Beijing, China's capital city, has a population of 21.54 million (as of 2018) but it's not as big as Shanghai, according to China Highlights. If you get the chance to travel to Beijing, it's a good idea to research as much as you can before you officially buy your plane tickets and make some hotel reservations.
In order to maximize your time, check out the best hotels to book, some things to do, what restaurants will give you the best dining experience, and how to get around the city.
Here is a travel guide to Beijing: 10 things to know while planning your trip.
Go See Lama Temple And Spend Time In The 798 Arts District
According to Fodors, you want to go see Lama Temple, which has a statue of a Buddha that is 85 feet and made from sandalwood.
Travelers should also spend some time in the 798 Arts District. This is a fascinating area as there are art galleries, cafes, and you can walk around. This area dates back to the end of the '90s and used to be a bunch of factories.
Travel To Beijing In The Autumn And Spring
China Highlights recommends going to Beijing between the months of September and November. The website also suggests April and May as really good times of the year to go.
This is because you're going to get the best weather during those times. China Highlights also says that if you go when it's a holiday, you could find quite a lot of people, so it's best to avoid those dates.
Stay At New World Beijing Hotel Or Regent Beijing
If you stay at New World Beijing Hotel, it'll be super easy to get around as you can walk and in ten minutes, you'll be at the Chongwenmen Subway Station. There are also two restaurants in the hotel and your room will allow you to really see Beijing. There's a spa, a pool, and people shared on Booking.com that the rooms are nice and it's a great experience.
You could also stay at Regent Beijing which is close to the airport, a quick walk to Beijing Peninsula Shopping Arcade, and also enables you to walk to restaurants. It's going to be a lovely, luxurious experience.
Stay In The Qianmen Area Or Wangfujing
When you travel to Beijing, what area should you stay in? Top China Travel suggests the Qianmen Area as it has a "slow pace of life" and it's a "historical center of old Beijing."
The website also recommends Wangfujing as it's close to many things and so it's easy to get around from there. You'll also find a lot of stores if that's something that interests you.
Eat Dumplings Then Go To Black Sesame Kitchen
Fodors recommends that people who travel to Beijing try dumplings since they're such a popular dish. The publication says that people dip them in black vinegar and the dumplings have a filling of pork and chives or cabbage.
Travelers will also enjoy eating at Black Sesame Kitchen. You do have to make reservations ahead of time, but this will be a really fun meal. Customers are given two wine pairings and a ten-course menu, and since the kitchen isn't closed off, you can get an inside look at how local food is cooked.
There Are Many Ways To Get Around Beijing
When it comes to public transportation, Beijing has a lot in common with other big cities: you can use the subway system, get a taxi, or hop on a bus.
Trip Advisor says that the subway won't cost very much and as a nice bonus, you can even get on the Airport Train from there. You can get on a subway car as early as five in the morning and the service stops at 11 at night. The website does caution travelers that although buses are a convenient way to get around, they are often super crowded so it's a "standing room only" type of situation. And, of course, you can always take taxis.
Don't Miss The Great Wall Of China Or Beihai Park
You also want to go to Beihai Park which Travel China Guide says is among the parks that have been in the area for the longest period of time. It has 175 acres and there is a beautiful botanical garden.
You Want To Have Cash On You, But Don't Tip
China Highlights says that the currency used in China is Renminbi (RMB or CNY). The website shares that while you can use credit cards in certain places (especially if they are higher-end hotels), you're going to do the best with local cash. It's a good idea to exchange some money before leaving for your trip.
According to Trip Savvy, leaving a tip on a bill in China is "generally uncommon and can even be considered rude or embarrassing in some circumstances." Even though travelers do sometimes tip the people working at hotels, it doesn't sound like it's something that you should do.
Find A Flight Deal In March
Cheap Flights says that the best time of the year to fly to Beijing is March. As is the case with many places since the Christmas holidays are pricey, December is considered the worst month.
The website recommends making flight arrangements 54 days prior to when you want to travel. If you can book a Thursday a.m. flight, it could be even more affordable.
Experiencing Beijing The Way That Its Residents Do
According to Metro.co.uk, if you want to experience Beijing as if you lived there, you can't miss Gui Jie road which has tons of restaurants (more than 150, in fact). It's also fun to go to some breweries in the Sanlitun district.
The publication also advises travelers to know that cars don't tend to halt at red lights, so walking around can feel a bit tricky at times, so that's something to be aware of. Walking around a city is always the best way to see it, though.