Beijing is beautiful, just like any other amazing destinations around the world or in Southeast Asia. Matter of fact, Beijing is a probably a lot cheaper compared to European countries. Most travelers (especially backpackers) tend to choose to travel across Beijing for a few days. Even though a week is always advisable for you to learn and get to know the city more, we would like to recommend you to spend at least three days in Beijing to see all the sights.
We’ve compiled a few ways on how you can turn a travel experience in Beijing into one of the best backpacking trips in your life. Below is a fast-paced itinerary which includes maximum enjoyment in some of the best parts of the city :
We would like to suggest visiting Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. If you like, you can also include the National Museum in your list. Even with just three destinations, this trip will probably take you almost until the evening. Do not miss the moment the soldiers coming out of the Forbidden City raising and lowering the flag. This usually can be witnessed at sunrise or sunset. If you start your trip early or able to catch the sundown, do make sure that you stop by to take a look.(image by choo chin nian)
Get your hostel in Beijing to arrange a hike at the great wall from Jinshanling to Simatai. Do not think it is pretty easy though because this hike can take about four hours to complete and it’s a challenging one. However, the panoramic views of the great wall and the surrounding areas will make you forget all the pain and sweats of hiking the wall. If you forgot to bring a bottle of water, you can easily purchase it along the way from the local vendors. However, we would like to emphasize that skipping the Badaling wall is advisable. That place is seriously overcrowded and if you want fairly scenic place with much less hiking, try Mutianyu then.
If the weather outside is clear and nice, we suggest for you to wake up early and head over to the North side of the Forbidden City where you can spot the Beihai Park there. Watching sunrise from the temple on the hill is beyond amazing. The sun will slowly comes up over the Eastern Beijing and you can also find a lot of cultural activities early in the morning like tai qi, traditional opera, dancing, er hu (traditional musical instrument) performance, kite flying, live music, Chinese chess, and a lot more! The good news is you can partake in any of these as much as you want. Other than that, you can also opt for 798 Art District where it offers a scene of contemporary art in China with former factories renovated and turned into knick-knack shops, restaurants, coffee shops and galleries.(image by johan versteeg)
Traveling across Beijing will give you more than just an experience. It will definitely open up your mind to the culture and learn to immerse yourself in the community of others. However, should you choose to visit famous areas like Wangfujing or Tiananmen, always be careful of friendly Chinese ladies who will try to approach single men. They are scammers who will take you to the nearest tea house and get you charged for RMB1000 just for a cup of tea. Even though Beijing is a wonderful place to visit, just like any other travel destination, be aware of scammers around!
Related post: What to do in Your Family Holiday in Hong Kong
Feature image by johan versteeg