Beijing, the capital of China, is a city that effortlessly blends rich history and vibrant modernity. From its iconic landmarks to its delicious cuisine and captivating cultural experiences, Beijing offers a myriad of attractions for families looking to experience the far east..
If you have a valid China visa, embarking on a journey to Beijing is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the country’s fascinating heritage. In this article, we will explore the essential information and top recommendations for travelling to Beijing with a China visa.
Understanding China Visas:
Before planning your trip to Beijing, it is crucial to familiarise yourself with the different types of China visas. The most common types include tourist visas (L visa), business visas (M visa), and work visas (Z visa).
Depending on your purpose of travel, you need to apply for the Chinese visa in advance through the Chinese embassy or consulate in your home country.
Preparing for the Journey:
Passport: Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in China. It is also advisable to make a copy of your passport and keep it separate from the original for emergencies.
Flight and Accommodation: Research and book your flights to Beijing in advance to secure the best deals. Consider major airports such as Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) or Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX). Additionally, make reservations for accommodation, whether it’s a hotel, hostel, or guesthouse, based on your preferences and budget.
Climate and Clothing: Beijing experiences distinct seasons, so pack appropriate clothing for the time of your visit. Winters can be cold, so bring warm layers, while summers can be hot and humid. Check the weather forecast before departure to plan accordingly.
Currency Exchange: The official currency in China is the Chinese Yuan (CNY). Exchange some currency before your trip or withdraw cash from ATMs upon arrival. Major credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, upscale establishments, and tourist areas.
Arrival and Transportation:
Airport Transfers: Upon landing in Beijing, you can take advantage of various transportation options. Airport shuttles, taxis, and ride-hailing services like DiDi are available to transport you to your accommodation. Make sure to have the address written in Chinese characters or a translation app to communicate with the driver effectively.
Public Transportation: Beijing has an extensive public transportation network, including the subway, buses, and taxis. The subway system is convenient, cost-effective, and can take you to most popular tourist attractions. Consider purchasing a Beijing Transportation Smart Card (Yikatong) for seamless travel.
Bicycles: Beijing offers bicycle-sharing services, allowing you to explore the city’s sights at a leisurely pace. Apps like Mobike and Ofo provide easy access to rent bicycles using your smartphone.
The Great Wall of China: No visit to Beijing is complete without marvelling at the Great Wall. Just a short distance from the city, popular sections like Badaling, Mutianyu, and Jinshanling offer awe-inspiring views of this ancient wonder.
Forbidden City: Located at the heart of Beijing, the Forbidden City is a massive palace complex that served as the imperial residence for centuries. Step back in time as you explore its grand halls, stunning courtyards, and learn about China’s imperial history.
Tiananmen Square: Adjacent to the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square is one of the world’s largest public squares and holds great historical and cultural significance. Visit the Monument to the People’s Heroes and the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall to understand its historical importance.
Hutongs: Explore Beijing’s traditional hutongs, narrow alleyways lined with traditional courtyard homes. Rent a rickshaw or simply wander through these charming neighborhoods to get a glimpse of old Beijing’s lifestyle and architecture. Engage with the locals, visit traditional tea houses, and appreciate the preservation of Beijing’s cultural heritage.
Beihai Park: Enjoy the serenity of Beihai Park, an imperial garden with a picturesque lake, beautiful temples, and pavilions. Rent a paddleboat, wander through the lush gardens, and climb to the top of the White Dagoba for panoramic views of the park and the city.
National Museum of China: Delve into China’s rich history and culture at the National Museum. The museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts spanning thousands of years, including ancient ceramics, sculptures, calligraphy, and historical relics. Gain a deeper understanding of China’s diverse heritage through its impressive exhibitions.
Beijing Olympic Park: Relive the excitement of the 2008 Summer Olympics by visiting the Beijing Olympic Park. Admire the architectural marvels of the Bird’s Nest Stadium and the Water Cube. Take a walk around the park, enjoy the open spaces, and capture memorable photos.
While visiting Beijing, it’s important to be mindful of the local customs and cultural etiquette:
Greetings: When meeting someone, a slight nod or handshake is appropriate. Address people by their surname followed by their title or “Mr.” or “Ms.” if unsure.
Respectful Behavior: Show respect for Chinese traditions and customs. Avoid public displays of affection, especially in temples or other religious sites.
Dining Etiquette: When dining with locals, observe table manners such as using chopsticks correctly, waiting for the host to start eating before you do, and expressing gratitude for the meal.
Photography: Always ask for permission before taking someone’s photo, especially locals. Respect any signage prohibiting photography in certain areas or within specific attractions.
Temple Visits: When visiting temples, dress modestly and be respectful of worshippers. Avoid loud conversations and keep your phone on silent mode.
Safety and Security:
Like any other destination, take precautions to stay healthy and safe during your visit to Beijing. Drink bottled water, be cautious with street food, and adhere to basic hygiene practices.
Security Awareness: Be mindful of your belongings, especially in crowded places or tourist areas. Keep your passport, cash, and other valuables secure. Avoid displaying expensive items or carrying large sums of money.
Emergency Contacts: Familiarise yourself with local emergency numbers such as 110 for police assistance and 120 for medical emergencies. Keep your embassy or consulate’s contact information handy in case you need assistance during your stay.
Health Insurance: It is advisable to have travel insurance that covers medical expenses in case of illness or injury during your trip. Check with your insurance provider to ensure you have adequate coverage.
Travel Advisories: Stay informed about travel advisories or any specific safety precautions issued by your home country’s government regarding travel to Beijing or China in general.
Experiencing the Local Cuisine:
No trip to Beijing would be complete without savoring its delicious cuisine. Indulge in Peking duck, a renowned local specialty, and explore the diverse flavors of Beijing’s street food scene.
Sample traditional snacks like jianbing (Chinese savory crepes), tanghulu (candied fruit skewers), and lamb skewers from the night markets. Don’t forget to try traditional tea and visit tea houses to experience the art of tea-drinking.
Exploring Beyond Beijing:
While Beijing offers a plethora of attractions, consider exploring nearby destinations if time permits. Take a day trip to the picturesque Great Wall sections near Beijing, such as Mutianyu or Jinshanling. Visit the ancient capital of Xi’an to see the Terracotta Warriors or take a high-speed train to Shanghai to experience its dynamic urban atmosphere.
While Mandarin Chinese is the official language, English is not widely spoken in Beijing. It is helpful to carry a pocket phrasebook or utilise translation apps to communicate basic needs or directions. Learning a few key phrases like greetings and simple questions will go a long way in making interactions easier.
Departure and Farewell:
As your time in Beijing comes to an end, allow yourself some time to reflect on the incredible experiences and memories you’ve created. Ensure you have packed all your belongings and check out of your accommodation.
Arrange transportation to the airport or train station in advance to avoid any last-minute hassles. Bid farewell to Beijing, knowing that you’ve embarked on an extraordinary journey filled with history, culture, and unforgettable moments.
Travelling to Beijing with a China visa opens the door to a captivating world of ancient wonders, cultural treasures, and immersive experiences. From the iconic Great Wall to the splendid Forbidden City, Beijing’s attractions offer a glimpse into China’s rich heritage.
By preparing adequately, respecting local customs, and taking necessary safety precautions, you can make the most of your visit to Beijing. Embrace the city’s vibrant energy, indulge in its flavours, and create lifelong memories in this remarkable capital of China.