Flights to Beijing : Guide

Flights to Beijing

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Flights to Beijing, China

About Beijing

One of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China, Beijing’s roots can be traced back over 3,000 years. Beijing is located in the north of the country, and its name in fact means ‘northern capital’. The city has played a vital role in China since Emperor Qin united China in 221 BC, and it was the capital city of the Liao, Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties which ruled China for 1,000 years until the 20th century.

The Qing dynasty came to an end in 1911 due to the Xinhai Revolution, a movement for a Chinese Republic. In 1916 the new emperor, Yuan Shikai, died and Beijing fell under the control of regional warlords. Royal residences were ransacked and burned down, and the country degenerated into a semi-feudal society. It took more than three decades for China to recover and on 1st October 1949 the Communist Party Leader, Chairman Mao Zedong, announced the creation of the People's Republic of China.

Modern day Beijing is home to 17 million residents and is an integral part of China’s prosperity. Beijing is a great starting point to explore this vast, populous country, and the coastal metropolis of Shanghai is just 1,000 kilometres to the south.

Flights to Beijing, China


Beijing has been described as ‘a portal between centuries’. Every successive dynasty has made its mark on the city, from the ornate buildings of Imperial China and the boxy architecture of the 1950-70s Sino-Soviet era to proliferation of 21st century skyscrapers.

Imperial China is the most eye-catching place to start, at the 15th century imperial palaces of The Forbidden City. The courtyard-after-courtyard-after-courtyard of The Forbidden City makes up the enormous centre of the ancient walled city of Beijing. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 and is the world’s largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures.

Just outside of Beijing’s centre is Summer Palace, another UNESCO World Heritage Site and the summer retreat for the Qing Dynasty emperors. Equally as impressive in winter, its collection of palaces, landscaped gardens, gentle hills, pavilions, temples and bridges combine to create a harmonious and breathtaking setting.

The architecture of the 1950s has been put to good use in the Dashanzi art district, also known as Factory 798. This thriving community is housed in decommissioned Bauhaus-style military factories, where art galleries, fashion designers, photographers and writers exhibit their wares to numerous visitors.

Modern Chinese architecture is best exemplified by the Beijing National Stadium which attracts up to 30,000 visitors a day. Constructed for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, it is better known as the Birds' Nest due to the myriad of steel beams which criss-cross its exterior.

Dining and Nightlife

The world’s largest Chinatown, Beijing is the ultimate destination to try Chinese cuisine. Street food is abundant and delicious: try little steamed ‘baozi’ buns, peking duck or cold noodles with cucumber, tofu and sesame seeds. However, only the strongest of stomach may want to sample the roasted scorpions.

Head to the famous lantern-lit road of Guijie Street to try a hot pot; this Asian fondue is a simmering stock in which guests cook their own food. Or try Peking Duck in Chao Yang Park – clichéd but delicious and an experience in itself.

Nightlife in Beijing is both lively and fun, and the bar and club scenes at San Li Tun and Hou Hai run so far into the next day that’ll you be glad of Beijing’s 24-hour food culture.

Flights to Beijing, China

Beyond Beijing

The Great Wall of China, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Wonders of the World, embraces such broad dimensions that nothing else compares. It runs 10,000 miles across China from east to west, and can be seen from space. The closest place to visit it is in Badaling, just 75kms north of Beijing. However, it pays to travel an extra 45kms to the 14th century Simatai section in Gubeikou: it is less touristy and the wall is in far better condition. This section is 5.4kms long with 35 watchtowers which snake along the mountain ridges and is a truly remarkable place for sightseeing, hiking and exploration.