Are you heading to Beijing China soon? If so, then you are on the right track. This blog is all about my Beijing travel guide with budget and itinerary. Take note, this Beijing travel guide is all about my personal experiences – I will share everything I have learned from this trip no matter how good it was or not.
Understanding Beijing, China
Beijing is the main capital city of China. Dubbed as the world’s populous city in the world, it is also the nation’s political, economic, cultural center. In addition, Beijing is located in the northern part of China.
The city is combined with both modern and traditional architecture. No wonder why it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Not to mention that Beijing is one of the oldest cities in the world; boasting its rich history, culture, and tradition. Also, it showcases grand palaces, temples, parks, gardens, tombs, walls and gates.
With that being said, Beijing China should be part of every traveler’s bucket list! I hope you can learn a lot from this Beijing travel guide!
How to get to Beijing?
There are direct flights from Manila to Beijing. If you are a budget traveler (like me), you can fly with Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airlines. In my case, I scored a cheaper flight via Cebu Pacific during their seat sale. I purchased my flight ticket around Php 2400 ONLY!
Take note that you can fly to Beijing on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. If you are flying with Cebu Pacific, you will need to fly from NAIA Terminal 3 to Beijing Capital Airport (PEK). The usual time of departure from Manila is around 07:15 PM and the estimated time of arrival is around 12:05 AM.
Travel time to Beijing is around 4.5 hours.
Application for a Chinese Visa to enter China
For Filipino travelers, it is required to get a Chinese visa first in order to enter China. Whether it is Beijing, Shanghai, or Guangzhou, you need to get a visa.
I know how it feels to get a visa. It feels horrifying not get approved by a consul. Fortunately, getting a Chinese visa is quite easy.
All you have to do is to complete all the requirements or documents and submit them to the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Makati.
The good thing about applying for a Chinese visa is you can do it by yourself. But if you can’t do so, it is also possible to ask for a travel agency to apply for a visa for you.
Just make sure that you have all the requirements needed in order to avoid inconvenience while applying for a visa. If you are applying for a regular visa, it only takes about 4 days while the rush one takes about 3 days. Visa fee costs Php 1400 for a single entry tourist visa.
For you to have more information about the Chinese Visa application, you can read my blog about it.
Getting around the city
Getting around Beijing is very easy and convenient. Although there are so many ways to get around the city, the subway is the best, the easiest, and the cheapest transportation to use when in Beijing. You don’t have to worry about the signs and announcements. They are also written in English. It is also to use the ticket-buying machines. The instructions are also written in the English Language. Moreover, the express train connects the airport with Dongzhimen on subway Line 2 station.
Whether you are a solo traveler or it is your first time in Beijing, you will never get lost in the city.
Places to Visit in Beijing
As I mentioned above, there are no reasons why you shouldn’t visit China. Despite the negativity that we always hear about Chinese people, it doesn’t mean that you cannot explore the beauty of China. The nation is home to UNESCO World Heritage Sites! So why not explore China?
There are so many places to visit around Beijing. Most of them have entrance fees. During my 3 days stay in the city, I was able to get a chance to travel around the city and visit some of the places that are a must-visit!
The Great Wall of Mutianyu
Mutianyu is one of the most-visited parts of the Great Wall. Known for its best-preserved Great Wall sections, it offers breathtaking views and sceneries.
It is easy to climb and much easier if you ride a cable car or luge. The Great Wall is for all ages. In addition, The Great Wall of China is obviously part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Cable Car Fee is around 120 RMB. Meanwhile, you may book your Great Wall tour from KLOOK. More to that, if you are going to avail tours from KLOOK, The Great Wall day tour already comes with free lunch.
Temple of Heaven
This is also a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Temple of Heaven is a place for the emperors of Ming and Qing Dynasties. It is built to worship heaven and pray to gain harvest.
You can find the Imperial Vault of Heaven, Circular Mound Altar, and Hall of Prayer for Harvests.
Entrance Fee: RMB 25
Yonghe Lama Temple
Yonghe Lama Temple is a Buddhist temple located in the northeast corner of the downtown of Beijing. You can see some monks and devotees inside the area.
Please refrain from taking photos or burning incense at will. Moreover, monks should not be disturbed by tourists.
Entrance Fee: RMB 25
The Summer Palace
Named as the “Royal Garden Museum”, this is the existing royal garden in China. It boasts the great achievements of the architecture art in Chinese gardens. The Summer Palace is also included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
RMB 30; Ticket Package: RMB 60
RMB 20; Ticket Package: RMB 50
Fragrant Hills Park
One of the best parks in Beijing. There are temples inside the park. This is the park where you can go hiking and reach the main peak called “The Censer Peak”.
This park is famous for having the most scenic view during the autumn season.
Entrance Fee: RMB 10
If you are up for trying some Chinese cuisine, you must head over to Quianmen Square. This is where you can see the most popular restaurants in Beijing.
In addition, Quianmen Square is one of the shopping streets in the city.
Aside from Quianmen Street, you may also head over to Wangfujing Street to go shopping and go on a food trip!
The best time to visit here is at night!
Are you a panda lover? Aside from The Great Wall of China, pandas are also one of China’s pride. Beijing Zoo is the perfect place to see panda bears and some other animals. Also, get a chance to polar bears inside the zoo!
Entrance Fee: 19 RMB (Entrance+Panda Park Fee)
The Forbidden City or also called The Palace Museum is dubbed as the largest imperial palace in the world. In addition, The Palace Museum is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The palace itself showcases China’s historical architecture and artifacts.
Make sure to bring water because the palace is really huge! It would take you 2-3 hours to roam around the palace. This is definitely a must-visit place when in Beijing!
Beijing Olympic Park
Beijing Olympic Park is a huge public park. You can walk around the park for free. But if you want to go inside the museums and centers, of course, you must pay for the entrance fees.
Another thing you must know about the park, this is where the Olympic Games 2008 was held.
Temple of Earth
The Temple of Earth is just located inside Ditan Park. Not as popular as the Lama Temple. However, you may find the place serene as it is a less crowded attraction.
Ditan Park is near the Lama Temple. This park is famous for its golden gingko trees in the autumn.
I visited Beijing this October but sad to say that the gingko trees in this park hadn’t completely changed their colors yet. But I personally loved how peaceful the place is even though there are lots of people in the area.
Located in the center of Beijing, Tiananmen means “Gate of Heavenly Peace”. This is where you can see most of the tourist spots in the area.
Other Places to Visit
If you have more time to visit other parts of the city, you may also visit the following:
Mausoleum of Mao Zedong
Gate of Heavenly Peace
Imperial Ancestral Temple
Where to stay in Beijing?
We stayed at Spring Time Hostel. The location of the Spring Time Hostel is just perfect because it is very close to some top tourist attractions such as Wangfujing Street, Forbidden City, and Lama Temple. The subway station is just also beside the hostel.
Ideal Budget for Beijing trip for 3 days
In my case, my pocket money was only Php 10 000. I exchanged my peso to RMB at the airport. The exchange rate during that time was Php 1= RMB 7.60. It was good enough as to what I have found, the rates from other money changers outside the airport are much cheaper. From that Php 10 000, I got almost RMB 1400.
I’ve got RMB 1400 and I was able to spend it on accommodation, entrance fees, food, and transportation. Still, that depends on the way you spend money on.
Airfare: Php 2400
The Great Wall day tour from KLOOK: Php 1100
Forbidden City from KLOOK: Php 448
Budget for souvenirs.
Tips & Reminders
Most Chinese can’t speak English. Make sure you bring your translation with you in case you have questions from them.
Always bring a mask. Sadly, the air quality in the city is not as good as what you think. You might think that it is just foggy outside, but the fact is it is actually the smoke that’s coming from the industrial companies.
Always take care of your belongings. In my case, I lost my phone in the subway due to my recklessness.
I highly recommend exchanging your peso to RMB or CNY from the Philippines. Based on the other blogs I have read before, it is kind of difficult to find money changers around the city. I suggest you exchange your PHP at the airport. In my experience, I tried asking for some money changers in our area and even around Pasay City. However, most of them offer lower exchange rates.
Take note that the subway station from the airport doesn’t run for 24 hours. So if you want to get out of the airport to the main city cheaply, there are shuttle buses outside the airport.
Most of the tourist attractions are fairly close to each other. You can save a lot by just walking around the city.
In addition, if you want to try some Chinese food or snacks for free, you can have them in some stores around Wangfujing Street. Most of the food stores there offer some free taste of Chinese delicacies.
Tourist attractions are most dominated and visited by Chinese tourists. Expect the crowd during weekends.
Things I have learned from this trip
I have realized that not all Chinese are bad and rude. Some are kind, approachable, and helpful. In spite of having the language barrier, they would still help you much as they could.
Still, I am still saddened by the fact that I lost my phone in Beijing. I should have been more careful. That’s why I also couldn’t share more photos with you in this blog. Nevertheless, I fell in love with Beijing! I will surely come back soon.
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Ara Patria, the owner of The Adventuress, is an educator by profession but a traveler at heart. Despite her busy schedules, she finds time to travel domestically or internationally. She loves discovering new places, embracing new cultures and meeting other people. In addition, she’s also interested in fashion, Korean music, and Korean dramas. She dreams to travel the world and inspire people by sharing her own experiences through writing.