Beijing's famous Tiananmen Square is big enough to hold one million people, while the historic Forbidden City is home to thousands of imperial rooms – and Beijing is still growing. The capital has witnessed the emergence of ever-higher rising towers, new restaurants and see-and-be-seen nightclubs. But at the same time, the city has managed to retain its very individual charm. The small tea houses in the backyards, the traditional fabric shops, the old temples and the noisy street restaurants make this city special.
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Beijing This Month
Businesses are generally open from Monday to Friday, 09.00 until 18.00. Shops are also open on weekend.
Beijing Tourist Information Center
22. Beijing Railway Station Service Station
+86 6528 8448
16 Laoqianju Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Aquarium Service Station
+86 6217 6655
18 Gaoliangqiao Xiejie, Haidian District
Beihai Service Station
+86 6403 2726
1 Wenjing Street, Xicheng District (south gate of Beihai Park)
Chaoyang Service Station
+86 6417 6627
11-2 Gongti North Road, Chaoyang District
Beijing: Nowhere else can you find so many historic sites so close to each other. The famous Forbidden City and nearby Tiananmen Square mark the centre of Beijing.
North lies the popular Qianhai Lake, where locals cool down in the hot summer months. The Chongwen district to the south of the Forbidden City houses the Temple of Heaven, while the Chaoyang district in the east is well-known for its trendy restaurants and bars.
Preparing the Chinese capital for the 2008 Olympic Games saw many old buildings get refurbished and new skyscrapers erected. New restaurants, clubs and bars have also sprouted up and made the city more vibrant. Yet, Beijing is still managing to retain its traditional charm. A stroll alongside the city’s old shopping streets with its many silk, antique and tea shops give visitors a unique insight into Chinese culture. And of course, Beijing is also a culinary capital. From traditional Chinese dumplings to the original Beijing Duck, Beijing’s hundreds of restaurant and food stalls are sure to stimulate your taste buds.
Beijing is heaven for sightseeing fans. The city boasts well-known historic sites as well as many temples that attract thousands of visitors every year. The nearby Great Wall of China is clearly a must-see. Below is a list of some of the city’s major tourist attractions.
Tian'anmen Square / 天安门广场
The Forbidden City / 故宫
The Summer Palace / 颐和园
Temple of Heaven / 天坛
Yonghe Temple / 雍和宫
798 Art Zone
Liulichang / 琉璃厂
The Great Wall of China / 长城
Chaoyang Theatre Acrobatics Show / 朝阳剧场
Beihai Park / 北海公园
Happy Valley Beijing / 北京欢乐谷
National Museum of China / 中国国家博物馆
Beijing Aquarium / 北京海洋馆
Shi Cha Hai / 什刹海
Beijing Capital Museum / 北京首都博物馆
Yuan Ming Yuan Park / 圆明园
Nan Luogu Xiang / 南锣鼓巷
The Olympic Park / 奥林匹克公园
Dashilan / 大栅栏
Chinese cuisine is, without a doubt, one of the most popular across the globe - and it is not surprising that you will find the best Chinese food in China! A visit to Beijing is not complete without having sampled the local speciality, the crispy Beijing Duck, which is served with pancakes, spring onions, and fermented bean paste. However, Beijing also has a lot of fabulous international restaurants - from Brazilian to Japanese cuisine plus American-style fast food.
Below are the best places to eat while in Beijing, China:
Fangshan Restaurant / 仿膳饭庄
China Grill / 亮
Laochuanwu / 老船坞
Gonin Byakusho Japanese Restaurant / 五人百姓日本料理
Xi He Ya Ju / 羲和雅居
Yong He / 永和大王
Gong De Lin Vegetarian Restaurant / 功德林素菜饭庄
Yu Restaurant / 玉餐厅
Black Sesame Kitchen
The Cut Steakhouse / 刃扒房
Haidilao Hot Pot / 海底捞
Huang Ting / 凰庭
Annie's / 安妮意大利餐厅
Baoyuan Jiaozi Wu / 宝源饺子屋
Mosto / 南美牛扒屋
Whether you are looking for a cup of freshly-brewed coffee or exotic Chinese tea, the variety of coffee shops and tea houses in Beijing is almost endless. Many cafes serve fresh bread and cakes as well.
Here are the best cafes and tea houses in Beijing, China:
The Bookworm / 老书虫
Wagas / 沃歌斯
Fu San / 福叁
SUZUKI CAFE / 铃木食堂
Two Cities Coffee Bar / 双城咖啡酒吧
Beiping Café / 北平咖啡
Laoshe Tea House /老舍茶馆
Fancy a bottle of China’s Tsingtao Beer, a cup of Japanese sake rice wine, or a pint of Guinness? Beijing has a large selection of bars catering to locals and international visitors—and it’s growing. Make sure you pay a visit to Sanlitun Street with its many pubs.
Below are some of the best bars and nightclubs in Beijing, China:
Mix Club / 密克斯酒吧
Shi Cha Hai / 什刹海
Nuoyan Wine House / 糯言酒馆
Panda Brew Pub / 熊猫精酿
Nan Luogu Xiang / 南锣鼓巷
Two Cities Coffee Bar / 双城咖啡酒吧
Beijing has long been a centre of trade. Today, it boasts over 13,000 stores spread across the city, offering anything from original Chinese handicrafts to international designer fashion items. Wangfujing Street is among the most popular shopping miles in town. It is home to new, shiny shopping malls and department stores selling trendy, expensive brand-name goods. Top Beijing souvenirs are Beijing Crisp Candy (Su Tang), Liubiju sauce, Daoxiangcun pastry, Chinese jasmine tea, and Peking roast duck.
Beijing Oriental Plaza / 东方新天地
China World Mall / 中国国际贸易中心
Ten Fu’s Tea / 天福茗茶
Hongqiao Pearl Market / 红桥珍珠市场
Qianmen Street / 前门
Liulichang Street / 琉璃厂
Wangfujing / 王府井
Joy City / 大悦城
Taikoo Li Sanlitun / 太古里
Yandaixie Street / 烟袋斜街
Beijing Antique City / 北京古玩城
Dashilan / 大栅栏
Beijing Capital International Airport / 北京首都国际机场
The Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK/ZBAA) is located around 27 kilometres north of Beijing´s city centre. At present, the airport consists of three terminals.
The cheapest way to into town is to take CAAC's airport shuttle bus. There are 18 shuttle routes. The ride takes between 40-90 minutes, depending on traffic and origin/destination. Tickets are available at the "Intracity & Inter - Provincial Shuttle Bus Ticket Vending Desk" for each terminal. The shuttles leave the airport from the 1st floor of each terminal. Buses depart every 15-30 minutes.
There is also an airport express train called ABC or Airport to Beijing City. The airport express covers the 27.3 km distance between the airport and the city in 18 minutes, connecting Terminals 2 and 3, to Sanyuanxiao subway station in Line 10 and Dongzhimen subway station in Line 2.
Taxi stops are located:
T1: Outside Gate 1 on F1
T2: Outside Gate 5 to 9 on F1
T3: Please refer to the signs inside the terminal building
Address: Shunyi, Beijing
Phone: Airport Hotline: +86 10 96158 / Airport Shuttle Bus: +86 10 6457 3891
Best Time To Visit
Most of the attractions sites in Beijing consist of timeless architectures and intangible cultural heritage, so the change of seasons has little impact. However given the weather, it is recommended to visit in spring or autumn, for winter might get too cold and summer too hot for comfort.
Try to avoid Chinese public holidays such as between October 1st and 7th, during which the city could be flooded by local tourists.
For citizens of the following countries, the visa is not requested for short term stays:
- 90 days: Bosnia and Herzegovina, San Marino
- 60 days: Mauritius
- 30 days: Bahamas, Barbados, Belarus, Ecuador, Fiji, Grenada, Qatar, Serbia, Seychelles, Tonga, United Arab Emirates.
- 15 days: Brunei, Japan, Singapore.
Holders of passports issued by the following 49 countries do not require a visa for a 144-hour stay if they are transiting through Beijing International Airport. However, passengers need to provide ticket showing their first destination, which should be outside China, nor could it be in the same country as the inbound flight.
- All European Union citizens, Albania, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Iceland, Japan, Macedonia, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Qatar, Russia, South Korea, Switzerland, Ukraine, United States.
- Passengers who enter China via Beijing International Airport under transition condition cannot leave the area of Beijing.
Internet Access and VPN in China
Due to the Internet policy of China, certain websites and applications are not accessible from the mainland, which includes those very commonly used in the west (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, Skype and more). Some travellers have been able to gain access to those via a VPN service (installed prior to arrival in China).
Make sure you comply with local laws and regulations when deciding on whether or not to employ a VPN, and which one to choose (if you do, only use those explicitly allowed by the Chinese government, and only use them for authorised purposes to avoid any trouble). There have been reports of foreigners in China getting their cell service cut off in response to unauthorised use of VPN being detected; restoring cell service required a trip to the local police station where contents of the device were investigated and certain apps removed.
Giving that Google is banned in China, Google Maps might not be the most accurate and reliable source of information. Some local apps such as Baidu Maps and AutoNavi tend to work better than Google Maps.
The subway is the best way to move around the city and avoid traffic jams in Beijing. Currently, there are 22 lines in operation, including the newly-opened ABC, or Airport to Beijing City airport line. Line 1 and Line 2 run through the centre of Beijing and cover most of the attractions. The subway runs from 05:00 to midnight daily. Subway stations are marked by navy blue signs with a "D" (for Ditie or subway) in a circle. Route signs are bilingual.
Bus service is another option to travel around the city. With more than 900 routes, the buses take you through both the downtown and suburbs. Buses generally run from 05:00 to 23:00. You can pay with cash, coins and notes by putting the exact amount into the fare box on the bus, or pay with a transportation card or applications. For the card, you need to tap both on and off on the bus.
The transportation card in Beijing is called "Yikatong", it offers travel discounts. At the service centre in the subway stations, you can purchase and top up a Yikatong card. At major stations, you can refund the card. Keep the purchase receipt if you wish to refund later after your stay. You can also top up the card using the machines at stations.
Taxis are the default mode of transportation for many foreigners in Beijing. Have your destination written down in Chinese and hail a taxi down. Make sure there is a taximeter and it starts at its initial point. You can also use the popular ride hailing app Didi if you have a Chinese phone number and internet access.
Beijing taxi drivers may speak only a little English. Expect to get your change; tipping is discouraged. Taxi from the airport to the city centre takes approximately around 50 minutes, depending on the traffic. Ask for your receipt by saying "Fa-piao / 发票"
The Beijing Bureau of Communications takes complaints concerning taxis, minibus or other vehicles. No operator, but an English recording that gives instructions for faxing your complaint—which of course will mitigate your anger right away.
Phone: +86 10 6835 1150.
China Post boxes are green and can be found throughout.
Jianguomen Post Office / 建国门邮政支局
Address: 50 Guanghua Lu, Chaoyang Qu, Beijing
Phone: +86 10 6506 4288
More Information: Next to the Postal Saving Bank of China
Pharmacies are easy to locate but do mind that staff often will not speak English, so it is recommended that you bring along someone who can interpret for you, or have the name of the needed medicine written down in Chinese characters.
One pharmacy staffed with English speakers is Vista Clinic, located at Kerry Centre Shopping Mall:
24hr Medical Hotline：+86（010）8529 6618
Address: 1 Guanghua Lu, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Phone: +86 10 8529 6618
More Information: 3F Kerry Centre Shopping Mall
220 Volt, flat 3-pin "V" plugs
Country code: +86
Area code: (0)10