GMT +8 hours
Formally known as Peking, China's capital Beijing has an impressive history and plenty of sightseeing, with a rewarding collection of palaces, museums and parks. Making it an unforgettable city whether you choose to visit this alone or combine it with one or more other Chinese cities.
Best time to visit Beijing
• As a general rule, the months of April, May, September and October are the most pleasant months to visit. Beijing, the starting point for many tours, is cold from late November through to February; the average temperature in January in Beijing is -4°C
• July to August brings higher temperatures and increased rainfall, however all the key sights will be far less crowded.
Beijing holiday highlights
Bustling Beijing boasts 3,000 years of tumultuous history which has left an indelible mark. The city modernised in the build up to the 2008 Olympic Games however grandiose palaces, ornate temples, lush gardens and quaint Hutongs remain, each beguiling visitors with their individual breathtaking beauty.
‘He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man’ proclaimed Chairman Mao and a walk along this magnificent feat of human endeavour is a must on any visit to China. The fortified sections at Badaling and Mutianyu are within easy reach of Beijing and make for an unforgettable day out.
Beijing’s major shopping street, Wangfujiung, is an essential stop on any visit. By day it is averitable treasure trove of shops and malls, by night framed by a maze of side streets filled with tempting traditional food stalls.
Beijing plays host to a breathtaking selection of restaurants serving delicious banquets from all corners of the world. Traditional Beijing cuisine lends itself more to noodles than rice and is typified by the signature Peking Duck dish, a warming ‘hot pot’ finding favour during chilly winter nights.
Reached via a four hour train or a shorte road journey, the compact city of Chengde’s principle attraction is the vast Imperial Summer Resort, a huge 590 hectare palatial garden bound by an imposing miniature ‘Great Wall’.
The intrepid 14th Century explorer Marco Polo once described Beijing as a ‘vast ancient city of great splendour, magnificent palaces, stately gardens and broad avenues.’ Whilst this still remains true today, the dramatic recent change of pace has brought a modernity and cosmopolitan feel to Beijing. Experience this Beijing of old through its collection of 2,600 carefully preserved temples and cultural sights, a traditional Hutong district and the many enchanting teahouses.
Beijing is home to over 100 fascinating museums. Wander around intricate exhibits and art galleries to discover the city’s culture and history.