Well, we did a poll and asked which city our followers would like to read about next. The answer came back, and it was Beijing! So here is our snapshot, we hope you enjoy it.
When to Visit:
Beijing is freezing cold in the Winter and swelteringly hot the Summer, so, we recommend Spring or Autumn. We visited in Spring, and on the days when the pollution was not too bad, the Spring skies were bright blue and there were bursts of sunshine that made it feel like a UK summers day.
How to Get Around:
As you have probably guessed, Beijing is not small. The easiest way to get around is by using the underground, which is easy to use and not too expensive. Get a pass for the amount of time that you are there, and save yourself some money.
Tip: make sure you make a note of where you are heading, it can be confusing on the underground at first.
The raising of the flag at Tiananmen Square. Check out the schedule here: Schedule
Be aware, this means waking up early, but it is worth it as you get to experience something that people in China travel from all over the country to witness. Get there a little early, as it takes time to get through security and it is ever popular, so you will have to queue.
Where to Eat:
There are so many options, that we are not going to recommend one place to you, but rather we will recommend that you explore the food options around you. The food in Beijing is wonderful. We suggest you go somewhere that make dumplings fresh, and order as many as you can eat. There are some fantastic places that do this around the hutongs of Qianmen, so definitely pay them a visit.
How to speak Chinese:
Well, we can’t really tell you how to do that in a blog post, but we can direct you to a fantastic app called Pleco which will help you communicate with the locals.
Where to Drink Coffee:
Our favourite subject! Good coffee has hit Beijing, and has become a bit of a status symbol there. There are some great little cafes, but if you are looking for speciality coffee (as we always are), then head to Soloist Coffee Co – follow them on Instagram here!
For Lovers of History:
Strap on those walking boots and go to The Forbidden City. Its astounding beauty and rich history will keep you busy all day, and could probably keep you busy for much longer. This is the chance to really experience a part of Chinese history that is fascinating, and we could not recommend it enough.
Do you have another day to spare? Next stop then, is The Summer Palace. Especially if it’s a sunny day, this place is so beautiful that the old cliché ‘breath-taking’ doesn’t do it justice. From the glistening lakes to the ancient buildings, history really comes alive within these palace walls.
There are plenty of markets to be had in Beijing!
Antique and Flea Market:
Our favourite is a market called Panjuayuan Antique market. If you are a lover of exploring antiques, second hand goods and beautiful ornate furniture, pay a visit here for a great afternoon.
Find out more here.
So, you’ve probably heard about the Silk Market and want to head there to see what it’s all about. Do visit, but get ready for some hard selling. The staff at the Silk Market are not messing about when it comes to haggling, and if you try the old ‘walking away’ trick on them, they may even try to stop you from leaving. Just one example of the hard sell technique, and we have many, is myself (Rachel) smiling at a Lucky Cat, and being grabbed by my wrist while amounts were shouted at me. I didn’t even want to buy it. So, get ready for an intense market experience. It’s also all indoors, so you might be best to leave this one until a not so sunny day.
Find out more here.
Feeling peckish? Visit the Night Market for a veritable Chinese feast! You will find everything here, from dumplings to scorpions. We would recommend it for the experience above anything.
Find out more here.
Our Lovers of Jazz:
Yes, we are those people. We love jazz. This started in Kuala Lumpur, when we visited No Black Tie, and fell head over heels for jazz clubs. In Beijing, we enjoyed East Shore Jazz Club very much and would recommend going to the surrounding area for a walk around the lake too. Beautiful sights, excellent jazz.
Jazz lovers click here.
A Museum with a Difference:
If you want to see a different sort of museum in Beijing, then we would recommend the Police Museum. It has a lot of interesting information in it, and is a little different to other museums. It is quite small, so would take about 2 hours in total. Worth a mooch if you have a free afternoon.
To find out more about our trip to Beijing, check out: Study China 2016