The cultural, political, and educational centre of China is the epicenter of impressive architectures, yet a testament to its rich art and heritage. Nearly everything in Beijing is massive, so make sure you have sturdy footwear and lots of energy to match. Start in the heart of the city at historic Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Take in the treasures of the gargantuan National Museum of China, and make time for Lama Temple, Drum and Bell Towers, Temple of Heaven and Beihai Park. Head out of the city to climb the Great Wall, visit the Ming Tombs, and stroll through the Summer Palace. Tour the 2008 Summer Olympic sites such as the Bird’s Nest (National Stadium) and Water Cube (National Aquatics Centre). Think small with a stop in one of the city’s last traditional villages and lanes (hutong), and get a glimpse of Chinese contemporary art at the 798 Arts District. Beijing lends its old name Peking to the delicious roast duck and Chinese opera, so this is the best place to have a serving of both. Go shopping at Wangfujing, where good bargains can be had for those who know true value. It’s impossible to run out of things to see and do, but a pot of tea will always be ready when your legs need some rest.
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