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12 Things You Have to Do in Beijing

Beijing, the capital of China for more than 3000 years, is steeped in history and ancient landmarks, while at the same time being the increasingly modernizing political and administrative hub of China. In short Beijing has everything a new au pair could want in a host city. Here you can see the two sides of China co-existing side by side as the ancient buildings and hutongs are situated a stone’s throw away from grand industrial skyscrapers.


1. The Great Wall 长城 [cháng chéng]



Ticket price: it varies depending on which part, roughly RMB 40-50


How long to spend there: the whole day 


How to get there: by tourist bus (60 yuan): it starts from Qianmen tourist dispatch center, passes Dongzhimen, and ends at the front gate of the Great Wall at Mutianyu scenic area / by taxi (2 hours, $37)


No trip to Beijing is complete without a trip to China’s most famous landmark. You’ll be swept away by the immensity of the seemingly endless infrastructure that zigzags through China’s northeastern mountain range. Nestled high in the mountains, there are spectacular views of China’s beautiful natural landscape, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.


2. The Forbidden City 故宫 [gù gōng]



Ticket price: RMB 60 (April-October) and RMB 40 (November-March) + additional costs of some buildings


Opening hours: 8.30am-4pm


How long to spend there: 4 hours/half a day


How to get there:

1. Tiananmen East Station: Bus nos. 1, 2, 52, 59, 82, 99, 120, Tourist Line 1, or Tourist Line 2

2. Tiananmen West Station: Bus nos. 1, 5, 52, 99, Tourist Line 1, or Tourist Line 2

3. Subway Line 1: get off at Tiananmen East Station (Exit A) or Tiananmen West Station (Exit B)


As the ancient imperial palace for over half a millennium, the Forbidden City is bursting with ancient artifacts and artworks. Originally created as a lavish building to symbolize imperial power, its immensity has not diminished throughout the years. Due to the divine status of the building, it was forbidden to enter the palace without the permission from the emperor, hence its name. 


3. Summer Palace 颐和园 [yí hé yuán]



Ticket price: RMB 30 + additional costs of some buildings


Opening hours: 6.30am-6pm 


How long to spend there: 4 hours/half a day 


How to get there: Metro line 4 to Xiyuan exit C2 or bus no. 330,331, 332, 346, 375, 563, 594, 508, 579, 303, 584 to East Gate of Summer Palace 


The Summer Palace is a beautiful ensemble of gardens and palaces centered around Kunming Lake. With beautiful lakeside walks and ancient buildings for you to see, this place necessitates at least half a day as there is so much for you to explore. 


4. Hutongs 胡同 [hú tòng]


Ticket price: free


Opening hours: all day 


How long to spend there: 2-3 hours


How to get there: take Line 6 or Line 8 to Nanluoguxiang Station (南锣鼓巷站) and get out from exit E.


These small, winding alleyways offer an authentic glimpse into Beijing’s traditional past, as well as contemporary life in Beijing and an insight into a tight-knit community from the close parameters in which people live to each other. Perhaps the most famous hutong is nanluoguxiang. 


5. Tiananmen Square 天安门广场 [tiān ān mén guǎng chǎng]


Ticket price: free


Opening hours: 8.30am - 5pm  


How long to spend there: 1 hour


How to get there: Metro Line 1 to get off at Tiananmendong (天安门东) or Tiananmenxi (天安门西), or take the Metro Line 2 to get off at Qianmen (前门)


This huge city square is worth a visit as it contains the national museum of China and the mausoleum of Mao Zedong, and is a central point of Beijing.


6. Temple of Heaven 天坛 [tiān tán]


Ticket price: RMB 15 + additional costs of some buildings 


Opening hours: main gate: 6:30 - 22:00 / attractions in the park 8:00 - 18:00


How long to spend there: 1~2 hours


How to get there: Subway line 5: get off at Tiantandongmen ( 天坛东门) station. Walk to the South Gate which is the entrance.


Another beautiful building steeped in history for you to explore. It was originally constructed in a way to symbolize the connection of Heaven and Earth. 


7. 798 Art District 798 艺术区 [yìshūqū]


Ticket Price: the park is free though some exhibitions you need to pay for


Opening Hours: 10:00 - 17:00


How long to spend there: 2 hours


How to get there: Subway line 14 : get off at Wangjing South (望京南) station exit A and transfer to bus No. 593, get off at Dashanzi lu kou dong (大山子路口东)


Situated in a complex of warehouses, if you’re searching for a young urban vibe, this is where it’s at! This is the trendy side of Beijing, with a range of bars, restaurants and shops, as well as contemporary art galleries to satisfy your need for artistic creativity. 


8. Beihai Park 北海公园 [běi hǎi gōng yuán]


Ticket Price: RMB 10 + additional costs of some buildings 


Opening hours: 06:00 - 22:00


How long to spend there: 2 ~ 3 hours 


How to get there: Bus No. 101, 103, 10, 812, 814 and 846 pass the south gate of the park, Bus No. 107, 111, 118, 701 and 823 go to the north gate of the park and No. 5 to the east gate of the park. Subway line 6: Beihai north 


Beihai Park, a former imperial garden with over 1000 years’ history, is China’s largest garden. Here you can find beautiful gardens, imperial palaces and religious buildings all surrounded by an expansive lake. 


9. Sanlitun 三里屯 [sān lǐ tún]



Ticket price: N/A


Opening hours: ~till late


How long to spend there: all evening


How to get there: Take subway line 10 and get off at Tuanjiehu Station through Exit A, and then walk westwards along North Gongren Tiyuchang Road / by Bus: take Bbus No. 3, 4, 43, 113, 115, 117, 406, 431, 403, 120 or 110 to Worker's Stadium Station. 


To experience the modern, capitalist side of Beijing head here! This is Beijing’s hub of restaurants, shopping and nightlife, where more than 60% of Beijing’s bars are located so no wonder it is often packed with energetic young people. 


10. Jingshan Park 景山公园 [jǐng shān gōng yuán]



Ticket price: RMB 2 + additional costs of some buildings


Opening hours: 6.30 - 21:00


How long to spend there: 2 hours


How to get there: By Bus:

West Gate: Take bus 5 or 58 and get off at Xibanqiao Station.

North Gate: Take bus 5 or 58 and get off at Jingshan Houjie Station.

East Gate: Take bus 58, 111, 124 or Sightseeing Bus 3 and get off at Jingshan Dongmen (the east gate of Jingshan Park) Station.

South Gate: Take bus 58, 101, 103, 109, 124, 128 or Sightseeing Bus 1, 2, or 3 and get off at Gugong (Forbidden City) Station.

By Subway: take Subway Line 8 to Shichahai Station. Get out from Exit C and then walk south for about 914m (1,000 yards) to the north gate of the park. From Shichahai Subway Station, visitors can also take bus 5, 60, 82, 107, 124, or Sightseeing Bus 3 to the park.


At the top of a hill, this park provides spectacular panoramic views of the Forbidden City, as well as beautiful gardens if you want a pleasant day-time or evening stroll. 


11. Drum and Bell Towers 钟鼓楼 [zhōng gǔ lóu]


Ticket price: Bell Tower RMB 15, Drum Tower RMB 30


Opening hours: 09:00 - 17:00


How long to spend there: 1 hour


How to get there: by Subway: take Subway Line 8 and get off at Shichahai Station. Get out from Exit A2 and walk northwards straightly for about five minutes to the Drum Tower.

Take Subway Line 2 and get off at Guloudajie Station. Get out from Exit G and walk south for about 10 minutes to the Bell Tower.

By Bus: take bus 82 or135 and get off at Gulou (Drum Tower) Station.


Having originally been built in 1272, these buildings contain lots of history. There are also regular music and dance performances. Drum performance times: 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm, 4:45pm


12. Lama Temple 喇嘛庙 [lǎ ma miào]



Ticket price: RMB 25


Opening hours: 9:00-16:00


How long to spend there: 2 hours


How to get there: Metro: line 2 or line 5 to Yonghegong Lama Temple; Bus: no.13,116, 117, 684 to Yonghegong Lama Temple 


This beautiful temple contains many traditional and colourful Buddhist buildings and statues to give you an insight into China’s spiritual side. You will see many Chinese people come here to burn incense and pray. 



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