When planning a trip to China, should you choose to take a day trip to our nation’s mighty capital? Foreigners may be skeptical about Beijing, China’s busy and unpredictable capital city. Don’t be. This sprawling city should be on your mind-to-face bucket list, if only for a day. To get an authentic taste of the bustling capital, check out these fabulous areas around the city.
1. The New National Stadium — The aforementioned sports stadium was built in 2008 for the Beijing Olympics. Visitors can take in the stunning architecture, which is stunning even if you don’t understand Chinese or spend your entire day in the stadium’s specially-designated section. Sure, it’s hard to get out from behind all that marble and metal, but you will get a great sense of pride from seeing how Chinese culture put out such an impressive piece of architecture. This also is a great excuse to see China’s Forbidden City, which is located right next to the National Stadium. It’s a sight to behold for both tourists and locals alike, and you won’t be alone among the rest of your group.
2. Chang’anbao Temple — Try not to get emotional when walking through this ancient temple in Beijing. It certainly seems like a place that is suited for dark emotions, as it is home to so many angels, cherubs, hooded figures, statues of the fallen emperor, angels and demons, the entire works. This temple is an example of why China is known as the hometown of Buddhism. Through its devotion to the deity Buddha, it’s a beautiful reflection of Tibet, which in turn is an example of ancient China.
3. Imperial Palace — The Imperial Palace is the Holy Grail of Chinese architecture. Built in 1749, it is the stately, white building that continues to hold so many memories for tourists visiting China’s national heart and symbol. While the Palace is famous for its intricate buildings and intricate glass and metal chandeliers, it’s the natural feel of this place that attracts foreigners. If you can’t make it to Beijing on a holiday, it’s a perfect stop for a historical walk that transports you to a world millions of years old.
4. Bund — Located right on the fringes of the Forbidden City is the 1.2 square-mile Bund, the river known in the Qing Dynasty as the River of Fortune. While you can’t see it from the Forbidden City, you can walk right up to the edge of the lake, which is bordered by centuries-old temples, colorful palaces and grassy squares. While you can visit the Bund from multiple parts of Beijing, we recommend taking a cab right from the Forbidden City to the Opera House, Dongsheng, the Peak of Nine Mysteries and the Bund.
5. Tiananmen Square — The iconic heart of Beijing is Tiananmen Square, which the Chinese state calls Spring Festival Square. While most visitors to Beijing may view this place as something to avoid at all costs, if you’re brave enough, Tiananmen Square is the perfect place to behold this city, its architecture and people. In fact, it’s also the site of the handover of power from the People’s Republic of China to the United States and then to the People’s Republic of China, which took place in 1949.