If you ask anyone in Beijing what are the must-see sights they will tell you: ‘The forbidden city’.
And I agree. Indeed the ‘forbidden city’ is impressive and maybe even one of the top must-see sites – not only in Beijing but in the world.
During my first visit to Beijing, I had 2 weeks with no particular plans or agenda other than being a visitor. The weather was perfect and I was in top shape and good spirits. My hotel was also in walking distance from the forbidden city.
Yet, I did not visit the forbidden city.
Why ? How could anyone visit Beijing and not see it’s №1 attraction?
I will let you know why later. But let’s see some photos of Beijing first:
What I love about Beijing
Beijing is a great city. It has so many things to see and things to do that you could probably spend an entire month there and not run out of places to visit and stuff to do.
Whether you want to immerse yourself in China’s rich culture, or you want to see the modernity that is China today. Or it’s abundant history. You will find it all in Beijing.
Beijing is also not only the political and cultural capital of China but also it’s food capital. Even if you are not into Chinese cuisine Beijing is still a great place to dine out because there is also a lot of excellent international cuisine available.
Inner-city Beijing is surprisingly easy to navigate despite its vastness. That is because it was cleverly planned and built — almost like a chessboard.
At the heart of Beijing is the forbidden city. Surrounding it there are 8 or 9 ring roads built in concentric circles. Though as a visitor you will hardly ever transverse beyond the 3rd ring road.
Beijing has one of the largest subway networks in the world and the rides are cheap. The good news is destinations and the signage are all written in English as well. Find one major capital city in the Western World that has writings in Chinese…
Above all Beijing is a great place to ride a bicycle, except during winter.
There are dedicated bicycle lanes almost everywhere. And in spite, China’s relentless pursuit of modernization bicycle culture is still alive and well in Beijing. Pollution from cars is certainly a problem, but a week or two won’t kill ya…
I was very lucky during my time in Beijing
Many people who have visited Beijing or know the city have remarked that these photos must heavily ‘photoshopped’. Arguing that such blue skies are (virtually) unknown in Beijing. Those who say so are right and wrong at the same time.
They are right saying that it is very unusual for Beijing to have such blue skies and such good weather. But they are wrong about the photos being fake or ‘photoshopped’. I was just plain lucky that for over 8 days I had this perfect weather. It was hot though… in the upper 30-ies (Celsius).
Why I did not visit the forbidden city
The reason for that is much simpler than you may have thought. I like, or should I say love, Beijing so much that I knew I will come back again.
Indeed over the years, I have visited Beijing 5 or 6 times. And of course, I have visited the forbidden city during subsequent visits to Beijing.
And I will not to miss any further opportunity to visit Beijing again.
I hope you have enjoyed this essay about Beijing. And if you did enjoy it I have great news for you. There will be several more essay about Beijing.
Truly — DOMINIK
Here are 2 photos of yours Truly during that visit to Beijing:
DOMINIK in Beijing for the first time