Showcasing a magnificent blend of old and new, Beijing is one of the world’s most visited cities. As the capital of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing is an influential centre of politics, economics, culture, education, international trade and communications.
At the controls of the most populous country on the globe, Beijing is vast and impressive – the city itself is symmetrical, a legacy of dynastical imperial grandeur. As one of China’s true ancient citadels, the metropolis is dotted with temples and monuments and is home to world-famous ‘attractions’ such as Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.
Population: Approx. 20,000,000
Time Zone: GMT +8 hours
Languages: Mandarin, Beijing dialect
Currency: Chinese Yuan Renminbi
Currency Exchange: Purchase your CYN and travellers’ cheques before you leave Australia.
Beijing has a humid (monsoonal) continental climate and experiences four distinct seasons. Summer is hot, humid, long and wet, with temperatures averaging between 17°C and 30°C. Winter is also long, but cold and dry with temperatures plummeting to sit between -10°C and 4°C. Spring is windy and features common sandstorms, with temperatures ranging anywhere between 0°C and 26°C. While autumn is crisp, pleasant and short, with temperatures varying between 0°C and 25°C.
Name: Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA)
Car Rental: Great choice of hire cars at Mates’ Rates from our car suppliers
Transfers: Airport shuttles are available to and from most urban areas – ticket offices are located on F1 of each terminal. A free ferry bus service is available between terminals. The Express Railway leaves from Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 car parks.
Taxi: Terminal 1: Outside Gate 1 to 5 on F1. Terminal 2: Outside Gate 5 to 9 on F1. Terminal 3: Refer to the signs inside the terminal building.
5 Star Property
The Lee Garden Service Apartment is right in the heart of Beijing, within walking distance of Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, and just 45 minutes from the airport. The property is also in the vicinity of Wangfujing Street; Beijing's best dining and shopping area. The Lee Garden Service Apartment consists of comfortable and elegant suites that are gracefully decorated and fully equipped with modern facilities.
5 Star Property
Located in the well-known Wangfujing shopping and scenic downtown area, Capital Hotel Beijing is a close neighbour to office blocks and governmental organisations and is within walking distance to historical sites including Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. The hotel offers seven Chinese and western restaurants that serve a variety of delectable cuisines. The cosy lobby bar is an ideal place to relax with a fine drink.
4 Star Property
Located in the Wangfujing district, the historic, cultural and shopping heart of Beijing, Novotel Peace Hotel Beijing is just 15 minutes’ drive from the train station and 45 minutes’ drive from the airport. The hotel's 388 rooms are designed to pamper and provide the perfect retreat after a day of business or sightseeing.
4 Star Property
Jing Du Yuan Hotel is situated on Jianguomennan Avenue in the Beijing’s east, very close to a railway station and the Scitech Shopping Mall. Corporate travellers appreciate its proximity to the Central Business District and Beijing Exhibition Center. Hotel Jing Du Yuan features a number of fine restaurants, where guests can feast on an assortment of mouth-watering Chinese dishes. The hotel also has a bar with a superb selection of beers and cocktails.
3 Star Property
The Bo Tai Hotel Beijing abuts on the Kuanjie crossroad on Ping An Avenue and is only five minutes’ drive to the Forbidden Palace, Jingshan Park, Beihai Park and the metropolitan subway station. The on-site restaurant serves delicious Chinese cuisine in a comfortable atmosphere.
As one of the world’s most populous cities – and a city atop most travellers’ must-visit lists – Beijing has literally thousands of restaurants to choose from, with an endless array of cuisines from cultures all over the Asian continent and the world. Opportunities to splurge on fine dining abound; while budget diners are more than catered for with a huge assortment of family-run operations, serving quality, cheap eats throughout the city.
Peking duck (Beijing Roast Duck) is a reason in itself to visit Beijing. Beijing on a plate, the dish is intrinsically linked to the city via name – Beijing translates to Peking – and tradition. Prepared since the imperial era and now deemed a national food, Peking duck is iconic and served at hundreds of eateries throughout the Chinese capital. Beijing’s most famous Peking duck restaurants include: DaDong, Li Qun and Quanjude in the Dongcheng District, and Duck de Chine in the Chaoyang District.
The Hot Pot is another great example of traditional Beijing fare. The stew comprised of thinly sliced beef, mutton and fresh vegetables is generally made in two varieties: Mongolian style and Sichuan style. Particularly favoured during the city’s freezing-cold winters, Hot Pot dishes are sold at countless eateries across Beijing. Restaurants like Tian Yi Shun in the Haidian District, Golden Paddy in the Chaoyang District, and Hongyuan, Little Sheep and Dong Lai Shun franchises, are the city’s favourite Hot Pot hotspots.
To experience the true essence of Beijing’s food culture, a trip to one of the city’s many snack (food) streets is a must-do. Hundreds of different snacks, showcasing flavours from cultures such as Hui, Mongolian and Manchurian, and the imperial styles of the Ming and Qing dynasties, fill a multitude of stalls and restaurants in streets across the Beijing. Jiumen Snacks is made up of street food vendors tucked inside the narrow Hutongs. Wangfujing Snack Street is Beijing’s most famous snack street, a popular tourist destination that sells exotic street foods such as deep fired insects, scorpions and animal parts. Guijie (Ghost Street) operates around the clock and is particularly famous for hot and spicy shrimps. While Fucheng Street is one of the city’s most upscale food streets, featuring dozens of upmarket restaurants serving a multitude of cuisines.
Explore the capital’s cuisine in all its glory, pick up a copy of That's Beijing or City Weekend and taste Beijing.
Beijing has a wealth of shopping opportunities. Almost anything imaginable is sold in the Chinese capital and often at outrageously low prices. Expansive malls complement small boutiques, while sprawling markets compete for trade with small dealers. Everything from kitsch souvenirs to luxury fashion can be found in a number of the city’s shopping precincts.
Wangfujing Street is Beijing’s most famous shopping street. Located in the heart of the city, close to Tiananmen Square, the street features two western-style modern malls, traditional department stores, souvenir stores, and a side street with traditional Chinese food stalls.
The Xiu Shui market, known as "Silk Street", is an inner city one-stop tourist shopping paradise. The market’s shop assistants are helpful and speak English well, hawking almost everything under the sun, most famously silk by the roll.
Hong Qiao Market in the south central Beijing, just east of the Temple of Heaven, is an indoor mall with a seafood market and floors upon floors of cheap electronic goods, accessories, toys and household goods
Those in the know and locals prefer to shop at Xi Dan – a huge commercial area in the Xicheng District. The precinct’s northern section is populated with markets, malls and small shops; while the western section, in particular the Grand Pacific Mall, is a go-to for brand name shopping, featuring world-renowned labels like Wranger, Elle Homme, Pierre Cardin, Vans and Lids. The Xi Dan precinct is also home to Seasons Place, Beijing’s most exclusive shopping address, which hosts high-end labels such as Louis Vuitton, Dior, Gucci, and Versace, as well as more affordable well-known brands like Calvin Klein, Esprit, Guess, Nine West and Swatch.
Sanlitun Yashou Clothing Market in Beijing's east is a must-visit for tailor-made suits and dresses. The ultra-modern shopping complex is populated by five floors of fashion, featuring big brand name and independently-operated market stalls.
Bargaining is encouraged at most Beijing markets, but not in boutiques or department stores. And despite the Chinese government’s efforts to eradicate fake goods, fakes abound and return policies are almost non-existent – so buyers beware.