Beijing is definitely one of the most visited cities in the world. Every year, millions of visitors flock to Beijing just to see the capital of China, a great blend of old and new. Beijing is the city that never sleeps; you can always find something for you no matter what hour of the day it is and whatever your interest is. There are actually hundreds of tourist scenic spots and historic sites in Beijing. Some are walkable. Some are a little far from the city center. It takes time to enjoy everything that Beijing City has to offer. But if you only have a few days to spare, you can economize by seeing the top ten attractions in Beijing City. In that way, you can say that you have experienced Beijing City, even if your stay there lasts only for a few days or just the weekend.

Forbidden City

Tiananmen Square

Great Wall

Summer Palace

Temple of Heaven

Ming Tombs

Hutong Tour

Lama Temple

Beihai Park

Capital Museum

1. Forbidden City (the Imperial Palace)

To many people, Beijing is an ancient capital city in the east world. Forbidden City is the right place for you to start your Beijing tour by unveiling its mysterious face. Consisting of over 9,000 rooms and spread over 250 acres, this large palace complex was built between 1406 and 1420, but was burnt down, rebuilt, sacked and renovated countless times, so most of the architecture you can see today dates from the 18th century and on wards during the Qing Dynasty. Wear comfortable shoes as you have to walk a lot! And there is a Starbucks in the palace in case you need some coffee to freshen you up. I highly recommend going with a guide. It really is helpful to have a guide explain the stories behind the site and tell you about the important historical parts in the forbidden city. Or if you are non-group tourists, I suggest you rent multi lingual guide recorder either at Meridian Gate (southern gate of Forbidden city) or the Gate of Divine Prowess (Northern gate of Forbidden City) and return it when you finish your tour of Forbidden City. After you visit the Imperial Palace and go out of the Gate of Divine Prowess, you can enter into Jingshan Park, climb a bit and overlook the panorama of the Imperial Palace. In the evening, especially in summer, Forbidden City is brilliant. Colored lights from all directions lighten Meridian Gate, the Gate of Divine Prowess, turret, palace wall and other main palaces.

How to get there:
Add: No.4 Jingshan Front Street, Dongcheng District 65132255
Opening Hour: 8:30-16:30
Time of finishing selling ticket: 15:30 pm
Travel Time: two hours
Entrance Fee: RMB 60
Take No. 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 20, 52, 57, 22, 54, 120, 802, special No.1 bus and get off at Zhongshan Phongshan Park stop or Tian Am Men stop. Take subway.

2. Tiananmen Square

What is the symbol of Beijing? There are various answers. But Tiananmen Square is definitely on the top list. Located in the heart of Beijing City, it is the site for massive parades and rallies, which is the largest square of this kind in the world. This was the site when in 1949, from a rostrum on Tiananmen (the Gate of Heavenly Peace), Chairman Mao proclaimed the establishment of the People's Republic of China. Tiananmen Square is surrounded by Tiananmen (Gate of Heaven Peace ) on its north ; the Great Hall of the People on its west, the meeting place of national people's congress of the People's Republic of China; on the east of Tiananmen Square is the National Museum of China, and visiting the exhibition is like reading concise China General History; there are Monument to the People's Heroes and Chairman Mao's Mausoleum on the south.

At sunrise and sunset the raising and lowering ceremony of the Chinese National Flag is well worth the watching. The precision of the young troops is very well performed. Go there about 30 minutes early to have a good seat. Spend the time to see the people (soldiers, tourists and locals) makes the square a true highlight for the first time visitors.

How to get there:
Tiananmen Square: Free
Tiananmen (Gate of Heavenly Peace): RMB 15
The Great Hall of the People: RMB 15
Chairman Mao's Mausoleum: Free
The National Museum of China: RMB 15
Open Time (Tiananmen Square): Whole Day
Open Time (Tiananmen (Gate of Heavenly Peace)): 8£º30-17£º00
Travel time: 2-4 hours
Take No.1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 20, 52, 57, 22, 54, 120, 802, special No.1 bus and get off at Zhongshan Park stop or Tian An Men stop. Take subway.

3. Great Wall at Badaling, Juyongguan, Mutianyu, Simatai and Jinshanling

If you are in a rush, you can get the most out of your visit to Beijing by hiking one of the sections of the Great Wall. The Great Wall snaking across Beijing in its northern part is about 600 kilometers long. Along the total length of the Great Wall around Beijing, there are major eight sections including Badaling, Juyongguan, Huanghuacheng, Jiankou, Mutianyu, Gubeikou, Jinshanling, and Simatai. Most of the sections of Great Wall in Beijing are well-preserved and mainly the remains from the Ming Dynasty, an era of huge construction. For the climbing of the Great Wall, strong footwear is needed! In summer, please prepare for sunblock, sunglasses and water.

Badaling Great Wall:

Entrance Fees: RM B40 (Nov. 01 to Mar. 31); RMB 45 (Apr. 01 to Oct. 31)
Opening Hours: 06:30 to 19:00
Hiking Time: Two and a half hours
How to get there: Take Bus 919.
Or take tourist bus
No. 1 at Front Gate ( Qianmen );
No. 2 at Beijing Railway Station;
No. 3 at East Bridge;
No. 4 at Xizhi Gate or Beijing Zoo;

Juyongguan Great Wall:
Entrance Fee: RMB 45
Opening Hours: 08:30 to 17:00
Hiking Time : Two hours
How to get there:
Take tourist Bus Route as below:
Take No. 1 at Front Gate ( Qianmen )
Take No. 2 at Beijing Railway Station
Take No. 3 at East Bridge
Take No. 4 at Beijing Zoo

Mutianyu Great Wall:
Entrance Fee: RMB 40
Opening Hours: 08:00 to 16:00
Hiking Time: Two and a half hours
How to get there: Take the No. 6 Tourist Bus at the Xuanwumen Gate or Take No.916 or No.936 bus at Dongzhimen Gate, get off at Huairou Longshan Hotel (Huairou International Conference Center) and take a mini-bus to the wall.

Simatai Great Wall:
Entrance Fee: RMB 40
Opening Hours: 08:00 to 17:00
Hiking Time: Two hours
How to get there:
Take bus No.12 from Xuan Wu Gate directly to Simatai.
Take the 970 bus out of Beijing to Miyun and hire a taxi from there.

Jinshanling Great Wall:
Entrance Fee: RMB 40
Opening Hours: 08:00 to 16:50
Hiking time: Two hours

4. Summer Palace (Yiheyuan )

As the largest royal garden in China, Beijing's Summer Palace is actually a parklike imperial retreat spread out over 10 square miles. The Summer Palace in northwest suburban Beijing is the largest and most complete imperial garden existing in China. Once a summer retreat for emperors, this 290-acre park is still a retreat for the tourists, who can relax here or walk around ancient pavilions, mansions, temples, bridges and huge lake. Summer Palace mainly consists of Longevity Hill (Washoushan) and Kunming Lake. Much of it is covered by Kunming Lake. With masterly design and artistic architecture and integrationg the essence of Chinese garden arts, the Summer Palace has a title of "Imperial Garden Museum". It is an imperial garden most completely reseved with richest landscapes and concentrated buildings. The Summer Palace was added to the world cultural heritage list in 1998.

How to get there:
Add: Yiheyuan (Summer Palace) Road, Haidian District 62881144-209
Open Time: 6:30-20:30
Take busses No.726, 826, 718, 332, 331 or 737 and get off at Yiheyuan Dongmen
Entrance Fee: RMB 20 (low season) / RMB 30 (peak season)

5. Temple of Heaven (Tiantan )

I recommend Temple of Heaven as a real highlight of Beijing. It is located in the southern part of Beijing, and has been one of the most holy places for the whole country for more than five centuries. It used as a complex of sacrificial buildings for the Ming and Qing emperors, and is the largest one in Beijing among several royal altars to Heaven, Earth, the Sun, the Moon and other deities or symbolic forces of Nature. If you go to the Temple of Heaven in the early morning, you can see groups of people practicing all types of kung fu and taiji. Many people contentedly entertain each other with music,songs or quietly playing cards. You can also practice with them if you are so inclined. This is another good activity for the jetlagged. What make the temple unique is the century-old trees - line upon line of Chinese cypress, Chinese juniper and scholar trees. Some of the cypresses are more than 600 years old. Dr Henry Kissinger, when he visited the temple, stated that while the USA could recreate the Temple of Heaven if it desired, it could not create the trees!

How to get there:
Add: on the east of Tianqiao, Chongwen District 67018866
Open Time: 6:00-21:00
Take 6, 20, 39 Buses
Travel Time: 1.5 hours
Entrance Fee: RMB 15

6. Ming Tombs (13 tombs in Ming Dynasty )

This is an amazing site for many reasons. First, it is outside Beijing, so you have a chance to escape the city and see a bit of the countryside. Second, it is relatively near the Great Wall, so you can visit both in one day. Third, the tomb itself is an eye opener. Some 50 kilometers northwest of the downtown Beijing, known as the ¡°13 Tombs¡±, this is the burial site of 13 out of 17 emperors of the Ming Dynasty. There are just two tombs which have been excavated and open to the public: Dingling and Changling. Changling is the first tomb to be built. It took 2 years for renovation, and was opened in 1958. Dingling has been excavated so thoroughly that one has to get into the burial chamber itself. However, it is a very steep climb down and people who have problems with their heart or kneels are not suggested to visit the underground tomb. For wheel-chair users or those who don't want to go deep inside a tomb, I recommend Changling Tomb.

How to get there:
Entrance Fees as below:
Changling Tomb: RMB 30 (Nov.01 to Mar.31) / RMB 45 (Apr.01 to Oct.31)
Dingling Tomb: RMB 40 (Nov.1 to Mar.31) / RMB 65 (Apr.1 to Oct.31)
Opening Time: Changling Tomb: 08:30 to 17:00 / Dingling Tomb: 08:30 to 17:00
Travel Time: Two hours
Tourist Bus Route: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

7. Hutong Pedicab Tour ( Shichahai Area )

Do you have the experience of taking a man-driving pedicab? In the old Beijing hutong areas, you can find the ancient transportation tools now still preserved for tourists as the main traffic tool of visiting hutong - Beijing unique old city lanes. The neighborhoods of narrow, twisting streets represent the ¡°real life¡± of Beijing, where passageways connect to courtyards of traditional compact homes. Pedicab tours of the hutongs cover the attractions that normally include the Drum Tower, courtyard neighborhoods and Prince Gong's mansion. There are lots of many small resturants, bars, and inns. From the top of the Bell Tower you can overlook the surrounding hutongs. The most interesting part of the hutong tour is walking through "Pipe Tobacco Alley" near the Bell Tower. On this tour you will enjoy the real people's Beijing. On the other end of Pipe Tobacco Alley has some of Beijing's fashionable cafes.

How to get there:
Two Sites for Hutong Exploring:
Shichahai Area: north of Beihai Park
Dazhalan Area: south of Tiananmen Square
Rickshaw: RMB 50-100

8. Lama Temple ( Yonghegong )

Lama Temple is Beijing's most visited religious site. Its has five main halls and numerous galleries. This temple was first the palace of a prince. When he became the Emperor, he offered it to the Tibetan Buddhists. The Lama Temple is home to the Yellow Sect of Buddhism. It is very active, with many faithfuls burning armloads of incense. The temple has an important relic: the largest Buddha statue carved from a single tree. The statue is huge: 3 stories up and about 9 feet across. It is quite easy to get to the temple since it is the only temple in Beijing to have its own subway stop! It is a big site to visit. Not something you visit in just 20 minutes. There are great temples with fine architecture.

How to get there:
Open Time: 09:00-16:00
Travel Time: 1.5 hours
Add: 12 Yonghegong Dajie
Beijxinqiao, Dongcheng District Beijing, Beijing
Take subway or No.62, 117, 116 and get off at Lama Temple
Entrance Fee: RMB 25

9. Beihai Park ( Winter Palace )

It used to be a winter palace for emperors for successive dynasties. There are now two things to see here: the park itself and the round city. The round city has a jar, which is said to be the only thing remaining from the great Khan that ruled what is now Beijing in Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368 A.D). You can rent a rowboat and paddle on the water. Main attractions in Beihai Park are Round City, Jade Flower Island, White Pagoda, Wanfo Lou Tower, Nine-Dragon Wall, Iron Screen, Xiao Xitian Pavilion,and Chengguang Dian,etc. The lake is Beijing's largest and most beautiful public waterway.

How to get there:
1 Wen Jin Street
(northwest of the Forbidden City)
Open Time: 06:30-20:00
Travel Time: 2 hours
Add: No.1Wenjin Stree, Xicheng District, Beijing
Take No. 101¡¢103¡¢109¡¢812¡¢814¡¢846¡¢ 107¡¢111¡¢118¡¢701¡¢823 and get off at Beihai Park
Entrance Fee: RMB 10

10. Beijing Capital Museum

A visit to Beijing City is incomplete without a visit of its museums. There are so many museums scattered around the city. If you don't have much time in Beijing, you can limit your museum tour to Beijing Capital Museum. Beijing's new Capital Museum is now open to the public, located on Fuxingmenwai Dajie, the western extension of Beijing's Chang'an Jie. The museum is a five-storey building allowing for a maximum of 13 concurrent exhibitions, which can be viewed in about 5 hours at the price of 30 yuan per visitor.

How to get there:
Open Time: 09:00-17:00
Travel Time: 1.5 hours
Black out date: Monday
Add: 16 Fuxingmenwai Dajie, Xicheng District, Beijing
Take Subway: Muxidi Station, Line 1 or No. 1, No. 4, No. 52 and No. 37 to the stop ¡°Gonghuidalou¡± (Labor Union Building) or No. 937, No. 727, No. 717, No. 650, No. 708, No. 26, No. 319 to the stop Baiyun Rd. and get off at Lama Temple
Entrance Fee: RMB 30