Shrouded with mysteries of the past that has captured the minds and souls of foreign tourists, Beijing is also a 21st century super-power showcasing futuristic innovation and technology. The Chinese capital as well as the 2nd-largest city of the nation is also the country's cultural, economic, scientific and academic hub. Sometimes still referred in its old name - Peking, this stunning metropolis is still deeply entrenched in its culture, tradition and roots despite exhibiting all the symbols of a modern and urban cosmopolitan megalopolis.
Beijing is known globally for its historical attractions. Kick-start the holiday by first heading over to the nation's biggest and most renowned monument - the Forbidden city - also called the Imperial Palace. This vast and sprawling complex spans over 720,000 sq meters and is guarded by a 10-meter-high wall along with watchtowers and a big moat. It is universally known that visiting the Great Wall of China will always be number 1 in the itinerary of every tourist out there. This majestic wall runs as much as 8,000 kms. The best preserved portion of this glorious wall can be glimpsed from Beijing where it is not only more easily accessible but also curves stunningly over the mountain peaks.
Known to be a tourist haunt, the Tian'anmen Square is the globe's biggest inner-city square, constructed in way to hold a million people in the same place. The Temple of Heaven is renowned to be home to a group of some of the city's most sacred buildings. Fringed by lush vegetation, these ancient temples and shrines are placed in two portions - one rectangular and the other semi-circular - which come together to mean heaven and earth. Also referred to as the Yonghe Temple, the Lama Temple is one of the city's most striking and well-preserved holy shrine. The remarkable and beautiful Imperial Summer Palace is housed in the heart of over 700 acres of an incredible parkland.
If you're with kids, then don't forget to spend a day at the Beijing Zoo - the oldest zoo in the Asia Pacific region. It is home to world-famous giant cuddly pandas and more than 7,000 other animals comprising golden monkeys from Sichuan, tigers from Manchuria and snow-leopards from Tibet. Escape the hustle-bustle of the city by dropping by at Beihai Park, a popular place for boating in summer and ice-skating in winter. Exploring ancient alleyways is one of the 'to-do' items to make your Beijing experience as authentic as possible. Stroll around the historic siheyuan (courtyard homes), usually concealed behind big, red wooden doorways.
When it comes to shopping, shopping enthusiasts can walk around the pedestrian zone Wagfujing Dajie, brimming with designer outlets and chic departments stores as well as swanky and sprawling shopping complexes. Those who wish to procure quintessential Chinese merchandise at affordable rates can visit the Beijing market where stalls are overflowing with stalls, designed in a traditional manner.
One can't holiday in Beijing and not indulge in their local delicacies such as Peking Duck, a popular specialty from the city. Don't forget to sip some refreshing Chinese Tea after all China is known for being the birthplace of this beverage.
Beijing is brimming with abundant stay options. The richie-rich who wish to stay in the best luxury hotels and private apartments can easily find plenty that suit their liking. Similarly, budget tourists and backpackers who are looking for modest and cheap accommodations will find a plethora of those as well.
Beijing experiences humid continental climate. The best time to visit the city would be during spring (April-May) or autumn (September-October) when the temperatures are pleasant and the heat is not overbearing.