As the 8th most populated city on the planet, Beijing can be hectic, busy, and smoggy. However, Chinese capital is the location of several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace and The Great Wall of China.
Why is it called forbidden you ask? That’s because it was forbidden for commoners to enter during the emperors’ reign. Just as a fun fact. Forbidden city, walled off from the rest of Beijing, truly is like a city within a city. China’s imperial palace for almost 500 years is a stunning maze of temples and shrines and it is huge. It seemed even bigger when we were trying to find an exit to escape the hot sun and unbelievable crowds. I was amazed by the number of Chinese and the almost absence of western tourists.
Link to my other China blog post
Temple of Heaven
Temple of Heaven is an imperial complex of mostly religious buildings and is another heritage site. The area it covers is even larger than the Forbidden City.
The Summer Palace in northwest Beijing, is said to be the best preserved imperial garden in the world, and the largest of its kind still in existence in China.
The Great Wall of China
It’s save to say we all have our own bucket list, either written down on a piece of paper or just taking mental notes of things we want to do/see. Well visiting the Great Wall of China was on mine for as far as my memory goes. And lets admit it – going to Beijing without seeing the Great Wall is like going to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. The wall was built to keep out Mongolian tribes, is around 21.000 km long and nowadays one of the world’s most renowned tourist attractions.
Yu Yuan or just ”Yu” Gardens
While the area around Yu Garden is quite commercialized it’s still one of the few old sights left in Shanghai. Not far from the Bund, Yu Yuan is the only garden left in Shanghai from the Ming Dynasty. Wandering the alleys of Yu Yuan, you can do some shopping, enjoy the traditional Chinese architecture and try some delicious food.
For the best view of Shanghai’s incredible skyline, head to the Bund. You might think that going to Shanghai’s waterfront boulevard once is enough. However to me, the Bund completely transforms itself at night, so if you can, book a cruise down the river to get the best views.
Oriental Pearl Tower
Located in the Pudong Park, the Oriental Pearl Radio and TV Tower is one of the most iconic structures of the Shanghai skyline. For a 360-degree bird’s-eye view of the city go to the top deck. If you’re afraid of heights, you might want to skip this one out, as the floor has a glass-bottom ‘transparent observatory’. Right next to it, there a Century Overbridge, a beautiful pedestrian footbridge is an amazing place to take a walk on, especially during the sunset and the evening hours.
Shanghai Tower is the tallest building in Shanghai and the second tallest building in the world. It measures 632 meters in height, and includes 127 floors above ground. It is also famous for having the speediest elevators on the planet.
Zhujiajiao Old Town
Also known as The Venice of Shanghai, Zhujiajiao ancient water town lies only a short ride away from Shanghai’s city centre and it is what I always imagined China would look it. A good thing about this place is, that there are lots of little traditional places to eat different Chinese dishes. A bad thing is also that there are lots of little traditional places to eat and different Chinese dishes. Looking at pigs feet, trapped turtles and some other things I didn’t want to guess what they were, while walking around in boiling heat, threw me of a bit here. Still, a great way to escape the modern’s city hustle and bustle.