From exploring the Forbidden City to walking along the famous Great Wall of China, here is our list of the absolute best things to do in Beijing.
Welcome to one of the most awe-inspiring, mind-blowing and just plain crazy cities on the face of the earth.
Beijing has everything: history, culture, stunning scenery, food and a healthy dose of culture shock.
I first visited Beijing back in 2008 just before the Beijing Olympics and I loved it so much that I returned in 2011 and lived there for over 7 years.
It became my home in a way I never imagined and to this day it is still my favourite city in the world.
There are so many awesome things to do, that you will be spoilt for choice.
Beijing is a city that has changed constantly throughout its history.
Walls, palaces and temples have been knocked down and replaced as the city grew from a small settlement to one of the largest cities on earth.
Beijing’s history is intertwined with the story of China.
The city was a great power until the industrial revolution when the colonial powers came knocking on China’s door demanding it open for trade.
At this point, Beijing was the seat of power, and the Forbidden City was the centre of the known universe and the heart of one of the largest empires on earth.
Over the course of the 1800’s China and Beijing’s fortunes reversed.
READ MORE: Check out our comprehensive China travel guide if you’re planning a visit!
Wars, unequal treaties and poor governance lead to the collapse of the Qing Dynasty and Imperial China.
What followed was the Civil War, the Japanese invasion and more Civil War.
Beijing was at the centre of this change and strife. So it was fitting that in 1949 Chairman Mao’s People Liberation Army marched into Beijing and Mao himself stood atop the gate of heavenly peace saying the Chinese people had stood up.
The Peoples Republic of China was formed and power was back in Beijing.
As China continues it’s rapid ascension to the upper echelons of the geopolitical tower this only enhances the importance, power and prestige of Beijing.
The Best Things to Do in Beijing
There is no other city in the world like Beijing.
From some of the most impressive structures ever built in the ancient world to the hutongs (胡同 narrow alleyways) that are the city’s heart and soul, this is a city of contradictions, chaos and a healthy dollop of China.
Beijing is most famous for the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square…