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Exploring Beijing Posted by on Nov 11, 2019 in architecture, Culture, history, Leisure, sightseeing, travel

Beijing is the capital of China (北京是中国的首都 – běi jīng shì zhōng guó de shǒu dū). This huge city is home to over 20 million people, making it the 2nd biggest city in China behind Shanghai. Beijing is China’s political, economic, and cultural center (北京是中国的政治经济和文化中心 – běi jīng shì zhōng guó de zhèng zhì jīng jì hé wén huà zhōng xīn). I called this crazy, crowded, chaotic city home for over 5 years and it will always have a special place in my heart. Exploring Beijing is tons of fun as there’s so much to see and do there, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do in this post!

A scale model of Beijing at the Planning & Exhibition Hall.

3 Day Beijing Tour

I realize that most people won’t spend half a decade in Beijing. Thankfully, you can cover most of the highlights in the city in just 72 hours. This post shows you what to do and does so in Chinese, so it’s great practice for your reading and an excellent vocabulary builder. Here are the videos for each of the three days as well:

Top Beijing Attractions

There are a few places that are on everyone’s bucket list when visiting Beijing. Learn all about five of them (Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, and Great Wall) in this post.

Tiananmen – the heart of China.

You’ll find the Chinese names for each place, plenty of information, and a video for each one. Here’s my personal favorite – our experience camping on the Great Wall!

Taking the Beijing Subway

Beijing is a massive city that’s very spread out. Traffic jams can be pretty brutal here, so the best way to get around is on the subway. Read this post to learn all about the Beijing 地铁 with plenty of useful words and phrases to help you get around.

Taking the Beijing Subway

Beijing subway during rush hour. Can you spot the two 老外?

Check out this flashback video to see what it’s like on the Beijing tube. This was one of the first videos I made for Transparent Chinese way back in the day!

Beijing Hutong

One of my favorite things about Beijing is the traditional alleyways, or hutong (胡同 – hú tòng). Unfortunately, these have been disappearing at an alarming rate as the wrecking ball comes down to make way for more high-rises and shopping malls. Read all about the hutong in this post and why they’re so important to the city.

Explore the hutong.

If you want to see more of the Beijing hutong, watch this short video I made about them:

5 Awesome Beijing Day Trips

While there’s plenty to see and do in the city, once in a while you have to get out of the concrete jungle. Thankfully there are plenty of awesome day trips you can take from Beijing. Read about five of them in this post, including the Fragrant Hills and Shi Du.

Summer Fun in Beijing

Winters are long and painfully cold in Beijing. That’s why you really have to take advantage of the warmer months and get out outside. Read all about the fun things to do in and around Beijing in the summer in this post.

Hiking in Beijing’s Yanqing County.

Santa Con

What happens when “Christmas Old Man” (the translation of the Chinese word for Santa Claus) comes to Beijing? Hilarity ensues! Participating in the annual Santa Con event was definitely one of my favorite things about living in Beijing. Check out some highlights from Santa Con 5 in this video and get ready to laugh!

What a ridiculous good time that was! There’s nothing quite like parading through the streets of Beijing in a mob of drunken Santas…

Practice Questions

Now that you’ve watched some videos and read a few posts about Beijing, try to answer these practice questions in Chinese:

你去过北京吗?
nǐ qù guò běi jīng ma
Have you been to Beijing?

在北京你去过什么地方?
zài běi jīng nǐ qù guò shèn me dì fāng
Which places have you been in Beijing?

哪个是你最喜欢的? 为什么?
nǎ ge shì nǐ zuì xǐ huān de? wèi shén me
Which is your favorite? Why?

你要去什么地方?
nǐ yào qù shén me dì fāng
Which places do you want to go to?

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About the Author: sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.


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