Planning on going to China anytime soon? Well, I'm here to share with you guys the some of the best tourist spots in Beijing. 

While I was in China, I lived and worked in a tiny city somewhere in the Northeast called Tieling City. It is in Liaoning Province. The capital of this province is Shenyang, and I was given a chance to spend a month at that city (on my own) before I went back to the Philippines. Though I was working 6 days a week while I was in China, we were fortunate enough to have quite a lot of Chinese holidays. That time, I only associate the word HOLIDAY with BEIJING!

(Note: This post has a VLOG version too! Read until the end if you want a Beijing mini-tour!)

So, here we go!

1. The Great Wall

Well, I don't know about other travelers, but if there's one thing on my mind when I first flew to China, it was basically to see the Great Wall. It was the first thing on my bucket list. There are several entrances to the Great Wall, my roommate and I took the most famous one - the Badaling entrance which is on the outskirts of Beijing. We hired a tour guide when we went there. The hostel where we stayed is affiliated with a travel and tour agency. The tour package that we availed includes a tour at the Great Wall, Ming Tombs, Silk Factory, Jade Carving Factory and a Tea Ceremony. They even dropped us at the famous shopping street - Wang Fu Jing at the end of the day.

2. Qian'men Street

This is probably a shopaholics' haven. If you want to do some epic shopping spree, this is probably one of the best places to go to. It's only a few subway stations away from the Beijing Railway Station., it is very close to Tian'an men Square.You can buy a lot of things that you actually don't need. Haha! Show off your haggling skills if you can. I was able to practice the few Chinese words and phrases I know while I was shopping here.

3. Forbidden City

The name itself intrigued the rebel out of me. Before my very first Beijing trip, I tried to get information about this popular tourist destination called "Forbidden City". During the ancient times, outsiders or commoners are forbidden to enter this area but flash forward to the 21st century, you only need RMB 40 (about Php 280) and you can literally walk through history!

4. Temple of Heaven

A few minutes on a cab from the Forbidden City, you'll get a heavenly taste of serenity in this place where the emperors used to pray to the gods if they want to get a good harvest. It was quite a long walk from the entrance to the Long Corridor but it's totally worth it once you find yourself standing right in front of the Temple of Heaven.

5. Lama Temple

Another ancient temple that is worth visiting is this lamasery, also known as Yonghe Gong. It used to be an imperial palace - home of the eleventh son (but fourth prince) of Kangxi Emperor, Prince Yong (Yinzhen). When Prince Yong ascended the throne, half of the palace was converted into a monastery for monks of Tibetan Buddhism. Up until now, it is still a functioning temple and a famous tourist spot. People from Beijing don't actually recommend this, but since I am always craving for peace and serenity, this is another taste of heaven for me!

6. Wang Fu Jing

Satisfy your Beijing craving as you stroll around Wang Fu Jing. Here, you can find exotic street food - like snakes and spiders on sticks! I'm not even kidding! But that's not all there is to this street, you can also unleash your shopaholic energies (just make sure you have enough money!) as you walk along this street. You will almost never run out of stores to check out. I felt like I needed 9 other heads just so I could have a good look at all the stores last time I was here.

7. San Li Tun

This is the ultimate place for expats and tourists/travelers who want to chill on a Friday night. This place is famous for its bar streets and international stores such as Adidas, Mango, and Uni Qlo. It is located in Chaoyang district. If you want an epic Beijing night experience, this is the place for you!

8. Ming Tombs

This is a collection of mausoleums built by the emperors from the Ming dynasty. During the old times, just like the Forbidden City, this place was off limits to commoners. But now, it is considered as one of the components of the World Heritage Site. Prior to my trip to the Ming Tombs, I knew nothing about it, to be honest! The only reason I was able to include this is because it was included in our package tour for the Great Wall. But turns out, it was a great spot! And there were not many people when we went there because it was Chinese New Year, most people were back at their hometowns. Yay!

9. Summer Palace 

This is a huge ensemble of lakes, gardens, and palaces. In 1998, The Summer Palace was listed by UNESCO as one of the World Heritage and called it "a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design". This is an imperial garden during the Qing dynasty. The place is dominated by the man-made lake called Kunming and the Longevity Hill. The natural landscape was combined with artificial features such as pavilions, bridges, halls, temples, and palaces. I visited this place on my second Beijing trip. That time, I was only there for 24 hours. Every hour was time well-spent. I even had spare time to visit San Li Tun again the night before I went back to Tieling.

10. Beijing Zoo

This has got to be one of my favorite places in Beijing! Hahaha! I visited this place a month before I left China. I had my final vacation and I spent about 6 days in Beijing that time. I was able to go to this place on my own with nothing but a piece of paper with the bus numbers on it and the words BEIJING ZOO. This is one of the oldest zoos in China. It was built during the late Qing dynasty back in 1906. My dream of seeing REAL PANDAS came true one fine September morning. I literally felt like a kid on a field trip (minus the annoying herd and adult supervision!) when I visited this place. I even got on a speedboat somewhere in the middle of that place. I loved the rush! It was different from the ferry boat ride that I had at the Summer Palace. After spending a day saying "ni hao" to all the animals, I dropped by Pearl Market on my way back to my hotel. 

You're probably wondering why I didn't try to visit other cities in China. Well, one of the reasons is that Beijing reminds me so much of Makati. It simply feels like home. Even on my first visit, I felt like I've always been a part of it - like I wasn't a stranger at all. Another thing is that, there are more young people in Beijing who can speak English. In Tieling, I had to use up all of my Chinese words in order to communicate. It was good in a way because I have really mastered the intonation and accent and most Chinese people commend me for that. They'd always say "Your Chinese sounds good!" or that I don't sound like a foreigner at all when I speak in Chinese, but then my grammar screws up my cover. Hahaha! I construct sentences like a grade school student. I also found a Filipino community in Beijing and I always make sure to meet them up to exchange OFW stories and enjoy good music at San Li Tun. 

There goes the 10 tourist spots that I have visited in Beijing! Have you been to any of these places before? If not, which one would you most likely visit soon?


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