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Travel guide - Beijing

The capital of the People’s Republic of China is one of the most visited cities in the world. This modern city with its major road network and huge skyscrapers of glass and concrete offers a stark contrast to the imperial portion of the city with its traditional buildings and ancient temples filled with beautiful ornaments.

The Forbidden City in Beijing – houses the Imperial Palace. Take a guided tour and find out more about the imperial history of China. One of the world’s largest squares, Tiananmen Square is also situated close to the Forbidden City.

Shichahai Lakes – the three lakes, Qianhai, Houhai Xihai, in Beijing surrounded by lively restaurants and bars. You can hire a rowing boat at the nearly Behai Park and enjoy Beijing’s beautiful surroundings.

Temple of Heaven – built for ceremonies to praise Heaven and the Emperor, the Son of Heaven.

Beijing’s National Stadium (The “Bird’s Nest”) – admire this fantastic Olympic arena built for the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Hutongs (Beijing’s traditional narrow streets) – take a cycle rickshaw through the narrow alleys in Shichahai and see the old side of China.

Great Wall of China – take a day trip and experience the feeling of walking on part of this ancient wonder of the world. About 1 hour 45 minutes by taxi from Tian An Men Square.

Ming Dynasty Tombs – 60 minutes from Beijing. This gigantic cemetery where 13 emperors from the Ming Dynasty are buried can be reached on a day trip from Beijing.

Chengde – a city with an ancient imperial summer palace, where visitors can enjoy genuine Chinese and Tibetan architecture. 4 hours from Beijing.

Beijing has a broad variety of shopping options, and clothes are particularly inexpensive. There are also plenty of local handicraft stores to choose between. Be aware, however, that antiques labeled as “genuine” rarely are.

Nanluoguxiang located in Beijing’s Dongcheng district, nearly a kilometer of fashion and design stores, as well as other shopping alternatives all with a genuine hutong (narrow lane or alleyway) feel. Other shopping centers worth visiting are Xidan and Wangfujing – both offering stores and malls with clothes, accessories, electronic goods and much more as well as high-class shopping and luxury restaurants.

Xiushui (Silk Street) is a shopping center with stores where you can find cheap goods for sale in Beijing. However beware that many items may not be genuine.

Hongqiao (Pearl) Market – pearls and other beautiful jewelry are the primary offering here, but other items such as clothes, toys and electronic devices are also available. Panjiayuan Flea Market is another market where you can find art and antiques plus any other kind of shopping you could wish for.

Electronic – in Zhongguancun electronic market in Beijing there is an endless range of electronic devices and tech gadgets to buy, but be aware of the varied quality of the products.

When it comes to Chinese cuisine, visitors to Beijing can find just about everything on offer, featuring a wide variety of tastes, textures and colours. It is common in Beijing to eat snacks sold at street stalls, so do what the Chinese do: take an evening stroll and try a little of everything as you walk along. For those brave enough to try something different, how about fried scorpion or grilled millipede?

Beijing roast duck (Beijing kaoya) – small slices of crispy duck dipped in hoisin sauce and usually wrapped in a pancake.

Mongolian/Beijing Hot Pot – a simple fondue with meat or seafood, cabbage and noodles.

Beijing Zhajiangmian – pork, noodles and vegetables served with zhajiang, a salty fermented soybean paste.

Spring rolls (chūn juǎn) – these come in all kinds of different forms and with a variety of fillings.

Jiaozi – dumplings filled with pork, cabbage or scrambled eggs that are then fried to create a wonderful crispy skin.

Chao Ge Da – a kind of fried pasta snack.

Chao Gan – a snack of stir-fried liver boiled with offal, garlic, soy sauce and starch.

Guang Chang – a pork sausage snack that is steam cooked, sliced and fried.

Tea is often served to you with food, but you can of course order watersodabeer or wine as well.

Subway – Beijing’s subway system is fast, reliable and inexpensive.

Taxi – using a taxi in Beijing is simple and very good value. Write down your destination and make sure the meter is running. Beware of private taxis.

Currency in China – yuan (¥)

Electricity in China – 220 volts

Bring cash – only some CMB ATMs in Beijing accept foreign cards. It's best to bring cash. You can exchange money at your hotel.

Tips – officially tipping is not required in China, but it is becoming more and more common.

Time zone – Beijing (China) UTC/GMT +8 hours (-1 hour during summer time in countries that use summer time/winter time).

Avoid private taxis – it is easy to be cheated out of your money.

Bargaining – it is fine to do this at market stalls, such as Hong Qiao, Xiu Shui, Pan Jia Yuan and Zhong Guan Cun, but not in shopping centres and shopping malls, such as Lufthansa Center and San Li Tun, where bargaining is considered inappropriate.

Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK)

The airport is located 31km northeast of Beijing.

  • Finnair flights: Terminal 3, area C
  • Check-in opens 3 hours before departure
  • Check-in closes 1 hour before departure

Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX)

The airport is located 46km south of the city centre of Beijing and 65km from the neighbouring Beijing Capital International Airport.  

Daxing airport has a good connection to the city. With an operating subway line, the 40km journey from the city’s southern Third Ring Road station to the airport will only take 19 minutes.

  • Check-in opens 3 hours before departure
  • Check-in closes 1 hour before departure

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