TOP 10 places to see in Beijing.

5:59:00 AM

On my last trip to Beijing from 1st - 8th June 2016, I've been to a few attractions and thought that those were what most enjoyable, most scenic, most historical places, which is a must to visit for a tourist. I was doing a research about Beijing and I really have no idea which and where should I go first, and I have to look up on the map to see which is near to one and another, and I have no regrets about my itinerary. That's how important it is to always plan your trip beforehand! I would love to compiled all the information about those places and share it on this post :)

1) Jingshan Park (景山公园)
Credit : Wikipedia

Jingshan Park is situated in the center of the city, and its a beautiful royal landscape garden. The park itself stands on the central point of the south-north axis of the city and it faces the north gate of the Forbidden City. From the top of the hill, visitors get to see a full and clear view over Forbidden City.

Jingshan hill has got five summits, and on each summit there is a pavilion, built in 1751. In every pavilion, there was originally placed a copper Buddha statue which represented one of the five tastes-sour, bitter, sweet, acrid and salt. It is a pity that they were all lost during the warfare of 1900. Among the five pavilions, the Wanchun Pavilion ( Ten Thousand Spring Pavilion ), on the middle of the five summits, sits at the hill's central point of the city. It is a perfect place to appreciate the full view of the city. From this pavilion, visitors are able to see the resplendent and magnificent Forbidden City in the south, the dignified Bell and Drum Towers in the north, as well we Beihai Park and White Dagoba Temple in the west.

Transportation :
By Bus :
Take bus 5 or 58 and get off at JingShan Houjie Station or Xibanqiao Station.
Take bus 111, 124 or 58 and get off at Jingshan Dongmen.
Take bus 101, 103, 109, 685 and get off at Gu Gong Station.

By Subway :
Take Subway Line 5 to Dongsi Station. Get out from Exit C and then find bus 101 to Gu Gong ( Forbidden City ) Station. It is opposite to the north gate of the Forbidden City.

Admission Fee:
CNY 2 (Fee of exhibitions is not included)
Opening Hours:      
April to October: 06:00 - 21:00 (ticket sales stopped at 20:30)
November to next March: 06:30 – 20:00 (ticket sales stopped at 19:30)

2) Bei Hai Park (北海公园)
Beihai Park also known as Northern Sea  Park, is one of the oldest, largest and best-preserved ancient imperial gardens in China which located in the city center. This ancient garden, with over 1,000 years' history, is not only a classic combination of the grandiosity of the northern gardens and the refinement of the southern gardens in China, but also a perfect integration of magnificent imperial palaces and solemn religious constructions.

There are a few major attractions in this park, in the middle of the lake and on the central axis of the whole park lies the Jade Flowery Islet, topped by the imposing White Dagoba which is the landmark. Besides the Jade Flowery Islet, it has four main scenic areas : the Eastern Shore Area, the Northern Shore Area, the Botanical Garden and the Circular City near the north gate. There are many famous and beautiful places you should not miss when touring it.

- White Dagoba, Hao Pu Creek Garden, Quiet Heart Studio, Nine-Dragon Screen, Five-Dragon Pavilions, Circular City.

Transportation :
By Bus :
Take Bus 5, 101, 103, 109, 124 or 685 to get off at Beihai Station.
Take Bus 3, 13, 42, 107, 111, 118, 612 or 701 to Beihai Beimen Station.

By Subway :
Take Subway Line 4 and get off at Ping'anli Station. Leave from Southeast Exit and walk along Dianmen Xi Dajie to the east for 20 minutes to the north gate.

Admission Fee:
Admission: CNY 10 (Apr.1 to Oct. 31); CNY 5 (Nov. 1 to Mar. 31)
Qionghua Islet: CNY 10
Circular City: CNY 1
Through Ticket: CNY20(Apr.1 to Oct. 31); CNY15 (Nov. 1 to Mar. 31)
Note: The Through Ticket includes Qionghua Islet and Circular City, excluding Qionghua Cave and Shanyin Hall)
April to October: 06:30 to 21:00 (ticket office closed at 20:30)
November to next March: 06:30 to 20:00 (ticket office closed at 19:30)
Recommended Time for a visit:2 hours

3) The Forbidden City

I didn't go in to Tiananmen Square as there were too many people queue-ing from the entrance, hence I went straight to Forbidden City and went up to the gate tower to have an overview of Tiananmen Square.

Lying at the city center and its called Gu Gong in Chinese, it was the imperial palace for twenty-four emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties. It was first built throughout 14 years during the reign of Emperor Chengzu in the Ming Dynasty ( 1368-1644 ). Ancient Chinese Astronomers believed that the Purple Star ( Polaris ) was in the center of heaven and the Heavenly Emperor lived in the Purple Palace. The palace for the emperor on earth was so called Purple City. It was forbidden to enter without special permission of the emperor. Hence its name "The Purple Forbidden City" which direct translate from Chinese. Forbidden City is now known as the Palace Museum ( Gu Gong ), it is to the north of Tiananmen Square.

The museum carries out a south-to-north unidirectional itinerary. Visitors can only enter through the Meridian Gate ( Wumen ) and leave from the Gate of Divine Prowess ( Shenwumen ) or East Prosperity Gate ( Donghuamen ). Three to four hours is enough for touring the central axis; if you have interest in exploring more about the imperial palace, more time need to be spent in the west and east wings.

Tranportation :
By Bus :
- Take bus 1, 2, 52, 59, 82, 99, 120, 126, Tourist Line 1, or Tourist Line 2, and get off at Tiananmen East Station.
- Take bus 1, 5, 52, 99, Tourist Line 1, or Tourist Line 2, and get off at Tiananmen West Station.

By Subway :
- Take Subway Line 1, get off at Tiananmen East Station ( Exit A ) or Tiananmen West Station ( Exit B ), find the Tiananmen Tower, and then walk north to the Meridian Gate.
- Take Subway Line 2, get off at Qianmen Station ( Exit A ), walk north through the Tiananmen Square, pass the Tiananmen Tower, and then find the Meridian Gate further north.

Entrance TicketApril to October: CNY 60
November to the next March: CNY 40

*  Free for children under 3.9 feet (1.2 meters), each accompanied by an adult.
*  The Annual Ticket (CNY 300 for 10 entries a year) is only applied to Chinese citizens.
The above fares do not include the admission fee for the Treasure Gallery and the Clock and Watch Gallery.
Treasure Gallery (in Palace of Tranquil Longevity, including the Opera Museum and Stone Drum Museum): CNY 10;
Clock and Watch Gallery (in Hall for Ancestry Worship): CNY 10

4) Shichahai - My Favourite Park of All :)

It is a famous scenic area that includes three lakes ( Qian Hai, meaning Front Sea; Hou Hai, meaning Back Sea; and Xi hai, meaning Western Sea ), surrounding places of historic interest and scenic beauty, and remnants of old-style local residences, Hutong and Courtyard. It is located in the northwest part of Beijing, and covers a large area of 146.7 hectares ( about 363 acres ).

It is always a good place for local residents' recreational life, and in the last 200 years, many governmental offices, celebrities, monks and nuns chose to build mansions, temples and nunneries in it. Thus, its attraction lies not only in its natural beauty, but also in the historical value of its architecture.

By visiting it, visitors will get an authentic taste of the style and features of Old Beijing.

Free Admission.

As it is close to the Bell and Drum Towers and the north gate of Beihai Park, visitors can take buses reaching either of them and then visit Shichahai.

By bus :
- Take bus 612, 90, 701, 118, 204,, 623, 42, 107, 13, 111, 609 and get off at Beihai Beimen.
- or bus 60, 124 get off at Gu Lout ( Drum Tower ).
Beihai Beimen Station is close to Lianhua Market where there are many pubs and the rickshaw tour starts. Gu Lou Station is close to Yandai Xiejie.

By subway :
Take Subway Line 6 and get off at Beihai North Station. Get out of the station from Exit B and walk along Di'anmen Xi Dajie to the east till you see the gate of Hehua Market.

5) Bell and Drum Tower

They were originally used as musical instruments in China. Afterward, however, they were used for telling time. As early as in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220), there was 'a morning bell and a dusk drum'. Telling the time by them played an important role in helping people live and work regularly when there was no other means to keep track of the time. As a result, they became public architectures, and were widely constructed in almost every city throughout the country since the Han Dynasty. In the history of their construction, they are the largest and highest. Their layout is unique, in that they were placed fore-and-aft, not as the traditional sense of standing right-and-left horizontally.

- Bell Tower, this brick and stone made building has two floors: there is an arched door on all four sides on the first floor, and you can go up to the second floor through stone stairs. The same exists on the first floor. An arched door was also built on the four sides of the second floor. Hanging on an eight-square wooden frame of the second floor, the bell in it is the largest and heaviest in China. It was made of copper, and you can hear its round and clear sound from far away. From the 2nd floor, you will get to see a panoramic view of Beijing city.

- Drum Tower, located 100 meters south to the bell tower, it was placed on a 4-meter-high stone and brick base, a little bit lower than the bell tower. It is also a two-storey building; the first floor contains the China Committee for the Promotion of the Minority Art. The second floor contains the exhibition area. Originally, there was one big drum and 24 smaller ones, but only the big remains.

Transportation :
By Bus :
Take Bus 5, 60, 107 or 124 and get off at Gu Lou Station.

By Subway :
- Take Subway Line 2, get off at Guloudajie Station, get out of the station from Exit B, and walk south.
- Take Subway Line 8, get off at Shichahai Station, get out of the station from Exit A2, and walk north straightly.

Admission Fee:CNY 15 (Bell Tower) ; CNY 20 (Drum Tower)
Combo ticket: CNY 30
Opening Hours:09:00 to 17:00

6) Temple of Heaven

Temple of Heaven Park is located in the Chongwen District, Beijing. Originally, this was the place where emperors of the Ming Dynasty and Qing Dynasty held the Heaven Worship Ceremony. It is China's largest and most representative existing masterpiece among China's ancient sacrificial building.

There are over 60,000 varieties of tree. The most famous tree is the grandfather tree - a 500-year-old Nine-Dragon Cypress with branches like nine dragons winding with each other. These trees create a quiet environment and an ideal resort for the locals to do their morning exercise. Residents living near this place enjoy many activities here, such as running, cycling, singing, dancing, playing chess, flying kites, etc. You can become involved personally in these activities and experience the leisure pursuits of local people.

Transportation :
By Bus :
- Take bus 120, 122, 36, 525, 53, 958, Te 11, Te 3, Te 12, Yuntong 102, and get off at Tiantan Nanmen (South Gate) Station.
- Take bus 120, 17, 2, 35, 36, 504, 53, 622, 69, 71, 72, 93, Te 11, and get off at Tiantan Ximen (West Gate) Station.
Take bus 106, 110, 34, 35, 36, 6, 72, and get off at Tiantan Beimen (North Gate) Station.

By Subway :
- Subway Line 5: get off at Tiantan Dongmen Station, Leave from Exit A and you'll find the East Gate of the Park.

Ticket Type
Nov.1-Mar.31 (next year)
Entrance Fee
CNY 10
CNY 15
Combination Ticket 
(including the entrance fee, Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, Circular Mound Altar & Echo Wall)
CNY 30
CNY 35
Hall of Ceremonial Music & Palace of Abstinence
CNY 10
CNY 10
Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, Circular Mound Altar & Echo Wall
CNY 20
CNY 20
Opening Hours
1. North, East, South and West Gates are open from 06:30 to 22:00.
2. Main attractions including Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, Circular Mound Altar, Echo Wall, Hall of Ceremonial Music and Palace of Abstinence are open from 08:00 to 17:00.
3. Combination Ticket is unavailable after 15:30 at the four gates.
1. North, East, South and West Gates are open from 06:00 to 22:00.
2. The main attractions are open from 08:00 to 17:30.
3. Combination Ticket is unavailable after 16:00 at the four gates.
Time for a Visit
1.5 hours
Electronic Guide Equipment
Position: At the four gates
Time: 8:00—17:00
Languages: Cantonese, English, Japanese, Korean, French, German, Spain
Fees: CNY 100 as guarantee deposit which will be refunded when the machine is returned; the machine rent fee is CNY 40.

7) Yonghegong ( Yonghe Lama Temple )

It is located at the northeast corner of the city, considered as the largest and most perfectly preserved lamasery in present day China. Built initially in 1694 during the Qing Dynasty, this building was the residence of Emperor Yongzheng when he was just a prince. However, in 1744 the Qing Dynasty formally changed the status of the dwelling to that of a lamasery, and so it became the national centre of Lama administration.

Yonghe Lama Temple is so huge that you feel like you can't finish passing one hall after another.

Transportation :
By bus :
- Take bus 13, 116, 117 or 684 and get off at Yonghegong Station.
- Take bus Te 2, Te 12, 909, 116, 684, 62, 13, 44, 18, 75, and get off at Yonghegong Qiao Dong Station.
- Take bus 117, 125,  and get off at Yonghegong Qiao Bei Station.

By subway :
- Subway Line 2: get off at Yonghegong Station, get out of the station from Exit C (Southwest Exit), and walk south about 400 meters, then you'll find it on the east side of the road.
- Subway Line 5: get off at Yonghegong Station, and get out of the station from Exit C (Southeast Exit).

Admission Fee:CNY 25
Opening Hours:9:00 to 16:30 (Apr. 1 to Oct. 31)
9:00 to 16:00 (Nov. 1 to Mar. 31)
Recommended Time for a Visit:1.5 hours

8) Wangfujing Street

Located near the city center in Dongcheng District, the commercial street is one of four most prosperous business zones in Beijing. It is 1.6km long ranging from Changan Avenue in the south to National Art Museum of China in the north. With a history of 700 years around, it got the name Wangfu (royal mansion) Jing (well) because there used to be eight royal mansions and a well with sweet water on the street. Currently, it is the busiest street in this city and there are 600,000 people every day come and go and on holidays, the number can rise to 1,200,000. As the first famous business zone in this city, the street houses a wide variety of shops and boutiques, some of which are of world-famous brands. Apart from that, there are also many time honored stores with traditional commodities standing in the street for hundreds of years. Nowadays this street is a modern commercial street which can be paralleled with Champs-Elysees in Paris.

Wangfujing Snack Street, in the south of Haoyou World Mall, there is a street with hundreds of snack stands and shops, which mainly sells nationwide snacks, tourist souvenirs and folk crafts. On the first floor visitors can enjoy over 500 kinds of foods from every corner of China, such as kebab, sugar-coated figurine, tea soup and Tortilla Flat. Foods on the second floor are mainly Muslim-flavored, where the best beef and mutton are provided. On the third floor visitors can enjoy the exquisite tea and wine with Beijing opera for leisure.

Transportation : 
By subway : 
- Take the subway line 1 and get off at Wangfujing Station. The Exit A leads to the commercial street.

By bus :
- Take the bus 10, 41, 59, 99, 120, 126, 127, 203 or 205, and get off at Wangfujing Station.
- Take the bus 103, 104, 127, 201, 211, 420, Special 11 or Express 2, and get off at Wangfujing Lukoubei Station.

9) Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe.

Great Wall is listed in one of the wonders of the world, and it is so well-known world wide. You know you never been to China if you haven't been to the Great Wall right? :)

Transportation :
Many people prefer to book a tour because the nearest Great Wall entrance from Beijing would be Badaling, it is possible to reach by public transport however it will consume quite some time.

10) Summer Palace

Situated in the Haidian District northwest of Beijing, Summer Palace is 15km from central Beijing. Being the largest and most well-preserved royal park in China, it greatly influences Chinese horticulture and landscape with its famous natural views and cultural interests, which also has long been recognized as 'The Museum of Royal Gardens'.

In 1924, it was open to the public. It ranked amongst the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1998, as well as one of the first national AAAAA tourist spots in China.

Transportation :
Tourists can enter the palace from the North Palace Gate, the East Palace Gate, the New Palace Gate and the West Palace Gate.

By Bus :
- Take bus 330, 331, 332, 346, 508, 579, 584, 601, 608 or 696, get off at Yiheyuan Station and then walk west to the East Palace Gate.
- Take bus 469 or 539 and get off at Yiheyuan West Palace Gate Station.
- Take bus 331, 332, 333(内), 333(外), 375, 432, 438, 498, 508, 579, 584, 594, 601, 664, 697, Te 18, Te 19, Te 6, Yuntong 106, Yuntong 114 or Yuntong 118, get off at Yiheyuanlu Dongkou Station (The Eastern End of Yiheyuan Road) and then walk west to the East Palace Gate.
- Take bus 303, 330, 331, 346, 375, 563, 584 or 594, and get off at Yiheyuan North Palace Gate Station.
- Take bus 74, 374, 437 or 952 and get off at Xin Jian Gong Men (Yiheyuan New Palace Gate) Station.

By Subway :
- Subway Line 4: get off at Beigongmen Station (Beigongmen means the North Palace Gate); or get off at Xiyuan Station, get out of the station from Exit C2 (southwest exit) and walk west to the East Palace Gate.

Ticket TypePrice (CNY)
April 1 to October 31November 1 to next March 31
Entrance Fee3020
Combination Ticket (including entrance fee and the following sites)6050
Dehe Garden55
Tower of Buddhist Incense1010
Wenchang Hall2020
Suzhou Street and Danning Hall1010
Opening Hours06:30 - 18:00
* Scenic spots are open from 08:30 to 17:00.
07:00 - 17:00
* Scenic spots are open from 09:00 to 16:00.
Recommended Time for a Visit3 hours

Source from : China Travel Guide

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  1. Yeay! I have been to most of the 10 you have described. I still want to revisit Beijing. Someday hopefully.

  2. Thanks for the list.. I think I missed out on 3-4 of these places... huhuhu

  3. I want to go to Great Wall of China and other places at your list too.

  4. Great places to visit in Beijing! I'm more familiar with the name in chinese instead of english actually! but anyhow great post with all the necessary info! :D

  5. Looks all your photos ...Make me wanna travel to Beijing now ~ Very detailed explanation ~

  6. it's really good to see you put this in list. i would love to visit BeiJing one day!

  7. Hmm. never thought of Beijing as a destination for a holiday... might consider after this!

  8. Been to Beijing 10 years ago, guess I should revisit.

  9. Beijing really amazing and famous with it scenery. So far not plan to Beijing yet but will keep it in my travel list.

  10. you really make things easier! thanks :)