If you want to look pretty carefully at least part of what Beijing has to offer, you need to spend about a week here. In the evening it is worth to visit the Chinese opera, shops and shopping centers and above all – enjoy the Chinese cuisine that is absolutely phenomenal. Visiting the Forbidden City – the former headquarters of the emperors of China will take about 5 – 6 hours. Of course, you can do it faster, but the whole complex is so monumental and beautiful, that it is worthwhile to spend a lot of time there to see all the buildings.
Behind the gate output of the Forbidden City is Jingshan Hill with a Buddhist temple on the top that is also a place designated as a “central point of Beijing.” It is worth to go there, especially in good weather, because of panorama of the entire capital, so you can fully appreciate the enormity of the Forbidden City.
A trip to the Great Wall will take the entire day – to reach one-way is approximately 1,5 – 2 hours, but communication is very well organized – buses leave every moment from the square near the city center. You can also buy an organized trip, often combined with a visit to the tombs of the Ming, but you should consider that it will take several hours.
Summer Palace, lying on the outskirts of the city on Lake Kunming, is one of the largest and most beautiful gardens and recreational parks in Beijing and visit its facilities, bridges, temples and pavilions will certainly take a few hours. Summer Palace was put on the UNESCO heritage list due to the harmonic integration of architectural elements in the natural landscape.
A visit to Uncle Mao and watch the goverment buildings almost always is on the list of tourist attactions. It is worth to spend 1 – 2 hours around the square, watching the main buildings and crowds of soldiers and then go on a tour of hutongs. Hutongi are the old, narrow streets with low houses built of gray brick, the old residences of the aristocracy, merchants and ordinary craftsmen. Many of them are little restaurants or gift shops.
It is not everything you can see in Beijing, but these are the main places visited by the largest number of tourists. Beijing is a safe city, so you might also come to less visited places to check the everydaylife in Beijing.