The capital of China, Beijing (literally, ‘Northern Capital’) is also its second largest city. The city, which is located in northern part of the country, has been a political, cultural and educational hub for centuries. Well-connected via rail, air and road, Beijing is renowned all over the world for its beautifully constructed temples, palaces, gardens, tombs and walls. These factors combined with its proximity to the Great Wall of China make it an attractive tourist destination for visitors from across the world.

Things to do in Beijing!




Beijing has 14 urban and suburban districts and two rural counties. Some of the major neighborhoods in the city which would be of greater interest to a visitor are:




Xicheng District


Chaoyang District


Haidian District

  • Located towards the northwestern part of Beijing’s urban center, Haidian District is where most universities are located which has led to it being referred to as the “University District” by English speakers living in Beijing.
  • Major attractions in Haidan include:


Yayun Cun

  • Located in the northern part of Beijing, Yayun Cun (Asia Games Village) was the site for many Olympic venues in 2008.
  • It also has some of the city’s best new Chinese restaurants.


Shijingshan District 

  • The district of Shijingshan lies to the west of the urban center of Beijing and is part of the Western Hills area.

Getting around

General info

Beijing is an important transport hub in North China with five ring roads, nine expressways, eleven National Highways, nine conventional railways, and two high-speed railways converging on the city.

From the Airport

Beijing is predominantly served by Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA), for both domestic and foreign trips. Another airport, Beijing Nanyuan Airport, which is served by only one airline and offers only domestic hauls.

By Road

  • The Beijing Capital International Airport is accessible by four major toll-ways:You could take a taxi from the BCIA to get to the city. For more information on pricing and contact details of taxi service providers you can refer to the BCIA Taxi page
    • Airport Expressway
    • 2nd Airport Expressway
    • Northern Airport Line
    • Southern Airport Line


Bus (From Airport)

  • The Airport Community Bus primarily serves passengers from BCIA T2 to Shunyi District.
  • For more information on fares and schedule you can refer to the BCIA Airport Bus page

Bus (Within city)

  • Public bus service in Beijing is provided by Beijing Public Transport (BPT) Holdings.
  • There is an extensive bus network that allows you to explore the city.
  • Most bus lines start operating around 5:00 am to 6:00 am and run till around 10:00 pm to 11:00 pm. The 200-series night bus lines run from 11:00 pm till 5:00 am.
  • You can buy tickets on board the bus or use the Yikatong to get discounted fares.
  • You should refer to BPT website for more information on bus lines and ticket fares.
  • The BPT website also provides relevant information about bus tours and local attractions.



  • Passengers in the urban area of Beijing can make round trips between BCIA and the following stations: by taking the airport shuttle:
    • Xidan
    • Beijing Railway Station
    • Gongzhufen
    • Fangzhuang
    • Zhongguancun
    • Wangjing
    • Beijing West Railway Station
    • Shangdi

For more information on fares and schedule you can refer to the BCIA Airport Shuttle page.


Subway (From Airport)

  • You can take the Airport Express line of the Beijing Subway to reach the Beijing urban center from the Beijing Capital International Airport.
  • The line which runs from Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 of the airport stops at only two stations in Downtown Beijing - Dongzhimen and Sanyuanqiao.
  • The trip which takes approximately 20 minutes from the Airport to Dongzhimen cost RMB 25 per person as of September 2014.

Subway (Within city)

  • Getting around in Beijing is a task because of the over-flowing traffic. For this reason, it is preferable to travel by the subway rather than a cab or a motorbike.
  • Tickets can easily be bought from the ticket counters or the vending machines. You can purchase single-ride tickets or a Yikatong, an integrated circuit card that can store credit for multiple rides
  • You should refer to the Beijing Metro website for more information about the various lines, fares, schedule and hours of operation.


Tipping is not part of the culture in China and is not expected in most places.

  • Restaurants: 10% tip is acceptable in high-end restaurants for commendable service.
  • Bars: Tipping at bars is not required.
  • Taxis: Tipping taxi drivers is not required.
  • Hotel Porters/Concierge: In high-end hotels you could consider tipping the equivalent of USD 1.
  • Organized Tours: You should definitely consider tipping the guide USD 1 per person if you are part of an organized tour.

Suggested itinerary

Beijing in 5 days (Source: Frommers)

Day 1:


Day 2:


Day 3:


Day 4:


Day 5:

Visit the spectacular Eastern Qing Tombs (it is a five-hour roundtrip drive so start early!)

Staying connected

  • China uses the following frequency bands:Your phone must be “unlocked” to accept a Chinese SIM card.
    • GSM 900
    • GSM 2100 for 3G
    • GSM 2500 for 4GLTE
  • The major cell phone service providers are:You can purchase a prepaid SIM card from the service centers of these three operators. Remember to bring your passport when you go there.
    • China Telecom
    • China Unicom
    • China Mobile
  • Alternatively, you can buy a prepaid SIM from an authorized dealer (includes newsstands and grocery stores).  
  • You can recharge the SIM buy purchasing recharge cards from newsstands or online.

Service providers charge a national roaming fee in China so be prepared to pay extra if you are going to be on the move!

Eat / Drink


Beijing is known for its cheap yet delicious food, with a few small yet famous eateries located in popular areas such as Wangfujing, Huguosi Street, Gui Jie, and Gulou areas.

Pecking Roast Duck: This Chinese delicacy is available at most of the restaurants in Beijing. Served with pancakes, plum sauce, cucumbers and scallions, the Peking Duck is one dish not to be missed!

Savory pancakes: A popular street snack, these are a specialty of North China cart vendors.




  • Mei Fu
    • Cuisine: Chinese – Jiangsu, Zhejiang







China is a tea loving country and is one of the biggest growers of the drink. Do not forget to visit the numerous tea tasting ceremonies, especially in the Qianmen area south of Tian'anmen Square.

China does not have a great reputation as wine- makers, though Great Wall is the most famous local brand of grape wine.  Some of the famous bars and drinking options include:


Banner image credits: See Tatt Yeo