Beijing is situated in the northeast of China and is, culturally, politically and geographically, a world away from the capitals of the west. Rent a bike or use the excellent public transport to explore the city as driving in Beijing is quite tricky, especially if you do not speak Mandarin. Unlike with most settlements in China, the majority of staff can speak and signs at attractions are also written in English.
For one of the best views in Beijing you climb the hill in Jingshan Park where you can look out over the Forbidden City. Next, descend to Tiananmen Square to see the Front Gate (Qianmen gate) before visiting the vast palace complex that lies behind it.
Back in the square you can visit one of the largest museums in the world: the National Museum of China, opposite Chairman Mao Memorial (Mausoleum of Mao Zedong). Visit the imperial gardens in Beihai Park where you can join the locals in dancing, games and gymnastic exercises.
Visit outside the busy city centre, the Summer Palace and the Marco Polo Bridge to see more of the pomp with which the powerful emperors of China surrounded themselves. If you’re looking for a little peace and quiet, pay a visit to the Buddhist Lama Temple (Yonghe Temple).
You'll not only imperial history in Beijing religion, there’re also plenty of contemporary buildings that characterise the new China, with plenty of fine restaurants and trendy shopping centres. The 2008 Summer Olympics were the beginning of a new development in Beijing. See the stadiums in the Olympic Park or stroll through the trendy galleries in renovated warehouses, including 798 Space.
You cannot leave without trying the Peking duck in its home of Beijing. Try this traditional dish of the city with delicious Chinese noodles, a simple rice dish or the customary way with pancakes and sweet bean sauce. In the evening you can indulge in the many karaoke bars or nightclubs.
Beijing is an unforgettable experience. Taste traditional and modern China all at once and discover the futuristic designs of the enterprising East.