We wrote so much about what you should do and see when in Beijing; where you should stay and even which original Breweries you should visit. But how should you actually plan your Beijing itinerary so it will both make sense and be a lot of fun? Keep reading…
It’s all about Timing
Our first recommendation is to plan a stay of at least 3 days in Beijing. If you are not planning on booking any guided tours, it is advised to plan for even longer time. But in order to make it to all the “must-see” places, you should have at least 3 full days planned.
As in other places in China, recommended time to visit is between April and June, and then September and November. Other months are fine too, only the weather isn’t the best. If you come prepared though, you should be fine. Important to remember though – avoid traveling during national holidays, if possible.
Plan your Days
This part can get a bit tricky if you don’t understand how Beijing is structured; The rings-system can help you understand how to “group” visits together into one day. With the exception of visiting the Great Wall, most places are within 3rd or 4th ring-road and you should be able to travel between them by metro or taxis.
You can visit Temple of Heaven, Tian’an men square, Forbidden city and the Hutongs on the same day.
Another option is to visit the Summer palace, 798 Art Zone and finish at Sanlitun.
Important to consider is opening times and days for major attractions, as the Forbidden City, for example, is closed for visitors on Mondays.
Beijing has so much more to offer than just the Great Wall and historical sites; it is home to lots of Tech companies and start-ups, fine dining and art spaces, top universities and fashionable streets. You can explore all that by going off-beaten-track and joining a local experience like a food tour or a bike tour, for example.
A 3 Days – Essence of Beijing, suggested itinerary
Visit the Great Wall. We recommend Mutianyu for less tourists and great toboggan slides.
Enjoy an evening show
Note: if traveling with a guide, you can add on this day at least another location like 798 Art zone / Summer Palace or the Forbidden city even.
Temple of heaven (start early to catch the Tai chi practices, singing groups and other activities)
If traveling with a guide: You can also add the Hutongs or maybe Lama temple on this day
798 Art Zone
To the above, you can add markets, museums, art galleries – all depends on how much time you have to explore Beijing. You can also plan on taking a half-day guided food tour and then continue exploring on your own.
Keep updated with our ultimate list of articles about China – all tips, tricks, recommendations and travel plans, by destination, in one list –>
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