Cheap Tours and Activities in Beijing
Beijing, China's massive capital, has history stretching back 3 millennia. Yet it's known as much for its modern architecture as its ancient sites such as the grand Forbidden City complex, the imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Nearby, the massive Tiananmen Square pedestrian plaza is the site of Mao Zedong's mausoleum and the National Museum of China, displaying a vast collection of cultural relics. Few places on earth can match the extraordinary historical panorama on display in Beijing. There are six Unesco World Heritage Sites in this city alone, and it's not just the ancient architecture that wows tourists. Beijing is also home to some of the world's most innovative modern buildings. Constantly reimagining itself as it races towards the future, yet inextricably linked to its glorious, notorious past, Beijing is as compelling as it is complex. Food is an obsession for the Chinese and the dazzling array of different dishes you'll encounter in Beijing reflects the sheer joy locals take in eating. Dining out is the main social activity; it's in restaurants that Beijingers party with friends, romance each other, hold family reunions and do business, and the sheer variety of places to eat here is mind-boggling. With so much to see, do, and taste, Beijing is a great place to experience, and there are several options for exciting activities and tours in or near the area to help you make the most of your time here.
Explore a historical side of Beijing on a full-day tour that takes you to some of the most important spots in the city. After pick-up from your hotel, you will set out for an interesting and informative day of sightseeing, led by an English-speaking guide.
First, make your way to Tiananmen Square, the third-largest city square in the world. You will see the communist blocks surrounding one side and the imperial buildings on another. Next, make your way through Tiananmen Gate to the Forbidden City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The complex here is made up of almost 1,000 buildings and was the home of the Chinese emperors for nearly 500 years. Stop for lunch at a local restaurant, before continuing on to the Temple of Heaven, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here is where the emperors used to go to worship heaven and offer sacrifices. Finally, it's shopping time, where you'll see how the craftsmen make fresh-water pearls. Take the opportunity to buy some jewelry or souvenirs of your own.
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Depart from your hotel in a comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle and venture to the magnificent Drum and Bell Tower, where the tour begins. Climb aboard your awaiting rickshaw, a traditional method of transportation designed to carry the driver and passengers, and set off to see the city sights. Climb back onto the rickshaw and explore the old streets of Beijing; learn about communities built around hutongs (narrow streets) then arrive at a local Chinese home to gain insight into traditional customs. Greet the courteous family and listen as the local people talk about their way of life. After your enriching cultural experience, head to a traditional tea house to sip freshly brewed varieties of the beverage in a richly decorated environment. At the end of tour, you might have a chance to visit the silk factory depending on group interest. Return to your vehicle and relax during the journey back to your hotel, where the tour concludes.
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Get to know Beijing from a cultural perspective with a full-day tour, including lunch.
Your tour begins at the Lama Temple, officially known as the Yonghe Temple. The temple is a Buddhist lamasery of the Yellow Hat sect, which is mainly associated with Tibet. Inside the temple, in the center of the Pavilion of Ten Thousand Happinesses, stands a grand statue, a 26 meter tall Tathagagata Buddha made from a single Tibetan sandalwood tree. Next, continue by rickshaw to see the city's hutongs. These teeming mazes of alleys, connected by traditional courtyard residences, will provide you with a glimpse of the daily life of ordinary Beijing citizens. After a stop for lunch, visit the Summer Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Used for 8 centuries, the Empress Dowager Cixi had the estate renovated in the 19th century, including the manmade lake present today. At some point during the day, you will also get to take part in a Chinese freshwater pearl workshop.
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Meet your guide early in the morning and take a whistle stop tour of the delightful Drum and Bell district with its famous 13th-century towers. Then, it's on to the main event: immersing yourself in the mystical world of Taiji Boxing. For 90 minutes, you will follow a Taiji Master and disciple of Yang's style of Taiji Boxing to learn and then have a go at this ancient and revered Chinese sport. Taiji focuses on improving oneself mentally and physically. Characterized by deliberately slow, rhythmic movements, Taiji deals with the delicate balance between Yin and Yang and the harmony between human beings and nature. This makes it not only a martial arts theory but also a treasure trove of the profound wisdom of life. Once you have mastered the art of Taiji, worked up a sweat, and crammed your brain full of life lessons, it is time to fill your stomach. You will visit a local restaurant to taste an authentic local breakfast, featuring steamed buns, fried dough sticks, mung bean milk, and stewed pork liver. Your tour will end after your meal, but before you go, be sure to talk to your local guide to discover where locals eat, drink, and shop in Beijing, so that you can get the best out of the Forbidden City during your visit.
offered by Urban Adventures
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