Beijing is one of China’s true citadels and is a classic example of old meets new. From its ancient hutongs, palaces and temples to the bustling metropolis and Olympic stadiums, this city is a really exciting destination.
The heart of Beijing is the massive Tiananmen Square, one of the largest public spaces in the world and scene of the brutal crackdown in 1989. Chairman Mao proclaimed the birth of People’s Republic of China here in 1949 in front of half a million people, and his body lies in state in a massive mausoleum that is still visited by thousands every day. Capitalism may be in place in all but name, but there is still reverence for the founder of the communist state - Mao’s giant portrait also hangs over the entrance to the fascinating Forbidden City, the main residence for a succession of pre-Maoist leaders of equally dubious moral certitude, the dynastic emporers. Don’t forget a visit to the Summer Palace, an oasis of calm in an otherwise busy city.
Meanwhile the Great Wall remains one of the most impressive feats of human endeavour and well worth a visit. We will take you to one of the quieter spots so you can enjoy this amazing spectacle as it should be enjoyed.
Staying at these two iconic properties is an excellent way of exploring Beijing to its full potential. Peninsula Beijing is located very centrally, allowing you to explore on foot and with your guide. The exclusive Aman at the Summer Palace gives a unique opportunity to spend time away from the crowd in the Summer Palace whilst staying in the height of luxury.
When to travel
Beijing enjoys four distinctive seasons owning to its humid continental climate, ranging from very warm during the summer: 28ºC to 38ºC, to chilly and dry during the winter: -10ºC to 10ºC. Autumn (September to early November) is the optimal season to visit Beijing as the weather is gorgeous and fewer tourists are in town. In winter, it’s glacial outside (dipping as low as -20°C) and the northern winds cut through the city. Arid spring is OK, apart from the awesome sand clouds that sweep in from Inner Mongolia and the static electricity that discharges everywhere. Spring also sees the snow like liuxù(willow catkins) wafting through the air and collecting in drifts. From May onwards the mercury can surge well over 30°C. Beijing simmers under a scorching sun in summer (reaching over 40°C), which also sees heavy rainstorms late in the season. Maybe surprisingly, this is also considered the peak season, when hotels typically raise their rates and the Great Wall nearly collapses under the weight of marching tourists. Air pollution can be intolerable in both summer and winter.
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Location and directions
The first three nights are spent at the Peninsula Beijing, located on Goldfish Lane in Beijing's cultural district, adjacent to the Wangfujing shopping. From there it then onto Aman at Summer Palace for two night. Aman at Summer Palace is an oasis of calm situated a mere 15km from Beijing’s Forbidden City, on Gongmenqian Street adjacent to the East gate of the Summer Palace.
How to get there
10-hour flight to Beijing Capital International Airport. Peninsula Beijing is 45-minutes from the airport.