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Top 10 Must See Places in Beijing
Written by Ruqin Li
Beijing is unarguably one of the most visited places in the world. Every year finds millions of people come to Beijing to see the capital of China, a fast changing metropolitan city of old and new. Beijing is a sleepless city, so you can easily find something for you at any time for whatever you like. There are in fact a great number of tourist attractions and historic sites in Beijing. Beijing Xinhua International Tours ReviewSome of these interesting places are within walking distance, some are a bit further away. It takes quite some time to savvy everything that Beijing City has to provide. But if you only have a short stay in Beijing, you should make sure to get around the top ten places in Beijing City. In this way, you can say that you have been to Beijing City!

Top 10 Must See Places in Beijing
How to plan out the top 10 places based on your short stay in Beijing?
How to get about the top 10 places in Beijing?
Travelling tips for Beijing travellers
A word on the Author

Top 10 Must See Places in Beijing


Top 10 Must See Places in Beijing
Forbidden City Tiananmen Square Great Wall Summer Palace Temple of Heaven
Ming Tombs Hutong Pedicab Tour Lama Temple Beihai Park Beijing Capital Museum


1. Forbidden City ( the Imperial Palace )
Beijing is an old capital city developing at a fast pace. The Forbidden City is the ideal place for you to begin your exploration of Beijing by opening its mysterious face. With over 9,000 rooms and over 250 acres, this large palace building was built between 1406 and 1420. It Forbidden Cityburned down and was rebuilt, sacked and renovated for times, so most of the architecture you can see today dates back to the 18th century in the Qing Dynasty. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes as you have to walk a lot! There is a Starbucks in the palace in case you need some coffee to recharge you . I highly recommend you to have a guide. It is quite helpful to have a guide escort you and tell the stories behind the palace . If you are a non-group tourist, I suggest you rent a 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 Forbidden City Tour.
How to get there:
Address: No.4 Jingshan Front Street, Dongcheng District
Opening Hour: 8:30-17:00
Ticket office hours: From 9: to 15:00 pm
Travel Time: Two hours
Entrance Fee: RMB 60
Buses to the Forbidden City: No. 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 20, 52, 57, 22, 54, 120, 802, special bus No.1
and get off at Zhongshan Phongshan Park stop or Tian Am Men stop. Take subway.
Check for more details: URL: www.dpm.org.cn
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2. Tiananmen Square
What is the most representative place in Beijing? The answers are various. But Tiananmen Square is unarguably on the top list. Lying in the heart of Beijing City, it is the place for massive parades and gathering. It boasts of the largest square of such kind in the world. This was the place when in 1949, from a rostrum on Tiananmen (the Gate of Heavenly Tiananmen Square Peace), Chairman Mao announced the establishment of the People's Republic of China. Tiananmen Square is circled by Tiananmen (Gate of Heaven Peace) on its north; the Great Hall of the People on its west; on the east of Tiananmen Square lies the National Museum of China,; 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 seeing. The young troops perform very well. Make sure to be there 30 minutes earlier to get a good standing point.
How to get there:
Buses to Tiananmen:
Take No.1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 20, 52, 57, 22, 54, 120, 802, special bus No.1 and get off Zhongshan Park stop or Tian An Men stop. Take subway.
Ticket fees and tour time:
Tiananmen Square: Free
Tiananmen (Gate of Heavenly Peace): RMB 15
The Great Hall of the People: RMB 15
Chairman Mao's Mausoleum: Free
The National Museum of China: RMB 15
Opening Time (Tiananmen Square): Whole Day
Travelling time: 2-4 hours
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3. Great Wall at Badaling, Juyongguan, Mutianyu, Simatai and Jinshanling
Climbing the Great Wall is a must for you no matter how buy you are! In Beijing there are mainly eight sections of the Great Wall crossing the northern part of Beijing for 600 kms. The eight sections are Badaling, Juyongguan, Huanghuacheng, Jiankou, Mutianyu, Gubeikou, Jinshanling, and Simatai. Most of the sections of the Great Wall in Beijing are well-preserved and mainly the relics dating from the Ming Dynasty, the time for huge construction. For the Great Wall hiking, get ready for strong footwear. For hot weather, please also prepare for Great Wall sunblock, sunglasses and water. For cold days, get ready for your hat and heavy coat.
Badaling Great Wall:
Ticket Fees: RMB40 (Nov. 01 to Mar. 31); RMB 45 (Apr. 01 to Oct. 31)
Open Hours: 06:40 to 18:30
HikeTime: 2.5 hours
How to go there: Take Bus 919.
Or take a tourist bus:
No. 1 at Front Gate ( Qianmen );
No. 2 at Beijing Railway Station;
No. 3 at East Bridge;
No. 4 at Xizhi Gate or Beijing Zoo;
Juyongguan Great Wall:
Ticket Fee: RMB 45 Open Hours: 07:30 to 17:30
Hike Time : 2.5 hours
How to go there:
Take tourist Bus Route as below:
Take No. 1 at Front Gate ( Qianmen )
Take No. 2 at Beijing Railway Station
Take No. 3 at East Bridge
Take No. 4 at Beijing Zoo or Xizhimen Gate
Mutianyu Great Wall:
Ticket Fee: RMB35
Open Hours: 07:30 to 17:30
Hike Time: 2.5 hours
How to go there: Take Bus no 916 or take tourist Bus No. 6 at Xuanwumen Gate
Simatai Great Wall:
Ticket Fee: RMB 35
Open Hours: 08:00 to 17:00
Hike Time: 2 hours
How to go there:
Take bus No.12 from Xuan Wu Gate directly to Simatai.
Take the 970 bus out of Beijing to Miyun and hire a taxi from there.
Jinshanling Great Wall:
Entrance Fee: RMB 30
Opening Hours: 08:00 to 16:50
Hiking time: 2 hours
How to go there
Take the 970 bus out of Beijing to Miyun and hire a taxi from there.
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4. Summer Palace ( Yiheyuan )
Regarded as the largest imperial garden in China, Beijing's Summer Palace is in fact a park-styled royal retreat extending out over 10 square miles in northwest suburban Beijing . Once a summer resort for emperors, this 290-acre partk-palace is still a retreat for visitors, who can take a rest here or wander around old pavilions, buildings, temples, bridges and the huge lake - Kunming Lake. Summer Palace is mainly comprised of Longevity Hill Summer Palace(Washoushan) and Kunming Lake. Much of the park is covered by Kunming Lake. With masterly design and artistic architecture integrating the highlight of Chinese garden arts, the Summer Palace has earned a title of "Royal Garden Museum". It is a royal garden most completely preserved with richest landscapes and large compact buildings. The Summer Palace was listed as the world cultural heritage in1998.
How to go there:
Take busses No.726, 826, 718, 332, 331 or 737 and get of at Yiheyuan Dongmen
Check for more details: www.summerpalace-china.com
Address: Yiheyuan (Summer Palace) Road, Haidian District 62881144-209
Open Time: 6:30-20:30
Ticket Fee: RMB 40 (low season) / RMB 50 (peak season)
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5. Temple of Heaven ( Tiantan )
Temple of Heaven is one of the real highlights of Beijing. It is situated in the southern Beijing City. It has been one of the most sacred sites for the whole country for the past five centuries. It worked as sacrificial compound buildings for the Ming and Qing emperors. It boasts of the largest sacrificial place in Beijing among a few imperial altars to Heaven, Earth, the Sun, the Moon super natures. What's the intriguing by-production of the temple is that if you enter tTemple of Heavenhe Temple of Heaven in the early morning, you can find many people doing all types of kung fu and taiji and other morning exercises. Furthermore, many people happily play each other with music, songs or cards. You can also join them if you want. The most highliht part of the temple is the unique century-old trees - row upon row of Chinese cypress, Chinese juniper and scholar trees etc. Some of the cypresses are over 600 years old! When once visiting the temple, Dr Henry Kissinger, said that the USA could rebuild the Temple of Heaven if it wanted, but it could not produce the trees!
How to go there:
Take 6, 20, 39 Buses
Address: on the east of Tianqiao, Chongwen District 67018866
Open Time: 6:00-21:00
Tour Time: 1.5 hours
Ticket Fee: RMB 35
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6. Ming Tombs ( 13 tombs in Ming Dynasty )
Located 50 kilometers northwest of the downtown Beijing, noted as the 13 Tombs , this is Ming Tombsthe burial area of 13 out of 17 emperors of the Ming Dynasty, the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644. It was the final dynasty in China administered by ethnic Hans. At present there are only two tombs which have been dug and open to the public: Dingling Tomb and Changling Tomb. Changling Tomb is the first tomb to be excavated. It took two years for the digging and restoration, and was opened in 1958. Dingling has been excavated so completely that people now have to go into the burial chamber itself. However, it is a very deep climb down and people with problems of their heart or kneels are not advised to visit the underground tomb. Wheel-chair users or people with some difficulty of action, I advise them to visit the Changling Tomb instead.
How to go there:
Travel Time: 2 hours
Tourist Bus Route: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Ticket Fees as below:
Changling Tomb: RMB 30 (Nov.01 to Mar.31) / RMB 45 (Apr.01 to Oct.31)
Dingling Tomb: RMB 40 (Nov.1 to Mar.31) / RMB 60 (Apr.1 to Oct.31)
Opening Time: Changling Tomb: 08:30 to 17:30 / Dingling Tomb: 08:30 to 18:00
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7. Hutong Pedicab Tour ( Shichahai Area )
Do you want to experience a man-driving Pedicab? In today's well preserved old Beijing hutong areas, you can still find this kind of old transportation tool now still kept for tourists as the typical traffic tool of travelling the hutong - Beijing featuring old city alleys. The Hutong Pedicab Tourneighbourhoods of narrow, twisting streets represent the real life of ordinary Beijingers, where passageways - small narrow ways link to courtyards of traditional connected homes. Rickshaw tours of the hutongs consist of the sites that normally include the Drum Tower, courtyard neighbourhoods and Prince Gong's Building. There are many small restaurants, bars and inns. Ascending the top of the Bell Tower you can have a bird's eye view of the surrounding hutongs. The most intriguing part of the hutong travel is wandering through "Pipe Tobacco Alley" close to the Bell Tower. In the "Pipe Tobacco Alley", you will feel you are back to the years of old Beijing.
How to go there:
Two Areas for Hutong Exploring:
Shichahai Area: north of Beihai Park
Dazhalan Area: south of Tiananmen Square
Rickshaw: RMB 50-100
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8. Lama Temple (Yonghegong)
Lama Temple is Beijing's most frequented religious place. It is comprised of five main halls and many galleries. This temple was first the palace offered to a prince. When he gained the throne, he offered it to the Tibetan Buddhists as the religious sacred place. The Lama Temple is dedicated to the Yellow Sect of Buddhism. It is actually an active temple, with Lama Templemany faithful belivers with burning armloads of incense. The temple has a valuable relic: the biggest Buddha statue carved from a single tree. The statue is huge with three stories up and about nine feet across. It is quite easy to get to the temple for it is the only temple in the downtown Beijing which has its own subway stop! It is a large place for sightseeing, not for something you only travel in only 20 minutes.
How to go there:
Address: No.13 Imperial College Stree, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Take subway or No.62, 13, 116 and special 2 bus and get off at Lama Temple
Open Time: 09:00-16:30
Travel Time: 1.5 hours
Ticket Fee: RMB 20
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9. Beihai Park ( Winter Palace )
Beihai Park was once a winter palace for emperors in the past. It is located just to the north-west of Forbidden City. Among many things to see, there are now two important things not toBeihai Park be missed here: the park itself and the round city. The round city has a jar, which is believed to be the only thing left from the great Khan that reigned China in Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368 A.D). You can hire a rowboat and row the boat on the water. The interesting attractions in Beihai Park are Round City, White Pagoda, Jade Flower Island, Nine-Dragon Wall, Wanfo Lou Tower, Iron Screen etc. The lake is Beijing's biggest and prettiest public lake.
How to go there:
1 Wen Jin Street
(northwest of the Forbidden City) Open Time: 09:00-16:30
Travel Time: 2 hours
From the South Gate: 101、103、109、812、814、846
From the North Gate: 107、111、118、701、823
From the East Gate: 5
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10. Beijing Capital Museum
A trip to Beijing City is not complete without visiting its museums. There are a great number of museums dotting around the city. If you don't have much time available in Beijing, you can focus your museum tour to Beijing Capital Museum. Beijing's new Capital Museum is nowBeijing Capital Museum open to the public, located on Fuxingmenwai Dajie, the western part of Beijing's Chang'an Jie. The museum is a five-storey mansion, catering for a maximum of 13 concurrent exhibitions, which can be seen in about 5 hours at the cost of 30 yuan per visitor.
How to go there:
URL:www.capitalmuseum.org.cn
Tel:010-63370491/92
Open Time: 09:00-16:30
Travel Time: 1.5 hours
Black out date: Monday
ADD: Fuxingmenwai Dajie, Chang An Avenue
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How to plan out the top 10 places based on your short stay in Beijing?
Below is my scheduled time-table for the top 10 for your reference:

1) One day trip in Beijing:
Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and the Great Wall

2) 2-Day Trip in Beijing:
Day 01: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace
Day 02: Ming Tomb and the Great Wall

3) 3-Day Trip in Beijing:
Day 01: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace
Day 02: Ming Tomb and the Great Wall
Day 03: Hutong Tour

4) 4-Day Trip in Beijing:
Day 01: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace
Day 02: Ming Tomb and the Great Wall
Day 03: Hutong travel
Day 04: Beijing Capital Museum, Beihai Park and Lama Temple
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How to get around the top 10 places in Beijing?
Tourists normally have three ways to get around the top 10 or more places in Beijing.
1. Take advantage of relatives, friends or business relationship in Beijing to arrange their tours in Beijing.
2. Plan your Beijing tour mainly on your own by searching internet and travel books and take local public buses, subway, or taxi to get around the city.
3. Locate an authentic local tour operator in Beijing to take worry-free and resourseful Beijing tours. Local tour operators in Beijing normally provide two kinds of tours:
1) Beijing seat-in bus tours ( or also called Beijing coach tours, or Beijing join-in group tours )
Beijing seat-in bus toursFor Beijing bus tours, you will be put in a small group (around 10 travellers) with other travellers from different parts of the world on the same tour coach. You will be escorted by our knowlegeable and helpful English speaking tour guides to complete your unforgetable Beijing tour.
Join-in Group Bus Tour strong points: economical, meet new friends by encountering the other travellers.
Beijing Private Tours2) Beijing Private Tours Private tours are personal tours with your exclusive use of a vehicle and a tour guide. No other travellers will join you. You have much more flexibility in scheduling your travel. Private Beijing Tours good points: flexible, more persoanl, more interactive, but a lttle more expensive than a coach tour.
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Travelling tips for Beijing travellers:
1. Taking a Taxi:
Taking a taxi is normally quite all right in Beijing. But still be aware for illegal taxis!
You are kindly advised to mind the following methods to take the real taxi:
1) The legal taxi plaque number begins with the number "B"
2) The legal taxi should be equipped with the light on the top and meter measuring.
3) It's better to take a cab on the road instead of a taxi waiting somewhere. The empty taxi
must present a red light in the front window. You are kindly informed that there are two places where you will possibly meet the illegal ( black ) taxi:
A. The cab waiting at the North Gate of Forbidden City. Most of the time the legal cabs are not allowed to wait in front of the gate. If you still want to take a taxi when you end your visit to the Forbidden City, we advise you to walk about 200 meters and find a taxi moving on the road B. Please have a close look at the taxi waiting at the Summer Palace. We still suggest you take a going cab. Don't take a the taxi which has no letter" B" or strange colour ( normal colour: yellow and Red ).

2. Becareful! Don't go aboard the black " illegal tour coach"
While travelling independently in Beijing, you may have the possibility of encountering illegal tour organizers promoting the tours on the streets. In Beijing, there are still some black illegal daily tour coaches dispatching" blind "tourists to the Great Wall or other tourist spots. You will have a nightmare tour once you get on it. To promote their illegal trips, these sales persons very often deliver a small card to passing-by travellers who want to go to the Great Wall by standing on some public areas most possibly like the street, Tian'anmen Square, or the entrance of the Forbidden City etc. They would use their "unbeatable price" to lure travellers. But once aboard their coach for the Great Wall, they will make you pay extra fees again and again. Sometimes even the Great Wall is the section you want to visit! You are kindly reminded not to take their card if you meet them. Actually it's very easy to point out an illegal tour coach in Beijing. A legal tour coach plaque begins with " B ", if not, you will possibly get aboard a " black tour coach".

3. False art students:
In some places, you may encounter some so-called art students who are coming to you and speaking to you with the overt aim of practicing their spoken English with you. But actually, you will find later that they are going to sell some fake stuff to you by leading you to a show hall! Especially be careful of these places:
A.Wangfujing Street
B.Tiananmen Square,
C.Starbuck coffee inside the Forbidden City

4. Visiting Panjiayuan flea market
If you show a great interest in travelling Panjiayuan flea market which is open only on weekends, please know some art of bargainning. You must understand that some of the stuff are not real antique.

5. Is Beijing a safe city?
Beijing is now definitely one of the safest cities in the world. But we cannot make any promise that there is no danger at all simply because it is a capital city. When we talk about danger, we often think people are getting robbed, cheated or misdirected in terms of money not necessarily putting a gun or knife on your back! Chinese people don't like crime. So we advise you to take care of your personal belongings and use your brain often.

6. Crossing the street:
Some local people don't have much sense of traffic rule and regulation. On the street, you migh feel scared to see how some people in Beijing cross the street. Some drivers don't offer priority to the walking people or bicycles. At the same time some people neglect the traffic signals and the cars too! Sometimes some people ignore the colour change of the traffic. Please don't follow those who ignore the traffic regulation. Always remember that some of the drivers on the roads are quite new! So anything will happen!

7. Pickpockets:
In Beijing today, like other big cities in the world, you can still find some pickpockets in Beijing. Most of the dangerious places: scenic spots, commercial areas, on the buses and subway etc. Beside these areas, you have to be alert whereever you are, especially when you are in a supermarket or a restaurant.
More Beijing individual travel information
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A word on the Author:
Ruqin Li has been in travel business for more than 20 years. Now he is the general manager of http://beijing.etours.cn. Travel, reading and internet surfing are what he most wants to do when he has spare time. In work, Ruqin Li's motto is: "we should not be just satisfied to have satified our valued customers, we must utterly move them!"
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