The “must-sees” in Beijing are spread out over a large area. If time is short, it’s best to limit your excursions to sites in the central part of the city. Here is an itinerary for a non-stop but adventure-filled day:
Dawn – For early risers: Catch the flag-raising ceremony in Tiananmen Square. (Late risers, don’t despair: there is also a flag-lowering ceremony at sundown.)
8:00 am – Stroll the infamous Tiananmen Square where the controversial events of June 4, 1989 took place.
8:45 am – Visit the Forbidden City and discover its hidden secrets.
12:30 pm – Take a taxi to the north side of Beihai Lake, between Beihai and Qianhai Lakes (Back Lakes region). Stroll around Qianhai Lake and choose an appealing restaurant for lunch. You can even eat on a boat!
2:00 pm – Stroll around Beihai Park and lake, take a boat ride, visit Jade Island and the White Pagoda (highest point in Beijing, great views of Forbidden City on a clear day).
4:30 pm – Take a tour of the city’s hutong by pedicab. Find a pedicab guide outside of Starbucks on the southside of Qianhai Lake and see if you can bargain your way to a reasonable price.
6:30 pm – Take a taxi to Wangfujing Dajie for some famous Beijing Duck at Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant.
9:30 pm – Walk a few steps to the east of Wangfujing Dajie to Donghuamen Night Market to sample some exotic fare and mingle with interesting people. Then return to your hotel for a Pepto Bismal and a well-earned night’s rest.
Want more information on traveling in Beijing? Check out www.prayerwalkbeijing.com.