This complete itinerary guide will help you discover the best things to do in Beijing, including the Great Wall of China, Forbidden City, Wangfujing, Peking Duck & more!
Part #1: Beijing Food Guide – Which Best Restaurants to Eat?
Part #2: Beijing Area Guide – Which Area to Stay in Beijing?
Part #3: Beijing Travel Guide – Which Historic Sites to Visit?
Part #4: Beijing Itinerary Guide – 4D3N in Beijing
Part #5: Beijing Hotel Promotions List
Beijing, the booming capital of China and one of the world’s most ancient cities, features an enthralling blend of modern and traditional elements. With such rich history and culture unlike any other destination in Asia, the bustling city is top of the bucket list for travellers all around the globe.
For travellers looking to make a trip to enchanting Beijing, here’s a complete 4-day Beijing itinerary guide:
When to Go Beijing: Best Season
With breathtaking fall foliage adding vibrant colours to the booming city, Beijing takes on an ethereal form of beauty in autumn around September and October, making it one of the best times to visit Beijing.
On top of the picturesque setting established by the autumn season, Beijing also sees pleasant and cool weather during this time of the year, with temperatures between 8°C and 26°C – perfect for outdoor activities and sightseeing!
What to Bring: Beijing Packing List
If you’re visiting Beijing in the earlier parts of autumn (late September to early October), you’ll only need to pack your favourite shirts and dresses, and a light outerwear like a cardigan or knitted sweater.
Towards the later part of autumn as it approaches winter (late October to November), the weather gets significantly colder, so you’ll have to begin layering your clothes, or bring thicker clothing in general like pullovers and woollen jackets. Here’s 10 cheap winter essentials you must have to keep warm.
It also tends to get dry in autumn, so remember to bring moisturising products like hand creams, facial sprays, and lip balm. Remember to bring along a universal power adapter as well, as China uses Type A and Type I power sockets.
Join in on China’s conservation efforts (most convenience stores and supermarkets have stopped providing free plastic bags) by bringing your own reusable bag to take on your shopping sprees in Beijing! Amidst the world’s efforts to conserve the environment, who doesn’t like an eco-conscious traveller?
How to Get There: Flights to Beijing
Beijing is a popular travel destination, so always keep your eyes peeled for flight deals. Keep a look out for full-service carriers like Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific, as they have regular feature deals to mainland China with prices as low as S$468 for all-in fares! To keep yourself updated with the latest flight promotions, simply follow @SGTravelHacks on Telegram.
Where to Stay: Neighbourhoods & Hotels in Beijing
Beijing is a multifaceted city with a variety of areas and neighbourhoods, each with their very own special touch of Beijing flair. For a more in-depth guide into the neighbourhoods, check out our ultimate Guide to 4 Best Areas in Beijingto help you decide on which area suits you the best.
For first timers in Beijing, Wangfujing is a popular neighbourhood to consider. It’s one of the most lively areas in Beijing, and easily accessible from all around. Here, you’ll also find a myriad of malls, shopping, and the famous Wangfujing Snack Street.
Wangfujing is a popular area and prices of hotels can get steeper than usual at times. Fortunately, you can enjoy up to 45% + 6% off hotels in Beijing when you book your hotels through Agoda with your YouTrip card.
How Much to Bring: Money Matters in Beijing
Most of China has pretty much gone cashless (cash is still mostly accepted if you’ll like to have some petty cash in hand), thanks to the nationwide adoption of Alipay and WeChat pay. Bigger establishments like restaurants in malls and luxury boutiques also take Mastercard, so be sure to make use of YouTrip’s Wholesale Exchange Rates by bringing along your YouTrip card to enjoy favourable Chinese Yuan (CNY) exchange rates.
Things To Do & Places To Go in Beijing
Day 1: Discover Historic Sites of Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square & Qianmen Street
Begin your Beijing adventure by immersing yourself with the rich history and story of the capital city! Start off with Beijing’s most significant historical attractions: Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Be intrigued by stories of China’s dynasty past in the Forbidden City and don traditional costumes from the Qing and Ming dynasty.
The Forbidden City is the world’s largest palace with 90 palaces and courtyards, close to 1,000 buildings and over 9,000 rooms. Though only parts of the palace grounds are open for visits, you can still admire the brilliant architecture of the emperors’ homes from over a thousand years ago!
Before exploring to the Forbidden City, you’ll have to pass through Tiananmen Square first. As one of the top 10 largest city squares in the world, Tiananmen Square is easily recognisable with the distinctive portrait of Mao Zedong, the founding father of modern China. To learn about China’s development into modernity, head over to the National Museum of China on the east side of Tiananmen Square.
If you’re interested in learning more about China’s dynasty era, you can also pay a visit to the Summer Palace just a half hour car ride away, another one of Beijing’s treasured UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Finally, don’t miss Qianmen Street, one of the most popular commercial streets in Beijing, where traditional streets are filled with many (local and international) stores, restaurants, and cafes. A must-visit in Qianmen Street is none other than Quanjude, one of the best 5 must-eat restaurants in Beijing. It’s so good, even former US President Richard Nixon enjoyed the signature Peking duck here!
Day 2: Climb The Great Wall of China & Unwind at Houhai Bar Street
Set off bright and early on day two for a morning hike on one of the Seven New Wonders of the World – The Great Wall of China.
Feast your eyes on the stunning view atop the Badaling pass of the Great Wall (considered the easiest and most accessible trail) as fall foliage paints the surrounding vegetation vibrant shades of green, orange, and brown. Rejuvenate yourself with the crisp air as you marvel at the grandeur of the Great Wall and surrounding vistas of lush vegetation among the mountains.
The hike on Great Wall at Badaling takes about 3 to 4 hours, so remember to wear comfortable shoes. As you descend the Great Wall, go grab a piece of inexpensive souvenir to commemorate your climb! You can even get your name engraved onto a Great Wall medal for that personalised thrill.
After conquering the Great Wall of China, head back into the city for a leisurely evening stroll at Houhai.
One of Beijing’s hottest night life spots, Houhai boasts a variety of live music performances in a collection of local bars, restaurants, and cafes. You can even explore the local hutongs, a cluster of narrow streets and alleys formed by the surrounding siheyuans (traditional courtyard residence).
While admiring the mesmerising views of Beijing’s Houhai lake, grab yourself a refreshing drink at one of the popular bars to unwind yourself. You deserve one after the Great Wall climb!
Day 3: Explore Chaoyang Park & Spoil Yourself in Sanlitun
After exploring a handful of Beijing’s best historic sites, take a day off and visit Chaoyang – Beijing’s growing Central Business District (CBD) to appreciate the city in a different light.
First stop, Chaoyang Park. Known as Beijing’s largest park, this gorgeous destination comes to life with brilliant foliage and colours during autumn. Rent a boat to go out onto the lake or just spend time wandering the park’s jogging trails and sandy beaches. If you’re travelling with little ones, there are also carnival rides and a water park located within the park’s vicinity.
Next, drop by the SOLANA Lifestyle and Shopping Park located right inside Chaoyang Park. Surrounded by the park’s scenic nature, the SOLANA Lifestyle Shopping Park exudes a European-style ambience and is situated alongside the picturesque Liangma River. Be spoilt for choice as you shop and dine with a variety of international and luxury brands at this gorgeous lifestyle hub. The mall also houses an art gallery and cinema!
To kick things up a notch, hop on a 15-minute taxi ride and head on over to Sanlitun, Beijing’s trendiest fashion and dining destination. Wander leisurely through the streets teeming with modern skyscrapers, alfresco dining places, and upscale brands.
Don’t miss Taikoo Li, a bustling shopping hub with 19 buildings that also incorporates leisure, arts, entertainment among its many international flagship stores, independent designer labels, high street fashion and luxury boutiques. Locals call it the place of “infinite inspiration” – we agree!
Sanlitun is listed as one of the best areas to stay in Beijing, so if you’re looking for a chic stay, go ahead and book a night in this trendy spot.
📸 Note: Don’t be alarmed when you see groups of photographers scattered around the district or when they request to take a photograph of you. Street photographers in Taikoo Li are a common sight, thanks to the influx of stylish and well-dressed shoppers everyday. So if you’re approached by one, consider it a compliment! Otherwise, you can kindly decline their request.
If you just can’t get enough of Beijing’s glamorous CBD lifestyle, opt for a night’s stay at East Hotel Beijing, a business lifestyle hotel located in Indigo Mall in the Jiangtai area of Beijing (20-minute car ride from Sanlitun).
The 369-room contemporary hotel features paperless check-ins and check-outs, including a one-stop guest experience service team. East Hotel Beijing also houses three restaurants and a bar with menus chocked full of flavourful dishes if you’re lazy to head out.
Oh, you could also squeeze in a good workout by participating in the wellness and fitness programmes that the hotel has curated in its gym. Otherwise, go for a splash in its gorgeous indoor swimming pool!
Day 4: Shop Till You Drop at Wangfujing
Last but not least, end off your Beijing trip with a final day of shopping at Wangfujing – Beijing’s indisputable holy grail of shopping districts. Shop till you drop at stretches of shopping streets and countless shopping malls including the Beijing APM, The Malls at Oriental Plaza, and Beijing Department Store!
When you’ve had your fill of shopping, it’s time to fill your tummies! There’s a great selection of restaurants in and around the Wangfujing area, but the most popular place to explore is definitely the Wangfujing Snack Street.
Apart from ordinary street food, why not challenge yourself with an exotic variety while you’re here?
Take your pick from an extensive selection of skewered silkworms, starfishes, centipedes, millipedes, crickets, lizards, bull testicles, snakes, etc. – it’s your biggest nightmare on sticks. 😱
Among all, the most frightening skewers are probably the live scorpions on display. The moving claws, legs, and tails prove that they’re still fresh, only impaled onto the sticks moments ago.
But hey, don’t worry if these ”delicacies” don’t exactly get your tastebuds tingling (they make for great photographs though). The Wangfujing Snack Street offers less adventurous options like skewered squids, roasted chestnuts, and rice dishes too!
Ready to take on Beijing? Don’t forget to book your stays with your YouTrip card to enjoy up to 45% + 6% off hotels in Beijing. And also, remember to bring your YouTrip card along to Beijing to utilise YouTrip’s Wholesale Exchange Rates for favourable Chinese Yuan (CNY) rates!
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Enjoy a worldwide fees-less travel experience!