There are just so many things to love about Beijing that it’s hard to narrow it down for first timers. I can’t believe this is going to be my first point but whatever – there’s vegetarian food everywhere! I usually starve or get hangry when I travel but it was pretty easy to find vegetarian food! The second thing I’m going to say is 4 days didn’t feel like enough! It was so easy to get caught up in Beijing that the days flew by. Here is my little guide to Beijing! Hope you like it 🙂
Jinshanling Great Wall Of China – Any part of The Great Wall of China will be fantastic but a quieter, more beautiful area of the wall is Jinshanling. You need to book a tour to get here and it’s about a 2 hour drive outside of Beijing. It was a full day trip but it was so stunning and we were the only tour on the wall! It was such an amazing experience and special experience. Image having The Great Wall of China to yourself 🙂
Tiananmen Square – A Beijing must do. It’s really easy to get to the square. You just take the subway to Tiananmen Station and follow the crowd from there.
Forbidden City – You’ll be amazed at how big the city is! I had no idea the Fobidden City was that grand but it was. Literally right across the street from Tiananmen Square so it’s nice and easy to get to! You can spend hours exploring here. Definitely a place for first timers.
Panjiayuan Antique Market – Pretty much the funnest place if you’re a trinket person like me! I spent hours wandering around the stalls looking at porcelain fixtures, tea sets, traditional clothes, foods, you name it. Because it’s famous everything is over priced but it’s still a great stop! I bought a porcelain bunny 🙂
Huntongs – Huntong is just a word for alleys but Beijing is famous for them. Walk around the Huntongs to get a taste of what Old Beijing was like. It really was beautiful to wandering around somewhere so old!
Silk Road Market – We never got a chance to go but it’s is definitely on the list!
TRB Bites – If you’re looking for a luxurious meal head to TRB Bites! We were welcomed in with 5 star service, free bread and champagne (why doesn’t everyone do this?), appetizers and you have a view of the moat around the Forbidden City. Reserve ahead of time to make sure you have a good seat. Read more here!
Atmosphere Bar – Located in the Shangri-La hotel you’ll find a lovely bar on the 80th floor called Atmosphere. They have beautiful drinks, high tea and such a healthy menu it was crazy! If I was a millionaire I would have gone bananas with all their health tonics. I tried this tea cocktail with lavender, hazelnut and pur’er tea which was the best thing I’ve ever had. I’m not kidding. And it came with a cookie. You also get free peanuts.. Yes I am a child 😀
Vegetarian Restaurant – There’s a restaurant called the Vegetarian Restaurant outside of the Hutongs. This is all the information I can give you because it had no other name! But there is plenty of veggie options in Beijing so if you’re a vegetarian don’t worry, Beijing is very vegetarian friendly. Worse come to worse head to the 7/11 and they have fruit platters!
Street Food – China is famous for their street food. Dumplings, steam buns, onion cakes, you name it. Definetly give it a try! Aim for busy vendors though or you won’t know how long the food has been sitting there. First timers definitely need to try!
The subway is cheap and easy to navigate. If you’re a first timer to Beijing you’ll have no problem navigating. You’ll find Mandarin and English on the subway map so take a photo of the train station you want to go to with your phone and show the person at the help desk. This is the most stress-free way because you probably won’t get the pronunciation right
The pollution is crazy. There were some days we couldn’t see 20 feet ahead of us. I actually forgot about blue skies the majority of time I was in China. Take extra precaution to protect your skin. Face masks are available but if you’re only there a few days I wouldn’t worry. Blow your nose lots..
Lastly be patient with security. Trying to get on a train at peak hours is crazy because you have to funnel though a security scanner. Now picture hundreds of people at once. People will bud and push and squish their way ahead of you so just be patient. Or avoid peak times.
Hope you enjoyed this guide to Beijing! Are you planning a trip to China? Where you headed next?