B is for Beijing when it comes to planning a visit to China.
A tour of the powerful and culture-rich country will not be complete without a stop at its bedazzling city.
So what’s all the b about Beijing? Here are some interesting facts and info: Previously known as Peking, Beijing is the capital city of the People’s Republic of China. It is China’s second largest city after Shanghai.
1. The busiest airport in Asia and second busiest airport in the world can be found in Beijing. The Beijing Capital International Airport is the main airport that serves the city of Beijing. This airport is most often used as the entry and exit point from China. The Capital International
Airport serves as the main hub for Air China, China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines and China Eastern Airlines. There are several options in travelling from the airport to the city center. One can either take the subway, taxis or Bus. From Beijing, it is easy to travel by plane or bullet train to other major China destinations.
2. When in Beijing, be sure that you understand and speak every wondering wanderer’s basic survival words and phrases in Mandarin. A little Mandarin can go a long way. Make sure to know the basic Chinese phrases to ensure a hassle-free stay.
Survival tip no. 1: Even drivers of cabs or buses don’t speak English. Make sure to write down your destination in Chinese Characters.
3. Beijing hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics and will be hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics.
One major must-see spectacle in the city is the Olympic Park that was built for the Summer Olympics.
You can visit the Beijing National Stadium also called The Bird’s Nest or Beijing National Aquatics Centre also called The Water Cube. Beijing is currently preparing for the Winter Olympics in 2022.
4. Beijing offers an escape from the din and hustle of present times via a soothing trip back in time. Beijing has a huge amount of cultural inheritance and historical sites which cater to the curious.
The seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites — The Great Wall of China, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, Ming Tombs, Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian and the Grand Canal— should not be ignored and must be included in every China visitor’s ‘to do’ list.
The hottest tourist destination in Beijing, which attracts thousands of visitors everyday (averaging 80,000 visitors a day) is Forbidden City, also known as Imperial Palace Museum, located in the very heart of city. It occupies 720,000 square meters (7,750,000 sq ft), and is bigger than the Vatican (440,000 square meters) and the Kremlin (275,000 squaremeters) combined. Only 60 percent is currently open to the public.
5. If you like Pandas, make sure to drop by the Beijing Zoo Just a quick disclaimer, Chengdu Giant Panda Breeding Center or Dujiangyan Panda Base is the best place to visit the giant pandas for it will allow you to have a very close experience with them.
But if you only have a short amount of time, take some time to stop at the Panda House in Beijing Zoo. Be careful what time of the day you will go because you might only see them resting since these pandas spend most of their time eating and sleeping.
Beijing has reinvented itself as one of the most modern and advanced cities of the world. There are a lot of things you can do and historical sites you can visit. Before leaving Beijing, make sure to try their Peking Roast Duck— it is the most famous delicacy of the city.