Beijing, the capital of China formerly known as Peking, is the political and cultural center of the world’s most populous country. It is China’s third largest city in terms of population and the largest in administrative territory. The first town was constructed more than 2,000 years ago near the zone of contact between the “civilized” traditional Han Chinese and tribal peoples from the north and west whom the Chinese viewed as barbarians. The Great Wall, which runs along the Yan Mountains about 40 miles to the north and west of Beijing, was an effort to stabilize the frontier between the Han Chinese and the barbarian peoples during the 3rd century BC. Yet it remained for a later Mongol leader from beyond the wall, Kublai Khan, to build the city Ta-tu or “Great Capital” in AD 1264 and to establish it as the political center for all of China.
Over the last 10 years, Beijing has transformed itself from an austere Communist capital into an international city. With the 2008 Olympic Games held successfully, it's making “the great leap forward”, becoming a modern destination with all the luxuries needed to prepare for its role as host to the world. The hosting of the 2008 Olympic Games had escalated the economic growth of Beijing.
If comparisons are to be made, then Beijing can be compared to Washington, D.C. As the political capital of the country, Beijing is a showplace of towering offices and government buildings. While 15% of its population still resides in Hutong complexes dating from the Ming Dynasty, more and more of the remainder’s homes are high-rise apartments as in all major cities of the world. Signs of modernization are everywhere – yet, somehow the juxtaposition of these modern entities with Beijing’s ancient architectural treasures offers an almost mesmerizing sight for the travelers.
On one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient WorldA photo opportunity of a lifetime, with an elegant specially catered dinner on the Great Wall. With company banners flying from the ramparts, the massed drum performance makes the experience quite unforgettable.
Best Beijing City RaceTo really say you’ve “been around Beijing”, you have to do more than just take a coach. You have to try a few other things as well. For instance, China are famous for Bicycles. Then there are the Rickshaws and of course, as “The Jam” sang so... “Eloquently” in the 70’s, there is “going underground”. So what else might you think would make a Beijing experience, outside of the monuments that have made the city and the country so famous?
Hutong AdventureThe Hutongsare Beijing’s traditional housing and still house over 2 million Beijing residents today. What better environment to ride in a rickshaw, visit local families and have a little fun learning and participating in some of China’s traditional arts and crafts. These may include kite making, Chinese knot tying (a symbol of good fortune), paper cutting and calligraphy. This will be a whole lot of experiences rolled into one.