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CruiseDirection - Magazine May 2019

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The weather in Beijing falls into four seasons; autumn, which begins in August and runs through October is the nicest time to visit. Temperatures are generally comfortable and the area is largely free of precipitation. Bear in mind however, this is prime tourist season and the attractions tend to be crowded this time of year.  

When visiting Beijing, the first site many people visit is The Great Wall. A particularly special section worth seeing is The Great Wall at Badalang. Approximately 60 kilometres northwest of Beijing, this area of The Wall is very representative of the Ming Dynasty, and is renowned worldwide for its scenic beauty and has been visited by more than 420 foreign leaders and heads of state.

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Why visit Beijing ?

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Tradition and history

It still holds much of its ancient charm and mystique

Another popular site of major historical significance is the Ming Tombs, which are a series of mausoleums that serve as the final resting place for 13 Ming Dynasty emperors who ruled from 1368-1644. In addition to the emperors, there are also 23 empresses are buried there as well as numerous concubines and servants many of whom were buried alive. These buildings have been very well preserved through the centuries and this is absolutely a worthwhile place to visit to gain a glimpse of the ancient Ming Dynasty culture and architecture.  

On the lighter side, the Beijing zoo is fun place to visit and a must for animal lovers. Home to over 500 species many of which are under either first or second class national protection, the zoo also houses many buildings that date to the Qing Dynasty. Aside from the architecture, the big draw is of course the panda house. The opportunity to see giant pandas in their native country is worth the price of admission by itself.  

No trip to Beijing would be complete without a visit to the Forbidden City. Located in the middle of Beijing, it served as the home of the ruling emperor for almost five hundred years. It is currently comprised of 980 surviving buildings. While there you can also visit the Palace Museum which is also located in the city.  

Other points of interest in Beijing are Tiananmen Square, Lama Temple, and the Capital museum.  

If shopping is your game, Beijing has several options. Dachilan (near Tiananmen Square) is a great place to purchase fine Chinese silk or shop the latest fashions in their department stores. If you are interested in antiques, a jaunt to Liulichang is a must. This area is home to many of the oldest antique shops in the city an amazing place to treasure hunt!  

The restaurants of Beijing are quite diverse featuring virtually every style of Chinese cooking imaginable. A real treat is a trip to Fangshan restaurant, a local landmark established in 1925 by the former royal chefs of the Qing Dynasty. Prior to 1925 the general public was not allowed to sample these Imperial dishes. With recipes handed down for centuries of generations today only the restaurant staff is privy to these ancient culinary secrets. Other popular dining options are Beijing Duck at Quanjude, Bianyifang, or both as each offers its own unique recipe.  

For many, Beijing is a once in a lifetime trip, luckily one trip is enough to create a lifetime of exciting memories.

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