There are one million bicycles in Beijing…
Beijing – the most famous ancient capital of China, it is an explosion of people, colours, historic and cultural sites to whet the appetites of even the most unenthusiastic of travellers. Major historic sites such as the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, Tian’anmen Square and the Great Wall have been joined by modern architecture in the city, namely the Olympic Stadium, the Bird’s Nest and the National Grand Theater.
Although Beijing is not the cheapest travel destination in China due to the rise of tourism, the good news is that it is still possible to experience it for less than $25 a day! How? Here are some tips!
Check in the Sanlitun Youth Hostel (Wangfujing hostel) where you will be charged $4 per night for a bed in 6 bed dorms (female or male rooms are available). Its location is perfect as it will take you only 10 minutes (walk) to get to the subway station from where you can easily get to any of Beijing main attractions. There is also a Yashow market nearby – one of the famous shopping markets for you to buy all types of designer clothing brands (most likely fake). The hostel has a free WiFi, library, luggage store and 24/7 hot shower. There is a free dumpling party every Friday to get everyone together and have a nice time chatting and cooking. The staff was friendly, but with limited English to be able to answer our questions or guide us about what was around or how to get to different places. My overall experience was good, and I would recommend it to travelers going to this area.
Surprisingly, Beijing has a lot to offer in terms sightseeing on the cheap. The city is filled with various free attractions and you can enjoy many without paying much or paying a little. Here is what you can do:
1. Visit Jingshan Park (free of charge).
Jiangshan Park is located at the exit of the Forbidden City and it offers fantastic views back across the Forbidden City itself and also around the rest of central Beijing. You can walk there, breath some fresh air and have a little picnic. It’s a great place for yoga and meditation lovers.
2. Head to Tiananmen Square (free of charge).
Tiananmen Square is one of the most popular spots in Beijing. If you head there in early afternoon, it is not going to be that busy. You can see various dragon and street dance performances at that time, take some photos of Mao’s portrait and see little kids fly some kites.
3. Climb the Great Wall of China ($2).
Forget about local tours and try to get to Mutianyu (the most renovated part of the Great Wall of China) on your own. Take one of the local buses (867 is the best one) which take you directly to Mutianyu. You will pay around $2 for 1 hour ride and you can explore the Great Wall as long as you want to. If you are looking for more adventures, why not spend a night on the Wall playing guitar, having a picnic and watching the sky!
4. Don’t miss Temple of Heaven ($3).
Admission fee for world’s famous Temple of Heaven is around $3., but it’s absolutely worth spending it as its grand architectural style and profound cultural connotation will give an insight into the practices of the ancient Eastern civilization. The temple itself is extremely beautiful and there is a charming park at the end where you can chill out a bit and dance with locals.
5. Beijing Zoo ($2,50).
Beijing Zoo is a must visit place when you travel with kids. It’s easy to get to the zoo by metro/subway, as a station is at the front entrance. The zoo is huge and its biggest attraction are pandas. You can see them eating, moving around, and they are easy to view. Some were sleeping. There are pandas inside an enclosed viewing area – glass surround. It’s definitely a nice and relaxing place for the whole family.
Eat and Drink
If you are a fan of street food, Beijing is going to be your favorite city in China as it offers a great variety of extremely cheap, tasty, filling and easy accessible food sold at every corner of the street. You can enjoy Chinese dumplings on the go (baozi and jiaozi) for $1 per serving, a bowl of noodles for less than $1, a massive plate of fried rice with egg and tomato for $1,5 or some fresh local sweet bread which will cost you only $0.25.
Would you like to dine out at night with friends? Great! Beijing is famous for its local restaurants where Beijing duck is served. would highly recommend the Dadong Roast Duck (Dongsi) restaurant located at 1-2 Nanxincang Guoji Dasha, 22A Dongsishitiao, Dongcheng district, Beijing 100007, China (Beijing Workers’ Sports Complex). Service was superb and food was just excellent. The duck was just amazing – well baked, crispy crust, served with Mandarin pancakes, green onions and creamy sauce. The whole course for 4 people costs ($16).
Moreover, there are plenty of food vendors and fruit and vegetable markets around, so if you get hungry you can grab a bowl of noodles, some tropical fruits or veggie juice.
Also check out this article on how Different places to visit in China!
This post was written by the lovely Agness Walewinder. Agness is a Polish travel blogger who has been travelling and living in different Asian countries since 2011. She is well known for travelling the world for less than $25 per day and she shares her tricks and tips with the readers of her blog called eTramping.com. Moreover, she is a food lover obsessed with Chinese cuisine, yoga passionate, life enthusiast and photography freak.