. Actually it is quite a personal taste of which one is the best.
How to get there:
Qianmen Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant
Add: 32 Qianmen Dajie, Chongwen District
Open hours: 11am-1:30pm, 4:45pm-8pm
By bus: take lines 110, 120, 20, exit at Dazhalan
Tel: 6710 1379
Hepingmen Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant
Add: 14 Qian Men xi dajie, Xuanwu District
Open hours: 11am-2pm, 4:30pm-10:30pm
By bus: take lines 14, 7, 15, subway line 2, exit at Hepingmen
Tel: 6301 8833
Wangfujing Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant
Add: 9 shifuyuan Hutong, Wangfujing dajie, Dongcheng District
Open hours: 11am-1:30pm, 4:30pm-8:30pm
By bus: take lines 1, 4, 37, 52, exit at wangfujing
Tel: 6525 3310
Chinese Snacks to try…
As white as snow, this delicacy is made of sticky rice. The rice is first steamed then pounded and shaped into a ball. It is then given a filling, which might be sesame and white sugar, pea-flour, jujube paste or some other treat. Flexible in consistency and with a distinctive smooth texture, this dainty snack became a favorite of imperial and noble families during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
This is a very popular Beijing snack. Crisp outside, they are soft and sweet inside.
Available in Beijing markets all the year round, this delicacy is particularly associated with the month of March. The snack has a long history dating back to the 13th century and it is made and sold today much as it was in those days of long ago.
The most common form of Qiegao is made from glutinous rice with date or bean paste. Glutinous rice flour is first well mixed with water and then steamed. When cooked the rice flour is then kneaded evenly into thin layers. Each cake has four such layers with bean or date paste spread between them. It is served in slices on a plate with a dusting of white sugar
As one of the ancient snacks of Beijing, Ludagun is mainly made of soy bean flour mixed with sugar. It is a popular snack in Beijing.
Sweet tooth me can’t wait to try these snacks.
If you need more info of Beijing Travel Visit: http://www.china.org.cn/travel