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Here's why you should visit Beijing in 2019

A tantalising jumble of historical temples and futuristic skyscrapers, Beijing continues to delight visitors from across the globe. Explore the concrete jungle of Tian’anmen Square or relax in the greenery of Beihai Park. Feeling hungry? Stop to taste a succulent piece of Peking duck. From food to historical attractions, these are the reasons that you should visit Beijing in 2019.

The Forbidden City

This tangle of yellow-roofed structures was once forbidden to enter without the express permission of China’s emperor. Luckily, visitors can now explore the imperial complex at their own leisure. With 980+ buildings, there’s a lot to see; make sure not to miss the Hall of Mental Cultivation, which was once the emperor’s bedchamber.

Beijing cuisine

Immerse yourself in the fresh flavours of Beijing’s street food. In the heart of the bustling city, you’ll find grilled meat kebabs, spiced noodles, and yams. Fancy something more upscale? Peking duck with spring onions is one of the many reasons it’s worth it to visit Beijing. You won’t find many Western desserts in the city, but candied fruit and ‘pea cake’ (a fudge-like dessert made from a sugary pea puree) are popular amongst the locals.

Dragon Boat festival

Every June, hundreds of wooden boats shaped like dragons can be seen gliding across Chinese waters. The festival is held in honour of poet Qu Yuan, and visitors can partake in traditional customs such as eating zongzi (sticky rice dumplings) and drinking realgar wine, a yellow wine distilled from cereal grains.

The Great Wall

You may have seen this famous attraction splashed across postcards, but it’s worth your time to visit Beijing and experience the UNESCO attraction in person. The Great Wall of China once stretched over 20,000 kilometres, and the sections around Beijing are some of the best-restored parts of the wall.

Unique, historical bars

Beijing has a vibrant hutong bar scene. Make a night out of exploring these narrow alleyways, ducking into cosy bars and courtyards for a drink. The bars may be secluded, but they’re usually packed on a Friday night, so make sure to leave plenty of time to queue for a beer or a flight of rice wine.

Giant pandas

With less than 2000 Giant Pandas remaining in the wild, the opportunity to see these furry creatures is dwindling. Take a trip to the Beijing Zoo, where you can see these bears in person at the Panda Hall. Make sure to stop in at the golden monkeys – another endangered species native to China – while you’re there.

Traditional teahouses

No trip to Beijing is complete without a visit to one of the city’s teahouses. Originally, tea was used for its medicinal qualities in China, but it has since been elevated to a popular beverage. Visit Lao She Teahouse for a theatrical experience, or Ming Hui for a teahouse located in an ancient temple. Green tea is the most popular variety of tea in China, but you’ll also find black tea (known in China as ‘red tea’), oolong tea, and floral teas.

For more information on travelling to China, please see Edinburgh Airport’s guide to exploring Beijing or the Beijing destination page.