If you read my Xi’an guide then you’ll love reading about my Beijing trip too! I was invited to Xi’an and Beijing with Shangri-La Hotels where we explored Xi’an for two days and spent four days in Beijing. There is so much to see and do. Since this was my first time in Beijing, I had to see all of the major sites. My Beijing travel itinerary for four days include the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven and many other things you must do.
From Xi’an to Beijing our group flew with Hainan Airlines and it was a quick two-hour flight! If you plan to visit either city I suggest adding both cities to your itinerary!
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOUR TRIP
- Visitors need to apply for a visa in advance. I applied for my visa in NYC which took about 5 days. This site has useful information about the visa application. What I needed for my visa application:
- A printed copy of my application in capital letters
- A printed copy of my flight and hotel confirmation
- Copy of passport
- 1 passport photo glued to the application (must be new unless the passport is under 6 months old)
- Exchange currency a few days before your trip at your local bank or you can also exchange currency at China World Hotel (Shangri-La Hotel) if you’re a guest
- Bring toilet paper as most public bathrooms do not offer this
- Bring hand sanitizer
- Sign up for a Virtual Personal Network (VPN) as China blocks many major websites such as Google, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. I used ExpressVPN
- Best time to visit is Spring and Autumn months. It can get very crowded and hot in the summer
- Bring an adapter/converter for China
- Consider using a tour guide. We had a tour guide booked directly through China World Hotel, Beijing
WHERE TO STAY
China World Hotel, Beijing is a Shangri-La Hotel located in the heart of Beijing’s central business district. The property is attached to one of the largest malls in Beijing, China World Mall. Two other Shangri-La properties (China World Summit Wing & Hotel Jen) are also attached to this complex so you can imagine how big this place is! The hotel is about 40 minutes away from the Beijing Capital International Airport and has a subway station right outside the property.
The hotel has recently refurbished 126 Horizon Club rooms along with the new Horizon Club Lounge. I stayed in the new room which has great views of the city!
There is a total of five restaurants and bars at China World Hotel, Beijing: Aria, Summer Palace, Scene a Cafe, The Sweet Spot, and Lobby Lounge.
TEMPLE OF HEAVEN
Temple of Heaven is an imperial complex of religious buildings situated in the southeastern part of central Beijing. The temple was visited by the Emperors for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for a good harvest. I recommend visiting first thing in the morning because it gets crowded!
DINNER AT GRILL 79
DRINKS AT ATMOSPHERE
The Atmosphere is the highest bar in Beijing located on the 80th floor of China World Summit Wing. With stunning views of Beijing, it’s the perfect bar for a date night or a night out with friends because they play great music and the cocktails are delicious.
THE FORBIDDEN CITY
The Forbidden City is the world’s largest and best preserved imperial palace complex. It’s called the Forbidden City because it was off-limits to the public for 500 years, the palace was home to two dynasties of emperors, The Ming and the Qing dynasty.
It gets very crowded even if you arrive right when it opens. Tip: head to the corners for fewer crowds. Please note you may need your passport with you when purchasing tickets in person. 80,000 visitors are allowed daily and tickets can sell out in the summer months. If you’re visiting in the summer, I recommend purchasing advance tickets online.
Tiananmen Square is a city square in the center of Beijing, China, named after the Tiananmen located to its north, separating it from the Forbidden City.
Summer Palace was once a summer resort for the royal family. We did not hike to the top but if you have time, I suggest hiking to the top for some breathtaking views!
PEKING DUCK AT THE RED CHAMBER
DRINKS AT BEERSMITH
GREAT WALL OF CHINA (MU TIANYU SECTION)
The Great Wall of China is part of the 7 World Wonders. It’s been on my bucket list for years and I’m so happy to finally check this off my list! We arrived right when it opened at 8 am and visited the Mu Tianyu section which is supposed to be the best area and has fewer crowds. We took a cable car up to the top of the wall and a toboggan down which was super fun!
LUNCH AT SUMMER PALACE
TOUR 798 ART DISTRICT
Center for Contemporary Art, showing established and emerging Chinese artists.
Galaxy Soho is built by Zaha Hadid Architects. If you have time, visit this unique complex. It’s a shopping and office complex.
Images by @cz_capture
PAGE ONE BOOKSTORE
This bookstore is called Page One (Qianmen) and it’s the coolest bookstore I’ve been to!
DONGHUAMEN (WANGFUJING) NIGHT MARKET
Night markets in China are great experiences. I did not get a chance to do this but if you have time, it’s a great place to pick up souvenirs and gifts or try candy-coated strawberries.
I hope you found my Beijing travel itinerary helpful. I loved the culture, history, the food and excited to plan a trip back soon! Thank you to Shangri-La Hotels for a great week exploring Xi’an and Beijing.