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China Holidays - Beijing City Holiday Deals

Beijing Holidays

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Beijing Holidays

Beijing is city awash with lively neighbourhoods, there’s plenty for overseas visitors to enjoy. Whether you’d like to unwind and soak up the vibrant atmosphere of day-to-day life, or head to the landmark attractions - Beijing won’t disappoint. Have your camera ready for the awe-inspiring religious sites of Beijing. The tranquil site of the Confucius Temple is a must-see, wander the Hall of Great Accomplishment a dedicated shrine to the great Chinese teacher, Confucius, himself. Other highlights are the 18th-century Buddhist Big Bell Temple, home to 400 historic bells and gongs, and the unusual, circular Temple of Heavens. Whilst those with an interest in ancient ruins should head to the Old Summer Palace site with its collection of idyllic parks. Would you rather embrace contemporary Beijing? Stop by the world’s biggest public square, Tiananmen Square which is based in the heart of the modern city. As you explore Beijing city, the sweet and savoury scent of their cuisine is sure to tease you. Don’t forget to have taste!

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Top 5 Things to do in Beijing

The Forbidden City is a palace complex in central Beijing, China. The former seat of Imperial Chinese Dragon Throne from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty—the years 1420 to 1912, it now houses the Palace Museum.
Tiananmen Square is a city square in the centre of Beijing, China, named after the Tiananmen located to its north, separating it from the Forbidden City.
The Temple of Heaven is an imperial complex of religious buildings situated in the southeastern part of central Beijing.
Jingshan Park is an imperial park covering 23 hectares immediately north of the Forbidden City in the Imperial City area of Beijing, China. The focal point is the artificial hill Jingshan, literally "Prospect Hill".
Beijing National Stadium - Iconic stadium known as the Bird's Nest built for the Olympics & now hosting concerts & sports.

Location

Detailed City Overview

Beijing in Detail

Beijing is a very modern and exceedingly busy city with high-rise buildings, international hotels and sprawling suburbs. The city is abuzz with cranes on the skyline as construction projects give rise to new skyscrapers and modernisation proceeds apace. However, Beijing also encompasses numerous attractions of cultural and historical interest, some of which, including the Great Wall of China, the former Imperial Palace (known as the Forbidden City), the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, and the remains of Peking Man at Zhoukoudian, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Chinese history and culture fascinate Western visitors, and Beijing is a great place to start exploring it. The city abounds in palaces, temples, mansions, gardens and tombs that epitomise classical Chinese architecture. It also has roughly 120 museums and more than 100 public gardens.

The first port of call for most visitors is the Forbidden City, which lies at the heart of Beijing with the rest of the city radiating out from it in a grid pattern. For five centuries this massive palace complex, with 9,999 rooms, functioned as the administrative centre of the country and home to a succession of emperors who lived in luxurious isolation, surrounded by courtiers and retainers. The Palace overlooks the infamous Tiananmen Square, a historical site of considerable political drama and dissent, but also a vibrant social and cultural centre point.

In preparing to host what they hoped to be 'the best games in Olympic history', Beijing undertook many major renovations in 2008. Public transport was improved, environmental issues addressed and a general clean-up of the city was ordered. The games highlighted Beijing's economic rise and emergence as a world power. Some of the infrastructure, such as the iconic 'Birds Nest' stadium, is still in use for different purposes and contributes to Beijing's unique landscape. Travellers should go prepared for less than stellar air quality in this booming city, but luckily breathlessness is just as likely to stem from excitement and awe when confronted with historic Beijing.

Getting Around in Beijing

The subway is a great way to get around in Beijing, though it can be very crowded at peak hours. The subway shuts down at midnight and starts again at 5 am. Travellers can buy a prepaid card (Smart Card) for travel on subways and buses. The fare is the same for the subway but reduced for buses. Most buses operate from 5 am to 11 pm.

Driving in Beijing is a complicated and sometimes frightening process, with few English signs and non-stop traffic jams. Taxis are plentiful.

Cycling is a good alternative with numerous bicycle rentals around the city, and well-defined bike lanes, bike parks and the company of millions of other cyclists, especially at rush hour. It may look intimidating, but can be the best way to get around for the more adventurous traveller. Over 40,000 bicycles are available to be rented at outlets close to subway stations, commercial districts, hotels and office buildings.

Nightlife in Beijing

Neon lights are a staple of Beijing nightlife, with a predictable swarm of DJ dance clubs and karaoke bars lighting up most corners of the downtown districts. This is encouraging, as not too long ago there wasn't much nightlife in Beijing at all. The city is just beginning to create the modern discos and chic bars favoured by foreigners. Beijing's nightlife still doesn't quite compare to that found in cities like Hong Kong and Shanghai for pure debauchery, but its cultural offerings and diversity of entertainment are unrivalled.

Those wanting an authentic Beijing experience should probably avoid the hotel venues and their cookie cutter disco offerings. Some unique areas popular with expats include Hou Hai Bar Area, a picturesque lakeside nightlife hub, and Sanlitun Pub Street in the Embassy Area of Chaoyang District, a favourite for westerners keen on cheap drinks and a vibrant atmosphere.

There still isn't too much crossover between western and Chinese clientèle, but it can be interesting to soak in some Chinese karaoke and liquor at local haunts. Many venues stay open until the early morning, although most people in Beijing go to sleep before some of them even open!

There are a host of Chinese art shows to enjoy if late-night booze joints don't sound enticing. These include top-quality Chinese opera, dancing and theatre most nights of the week. Many visitors enjoy seeing kung-fu demonstrations and acrobatic shows. The Laoshe Tea House and the Tianqiao (Overbridge) Area are great places to explore traditional Chinese performances.

Grab a copy of Timeout Beijing or That's Beijing for updated event listings and gig guides.

Shopping in Beijing

Shopping is a delight in Beijing, and the haggling and bargain-hunting is a cultural experience.

Walking and bargaining in the countless markets in Xiu Shui Jie Shopping Mall or the Xiu Shui Market will no doubt build up an appetite but luckily there are plenty of food stalls where shoppers can refuel. Popular buys include fake designer labels, clothing and bags. Bargaining is an essential skill and an expected part of the transaction but remember to keep smiling.

The main shopping area is around Wangfujing Dajie, where a number of department stores can be found, including the Beijing Department Store. The Xidan area offers wonderful big department stores selling fixed-price goods including electronic equipment. The Hong Qiao Market is a popular indoor market in the south-central area of Beijing, where bargaining is expected. Here buyers can haggle for goods such as cheap no-name or fake brand electronics, sunglasses, batteries, watches and jewellery.

Panjiayuan Collectors Market is an outdoor market with a good array of arts and crafts from all over China, including popular Beijing souvenirs like jade bracelets, cloisonné and lacquerware, silk, calligraphy, porcelain and vintage Cultural Revolution books and posters. The Maliandao Tea Street is the best place to find anything associated with tea, including tables, tea sets and a wide variety of teas; it can be found in the southwestern Xuanwu District, near the Beijing West Railway Station.

Liulichang, in south Beijing, is a great place for Chinese antiques. Buyers should be aware that authentic antiques over 100 years old display a red wax seal. An export licence must be issued before these can be taken out of the country.

Travellers are advised to avoid shopping sprees on evenings and weekends when possible, as the crowds can be overwhelming. Shops in Beijing are generally open daily from 9 am to 8 pm.

Sightseeing in Beijing

Beijing's most interesting attractions previously only related to the spectacular history of China's capital city: these wonderful examples of ancient innovations and well-preserved glimpses into millennia of Chinese history are still here, but the city is no longer only viewed as a large-scale museum. Currently, eye-catching structures and modern architectural wonders are among the city's most visited attractions. These include the National Stadium, better known as the Bird's Nest, and the National Grand Theatre, known as the Eggshell. It is no surprise that some traditionalists believe the modern attractions detract from the city's ancient treasures, but many more enjoy the stark contrast.

Still, the iconic historic Beijing sites remain the most popular. The Great Wall of China and the mysterious Forbidden City at the heart of Beijing compete for the title of the city's most visited attraction. Beihai Park and the Summer Palace are also immensely popular. For truly ancient history, visit the Zhoukoudian Cave, which boasts the largest collection of Homo Erectus fossils in the world. More recent history can be explored at the infamous Tiananmen Square or the Chairman Mao Mausoleum.

Being able to walk through some of the world's most ancient and modern attractions in a single day makes Beijing eternally captivating.

Attractions for Kids in Beijing

Steeped in a mystical and fascinating ancient history, Beijing may not, at first glance, seem ideal for travel with children. But those who look past the old buildings and temples will find more than enough fun activities and attractions while on holiday with kids in Beijing.

The Summer Palace is a good place to start sightseeing with the kids. With magnificent gardens open to visitors, children will have plenty of space to run around. The Happy Valley Amusement Park never fails to entertain and thrill the whole family as moms can wander around the shopping centre while the kids are at play. Milu Park ranks as one of the best places to enjoy a picnic outdoors and do some milu deer spotting, while spectacular sealife waits at Beijing Aquarium. Another highly entertaining park is Chaoyang, which is the biggest in Beijing.

On rainy or particularly hot and humid days, visitors can take the kids to Le Cool, an indoor ice skating rink, or to one of the many indoor playgrounds around the city, such as Fundazzle. It's a great way to ensure happiness and tiredness.

Eating Out in Beijing

A large number of local dishes in Beijing has made for some of the longest menus in the world. Whether diners choose traditionally cooked meals or new takes on old favourites, eating out in Beijing will be like nowhere else in the world. From ingredients meant for royalty in Imperial Cuisine to the more 'mysterious' ingredients of a street-side Jianbing (savoury pancake), food preparation in Beijing adheres to old traditions that reflect culinary styles from all over China.

Chinese food in Beijing differs dramatically from the fare in Chinese restaurants worldwide. Beijing's famous Peking roast duck is the star attraction, with several restaurants devoted entirely to it. For a chance to sample many different kinds of local food, visit one of the 'snack streets', like Guanganmen Snack Street, or Gui Street, all with dozens of vendors plying their specialities. The more adventurous visitors can peruse the Donghuamen Snack Night Market in Wangfujing, which is famous for Chinese delicacies such as centipedes, grasshoppers, sheep privates and offal soup.

Migrants have infused the city's cuisine with new cultures and tastes, reflected in the blossoming choices in Beijing restaurants. International-style restaurants are popping up all over the city, with top international chefs enjoying great success.

More expensive restaurants in Beijing will generally accept credit cards, but street vendors and takeaway joints will expect cash. While hotel restaurants will sometimes include a 10 to 15 percent service charge, tipping is not generally expected in Beijing.

When to Visit

  • Jan
  • Feb
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  • Apr
  • May
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  • Nov
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  • Currency The currency used in Beijing is the Yuan Renminbi.
  • Flying time from the UK The average flight time from London to Beijing is 9h 40min.
  • Primary Language The Beijing dialect, also known as Pekingese, is the prestige dialect of Mandarin spoken in the urban area of Beijing, China.
  • Passport & Visas British nationals need a visa to enter mainland China, you must get a visa prior to arrival.