Day 1 in Beijing
Welcome to Beijing! Upon arrival at the airport, you will go through customs and immigration. Should you opt to purchase a transfer to your hotel; a representative will be waiting for you as you exit immigration. Arrive at your hotel, check in and do not give in to jet lag! There is so much for you to see and do!
We recommend you get acquainted with the city by taking a Hop-on Hop-off sightseeing tour where you can see the city sights atop a double Decker bus. Hop-off at one of the many attractions this spectacular city has to offer including Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Beihai Park, Lama Temple, Temple of Heaven and much more. Hop off at Qianmen Street where you can take a stroll down the street filled with shops; Xianyukou Snack Street is also in the area where you can grab some traditional street food and snacks to enjoy.
From here head to Tiananmen Square where you can find the Great Hall of the People, a large museum filled with 28 exhibition halls flanked with art and history. Walk around the square and explore the Gate of Heavenly Peace, the Forbidden City, the Tiananmen Gate and the museums. If you are in the square around dusk you can catch the daily flag lowering ceremony.
On your first evening in the capital city try Peking Duck, the famous dish the city is known for. This delicious delicacy can be found at some of the most popular restaurants, such as Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant on Qianmen Street and the Da Dong Duck Restaurant in the Dongcheng District. Please note: Reservations are usually required at both restaurants, be sure to have your hotel concierge call and make a booking for you.
From here check out one of the many `hutongs` of Beijing, these historic narrow streets come alive in the evening time filled with food carts, live music, pubs, and locals. Sit back with a drink and enjoy the authentic sounds and surroundings.
Day 2 in Beijing
Start off today with some temple hopping, begin with a trip to the Temple of Heaven one of the most sacred sites in the city, the temple dates back to 1406 and was the place where emperors came to worship the God of Heaven and pray for good harvest. The temple is set in a massive park where locals gather in the mornings to practice Tai chi, stroll around the park and witness the large collection of beautiful trees that date back over 800 years.
Next head over to the Fayuan Temple, the oldest and most celebrated Buddhist temple of Beijing, occupying a large area of land featuring ancient artifacts, Buddhist figures and several halls within the main building including the Gate of Temple, Heavenly King Hall, and the Drum Towers. The Niujie Mosque is situated close by and is the spiritual center for the large population of Muslims in the area. Marvel at the magnificent architecture of the building and the different halls, only Muslims can enter the main prayer room.
Grab some lunch at one Beijing`s popular `hotspot` restaurants, this traditional soup/stew consists of meat (normally lamb), spices, vegetables and broth steamed in a large communal pot at the table. Enjoy this tasty dish with some traditional tea after a busy morning of exploring.
Begin your afternoon at the Old Summer Palace, the building and gardens were originally established during the 18th and 19th centuries and were the former residence of the Qianlong Emperor of the Qing dynasty. This spectacular site features the Gardens of Perfection and Light, the Garden of Blossoming Spring and the Garden of Eternal Spring decorated with traditional Chinese imperial landscaping. Other features on the site include tea houses, shops, pavilions, ponds and water features along with chambers, temples, halls and ancient ruins. The gardens were once referred to as the `Versailles of the East`.
As evening time approaches make your way over to Beijing National Stadium, known as the Bird`s Nest, check out the Olympic village which was built especially for the 2008 Olympic games which were held here in China. At night the stadium and Water Cube are spectacular, lit up in all their glory. Grab a cocktail at one of the restaurants and bars close by and enjoy views of these two stunning sights from afar.
If you still have the energy make your way to the famous streets of Sanlitun where you can enjoy some of Beijing`s exciting nightlife. These vibrant streets are decorated with colorful lanterns and lined with restaurants, bars and places to explore. A night out in China is not complete without trying a few lines of karaoke, stop in at one of the many karaoke bars and sing your favorite song for the locals! Sanlitun also offers some western favorites such as Pizza Hut and Hooters if you are missing home.
Day 3 in Beijing
Today visit one of the magnificent wonders of the world and the landmark of the country, The Great Wall of China which dates back to the 7th century BC and is 13,171 miles long in total length running from east to west. The section of the wall closest to the Beijing area is the Badaling section, which is also the most popular place for tourists as it is the easiest to climb. A cable car is available to reach the top or you can make your way up the stairs to the highest point which stands at 3,330ft above sea level, the wall is 25.59ft high and 19.6ft wide and this section runs for 7.45 miles bearing 43 watch towers.
From here make your way to the Ming Tombs, many times these two attractions are combined together in sightseeing tours. The tombs are the site of the 13 out of 17 emperor`s remains, the area runs along a four-mile road known as `Sacred Way`.
On your last evening in the city enjoy some time at one of the authentic night street markets. These popular gathering places are featured all over the city, brimming with people shopping and eating. Street snacks are a special feature of Beijing, check out Donghuamen Night Market, one of the most popular around town, stroll along the street and enjoy the tasty treats that fill the air with delicious aromas. Wangfujing Street also features a wide array of succulent street snacks.
Additional Days in BeijingShould you be able to spend additional days in Beijing visit the Botanical Gardens on the outskirts of the city, these beautiful gardens cover 136 acres and feature several exhibition areas, themed gardens, greenhouses and Buddhist temples with over 10,000 categories of plants.
The Yonghe or Lama Temple is one of the most beautiful and well-preserved temples in Beijing and one of the largest Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the world. Important features here include the Hall of the Kings of Heaven, the Pavilion of the Four-tongued Stele, the Hall of the Buddhist Wheel and the Pavilion of Four Thousand Fortunes.
Prince Gong`s Mansion is a museum in the Xicheng district, constructed in 1777 during the Qing dynasty, a traditional courtyard mansion with ancient Chinese architecture and beautiful surrounding gardens.
The Beijing Zoo is worth a visit, established in 1906 it is one of the oldest Zoo`s in China covering over 220 acres of land that include a large area of ponds and lakes. The Zoo features the largest collection of animals in the country with over 450 land animals and 500 marine animals.
Your Last Day in Beijing
Depart from your hotel to the airport for your return flight home. We recommend that you purchase a private transfer to the airport if sothe representative will meet you at your hotel with plenty of time toget you to the airport for your flight out.