Previously a dull and dusty capital, Beijing is now an international metropolis determined to reinvent itself. With its multitude of tourist attractions, mouth-watering eateries and lavish hotels, Beijing is a fascinating city to explore.
Tiananmen Square, lined with grand buildings and socialist monuments, is a favourite of many Beijing hotel patrons. Continue onto the Forbidden City, the splendidly preserved former imperial palace of the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Then take time to amble through one of the traditional Hutong neighbourhoods, with their tiny winding alleys and laneways.
For the footsore taking a taxi back to their hotel, it's recommended to have the name of your accommodation in Beijing written in Chinese characters to show the driver.
Most travellers find it easiest to ask their hotel in Beijing to organise their tour to the Great Wall of China. For the more adventurous, arrange for a driver to drop you to Jinshanling and hike along the wall to Simatai, where some of the wall clings to precipitous mountain ridges, giving breathtaking views.
Back in Beijing, hotels are never far from restaurants serving delicious regional delicacies. Apart from the ever-popular roasted Peking Duck, try Mongolian hot pot or tiny hand-wrapped Jiaozi dumplings.