A massive city with an ancient history, Beijing has been the capital of China throughout several centuries and dynasties.
Zoe KongChina Travel Specialist
Explore the Forbidden City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which mostly remains as it was during the last emperor’s time. The world’s largest palace complex, the Forbidden City is divided into two parts: the southern section, also known as the Outer Court, was where the emperor held imperial proceedings, and the Inner Court to the north was where he lived with his royal family. As the imperial palace for over five centuries, the complex houses rare treasures and curiosities in its 9,999 rooms.
One of the “new seven wonders of the world,” the Great Wall is a sight every traveler should see in their lifetime. Try to fathom the years of toil required to build the Great Wall of China as you follow its steep, snaking path through the countryside. The views of crumbling, original sections of the Wall winding over the steep mountain ridges into the far distance are highly memorable, especially with the guidance of noted historian and the world's foremost expert on the Great Wall.
This magnificent palace was once the royals’ retreat from Beijing’s summer heat. One of the most famous attractions in Summer Palace is the Marble Boat, a symbol of opulence built by Empress Dowager Cixi in lieu of real naval ships. This 36-meter long lakeside “boat of purity” features two long decks with mirrors to reflect and radiate natural beauty.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the complex was declared a “masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design” with its gorgeous combination of pavilions, halls, palaces, temples, and bridges surrounded by lush gardens and a large, serene lake.
Have an authentic Peking duck lunch at a casual, family-owned operation which has hosted Al Gore, Jet Li, and scores of other dignitaries and celebrities. An elaborate dish involving special preparations such as pumping air between the skin and the meat and roasting the duck with special woods, Peking duck was once reserved for the Chinese imperial family.
Have a poetic Chinese name bestowed upon you and learn how to write it during a private calligraphy lesson. Most names convey parents' wishes for their children's future - integrity, prosperity, health and wisdom are all popularly used characters.
Be serenaded by virtuosos of traditional Peking opera as they perform classic Chinese characters, such as the mischievous Monkey King, or his gluttonous, pig-like sidekick Zhu Baijie.
On certain occasions, Asia Senses Travel can arrange a behind-the-scenes tour of the opera stage.
Designed by East German Bauhaus architects in the 1950s, the Dashanzi Art District was originally intended to produce electronics and armaments. Today, it has been repurposed and redesigned to house scores of galleries and artists’ studios; it takes its name, “798,” from one of the factories here. Tour this dynamic, fascinating area with an art expert, and learn about the vibrant Chinese contemporary art scene.
Go on an architectural tour of modern Beijing, led by an internationally renowned architect. Visit the Water Cube and Bird's Nest, icons of the 2008 Summer Olympics. In central Beijing, see the towering CCTV building designed by Rem Koolhaas, and the National Center for the Performing Arts, or "Alien Egg," designed by Paul Andreu.