Beijing is home to 21 million people. Despite its vastness, it has so many intimate delights. The Chinese capital is an extraordinary blend of history and culture. This megacity leaves tourists who visit with extraordinary, indelible memories and makes a lasting impression for a variety of reasons. The obvious one is its sheer scale. Here are five of the must-see highlights for first-time visitors to Beijing.
Forbidden City Beijing
TIANANMEN SQUARE BEIJING
TEMPLE OF HEAVEN PARK BEIJING
SUMMER PALACE BEIJING
The Forbidden City
The Forbidden City is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a must-see for anyone visiting Beijing. The site is encircled by two miles of citadel walls and unquestionably vast, with more than 900 buildings. Stepping inside the walls is like going back in time into another world. Up until 1911, it was home to China’s great dynasties as well as their servants, concubines, and eunuchs.
Tiananmen Square gained worldwide attention in 1989 when a lone student protestor stood in front of a line of government tanks during anti-corruption protests. While that image may be one of the most famous of the 20th century, these days the square remains an extraordinary sight and place where the Chinese military flex their muscle on a daily basis. If you are up early enough you can watch the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers marching through the Gate of Heavenly Peace at a rate of exactly 108 paces per minute. Tiananmen Square itself is 440,000 square metres in size.
Temple of Heaven Park
A unique oasis in the centre of this stunning megalopolis, the Temple of Heaven Park is Beijing’s most photographed temple. Dating back to the Ming Dynasty in 1420, the temple was originally built to appease the gods. Past emperors made sacrifices to the heavens for things such as prosperity and crop yield. It’s worth also taking the time to explore the Circular Mound Altar and the Imperial Vault of Heaven. Be sure to leave time to explore the beautiful park that surrounds the temple.
The Summer Palace
The truly stunning Summer Palace is a marvel of architecture and design. This is where the great Chinese emperors escaped to from the imperial city itself. Its’ grand lake and beautiful views remain an oasis of calm to this day. It’s difficult to verbalize the beauty of this site, but suffice to say that you must go and see for yourself. It’s best to leave a full day in order to explore the palace without having to rush. Make sure you also leave ample time to explore the gardens as well as the beautiful pavilions, temples, and bridges.
The Great Wall of China
The wall is China’s most famous tourist attraction and for good reason. While you are visiting Beijing, you can’t miss out on the opportunity to take in its sheer magnificence. When you think of Beijing, you may not immediately think of the Great Wall. However, you can visit this extraordinary landmark as a day trip from the city. By car, the Badaling Remnant section of the wall is around one hour and ten minutes north of the Chinese capital. This section was section built during the Ming Dynasty. You may need to crawl up some of the steeper secions, but you will be able to stand in the beautiful beacon towers and look down on some of the 22.2 million metres that the wall stretches from one end to the other.
Having never been to Beijing, I appreciate your post on five of the must-see sites. Thanks for an informative post that makes me want to learn more!
An amazing guide for anyone looking to travel to Bejing I would love to visit the Great Wall of China one day x
I have never been to Being, but would love to go! The Great Wall of China as well as the Forbidden City are on my bucket list!
I have never been but just like everyone else the Great wall of China is definitely in my bucket list.
The photos are amazing! I’ve always wanted to visit beijing (it’s still on my to-go list) but now I found one more reason to go. Beautifully inspirational!
I would love to go to all of these places. I hope I can make it one day. I know I’d love the great wall of China.
This place would be cool to see. So much history in one place.
I have been wanting to visit Beijing. It looks so lovely and there is so much beautiful history there to see!
Would love to see the Wall of Chine one day & the Forbidden City..Nice pictures, thank you for sharing!
wow!!! your photo of the great wall is STUNNING. greaet photography skills. my dad goes to beijing for business often but i’ve yet to be.
Joy at The Joyous Living
This is very timely! I’m actually preparing for my trip to China. I’ll definitely add these places in my itinerary.
Never been before so this is SUPER helpful. Thanks for sharing this with all of us!
Will definitely save this for future reference!
I’ve always wanted to see Beijing and this post only added to my “to do” list. Such great suggestions and I can’t wait to visit someday.
Maybe one day I’ll be able to travel the world and visit Beijing. I’ve heard so much about the Great Wall of China but not so much about the other places.
Would so love to see the Great Wall, especially, and other spots beyond the traditional tourist traps. The palaces are a must I’d love to see too and I love Chinese architecture.
Wohoo! Beijing.…I’m coming! First off, I’d want to see the Great Wall of China! And also, the Forbidden palace looks intriguing enough, just from the name. I’d obviously not miss the spot!
We’d love to visit Beijing one day. The pictures are amazing but I am sure being there in person is even better.
These photos are incredible! I’ve always wanted to visit the Great Wall. It’s just so impressive to me. I’ll take this into consideration whenever I travel to Beijing.
China is a place that I really want to go to. Especially TIANANMEN SQUARE. it looks so beautiful
I hope to visit Beijing this year. My husband lives there for 3 years and it’s an important city for him. I want to feel closer to him even more and explore his past home.
I want to visit Beijing so badly. It would be such a beautiful place and these pictures really showcase that. Also, the food looks so amazing!!!
I’ve not yet made it to the mainland of China, but you’ve listed all the things I want to see in Beijing! The Great Wall is a dream of mine to see one day.
Definitely on my bucket list to visit the great wall of China!
Beijing seems like a nice place to visit. However, I would love to know why the forbidden city is called that. Seems like it holds a lot of stories.
Wow, this was full of surprises. I never considered this place, but it honestly sounds like the perfect place for me and my family. It’s so beautiful
I have not been to Beijing yet but have had the Great Wall of China on my list of must see for the longest time. Thanks for the other suggestions