With amazing sights, fantastic attractions, great shopping and historical wonders, Beijing is a unique holiday destination.
Beijing was the host of the 2008 Olympics and is famous for the Bird's Nest Stadium, the innovative National Olympics Stadium. The Aquatic Centre, also called the Water Cube, was used for Olympic water events and has since been turned into a water park for public entertainment.
Beijing's nearly 500 hotels are spread all over the city. Those in the city centre are near shopping centres, public transport and business areas. You can go shopping in a wide variety of malls and local markets such as the Xidan Shopping District and the Oriental Plaza for high end brands and cheap copies; Beijing is famous for its copies of designer brands.
All tourists should visit the Forbidden City Complex, the imperial palace for the Ming and Qing emperors. "Forbidden" refers to the fact that nobody was allowed to enter or leave the palace without permission from the emperor. It was built in the fifteenth century and consists of 980 buildings.
Tiananmen Square in the city centre is named after the Tiananmen Gate, the Gate of Heavenly Peace, separating the square from the Forbidden City. The gate is guarded by two lions, believed to ward off evil spirits. The square has always had great cultural significance for the Chinese; the West knows it best as the site for the pro-democracy protest rally in 1989. It hosts the Mao mausoleum and various museums.
The Great Hall of the People is situated on Tiananmen Square and houses the National People's Congress, which is the parliament of China. It consists of a large number of halls, some of which are allotted to the main ruling regions of the country. Badachu Park is a complex of monasteries situated on a group of hills on the outskirts of Beijing famous for its rare beautiful trees and arbour, some over 600 years old.
The Beihai imperial park covers over 69 hectares and contains a large lake with an island in the middle. Many areas were developed as copies of famous scenes in China, showcasing the splendour of traditional Chinese landscaping architecture. The Bell and Drum Towers are structures used in ancient times to tell the time for the capital; it was the centre of a busy shopping district.
The ancient Hutong alleyways running between traditional houses have become fascinating tourist attractions and can be explored by bike or on foot.
Once you have arrived in the city aboard one of the many flights to Beijing, you can rent a car and travel out to the Great Wall of China. If you enjoy the active life, you could even take a run along the wall in certain areas.