Beijing is the capital of the People’s Republic of China and the world’s second most populous city proper and most populous capital city located in Northern China. As a city combining both modern and traditional architecture, Beijing is a megacity rich in history, exemplified in its global influence in politics, economy, education, history, culture, and technology. Beijing is the nation’s political, cultural, and educational center. It is home to the headquarters of most of China’s largest state-owned companies and is a major hub for the national highway, expressway, railway, and high-speed rail networks.
Amongst its modern architecture lies its ancient sites. For instance, the grand Forbidden City complex, the imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Also, the massive Tiananmen Square pedestrian plaza is the site of Mao Zedong’s mausoleum and the National Museum of China, displaying a vast collection of cultural relics. The Great Wall of China that was built to stop raids and invasions by Mongols and Turks can be visited by a short trip from Beijing.
The currency used in Beijing is the Yuan Renminbi. If you are traveling to Beijing, you will need to exchange your currency for the Chinese Yuan. You may exchange your money for the Yuan Renminbi at most Beijing banks or at specialized stores called Foreign Exchange Bureaus. The Beijing dialect, also known as Pekingese, is the prestige dialect of Mandarin spoken in the urban area of Beijing, China.
Places of Interest
Up there with Times Square, Red Square, and St. Peter’s Square, Tiananmen Square is among the world’s most famous public spaces. Almost anyone can recognize the Gate of Heavenly Peace—emblazoned with a portrait of Chairman Mao—as a symbol of Beijing. The square is the geographic, political, and tourist center of the city, which makes it unavoidable. Although Tiananmen Square looks like a field of concrete (which it is), you’ll want to see it for the surrounding attractions. The Great Hall of the People, Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum, the National Museum of China, and the Forbidden City sit on the edges. Plus, taking a picture here is almost required to prove you’ve been to Beijing.
The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wood, and other materials built by soldiers, prisoners and local laborers, generally built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions by Mongols and Turks. The Great Wall passes east-to-west through 17 provinces of the northern and central regions of China. It is approximately 5,500 miles long. This makes it the longest manmade monument in the world. It is 11 yards wide on average. The Great Wall can be visited today but only certain sections. Over the years, the Wall has received a lot of wear and tear due to tourists and nature. Some parts of the Wall have completely disappeared and the preservation of the Wall is very important to the Chinese government.
The Forbidden City
The Forbidden City used to be the imperial palace in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, and ordinary people were not allowed in without permission. Operating under the official title of “The Palace Museum,” the Forbidden City (also known as the Imperial Palace) has been a place of wonder and mystery for over 500 years. This massive complex sits on the northern edge of Tiananmen Square at the epicenter of Beijing. Beyond its towering fortifications, you’ll find an intricate labyrinth of squares, halls, gates, pavilions, sleeping quarters, and temples. In some of the structures, curated art and historic relics have been placed; however, the greatest achievement is the compound itself.
Temple of Heaven
Rumored to be the busiest intersection in the world (and definitely in The Temple of Heaven is located in the southern part of Beijing, and has been one of the most holy places in all of China for more than five centuries. It was the place where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties would worship the god of heaven and pray for good harvest. It is the largest building in Beijing among several royal altars to Heaven, Earth, the Sun, and the Moon. 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.
Situated northwest of Beijing, the Summer Palace is the largest and most well-preserved royal park in China, it greatly influences Chinese horticulture and landscape with its famous natural views and cultural interests, which also has long been recognized as ‘The Museum of Royal Gardens’. The construction started in 1750 as a luxurious royal garden for royal families to rest and entertain. It later became the main residence of royal members in the end of the Qing Dynasty.
The Yonghe Temple, also known as the Yonghe Lamasery, or popularly as the Lama Temple, is a temple and monastery of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism located in Dongcheng District, Beijing, China. The building and artwork of the temple is a combination of Han Chinese and Tibetan styles. Building of the Yonghe Temple started in 1694 during the Qing dynasty on the site where originally stood an official residence for court eunuchs of the previous dynasty. It was then converted into the residence of Yinzhen (Prince Yong), the fourth son of the Kangxi Emperor. After Prince Yong ascended the throne as the Yongzheng Emperor in 1722, half of the building was converted into a lamasery, a monastery for monks of Tibetan Buddhism. The other half remained an imperial palace.
Peking duck is a dish from Beijing that has been prepared since the imperial era. The meat is characterized by its thin, crisp skin, with authentic versions of the dish serving mostly the skin and little meat, sliced in front of the diners by the cook. The cooked Peking Duck is traditionally served in three stages. First, the skin is served dipped in sugar and garlic sauce. The meat is then served with steamed pancakes, spring onions and sweet bean sauce. Several vegetable dishes are provided to accompany the meat, typically cucumber sticks. The diners spread sauce, and optionally sugar, over the pancake. The pancake is wrapped around the meat with the vegetables and eaten by hand. The remaining fat, meat and bones may be made into a broth, served as is, or the meat chopped up and stir fried with sweet bean sauce.
Temple Restaurant Beijing
Temple Restaurant Beijing is consistently ranked among the best high end restaurants in Beijing in the last few years. Located in a complex that is part of a 600 year old Chinese temple, TRB conflates the old and the new while juxtaposing traditional and modern architecture. The historic Beijing ambiance is an introduction to the restaurant itself, which has modern and sleek Scandinavian decor to compliment the menu’s French sophistication. The restaurant’s wine list is considered to be one of the best in Asia. TRB is the perfect choice for those who want to enjoy high end international cuisine without losing the local charm.
The Head Chef at King’s Joy was a disciple of a Buddhist monastery in Jianxi when he was encouraged by his master to promote vegetarian eating to the outside world. The ultra high-end King’s Joy offers the most exclusive ambience to enjoy a “royal” vegetarian meal in Beijing. Being an all-vegetarian restaurant in China proved to be a risk well worth taking: Elegant Beijingers are flocking to taste uniquely creative vegetarian dishes, and healthy intricate beverages like “oatmeal nut-melange so soy”. Committed to the noble purpose of good health and environmental awareness, King’s Joy carefully chooses its ingredients from local farms, thus providing freshness and a maximum quality.
Dress code: Business casualAddress: 2 Wudaoying Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China Hours: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Opera Bombana is one of the most exclusive Italian restaurants in Beijing. Three-Michelin-starred chef Umberto Bombana created “a modern yet refined Italian restaurant” that matches the needs and sophisticated tastes of the Beijing upmarket crowd. To maintain the impeccable high standard, he uses the art and master skills of top chefs and wine connoisseurs. Opera Bombana offers an imaginative and modern interior to enjoy spectacular Italian cuisine made from the freshest of ingredients. The cocktail bar is another success, preparing some divine pre-dinner drinks, while an expert wine manager will find the perfect match for every dish.
Dress code: Business casualAddress: LG2-21 Parkview Green FangCaoDi n.9 | Dongdaqiao Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China Hours: 12:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Dadong Roast Duck
Selling itself on the claim that its birds are leaner than those of other roast duck joints. Arguments will never cease as to which kitchen produces Beijing’s best roast ducks, but Da Dong’s ability to transcend the duck genre is marked by its repeated wins as “Best Chinese Restaurant of the Year” in the Beijinger’s annual Reader Restaurant Awards. Try dipping a slice of duck in the sugar provided alongside other condiments – somehow, it works beautifully. The 160-page menu is a work of art in itself, with a plethora of duck dishes backed up by vegetable dishes, soups and more.
Dress code: Business casualAddress: 1-2 Nanxincang Guoji Dasha, 22A Dongsishitiao, Dongcheng district, Beijing 100007, China Hours: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Spring, the first season in China is from March to May and the days are getting warm with the average temperature of 13°C (55°F) in daytime and 2°C (37°F) at night. In different regions of China, the spring scene is different. June is the beginning of real summer weather in China. Most regions suffer temperature of over 30°C (86°F) in July and harmful sun’s rays in the sunny weather. Influenced by summer wind from the tropical oceans, it is the season with the most precipitation of 40 – 70% of whole year from north to south. During the time, in the northern China, the rainy days may last over one month and along with rainstorm and thunderstorm, called Meiyu period. And in southern China, the typhoon often visits during July to August. From September to November, autumn in China is something worth expecting. With the pale clouds and clear sky, the temperatures throughout the country are milder and warm. Featuring the warmish weather, it is a season filled with change with strong winds and a lot of rain occasionally. Days become shorter and, although it is often warm and sunny during the daytime, it can be cold at night. The ginko trees and maple are especially beautiful in autumn. The leaves are changing into red, bright gold or more and falling down the sidewalk to add some color. Winter is the coldest season in China across from December to February, featuring cold, dry weather and short daytime. January is the coldest month with average temperatures lower than 32°F throughout two thirds of China. The temperature is getting lower from south to north China, caused by the winter monsoon.
There are some cultural dos and don’ts that are important to know as a foreigner when traveling to China or any Asian country. It’s best to know ahead of time what is expected of you before someone accuses you of being rude! Here are a few rules of etiquette that could help you when you are traveling to China.
Public displays of affection are frowned upon. Do not back slap, hug or put your arm around someone’s shoulder, which will make a Chinese feel uncomfortable, since they do not like to be touched by strangers.
Present and receive things with both hands.
Chopstick etiquette is very important in Chinese culture. Under no circumstances should chopsticks be placed upright in your bowl. This symbolizes death. Nor should you tap your bowl with chopsticks.
When greeting others, the oldest person is always greeted first as a sign of respect.
Never write things in red ink. It symbolizes protest or severe criticism.
All foreign nationals must obtain a visa for a visit to China. It is essential that the China visa is obtained prior to travel. China visas can only be processed three months prior to the start date of your tour or tailor-made holiday. Standard visas take on average 9 to 10 working days to process plus return postage time. You must leave a minimum of 3 weeks before your trip to ensure you get your visa on time. Please also ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months from your planned date of return from China. When applying for a visa you will be required to provide a list of the hotels that you will be staying in throughout your holiday. In order to obtain a visa you will also need to provide proof of your travel arrangements. Your passport must possess at least 2 blank pages and have at least 6 months validity remaining after date of intended exit from China. Please visit your embassy to get the exact list of requirements needed to enter China.
Corporate Head Office: 745 Fifth Avenue Suite 500 New York NY 10151 Main Booking Office: 88 King St # B Northampton MA 01060