48 hours may not seem as enough time to explore entire Beijing, however you can still get a feel of the Chinese capital if you visit the places recommended below.
Forbidden City: The Palace Museum
Now known as the Palace Museum, Forbidden City lying in the center of the city was the imperial palace for twenty four emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties. It consists of over 9000 rooms and is spread over 250 acres. It lies to the north of Tiananmen Square. A visit to the place is a good way to know about the ancient culture of China. Since it is a structure with lot of historical significance, it is helpful to go along with a guide who can explain the stories and importance of the site. Alternatively, you could carry a multi lingual guide recorder along. Splendid painted decoration on these royal architectural wonders, the grand and deluxe halls, with their surprisingly magnificent treasures will surely mesmerise you.
Temple of heaven
An excellent example of Confucian culture, the Temple of Heaven is a majestic sight to look at. On entering the temple premises, you notice something typical about the way it is made. The northern part within the wall is semicircular and the southern part is square. The semicircular part symbolizes the heavens and the square part the earth. As per ancient Chinese thinking, the heaven is high and the earth is low, thus the structure too was made in such a way that the northern part is higher than the southern part.
Tiananmen Square is a must visit when exploring Beijing. This is a large square situated right in the center of the city and has been witness to many historical important events in the Chinese capital. Being at the place, one goes back in history remembering the sacrifices of ordinary citizens and civilians who were attacked by the soldiers during the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. . There, you will see various historical monuments such as Tiananmen, Great Hall of the People, National Museum of China, Monument to the People’s Heroes and Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum. You can also watch the raising and lowering ceremony of the Chinese flag there.
Your trip to China/ Beijing would be incomplete without meeting the Giant Panda. You get to see this and many more animals like the locally found Golden Monkey, Red Panda, Tibetan Yaks and Enormous Sea Turtles in Beijing Zoo. Besides these, the zoo houses more than 10,000 animals of 800 different species. Going around the zoo in itself is a wonderful experience with dense groves and lotus ponds and streams and large stretches of grasslands all around you. You can see the dolphin and sea lion shows in the aquarium.
Beijing by the night: Hutongs
An interesting way to explore Beijing is by visiting the narrow streets or alleys better known as Hutongs in the local language. Off late, these are increasingly being demolished paving way for the new roads and buildings. You can either enjoy a Trishaw ride or rent a bike and cycle your way around to get a feel of the place. On your way you can see bars, tea and coffee houses and souvenir shops. Hutongs are particularly popular at nights. You get to taste the best of Beijing street food in these narrow alleys which are ablaze with lights at nights giving a very homely atmosphere. One of the most famous Hutong areas is Nanluogo Xiang which is always bustling with crowds and houses unique boutique shops and modern cafes.
Great Wall of China
China boasts of having one of the Seven Wonders of the World- the Great Wall of China. Badaling Great Wall is a section of the Great Wall of China near Beijing. Surronded by hotels, restaurants and cable cars, it is a very popular tourist destination in Beijing. You can stroll across its length, admire its architecture, and take in views from its military outpost. Climbing your way up, you get to witness the most amazing mountain scenery.
The Summer Palace situated 15 km away from city center is one of the well-preserved royal parks in Beijing. You can visit this Imperial Palace by boat. The place earlier used as a luxurious royal garden is known for its breathtaking natural scenery. It takes you back to the luxurious living of the Emperors. Just before entering the palace, you can see the beautiful front gate made in ancient architecture style. Walking along the long gallery of the palace is fascinating with pictures of sceneries birds, people etc painted on the beams.
Ming Tombs often referred to as the “13 Tombs” is a popular tourist destination that houses the tombs of 13 of the 17 Ming Dynasty Emperors. Each emperor’s tomb was built at the foot of a separate small hill but they are all connected to the main road- the Sacred Way. Only two of the tombs have been opened to the public yet. You can climb down the tombs to the burial chambers themselves, where you’ll see various artifacts and the mausoleum.
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