Spend the day exploring the city of Beijing. Visit Tian'anmen Square, where you will see Chairman Mao's Mausoleum, Monument to the People's Heroes and the Great Hall of the People. Continue on to the Forbidden City before enjoying a rickshaw ride through the hutongs. Later, spend the evening in the Houhai district. Overnight stay in Beijing.
Meal plan: Breakfast
The city of Beijing lies in northern China and is one of the largest and most populous cities in the world. As one of the country’s six ancient cities, it is thought to be the point where historic and modern China meet. This vibrant capital is home to world-famous ancient sites, including the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, as well as some of the world’s most innovative modern architecture, including the 2008 Olympic Park.
The Forbidden City, also known as the Palace Museum or Gu Gong, lies at the heart of Beijing. Built under the rule of the Emperor Chengzu in the Ming Dynasty, the Forbidden City holds the best-preserved and largest imperial palace in China - serving 24 emperors over five centuries. The essence of traditional Chinese architecture can be seen in the yellow roofing of the city, considered to be the symbol of royalty. Listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, the palace is now a museum and has become one of China’s most popular tourist attractions.
Tian'anmen Square, in central Beijing, is named after the Tian'anmen - or ‘Gate of Heavenly Peace’ - located to its north. This large square is of great cultural and historical significance, containing the Monument to the People’s Heroes, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong. In more recent history, the square has been the site of many political protests, including the student-led demonstration known as the ‘June Fourth Incident’ of 1989.
The lakes of Houhai, Qianhai and Xihai are together known as Shichahi. Houhai is the largest of the three lakes and was exclusively for the royal family during the Yuan Dynasty. The area surrounding these lakes, known as the Houhai District, has become well known in recent years for its restaurants, bars and cafes.