Situated close to the north corner of the country, Beijing (formerly Peking in English) is the capital and the second largest city of the People's Republic of China (PRC). The capital is the political, cultural and educational center of PRC. The cityscape of Beijing lives an intense modernisation and urbanisation.
Beijing Capital International Airport in suburban district Shunyi is approximately 26 km to the northeast of the central districts. Many people use taxicabs to reach town from the airport. A slightly cheaper ways to get to the city centre are to take the airport shuttle or the Airport Express train. Taxis are the preferred choice for getting around, as they are convenient and are relatively inexpensive for travelers from developed countries. Traffic jams are common. Nearly all drivers do not speak English or recognize place names written in English, so it pays to have the Chinese characters for the location ready in advance. Beijing has an extensive public transportation network of buses, trolleybuses, suburban rail and a rapidly expanding subway system. Beijing Subway is a great way to quickly get around the city and is clearly marked in English for travelers. For budget-conscious traveler, it may serve as a better mode of transport than taxis.
There are a large number of hotels throughout the city. Some of the luxury hotels in the city are New World Beijing Hotel, Hilton Beijing Wangfujing, Kerry Hotel Beijing, Fairmont Beijing, Shangri-La's China World Hotel, Raffles Beijing Hotel, The St. Regis Beijing, Shangri-La Hotel Beijing, Four Seasons Hotel Beijing, Beijing Marriott Hotel City Wall, Ascott Raffles City Beijing, Grand Hyatt Beijing, Sofitel Wanda Beijing, The Peninsula Beijing, The Westin Beijing Chaoyang, Doubletree by Hilton Beijing, Crowne Plaza Beijing Wangfujing, Park Plaza Beijing Wangfujing, Beijing Jianguo Hotel, Red Wall Garden Hotel and The Opposite House. Some of the middle range hotels are as follows: Double Happiness Courtyard Hotel, Jingshan Garden Hotel, Holiday Inn Express Beijing Dongzhimen, The Emperor Beijing Forbidden City, Holiday Inn Express Beijing Temple Of Heaven, Michael's House etc. If you are looking for a low budget place you may want to try Yi Lan Hotel, Beijing Zaoyuanju Hotel, Beijing City Central Youth Hostel, Beijing Saga International Youth Hostel or Eastern Morning Youth Hostel.
The Great Wall of China was constructed to protect the northern border in Ancient Chine. The wall was built and rebuilt throughout its history. The Great Wall is the world's longest human made structure. Today, the Great Wall at Badaling is the most impressive part of the wall. Forbidden City at Chongwen was the palace of the Imperial China from the second half of 14th to the beginning of 20th century. It takes its name from the condition that the area was closed to the world for about 5 centuries. This architectural highlight covering an area of 720.000 m2 is home to nearly 800 buildings and 9.000 rooms. Most of the structures are from the post 18th century. Temple of Heaven at Chongwen was constructed in 1420. The complex has two significant aspects. First, the son of Heaven came here to perform solemn rites for good harvests. The Emperors of Ming and Quing Dynasties worshiped Heaven. Second, the Temple of Heaven is an unprecedented architectural structure born out of Ming and Quing art of architecture. Summer Palace at Haidian covering an area of 2.9 km2 is placed at the bank of Kunming Lake. The entire palace park harbors various, palaces, gardens and many classical Chinese architectures. Royalty stayed here in summer to escape from the heat of the Forbidden City. Three quarters of the complex is water surface. A great deal of parks are existed at the city. To mention one, Beihai (North Sea) Park is one of the fundamental and cuddle parks in the city. Expanding on an area of 68 hectares, the park lies on the lake. Most of this natural and architectural brilliant is composed of water.
There are many modern shopping malls and shopping places in Beijing. The traditional arts and crafts are pretty well developed. The China World Shopping Mall hosting the latest fashions from around the world, Lufthansa Shopping Centre including from beauty products to clothing outlets, Pacific Shopping Centre being home to cosmetics, clothes for men and women, accessories, Beijing One World Department Store containing local and domestic brands are among the many shopping stores of the city. The Ladies' Street at Lufthansa district is the place of trendy boutiques for women. White jade, Mao memorabilia, brushes, silks, silk scarves, pearls, chops, inks, scrolls, handicrafts , antiques, embroidered purses, paper cuttings, wooden and bronze Buddha statues, kites all are from the local shopping world.
Wan Fung Art Gallery at Chongwen has a collection of 13.000 original masterpieces of the old and modern Chinese culture. The contemporary works of the Chinese artists are found at this art gallery. Beijing Opera (Peking Opera) is a Chinese opera form. The performances are staged via songs, speeches, dances, gestures, acrobatics and such. The performances are played in drama and musical theater forms. Beijing People's Art Theater is the spot for drama performances. Although drama is a foreign performing art the national characteristics are added to the plays staged at the theater. Beijing Exhibition Center Theater, the Capital Theater, Tianqiao Theater and Wansheng Theater are some of the other theaters in the city. Also, a plenty of festivals and cultural events are held at the city. Beijing Spring Festival (usually January-February), Lantern Festival (two weeks after the Spring Fest) and Moon Festival (around September/October) are the fundamental events held in the city. Cycling, ice skating, running, rock climbing, golf and the other main sport activities are possible to be performed at the city. The transformation that the city is experiencing shows itself in the nightlife of Beijing, as well. Lots of theme pubs and bars have been opened at the city. Likewise, the hotel bars and discos offer different night entertainment experiences.