Introducing the city

£1.00 | ¥8.81


Gasoline £0.71 | ¥6.22

One-way ticket £0.34 | ¥3.00

Beer £0.57 | ¥5.00

Main Course £3.41 | ¥30.00

About Beijing

Capital of China, the world's most populated country, Beijing is a mega-metropolis with a side of empirical charm plus plenty of historic sights.

Home to a staggering 21 and a half million people, Beijing is a marvelous mix of modern architecture and ancient sights. Capital of the People's Republic of China since the mid 20th century, this urban hub has developed hugely in recent years, yet still maintains its dynastic heritage. One of the most exciting (and famous) ways to arrive in the city is via the Trans-Siberian railway which has connections with Russia and Mongolia. For free walk-able sights head to Tienanmen Square (the world's largest public square), the National Stadium (home of the 2008 Olympic Games) and the medieval city remains.

Of course the real draw for history buffs is the UNESCO listed Forbidden City, a palace that was home to both the Ming and Qing dynasties during their rule. Other highlights include the Temple of Heaven, which is surrounded by a verdant park and the beautiful Yonghegong Temple. Make time for the Botanical Garden in the Haidian district as well as delicious street food from Donghuamen Night Market.

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When Should You Visit?

Autumn (September to November) which has comfortable weather conditions and plenty of events.

Beijing has a continental, temperate monsoon climate and four seasons - summer (hot and humid), winter (cold and dry) and spring/autumn which are cool and short. Temperatures can vary hugely, including between daytime and nighttime. The hottest month is July with an average high of 31 degrees Celsius, the coolest is January with an average low of minus eight degrees Celsius. The wettest month is July.

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Travioor top tips

Yīkātōng Card

Insider Info

  • Pick up and top up a Yīkātōng Card which lets you travel around the city's metro system with ease - just touch in and touch out. It saves time on trains and 50% off on buses.
  • Rush hour is chaotic to say the least - avoid travel between 6.30 and 9.00 and 16.00 and 20.00.
  • Smartphone maps may be off by a few hundred metres (Google maps and China have a complex relationship). Try and download a map into offline mode before you arrive (although be wary of assuming precise locations).

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Food and drink

Main Course £3.41 | ¥30.00

3-Course Meal £17.03 | ¥149.98

Cappuccino £3.23 | ¥28.44

Beer £0.57 | ¥5.00

The Scene

Beijing cuisine is deservedly popular around the world and many dishes are featured on menus throughout China. Roast or 'Peking' Duck (北京烤鸭), is one of the city's biggest claims to fame and is made up of crispy aromatic duck served with sauces and wraps. Other staples include Jiaozi (饺子), pork, vegetable and ginger dumplings, usually served with a chili soy dip and Jingjiang rousi (京酱肉丝), sliced pork cooked in a sweet bean sauce.

After hours, the city hosts its fair share of late night spots - Wangfujing and Sanlitun Streets feature bars, pubs and open air cocktails lounges in the summer months. If you're looking for nightclubs then take your pick from the dozens of options, from student dives to upmarket sky bars - lively Club Havana is one of the best.

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Beijing's Story

Beijing's history dates back around 3000 years, when it was the capital of the historic states Yan and Ji - for many centuries it remained the provincial capital of northern China. Over the millennia it became a major hub for trade and military negotiations, particularly with the north and northeast of the region. Along with other main destinations (like Shanghai) the city quickly became an important imperial centre, with several dynasties using it as their administrative hub over the centuries. In 1403 the city was renamed Beijing ('Northern Capital') by Yongle Emperor and it was during this era that many of the city's most iconic sights (including the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven) were built.

In 1420 the city became the capital of the famous Ming empire and subsequently the Qing dynasty in 1644 which stayed in power until the early 20th century. In 1911 the dynasty was overthrown and the newly formed Republic of China declared its capital as Beijing although returning nationalists fought to move the capital to Nanjing in 1928. During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Beijing was occupied by the Japanese who used it as a puppet-city until their surrender in 1945. The city then (peacefully) came under communist control and became the capital of the People's Republic of China in 1949.


Nǐ hǎo | Hello
Xìe xìe | Thank you


The official language in Beijing is Mandarin, however locals also speak a dialect known as Pekingese. Many people also speak English and you'll find most tourist signs in multiple languages. If you are using a taxi, it's a good idea to have the name of your destination written down. Here are some basic Mandarin examples:

  • How are you?: Nǐ hǎo ma?
  • Goodbye: Zài jiàn
  • Please: Qing

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Need to know

+86 Dialling Code
110 | 120 110 | 120

Get The Low-Down

  • In restaurants, a tip of around 3-5% is usually given.
  • Avoid rickshaw scams by making sure your destination is clearly written on a piece of paper. Agree on a price before travelling. 
  • Don't drink the tap water.
  • You usually need to provide evidence of a return ticket out of the country before boarding the plane to China.



Find out about the visa requirements for China here.

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Travioor Recommends


Enter the Forbidden City from the quieter north gate and avoid the heaving crowds (it gets extremely busy on weekends).

2. 360° Panoramas

Climb the hill in Jingshan Park for wonderful 360 degree views of the city - don't forget your camera.


If you're planning a trip to the Great Wall avoid overpriced and crowded tours and make your own way there on the (cheap) 919 bus from Badaling.


Download the Pleco App, a free Chinese to English smartphone app that will help you communicate if needed.

5. Nanluoguxiang

If you're looking for an authentic drinking experience head to Nanluoguxiang Street where you'll find dozens of hutong houses, bursting with rustic charm.

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