The only direct return flight out of the UK to Beijing is from London Heathrow Airport. This direct flight has a duration of 11 hours and 15 minutes and is offered by Air China. A one-way direct flight between Manchester and Beijing is offered by Hainan Airways, the duration of which is 10 hours and 55 min.
Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) serves the capital city of China. The Terminal 3 of the airport is the second busiest in the world, first being Terminal 3 of Dubai International airport and is the sixth largest building in terms on land area. It is one of the busiest airports in the world. Beijing Capital International Airport is 32 kilometres away from the city centre. In 2017, the airport served a whopping 98.7 million passengers.
The cheapest time to the year to fly to Beijing is from November to February. As the winter approaches, Beijing wraps itself to shield from the cold and the ordinary tourists leave for their homes. The opportunists though, grab this chance to travel and find accommodation in Beijing at low prices. The lower than average prices in the winter months are a window for those on a tight budget to visit Beijing cheaply.
A British Citizen requires a visa to visit Beijing. Please contact and apply for a visa at the Chinese Embassy in London and contact them for further details and information. According to the embassy’s website, a British national can apply for a single or a multiple entrance visa for £85. A further £15 is charged for express delivery. When applying for the visa please take a passport-size photo of yourself, which would be needed in the process.
The best time to visit Beijing is in the March to October period. In March, the spring air freshens up the experience of the city and sightseeing in this atmosphere has its own charm. By the beginning of summer, the local Chinese tourists begin to rush to the city and it gets a bit too warm in July but still is pleasant. If the crowds put you off, perhaps it would be best to come to Beijing on the shoulders of this period. On the other hand, if you are a people’s person, you will not find a better time than coming in July to Beijing, to make some real Chinese contacts and friends. The autumn rains, in September, dissipate the August heat and hint the local people to prepare for the winter.
Chinese culture is one of the oldest cultures in the world. At the centre of this culture lies the city of Beijing, which has been the longest serving capital of the Chinese civilization. For the last 800 years, this city has hosted Emperors, Kings, Queens, Generals and more recently Presidents of the Chinese nation. The city has 7 UNESCO World heritage site within its domains.
- The Mutianyu section of Great Wall of China is in the northeast of Beijing city. It was first constructed by the Northern Qi dynasty in the 6th century but was continuously restored and extended by successive empires and dynasties. Today, it stands in its original form and is open to tourists. If you do not want to climb the 4000 stairs of the wall, lifts have been mounted to transport tourist up and down the structure. Ninety per cent of the surrounding area is covered with forests and creeks flow by the Great wall’s side.
- The Summer Palace is in the north-west of the city of Beijing. The Summer Palace was first built by the Jin dynasty in the 1150’s but was further expanded to almost its current state by the Qing dynasty in the 1730’s. The Summer Palace is essentially a manmade lake; the earth that was excavated was formed into a hilly island, right at the centre of the lake. This hill is called the Longevity Hill. On the Island, there are many magnificent buildings like the tower of Buddhist Incense, the Marble Boat Building and the Opera House. Through the centuries, the Summer Palace was a getaway for many Emperors of China, and the lakes surrounding it irrigated the agricultural lands of the city.
- The Temple of Heaven was built by the Yongle Emperor in 1420. The Temple of Heaven is a marvel of Chinese architecture and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. The temple represents the confluence of heaven and earth. The heaven is represented by a circle and the earth is represented by a square, both these patterns are repeated in the design of the temple. The number 9, said to be sacred and represents the emperor’s might, is also carved into the stones and tiles that line the temple walls. The four dragon pillars in the inner circle of the temple represent the four seasons. They are a representation of the Yin and Yang; the death and rebirth of all things.
All through the first half of January, there are multiple Ice and Snow festivals in Beijing, especially at the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium. The Chinese New Year is celebrated at the end of January. People rush to famous temples in the city to pray for a fortunate year. People also wear and decorate their home according to the new Chinese zodiac animal. Run over the Great Wall at the Huangyaguan Great Wall Marathon in mid-May. The Marathon is not for the faint-hearted because it also includes climbing the 4000 steps of the wall. The centuries-old Dragon boat festival is celebrated on the 5th day of the fifth month of the Chinese calendar, near the summer solstice. Watch the competing teams from all over the world, working like an engine; aggressively paddle the boat to the finish line. As the leaves turn red, Chrysanthemums start to bloom in October and the Beijing Chrysanthemum Exhibition comes to life. The exhibition stays open for the entire month.
Beijing is encircled by five ring roads. There are nine expressways that connect the central parts of the city to the peripheral suburban areas and to cities in neighbouring provinces. Eleven National Highways connect the capital city to various parts of the country as well. Beijing traffic congestion was a problem of the past. Thanks to Beijing’s subway system, commuters travel from one point in the city to the next with just one swipe of a card. Over 12.5 million rides are taken through the subway, every day. Additionally, the bus network is extraordinary and can help you get to where the subways have yet not reached. Moving within Beijing is easy and an experience on its own.
There are many five-star hotels in Beijing. With a powerful economy and ever-accumulating geopolitical strength, every major international hotel chain has opened their business in the capital city of China.
- New World Beijing Hotel
- Grand Millennium Beijing
- Shangri-La's China World Hotel
- Hilton Beijing Wangfujing
- Kerry Hotel Beijing