In this post I presented Beijing’s touristic sights that we visited in 2009.
In 2010, my friends and I stayed for a whole month in Beijing, in order to have mandarin language classes.
Everyday we had 4 hours (I think) of classes. And we had to study afterwards, so sightseeing was limited on the weekends mostly. These are the places we visited:
It is the place where the emperors spent their summer vacation. It is a little outside of the “center” of Beijing, but you can go with the subway. I liked it more than the Forbidden City. You pay the entrance fee and you can go wherever: the many different buildings, the huge outside space (gardens, rocks, hills), the amazing lake (you can rent a boat or a “water-bicycle” – no idea how they are called in english).
It is huge, has many places to discover and there is a complete freedom, it feels like a park with traditional chinese buildings.
this is called the suzhou street, it was made to resemble Suzhou (see this post)
this stone boat is the main attraction of the Summer Palace
To sum up, I totally recommend Summer Palace!
This is one of Beijing’s main attractions.
At first it did not impress me, compared to Forbidden City or Summer Palace, because it is just a few buildings in a big kind of empty area, but this emptiness and space is actually kind of a relief after the bombardment of sights in the other sights. I think it is worth a visit, but on the other hand if you don’t have time and you have already seen the Forbidden City, it will not offer anything new.
The architecture is similar, so maybe the Summer Palace or Lama Temple will be a better choice.
I will make another post with more “living in Beijing” info and I was wondering if I should include this there or in the sightseeing section.
In any case, I believe it is a must-visit place.
It is an area with warehouses turned into galleries. I love it! And note that I am not very much into art. But this place shows you another side of Beijing and chinese people: the modern and free-thinking side.
Just go there and spent an afternoon. There are many cafes and places to eat (we actually ate burgers there) and many cute shops with artsy kind of stuff. I still wear a t-shirt I bought there. We also sent a postcard to ourselves, that you could make it arrive much later. Mine arrived 2 years later and it was an interesting experience.
Don’t miss it!
When Beijing hosted the 2008 Olympic Games, they built these impressive buildings. I don’t know if it counts as a touristic sight, we visited it because it was close to where we lived. So here it is:
this is the main stadium, the “bird nest”
this is the inside
and this is the building for the water sports. It changes colors at night
If you notice, weather-wise it was one of the best days I ever spent in Beijing.
I also don’t know if that counts as a touristic sight, plus I am kind of against zoos now, but we did visit it, so here you go:
It is a pretty good zoo, many animals, nice environment. But the people… ugh!
They threw a water bottle to that bear. That is totally horrible, but the result was one of the things I will always remember: the bear picked up the bottle, opened it with its mouth and drunk the water, by bitting the bottle and lifting its head up.
That was repeated later with a chimpanzee (?) and a bottle of ice tea… Although he drank it in a much more sophisticated way than the bear.
Anyway, many animals and nice environment…
You can take a boat tour afterwards, it takes you even to Summer Palace.
It was nice, if you go to the zoo, you should totally take the boat tour afterwards.
PS. We saw someone swimming in that dirty water in the middle of Beijing ❓
A very famous and huge park. You pay a small entrance fee to get in.
There is a huge lake.
And some traditional buildings.
A nice place to see some nature and forget that you are in one of the biggest cities in the world.
And there is of course dancing involved!
Chinese do that everywhere. Someone shows the moves and everyone is free to participate. I danced too!
That’s it for now! I hope I did not forget any touristic attraction.
Next I will talk about living in Beijing by describing some areas for “hanging out”.