Beijing Travel Guide
With World War One underway, Beijing became a target for invaders. Society was disrupted and the whole country felt the devastation. It wasn’t until 1949 that the People’s Republic of China was formed and China started to prosper again.
Now, as one of the largest cities of the world with a population of over 14 million, China’s capital is a political, educational and cultural hub of the country. The city’s huge grid-like setup is sliced by the Yellow River and the famous Great Wall of China. While Beijing has a stunning line up of ancient temples, palaces and monuments, it is a city of contradiction, from the Old City into the new. Emerging with grand force are trendy shopping complexes, a buzz of entertainment and stylish restaurants. This new-age modernity has seen a New York influence with large avenues and skyscrapers but never overshadowing the traditional core.
The bustling city life fosters a highly innovative society, encouraging start-ups to add to the new dimension of the city. While modernity seeps through the country, a green stance has emerged to counter the environmental detriment. China has come out at the forefront of change in emission stabilisation and restricting emissions through direct measures. One of their initiatives sees cars banned from use once a week while high emission vehicles are banned outright.
Travelling around Beijing is best on two wheels as bikes are still the preferred way of transport even though cars are increasing in number. Public transport is widely available while most Beijing hotels will organise trips for you so you don’t have to worry about organising a ride. A good place to start exploring is Tiananmen Square, the site where the People’s Republic of China was declared by Mao Zedong. Some other ‘must see’ Beijing attractions include the Wangfujing shopping district, The Tian Tan (Temple of Heaven) to the south, the Drum and Bell Towers and Buddhist Lama Temple situated just north of the Forbidden City, while the obvious attraction is the Great Wall of China.
The best time to travel Beijing is in the summer months as the climate in the winter can be unwelcomingly cold. However keep in mind that this is also when most Chinese travel domestically as Chinese New Year and other national holidays fall in this period. If you do decide to travel in the Chinese summer, make sure you book your accommodation and activities well in advance to avoid missing out.