What is there to see in the capital of one of the most powerful and influential countries in the world?

So many things!

Beijing historical city nestled within booming and bustling metropolises. The Beijing itself has become modernized in a way, which has become points of controversy in past decades. But as this once protected and guarded territory opens its doors to the world, it’s now easier to learn more about the history and heritage of China. Even the city that today, bears the name ‘Forbidden,’ can now be explored by those who want to revel in the distant and influential past.

With so many attraction and features, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.  Not to worry, as there are only a few things and places that you really should prioritize during your trip to Beijing. Here is a list of them that you can use as a guide for your next trip.

Visit The Great Wall

Practically no visit to China is complete without visiting the Great Wall. This iconic structure, which stretches around 13, 171 miles, is a historic monument of epic proportions. It’s one of the first, if not the very first, of its kind that was built to protect the city of Beijing from invaders and enemies.

Today, it stands as a testament to the wisdom, courage, and integrity of the Ancient Chinese dynasties. The wall itself has become a symbol of welcoming different cultures to China, which, ironically, is the opposite of its primary purpose in the past.

great wall of china

Discover The Forbidden City

With a name as enticing and inviting as the “Forbidden City,” it’d be a shame if you don’t explore it while you’re in Beijing. The once heavily-guarded complex od ancient Chinese palaces, halls, and temples now stand as relics of a historic past.

Most of what was featured centuries ago can still be found today, preserved and maintained for present and future generations to see. Some sites, such as the Gate of Heavenly Peace, even educate tourists on how religion was like during the country’s tumultuous past.

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Image from BigStock.com

Stroll Through Yiheyuan Park

With how Beijing is now, it’s also difficult to find a spot where you can just relax, maybe even meditate, and find peace. But one such site is arguably one of the most beautiful attractions in the entire city.

In the northwestern corner of the capital stands Yiheyuan, also known as the Summer Palace. This was where the emperors of Ancient China fled to when they want to get away from their kingdom’s troubles. You can also relax here for a bit, immerse yourself in the stunning architecture, and regenerate before going on another adventure in Beijing.

Check Out 798 Arts District

Although the historical sites are what usually most tourists in Beijing go for, it’s a shame if you miss the contemporary greatness that makes up the capital now. If you want to see the beauty of today’s artists, go to 798 Arts District.

Here, you can find the works of modern artists, with all their creative glory, displayed all the world to see, You can also stop by for a nice cup of coffee or a music session to ease up your trip a bit.

Visit Beijing’s Olympic Park

Another symbol of contemporary Beijing is the famous Olympic Park from the 2008 Summer Olympics. The iconic Bird’s Nest stadium still stands today as a great reminder of the time when this ancient city hosted the “Greatest Sporting Event of The World.”

Beyond that are all the tracks, fields, courts, and pools that famous athletes set records in and won their respective medals. That time will forever be cherished by the locals here in Beijing, and you can revisit all that sporting greatness when you visit this park.

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Image from Paulo Tani Photography Instagram page

Ride A Paddle Boat At Beihai Park

Near the “Forbidden City,” you will find Beihai Park. This man-made structure boasts one of the most beautiful and biggest public lakes in the country, as well as eye-catching temples, bridges, and sculptures.

A common pastime when people go here to rent a boat and paddle on the lake, taking in all the peace and quiet that can be found in the middle of the body of water. But if you’re not up for that, you can still stroll through the amazing sites that make up this wonderful park.

Try “Bike Beijing”

Beijing is such a large and vast city that going around it can prove to be quite challenging. It’s worse when the traffic is bad or the subway is too full. Fortunately, there’s another mode of transportation that’s easy, affordable, and is a mode of exercise: cycling. “Bike Beijing” offers tourists and locals rentals for the day so you can bike around the city with ease. You can avoid heavy traffic and tight trains when you choose to travel via a bike ride.

Pay Homage To Confucious

Confucious is one of the most influential and important historical figures of China. Even people from different countries have heard about him, even when many of them haven’t been to China themselves. When you’re in Beijing, pay homage to this iconic figure by visiting his temple, which was built in 1302. this centuries-old site has all sorts of sculptures, scriptures, and educational texts that detail the history and significance of the famous icon. You’ll understand the Chinese more when you explore this site.

Photo from Dreamstime.com

Shop At The Panjiayuan Antiques Market

Any trip to Asia isn’t complete without a little shopping! And at Beijing, the best place for this is arguably at Panjiayuan Antiques Market. Here, about 3,000 stalls sell all sorts of antiques, Chinese memorabilia, artwork, knick-knacks, and more!

You do, however, need to haggle a lot, as some merchants might trick you into buying a piece that’s way too expensive. But for those treasures that you buy fairly, these will be items that you’d cherish forever and will remind you of your exciting visit to Beijing.

Try to do as much as you can when you visit Beijing. Your first time here is a once-in-a-lifetime experience so you should make the most out of it!

Image from Jennifer Arnow

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