How to spend 48 hours in Beijing

by Travelbag on 21 August 2015, 10:08AM

Beijing, the capital of China, and one of the largest cities in the world – has plenty to offer any intrepid traveller or tourist. The moment you land in the city, you’ll be raring to explore – spurred on by the bustling nature of the city and the friendly, enthusiastic locals, ready and willing to recommend things to do.

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It’s a massive capital and has history stretching back 3 millennia – that’s a long time – and so (of course) there is a lot to see and do. Not just the historical monuments and stunning ancient temples – but the modern city too. Both new and old live alongside each other here harmoniously – and as a visitor to the city you’ll want to see and explore both sides to Beijing’s character.

The Forbidden City

Your first stop in the city should be one of the most well known sites and most popular tourist attractions. This will give you a taste of what’s to come and hopefully ease you into the hustle and bustle of Beijing. The Forbidden City once housed many of the Chinese Emperors from the Ming and Qing Dynasty and this history and grandeur can be seen when you visit the Forbidden City. You’ll feel as though you’re stepping back in time, and the ancient structures will have you staring up in awe. This is a great place to introduce yourself to traditional Chinese architecture and design too – and the design features here inspired many other temples throughout the city.

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Tiananmen Square

This landmark in the city is the largest public square, and can hold up to a million people. It’s so huge you won’t be able to fit it all in one photograph. Historically the square is known for two things. On the one hand it is where the ceremony for the founding of the People’s Republic was held, an extremely important part of China’s history and growth. On the other hand, tragically, the square is also best known for the Tiananmen Square protests and the shooting of several hundred (perhaps more) civilians by soldiers. Whichever way you choose to remember the square, it’s certainly part of the city that deserves to be witnessed.

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Grab some local-inspired lunch

Interested in trying the local food? Everyone who has been to Beijing would recommend The Roast Duck and the Imperial Court Food for trying out local flavours and typical Chinese cuisine. There’s not just Chinese food though – you can choose from an array of selections (some might argue there is too much choice!). Once you’ve decided what to have, tuck in and enjoy!

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Buy your souvenirs

Before heading back to your hotel to freshen up for the evening, head to one of Beijing’s famous shopping destinations for a spot of pampering and gift-buying. The main shopping destinations are the Yansha and Guomao Shopping Malls, Xidan Street and streets near Tiananmen Square such as the Wangfujing and Qianmen Streets. On these streets you’ll find a huge amount of stores and market stalls to please pretty much any taste. If you can’t find something here – it might not exist!

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Visit one of the city’s best Teahouses

Opened in 1988, the Laoshe Teahouse is one of the city’s most in demand teahouses and loved by locals and travellers alike. It’s an experience you simply can’t miss whilst in China, and it’s such a part of the culture, you’d truly be missing out if you chose not to visit.


The teahouse is decorated in a unique style, a mixture of elegance and simplicity – perfect for tourists wanting a taste of tradition. There are performances every day for guests to enjoy too – so this is not just any cup of tea!

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Wake up for the Temple of Heaven 

This is a real highlight of Beijing, and one most tourists have at the top of their to-do list when they arrive. Located in the southern part of Beijing, it is known for being one of the most sacred and holy sites in the city, as well as one of the most beautiful and ornate too.

Bear the religious side of things in mind when visiting, and dress appropriately to ensure you’re granted entry to the grounds. The temple has been one of the most holy places for the whole country for more than five centuries. If you arrive early enough, you’ll get a little taste of local culture and life too – as many people use the grounds for practicing all types of kung fu and taiji – great for photo opportunities.

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The Great Wall of China 

There are various parts of The Great Wall of China accessible from Beijing, so check with your hotel to see if they can arrange a tour or guide for you. If they can, this is a fantastic way to spend the afternoon – and is one of China’s (and the world’s) most iconic and recognizable landmarks.

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 Click here to read more about Beijing and to book your next trip


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