As China's capital, and political, economic and cultural center, Beijing, also known as Peking, is often the first stop for visitors wanting to explore the ancient country. Start with a visit to the Forbidden City; a palace complex that enshrines intricate architecture and imperial Chinese art. Then, head for Tiananmen Square, the city's center and popular gathering spot. Wander through nearby Qianmen and Liulichang streets to shop for local crafts, ancient antiques and modern mementos.
As the main travel hub for northern China, Beijing offers multiple transportation connections. You'll likely arrive through Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK), connected to the city via the Airport Express Line of the subway, as well as shuttles.
The capital itself is serviced by subways, buses, taxis and, in picturesque old alleyways, modern rickshaws. Staying in a hotel in the Dongcheng and Chaoyang districts, will give you good access to the transportation you'll need to visit sites that are often spread out.
Beijing offers its guests a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. The metropolis is over 3,000 years old, although hominid fossils in the area date back 250,000 years. The biggest festival in the city, and in all of China, is the Chinese Lunar New Year when fireworks fill the air, and special dishes mark the occasion.