Beijing, the capital of China, is the political, cultural and economic center of the People’s Republic. One of the most vibrant cities in the world, it has an eclectic mix of the old and new that never fails to fascinate.
Beijing has been inhabited for more than 3,000 years and has experienced the rise and fall of powerful imperial dynasties, invasions by warlords and foreign armies, and devastating fires. For more than 800 years, it was also the heart and soul of Chinese politics and society. Thirty-four emperors have ruled the country from Beijing and it has always been an important trading city.
This ancient city has truly seen it all and traces of its history and grandeur can still be found in famous landmarks like the Forbidden City and Great Wall. Much of Old Beijing also lives through its many teahouses, temples, Hutong communities, Peking Opera and acrobatic troupes, Liulichang antique market and traditional Qianmen shops.
Beijing has a modern and fashionable face as well, with its towering skyscrapers, broad boulevards, busy shopping malls, pulsating discos and clubs, and endless traffic. Its commercial areas and pedestrian streets are just like any other metropolis, with more notable areas found near the Yansha Shopping Mall, Tiananmen and Wangfujing Street, Guomao Shopping Mall, and Xidan Street.
More than a gateway to penetrate the 23 provinces, 5 autonomous regions, and 4 municipalities in the Chinese market, Beijing is the perfect venue for the business traveler to relax, sightsee and have fun.
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- Visa & Customs
For more information, you are advised to check with the Chinese embassy in your country.
- Airport Tax
Airport tax in China amounts 90 Yuan (US$11) for international flights, 50 Yuan (about US$6) for domestic flights and 10 Yuan for branch flight routes. From 1 September 2004, this tax has been included in the airfare which is listed in the TAX item on the ticket.
- Embassies & Consulates
Please click here for the contact details of Embassies and Consulates in China.
- Business Hours
The official organizations like the government offices usually operate from 09:00 -17:00 with one-hour siesta, and are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Hospitals, post offices, banks and tourist sights open daily from 08:30-09:30 to 16:00-18:00, while the hospital clinics and its first-aid center usually operate 24 hours.
- Drinking Water
Tap water in China is undrinkable, even in the finest of hotels. Ordinary bottled mineral water and various beverages are commonly sold in many street shops, supermarkets, restaurants and hotel stores for about 3 yuan per bottle.
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Where to Visit
Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China was built mainly to protect the Chinese Empire from the Mongolians and other invaders. It was built with wisdom, dedication, blood, sweat and tears. An estimated two to three million Chinese died as part of the centuries-long project of building the wall. As one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in China, The Great Wall is not just a wall, but a symbol of the bravery and wisdom of the Chinese people.
Hou Hai Lake Area
Houhai lies north of Qianhai Lake, and connected to it by a small canal, and is a very elegant contrast to Sanlitun Bar district.
Where to Party
Beijing nightlife doesn't yet compare to London or Bangkok, but it's far better than you'd imagine. Increasing numbers of top international DJs have begun to play clubs here and the music scene is pretty up to date.
For more information on Beijing nightlife, please click here.
Where to Eat
Beijing food is a combination of different areas namely Hebei, Shangdong, Lower Yangzi River area, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang.
While dining in Beijing, even the most experienced of Beijing visitors will get tantalized. The city is filled with delicacies from through the country that it is too difficult to make a decision.
Below are some highly recommended places to dine at :
- DaDong Kao Ya Dian
The Beijing Roast Duck is reputed to be the first choice of food in Beijing. The duck meat is fresh, tender, rich, fat but not greasy and with a tempting color. It is so delicious that it is said to have a haunting effect on the diners.
This restaurant claims to use a special method to reduce the amount of fat in its birds and the Beijing Roast Duck here has been said to be the best in town!
Address : Tuanjie Hu Beikou 3, Beijing
Tel : +86 (10) 6582 2892
Price : Meal for 2 (including half-duck) ¥80-¥100 (US$10-US$12)
- Siheyuan (The Courtyard)
Owned by a Chinese-American lawyer with family roots in Beijing, Siheyuan serves admirable fare but wins the most accolades for its setting, in a restored courtyard-style house next to the Forbidden City.
Dishes are recognizably Occidental or Oriental with only token mixing of styles, but they're delectable nonetheless.
Address : Donghua Men Lu 95
Tel : +86 (10) 6526 8883
Price : Main courses ¥145-¥245 (US$18-US$31)
- Ke Jia Cai (Hakka Restaurant)
Highly recommended for Hakka cuisine (a subset of Cantonese cuisine), is this charmingly rustic eatery, frequented by local Chinese. The extensive menu is accompanied by pictures and English translations.
Address : Southeast Bank of the Qian Hai, Beijing
Tel : +86 (10) 6404 2259
Price : Less than US$10
For more information on the ultimate Beijing dining experience, please click here.