Bustling Beijing has been a favorite with tourists for decades. Yes, it is unbelievably crowded and very busy; but the city always seems to have time for culture and tradition and it is this charm that attracts people from all over the world. Moreover, Beijing can be a very affordable destination in spite of its eminence as a capital city. Just find out how to explore the city without straining your purses to make your Beijing budget holiday a success.
Its importance as a business center makes it easy to get cheap flights to Beijing from all parts of the world. Just make sure you select the right time to get cheap tickets to Beijing. For instance, the city gets very crowded during the Chinese New Year in Jan-Feb and the National Day Holiday in October. Avoid traveling to Beijing in these months; it’s better to book your tickets for April to June or September.
The hotels scene in Beijing has changed dramatically after the 2008 Olympics; lots of hotels have sprung up and are quite affordable when compared to their western counterparts. Rack rates may seem very high, but when you bargain directly with hotels, it is possible to get rooms at half of those prices or even less with a few perks thrown in like free breakfast or transfers. Hostels are also available with all modern amenities; select a hostel close to subway stations to make it easier for you to travel.
The subway in Beijing is a boon to budget travelers. With clear English directions, the subway is easy to use and very convenient. Alternately, if you stay close to attractions, you can hire a bicycle and explore the city the way the locals do. If you prefer hiring a cab to travel around, get your hotel to book a reliable taxi and make sure the driver turns on the meter. Beware of unofficial taxis near the airport and tourist sites.
Tiananmen Square: The largest public square in the world, the Tiananmen Square is an important place to visit in Beijing. The square is a hub for kite-flying children and this sight is delightful to watch. See the Tiananmen Tower, the Great Hall of The People and the Memorial Hall of Chairman Mao. Filled with history and the present, this square shouldn’t be missed.
The Forbidden City: It’s easy to cycle across the Tiananmen Square to visit the magnificent Forbidden City. Pay a small fee to enter and get lost in the sights of the Imperial Palace. The Imperial Garden, the Hall of Supreme Harmony and the Palace Museum are must visits.
The Great Wall: Yet another world-famous attraction of Beijing, The Great Wall of China stretching over 4000 miles is fascinating to visit. Badaling is the closest entrance to the Great Wall from Beijing, but it is also the most crowded. The Mutainyu section can be a better alternative with a toboggan ride downhill that’s exciting. You can combine this trip with a visit to the Ming Tombs.
While these are the main attractions, the Temple of Heaven, the Beihai Park, the Great Bell Temple and the Beijing National Stadium are other attractions that are definitely worth a visit.
Food stalls and restaurants near popular attractions may be touristy and expensive; try dining in local eateries to taste the best of Beijing’s cuisine and get food at much lesser rates. And if you want to shop, brush up on your bargaining skills before you enter any market in Beijing.
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