If you go up North in China to see the Great Wall, it's very likely that you will stay several days in Beijing and that's good because there's lot of things to do there . Here is the menu :
Yes , you will have to go through crowds of tourists but the Forbidden City is THE place in town that you can not miss if you are in Beijing. There you will find the largest and best preserved palaces in China and it will probably take you several hours to explore this mythical place . A city within the city, this large architectural complex was the residence of the Emperor of China and his entourage . If you can, avoid the weekends to go to the Forbidden City .
It will be difficult for you to avoid Tiananmen square facing the Forbidden City. It is the largest square in the world but most importantly the symbolic centre of the Chinese universe designed by Mao to project the influence of the Communist Party. Moreover, it does feel that the place belongs more to the government than people: the place is under high surveillance, surrounded by military and visitors have to pass a security check that checks all bags whenever you want to go to the square.
Beijing Duck has the same taste as the duck we eat in France but a visit to Beijing is not complete without tasting this traditional dish . There are plenty of restaurants where you can eat duck n but the prices can be very competitive. Ask a local to advise you a place to not get ripped off .
It is nice to escape the noise and the traffic of capital by going to walk in the parks. Jingshan Park is an imperial garden worth visiting . This one is located just behind the Forbidden City . Besides at the top of the artificial hill in the middle of the park there is a pavilion where you have a breathtaking view of the Forbidden City.
The Chinese are quite reserved and don't usually go to nightclubs, they do not like dancing. However they are willing to stay awake until morning to spend the night singing in a Karaoke TV ! You will find KTVs all over China. Groups of friends rent a room where they spend the evening singing and drinking in front of a TV screen . My Couchsurfing host invited me twice to join him and his friends to a KTV . I must say that I did not feel very comfortable to be there with groups of people I didn't know – and on top of that most Chinese sing pretty well ! - But I definitely love the concept and that's something I would appreciate a lot more with my own group of friends!
The Lama Temple
If there is a temple not to be missed in Beijing, it is this one! You will find many Buddhas statues inside this magnificent Tibetan-style monastery.
It is very easy to apply for a Vietnamese visa from Beijing but you have to wait five days to get your passport back. It is probably better to go to the embassy straight when you arrive in the city. It will cost 360 yuan (about 44 euros.) The embassy is located 32 Guanghua Road, Chaoyang
Chinese Hot Pot Hai Di Lao
This is the person who hosted me in Beijing who took me to taste my first Chinese hot pot. The place where we went is a chain that specializes in hot pot. It is extremely popular, we had not booked so we had to wait for over an hour for a table! They gives you card games for you to play while you're waiting! It's totally worth it! This huge restaurant not to be missed is on Baijiazhuang road.