Beijing is the capital city of China. It sits in the north of the country and is home to the Chinese government, civil service and many of China’s biggest companies. These facts combined with its huge population of over twenty million people, make it one of the most important cities in the world. The root meaning of the name, Beijing, is ‘Northern Capital’, which refers to the fact that during the era of the Ming Dynasty six hundred years ago, it was the Dynasty’s northern capital with Nanjing being its southern capital.
Direct flights from London to Beijing are approximately ten hours long. The majority of these flights leave from London Heathrow and land at Beijing’s Capital airport. Before landing you will be handed a Chinese immigration form to fill in, on which you will state the visa you are using to enter the country and any goods you have to declare. This is normally a straightforward process, however, it can lengthen the time it takes to get through the airport and out into Beijing by anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours.
Things To Do In Beijing
Beijing is steeped in both history and culture and, as such, is full of interesting things to go and see. Many of the main attractions reflect the Chinese capital’s long history and the different eras it has passed through; however, there is a distinctly modern flair to the city, too, and any visit to Beijing should aim to encompass these, too.
A great first stop is to visit the Temple of Heaven. This construction of this historic religious site was first begun way back in the early fifteenth century. It is an incredibly beautiful site of worship that was used by several of the ancient Chinese emperors to pray for bountiful harvests. It also happens to be the largest religious building in the whole of China.
The Great Wall of China is one of the most amazing examples of human architecture to be found anywhere on the planet. Stretching over five thousand miles and designed to protect the then Chinese Empire from intrusions, it is an experience you will never forget. Beijing is very close to multiple points of access to The Wall and so it has the bonus of allowing you visit each one and see it from different viewpoints.
Hotels In Beijing
If you are looking for hotel accommodation in Beijing, then there are several options. The first of these is to book the more expensive type of Beijing hotel, which offers an international standard of accommodation and caters for Western tastes in terms of food, bathrooms and other facilities. These tend to be quite expensive, although, you will still be likely to get more for your money than you would in other World capitals.
The second type of Beijing hotel accommodation is that which is not primarily geared for Westerners and, instead focuses mainly on the large Chinese domestic market. Nowadays, the vast majority of these hotels allow foreigners to stay, however, you shouldn’t expect all the facilities and services to be directly comparable with ones you would find at home. This doesn’t mean they are necessarily worse. It just means you will likely be provided with a standard Chinese shower and toilet, not be given Western newspapers and will probably find the level of English spoken to be lower. This type of hotel will, however, be cheaper!