Beijing, the national capital, is arguably the most vibrant city in China and has caused the Westerners infinite reverie for the blend of the ancient and the iron-and-cement-made metropolis. As a world-famous destination, Beijing offers much to explore… but it will cost you! While thousands of people are murmuring about the huge expense on touring Beijing, those in the know are enjoying exploring this unique Eastern ancient civilization for free!
Tiananmen Square, the world’s largest public square, is considered as a should-not-miss stop on your Beijing itinerary, partly because it is free! It is home to a handful of majestic architectures including the monument to the heroes of the revolution, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China, and the Chairman Mao Zedong Memorial Hall (displaying Mao’s embalmed body). You can fly kite on the Tiananmen Square, provided that the weather is good with a soft breeze.
The used-to-be temple’s altar for ritual sacrifice to the sun god by the ancient emperors is now a busy public park featured charming sceneries. Here, you will see crowds of local residents dancing, practicing tai-chi, performing Peking Opera, and flying kites. Children will also find Ritan Park an interesting place for those rides it has such as trampolines, inflatables and a merry-go-round.
There’s no place in Beijing where you’ll feel more hunted by the old lifestyle of the city than in those zigzag hutongs. Hutongs are narrow valleys and lanes flanked with ancient courtyard residences, named Siheyuan, only existing in Beijing. As it is fast disappearing in recent years for the urban construction, your Beijing tour should have it! Renown Beijing Hutongs include Qianshi Hutong, Nanluoguxiang Hutong, Hutong… Have a leisure Hutong tour by bike or rickshaw or just on foot. Walk around, observing and experiencing the local life (people are playing cards, chess, cooking food…) stop by, and chat with the Beijingers.
798 Art District
798 Art District is known as Beijing’s fashion and art center, converted from an abandoned electronics factory of 1950s. Now it is a land dedicated to lush art galleries, artists’ studios , boutique shops, cafes, and bars. There is something new and something old. Strolling through the 798 Art District, you are most likely to be caught up in the ubiquitous art atmosphere, maybe taking foot in the faded Maoist propaganda slogans on the brickwork or triggered through the Bauhaus-style buildings.
Beijing Modern Buildings
Wanna save time and cost? Pause and glaze at some famous modern buildings of Beijing in a distance is one great choice. Below we recommend are finest examples of Beijing modern architectures very popular among design buffs and travelers.
Bird’s Nest or National Stadium, completed in 2008 for the Beijing Olympic Games has long reminded one of the original wonders of the world.
National Aquatics Center, or Water Cub was built as the main venue for the swimming competition of the 2008 Olympic Games, now becomes a landmark of Beiijng.
National Grand Theatre, surrounded by a man-made lake, is resembling a huge egg floating on the water. It is home to an opera hall, music hall, and theater for top professional performances.
Central Chinese Television Headquarters, short for CCTV Headquarters, is a top world architectural wonder formed by two leaning towers, each bent 90 degrees at the top and bottom to form a continuous loop. The special SHAPE gains it the nickname of “Big Pants Crutch (大裤衩)”.
Terminal 3 of Beijing International Airport was completed in 2008 in conjunction with 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and claims to be the world’s largest of its kind which can handle a huge volume of passengers and features an environmental-control system.