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Why fly to Beijing?
It is the city of forbidden palaces and festivals, home to exotic rituals and customs. Flying into Beijing is like flying to another planet if you are from the West. The colors, the sounds, the scents and the streets will bombard you as you make your way into the city from the airport. Everything will seem fascinating and once you actually step foot into the city you will realize you were right all along.
Beijing is China's capital and comes in second after Shanghai as the country's largest city. Beijing is the grandparent of cities, ringing in at 3000 years old. With such a lengthy history it is no surprise that monuments to all of the significant periods in the city's life are varied and dotted throughout the city
One of the largest squares in the world sits in Beijing and for both visitors and locals Tiannamen Square represents a big moment in history for China and for democratic rights the world over. Many people can remember sitting at home watching the 1989 riots when young people went head to head with authorities as a show of force and a show of democratic rights. Visiting the square is a little lesson in history.
The Forbidden City also sits in Beijing, accept it is not forbidden anymore. Now thousands of visitors pour into the site, which houses more than 800 buildings to view how exactly it was that the emperors and their families lived.
The city is also home to beautiful temples, galleries and museums as well as giant shopping malls.
Festivals play a big role in the city and if you can make your trip here during one of the many festivals you will see a city decorated in red lanterns and a sky full of colorful fireworks every night.
Beijing has hot humid summers and cool winters with below-zero temperatures. In the summer temperatures hover close to 30 and cool somewhat during the evening.
When to fly to Beijing
Beijing is a popular city to visit and as a result flights are expensive during the summer months. The high prices are also apparent during December and right into February as many people go to the city to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
A good time to snag some deals is just after the new year celebrations from March to April. October and November are also good choices for a trip with flight prices reasonable and light jacket weather.
Getting into Beijing
Beijing Capital International Airport is really one of the most interesting airports in the world with so much to do you could easily spend a few hours exploring the shopping and dining. However, I'm sure you aren't flying to Beijing to hang out in the airport so to get going on your Beijing adventure you will need to get into the city and there are several good options.
If you are going to central Beijing hop on the express train. The airport buses travel all over the city including central Beijing but the trip could take almost an hour, more than double the train time. And if you don't want the hassle of figuring all of that out after a long flight just grab a metered taxi outside of the airport.
Getting around Beijing
Beijing has a good public transportation network including public bus service that gets you into all corners of the city as well as a well connected subway. Taxis are also an inexpensive way of getting into the city and in fact hiring a driver won't be a hit to your pocketbook either.
- Try the famous Beggar's Chicken. The dish hails from Changshu and is popular in Beijing. It is a deliciously flavored chicken wrapped in clay and roasted. Definitely a must-try meal. The story behind the chicken is about a beggar who was very hungry but had no tools to cook the chicken so he decided to roast it at the foot of Yu Mountain.
- A visit to Beijing Aquarium will bring you face-to-face and hand-to-face with all sorts of animals. The interactive exhibits allow visitors to touch some of the sea creatures - children absolutely love this and the information provided throughout the venue makes for a great educational experience.
- Get your emperor cloak on and head out to the Summer Palace. The beautifully landscaped grounds are where the royals once promenaded and now they are open for you to do the same. The site hosts beautiful old temples as well as a small lake where you can spend a cool afternoon, relaxing and perhaps picnicking.
- If you're brave, and since you're travelling you should be. Try some of Beijing's delicacies like scorpions and silkworms. It may not be your cuisine of choice, but it is definitely a story waiting to be told once you get back home.
- Compare flights to Beijing from Australia on AirfaresFlights.com.au.
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