The capital of the People’s Republic of China is one of the most visited cities in the world. Indeed, more than 95 million people fly to Beijing every year! This modern city with its major road network and huge skyscrapers of glass and concrete offers a stark contrast to the imperial portion of the city with its traditional buildings and ancient temples filled with beautiful ornaments. Thousands of people line up to see the embalmed body of Chairman Mao at his mausoleum. The National Museum of China provides a comprehensive view of Chinese history from the imperial dynasties to the revolutions, while the Panjianyan Antiques Market and the Pearl and Silk Markets are perfect for honing your haggling skills on your trip to Beijing. After a shopping trip, the lake scenery of Yuyuantan Park is an ideal location for taking a rest.
SIGHTS IN BEIJING
The Forbidden City in Beijing – houses the Imperial Palace. Take a guided tour and find out more about the imperial history of China. One of the world’s largest squares, Tiananmen Square is also situated close to the Forbidden City.
Shichahai Lakes – the three lakes, Qianhai, Houhai Xihai, in Beijing surrounded by lively restaurants and bars. You can hire a rowing boat at the nearby Beihai Park and enjoy Beijing’s beautiful surroundings.
Temple of Heaven – built for ceremonies to praise Heaven and the Emperor, the Son of Heaven.
Beijing’s National Stadium (The “Bird’s Nest”) – admire this fantastic Olympic arena built for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Hutongs (Beijing’s traditional narrow streets) – take a cycle rickshaw through the narrow alleys in Shichahai and see the old side of China.
BEIJING WITH CHILDREN
If you’re visiting Beijing with your family, there are several great attractions and activities that are suitable for people of all ages and sure to keep little ones entertained. Check out these top family-friendly Beijing attractions and have a comfortable journey when you fly to Beijing with children aboard a Finnair flight.
Happy Valley – This large amusement park has rides, shows and other attractions suitable for old and young alike.
Chaoyang Park – Green and leafy, this fun park also has a packed calendar of events throughout the year.
Beijing World Park – Explore the world in miniature as you gaze upon the detailed mini replicas of global attractions and well-known destinations.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO NEAR BEIJING
Great Wall of China – take a day trip and experience the feeling of walking on part of this ancient wonder of the world. About 1 hour 45 minutes by taxi from Tiananmen Square. Often a must-do for people flying to Beijing.
Ming Dynasty Tombs – 60 minutes from Beijing. This gigantic cemetery where 13 emperors from the Ming Dynasty are buried can be reached on a day trip from Beijing.
Chengde – a city with an ancient imperial summer palace, where visitors can enjoy genuine Chinese and Tibetan architecture. 4 hours from Beijing.
SHOPPING IN BEIJING
Beijing has a broad variety of shopping options, and clothes are particularly inexpensive. There are also plenty of local handicraft stores to choose between. Be aware, however, that antiques labelled as “genuine” rarely are.
Nanluoguxiang located in Beijing’s Dongcheng district, nearly a kilometre of fashion and design stores, as well as other shopping alternatives all with a genuine hutong (narrow lane or alleyway) feel. Other shopping centres worth visiting are Xidan and Wangfujing – both offering stores and malls with clothes, accessories, electronic goods and much more as well as high-class shopping and luxury restaurants.
Xiushui (Silk Street) is a shopping centre with stores where you can find cheap goods for sale in Beijing. However, beware that many items may not be genuine.
Hongqiao (Pearl) Market – pearls and other beautiful jewellery are the primary offering here, but other items such as clothes, toys and electronic devices are also available. Panjiayuan Flea Market is another market where you can find art and antiques plus any other kind of shopping you could wish for.
Electronic – in Zhongguancun electronics market in Beijing there is an endless range of electronic devices and tech gadgets to buy, but beware of the varied quality of the products.
CHINESE FOOD & DRINK IN BEIJING
When it comes to Chinese cuisine, visitors to Beijing can find just about everything on offer, featuring a wide variety of tastes, textures and colours. It is common in Beijing to eat snacks sold at street stalls, so do what the Chinese do: take an evening stroll and try a little of everything as you walk along. For those brave enough to try something different, how about fried scorpion or grilled millipede? Savour these local delights after your flight to Beijing, China:
Beijing roast duck (Beijing kaoya) – small slices of crispy duck dipped in hoisin sauce and usually wrapped in a pancake.
Mongolian/Beijing Hot Pot – a simple fondue with meat or seafood, cabbage and noodles.
Beijing Zhajiangmian – pork, noodles and vegetables served with zhajiang, a salty fermented soybean paste.
Spring rolls (chūn juǎn) – these come in all kinds of different forms and with a variety of fillings.
Jiaozi – dumplings filled with pork, cabbage or scrambled eggs that are then fried to create a wonderful crispy skin.
Chao Ge Da – a kind of fried pasta snack.
Chao Gan – a snack of stir-fried liver boiled with offal, garlic, soy sauce and starch.
Guang Chang – a pork sausage snack that is steam cooked, sliced and fried.
Tea is often served to you with food, but you can of course order water, fizzy drinks, beer or wine as well.
TRANSPORT IN BEIJING
Subway – Beijing’s subway system is fast, reliable and inexpensive.
Taxi – using a taxi in Beijing is simple and very good value. Write down your destination and make sure the metre is running. Beware of private taxis.
BEST TIME TO VISIT BEIJING
Although Beijing is a year-round destination, and you’ll find Beijing flight deals at all times of the year, there are some periods that are better than others when exploring the Chinese capital.
Autumn is often considered the best time to visit Beijing due to pleasant temperatures, dry weather, clear skies and lower levels of air pollution.
Spring is another great time to pay a visit, with temperatures starting to rise after the cold winter and smaller tourist crowds. Fewer people visit the capital at this time, so it’s easier to find cheap flights to Beijing too.
Summers in Beijing are hot and humid, and the rainiest months are July and August. This is also the high tourist season so you can expect more crowds. Reserve your plane tickets to Beijing well ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
Winters are cold in Beijing and the low travel season is between November and March. This can, however, be a good time to find cheap flights to Beijing from London and other parts of Europe. The vibrant Chinese New Year celebrations take place in January or February and are a highlight for many travellers. This period sees an influx of tourists to the city, so we advise booking your hotels and airline tickets to Beijing in advance.
FLIGHTS TO BEIJING
Finnair has a solid reputation for operating flights to Asia and we have the shortest routes between Europe and Asia.
Many of our Beijing flights are on the modern A350 aircraft. Planes boast advanced technology and great comfort, with features like a modern entertainment system, big windows and ambient LED lighting.
Book your flight to Beijing with Finnair and enjoy a generous baggage allowance, delicious in-flight meals and the best in Nordic hospitality. Enjoy fully flat seats, an exclusive in-flight menu and priority boarding when you upgrade to Nordic Business Class.