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Standing side-by-side with old Beijing's crimson palace complexes are the city's impressive skylines. Beijing is a fine example of the great transformation China has undergone as it burst into the 21st century. The city boasts the most modern facilities, and is able to provide all the comfort and enjoyment imaginable to Beijing visitors.
China's capital city, Beijing, is a must-see. As one of the world's great ancient capitals, it is home to some of the finest remnants of China's imperial past. China Highlights provides a range of tours to explore China's capital city. Follow the link for the most popular tour packages.
Beijing has many places of historic interest and architectural/scenic beauty, including: the Forbidden City, the largest and best preserved ancient architectural complex in the world; the Temple of Heaven, where Ming and Qing emperors performed solemn rituals for bountiful harvests; the Summer Palace, the emperors' magnificent garden retreat; the Ming Tombs, the majestic mausoleums of 13 Ming Dynasty emperors; and the world-renowned and genuinely inspiring Badaling section of the Great Wall.
Some half a million years ago, Peking man lived in Zhoukoudian, in the southwestern suburbs of Beijing. The climate of that time was warmer and more humid than it is today. Forests and lakes in the area supported large numbers of living creatures. The fossil remains of Peking man, his stone tools and evidence of use of fire, as well as later tools of 18,000 years ago, bone needles and article of adornment from the age of Upper Cave Man are the earliest cultural relics on record in China today.
Some four to five thousand years ago, settlements to the southwest of Beijing were thriving on basic agriculture and animal husbandry. Story has it that the legendary Yellow Emperor (Huang Di) battled against the tribal leader Chiyou in the "wilderness of the prefecture of Zhuo."Zhuolu, a town west of present-day Beijing, is perhaps the site of the first metropolis in the area. Yellow Emperor's successor, Emperor Yao, was said to have established a legendary capital Youdu (City of Quietude) that was where the city of Ji was actually built.
During the Warring States Period (475-221BC), the Marquis of Yan annexed the territory of the Marquis of Ji, making the city of Ji his new capital. The approximate location was north of Guang'anmen Gate in present–day Beijing near the White Cloud Temple (Baiyunguan). Early in the third century BC, the first Emperor of Qin (Qin Shi Huang) set about conquering six states and unifying China. The city of Ji was named administrative center of Guangyang Commandery, one of 36 prefectures in China’s first feudal empire. For 10 centuries, through to the end of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Ji remained a strategic trading and military center and the object of frequent power struggles.
Some emperors during that period -- Emperor Yang of the Sui Dynasty (581-618) and Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty-left their mark on the city. Emperor Yang amassed troops and supplies at Ji for expeditions against Korea. Emperor Taizong also used the city for military training. He built the Temple for Compassion for the Loyal (Minzhongsi), which is dedicated to troops who died in battle. This temple was the precursor of the Temple of the Origin of the Dharma (Fayuansi) located outside the old walls of the city.
At the beginning of the Tang Dynasty, Ji was little different from any other large feudal cities. Several centuries later, however, when the Tang was nearing a state of collapse, the Qidans (Khitans) came from the upper reaches of the LiaoheRiver and moved south to occupy Ji and make it their second capital. They called the city Nanjing (Southern Capital) or Yanjing. Emperor Taizong of the Liao Dynasty (916-1125) carried out reconstruction projects and built palaces, which were used as strongholds from which the Qidans set out to conquer the central plains of China.
Beijing food takes from a broader category of food known as northern food. This category includes dishes from Hebei, Shandong, the lower Yangzi River, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang.
Northern methods of cooking include barbecuing, deep-boiling, roasting, smoking and braising. Local products such as garlic, ginger, leeks, pork, spring onions, bean sauce, various spices, chilies and vegetables, particularly the northern white cabbage, together with duck, pork, chicken, seafood, beef, and lamb are used to make many varieties of gourmet dishes.
Beijing Roast Duck has a history of over 1500 years in China. With its tempting color, crispy skin, tender meat and the gorgeous appearance, as well as its fragrance, Beijing Roast Duck is known as on ...more>>
Noodles with soybean paste
Noodles With Soybean Paste, also called Zha Jiang Mian, is very popular when it comes to traditional Beijing cuisine. As an added bonus, it is not expensive at all. Zha Jiang Mian is consists ... more>>
With a history of over 1000 years, the hot pot has become popular throughout most of China. Mongolian hotpot originated from the Yuan dynasty (A.D.206-1368) .With rich nutrition and fantastic taste ...more>>
Having such a long historical background, Beijing today has two faces mixing with ancient and modern styles. The old Beijing city was carefully designed and constructed. In 1992, Beijing recommended the "World Top Ten" after the assessment of scores of specialists and scholars:
- The Great Wall: the longest defensive wall in the world.
- The Imperial Palace: the largest and best preserved palatial complex existing now.
- Tian'anmen Square: the largest city-center square in the world.
- The Temple of Heaven: the largest heaven-worshipping architecture in the world.
- The Summer Palace: the best preserved imperial garden in the world.
- Beihai Park: the imperial park built earliest in the world.
- Ming Tombs: the best preserved imperial mausoleum structure where most emperors were buried.
- The Site of Peking Man at Zhoukoudian: an ancient human cultural site with most abundant cultural remains, where the fossil of homo erectus was discovered with traces of fire-usage.
- Yunju Temple: the temple with the largest collection of stone-carved Buddhist scriptures in the world.
- Yongle Bell: the bell with the greatest number of inscriptions in the world.
For more information, please visit CHINAHIGHTLIGHTS.
As it is China's capital, getting to Beijing is made very easy and straightforward. Frequent flights link the capital to virtually every major city in the world. There are also rail links via Russia and Mongolia. Domestic flights to China’s major cities are also plentiful. Beijing is one of the major nodes in China’s rail and road networks. Using Beijing as a starting point to explore the rest of the land makes perfect sense. Transport to Beijing’s nearby attractions, particularly the Great Wall at Badaling is convenient via fast modern highways. Beijing has a very modern subway network and many buses to take you to its many attractions across the city.
Beijing Capital International Airport is the largest airport in China, the busiest in Asia, and second busiest in the world in terms of passenger throughput. It is located about 25 kilometers (16 miles) northeast of central Beijing. Click here for more on Beijing Capital International Airport and Beijing International Flights and Procedures.
Airport to City Transport
Hotel Shuttle: The best and easiest way is to go by hotel shuttle. Most major hotels will have this service. When making a hotel reservation, be sure to ask for airport shuttle service from the airport.
Airport Taxi: The legitimate taxis form a long queue outside the Arrival Hall, but taxis move quickly so you won't wait long. At the head of the line a dispatcher will give you your taxi's number, which is useful in case of complaints. The charge will be at least 100CNY, but pay according to the meter, which includes an expressway toll of 15CNY. After 23:00, you will pay more.
Beijing Subway: The Airport Express Line runs from Terminal 3 or Terminal 2, via Sanyuanqiao, to Dongzhimen in 16–20 minutes.
Airport Shuttle Bus: The airport shuttle runs every 30 minutes from early 5:30 to 20:00, and cover different routes, including Beijing Railway Station. It costs 25 yuan (about $4).
Although not in Central China, Beijing is probably the best-served city in China with train links. See our searchable timetable for details of over 200 services to and from Beijing. China is however a very large country and that train travel is much slower than air. For example:
Beijing - Xi'an takes about 10 hours.
Beijing - Shanghai takes about 14 hours.
Beijing - Harbin takes about 20 hours.
Beijing - Guangzhou takes about 30 hours.
Train travel may be difficult for some and little English is spoken on most trainsThere are four main railway stations in Beijing that serve the four directions: Beijing Railway Station (serving the east), Beijing West Railway Station, Beijing South Railway Station (also called Yongdingmen Station, not to be confused with Yongdingmen Long-Distance Bus Station) and Beijing North Railway Station (also called Xizhimen Station). Many buses stop at these stations, so you need not worry about getting downtown from these places.
During the build up to the 2008 Olympics, Beijing's Subway has been extensively developed from 2 lines to 10 lines. Beijing Subway Map and Timetables.
City public buses run from 5:30 till 23:00 daily. Taking buses in Beijing is cheap, but less comfortable than a taxi or the subway. The flat rate for a tram or ordinary public bus is 1 yuan. Buses equipped with air-conditioning or of a special line are charged according to the distance. Few foreigners like getting around by bus, because it is always crowded, especially during rush hours (6:30-9:00 and 17:00-19:00). Some recorded announcements give the stop's name in English. Having your destination in Chinese characters will help. When squeezing onto a crowded bus take care of your wallet, etc.
Minibuses, running from 7:00 to 19:00, charge the flat rate of 2 yuan guaranteeing a seat. They are faster and more comfortable.
Taxis Though Beijing does suffer from congestion, its taxi drivers will find the fastest way to your destination. Bring the name of your destination in Chinese characters if your spoken Chinese is not good. Pedi-cab is a good choice for sightseeing, especially for visiting the narrow Hutongs. You will find pedi-cabs on the street. You should agree on a price with the driver before starting the journey. Legally registered pedi-cabs can be identified by a certificate attached to the cab and the driver has a card hanging around his neck.
Bicycle China used to be called the sea of bicycles and in Beijing today the bike is still a convenient vehicle for most people. Renting a bike may be a better way for you to see this city at your own pace. Bikes can be hired from many hotels for 20–30 yuan/day. A deposit will be required. You can also rent bikes at some bicycle shops for repairing bikes and inflating tires. Their charge for renting bikes there is lower as the bikes are not as new. When needed, you park your bike in a bike park, which can be easily identified by the large amount of bikes on roadsides. The charge is about 1 yuan.
Beijing Average Climate by Month