Bustling Beijing boasts 3,000 years of tumultuous history which has left an indelible mark. The city modernised in the build up to the 2008 Olympic Games however grandiose palaces, ornate temples, lush gardens and quaint Hutongs remain, each beguiling visitors with their individual breath-taking beauty.
‘He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man’ proclaimed Chairman Mao and a walk along this magnificent feat of human endeavour is a must on any visit to China. The fortified sections at Badaling and Mutianyu are within easy reach of Beijing and make for an unforgettable day out.
Beijing’s major shopping street, Wangfujiung, is an essential stop on any visit. By day it is avertable treasure trove of shops and malls, by night framed by a maze of side streets filled with tempting traditional food stalls.
Beijing plays host to a breath-taking selection of restaurants serving delicious banquets from all corners of the world. Traditional Beijing cuisine lends itself more to noodles than rice and is typified by the signature Peking Duck dish, a warming ‘hot pot’ finding favour during chilly winter nights.
Reached via a four hour train or a shorter road journey, the compact city of Chengde’s principle attraction is the vast Imperial Summer Resort, a huge 590 hectare palatial garden bound by an imposing miniature ‘Great Wall’.
The intrepid 14th Century explorer Marco Polo once described Beijing as a ‘vast ancient city of great splendour, magnificent palaces, stately gardens and broad avenues.’ Whilst this still remains true today, the dramatic recent change of pace has brought a modernity and cosmopolitan feel to Beijing. Experience this Beijing of old through its collection of 2,600 carefully preserved temples and cultural sights, a traditional Hutong district and the many enchanting teahouses.