Updated: May 2
As the capital of China, Beijing is the nation's political, economic, and cultural center. As one of the six ancient cities of China, Beijing has been the heart and soul of politics throughout its long history, and consequently there is an unparalleled wealth of discovery to delight and intrigue travelers as they explore the city's ancient past and exciting modern development. Now it has become one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, with about 140 million Chinese tourists and 4.4 million international visitors in a year. That’s a lot of tourists!
Getting Around Beijing
All of the major cities in China have extremely modern and well-developed public transportation systems, and Beijing, as the capital of China, has one of the largest subway systems in the world. It’s modern, safe, inexpensive and easy to navigate (relatively). You could travel for hours in the subway and only spend under $2! Buses are also plentiful and inexpensive. Basically, you won’t need a car living here.
Living in Beijing
Cost of Living：
Part of your living cost will involve rent. Beijing is separated by large “ring” roads that circumvent the city. The closer you are to the center, the higher the rent. Usually most office workers live outside the third ring road, and it usually takes around 30-40 minutes to get to some of the nightlife and financial areas, such as Sanlitun, Dongzhimen and Guomao. Fortunately, public transportation is plentiful and inexpensive.
Generally speaking, you’ll spend around 3-6k RMB a month on an apartment in Beijing living alone. You could save more by renting just a room and having roommates of course.
There are tons of good and cheap foods to choose from in Beijing! If you want to mostly cook, expect to spend around 500 RMB a week on ingredients, and if you want to eat out at an inexpensive restaurant, expect to spend 30-50 RMB each time.
The nightlife can be quite surprising here. Enjoy anything from traditional Beijing opera, dance and martial arts performances to internationally renowned music performances, bars and clubs. Enjoy places like Tianqiao and Laoshe Teahouse if you want to experience Chinese culture. If you want more of a bar experience, Sanlitun has everything you need.
Points of Interest in Beijing
Forbidden City – Also known as the Palace Museum (Gu Gong in Chinese), the Forbidden City lies at the very center of Beijing, and once served as the imperial palace for 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 - 1911).
Tiananmen Square – Located at the center of Beijing and the midpoint of Chang'an Avenue is the remarkable Tiananmen Square. Thousands of people visit the square every day. It is a must visit destination in Beijing.
Temple of Heaven – Now open to the public for the purposes of showing ancient philosophy, history and religion, its grand architectural style and profound cultural connotations give a glance into life in ancient China.
Summer Palace – Being the largest and most well-preserved park originally meant for the emperor in China, it greatly influences Chinese horticulture and landscape standards with its famous natural views and cultural points of interest, which also has long been recognized as 'The Museum of Royal Gardens'.
Yonghe Temple – Built initially in 1694 during the Qing Dynasty, this building was the former residence of Emperor Yongzheng when he was just a prince. However, in 1744, the Qing Dynasty formally changed the status of this into a temple.
The Great Wall – The Great Wall of China is an ancient series of walls and fortifications. Perhaps the most recognizable symbol of China and its long and vivid history, the Great Wall was originally conceived by Emperor Qin Shi Huang in the third century B.C. as a means of preventing incursions from barbarian nomads. The best-known and best-preserved section of the Great Wall was built in the 14th through 17th centuries A.D.. It now functions as a powerful symbol of Chinese civilization’s enduring strength.
Ming Tombs – Since 1409 when Zhu Di, the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty, built his Changling Tomb here, the succeeding twelve emperors had their resting places built around Changling for the 230 years, covering a total area of over 120 square kilometers (46.3 square miles). This is the best-preserved tomb area with the highest density of buried emperors (nice!) in the world. Each year, millions of tourists visit this site to appreciate its long history and palatial architecture.