The Real Beijing: Things Nobody Tells You About Visiting China’s Capital

experience the real beijing
In this post we get into some of the lesser-known yet fascinating aspects of Beijing that might just make your trip even more memorable. 

You may have seen photos of Beijing’s famous spots – the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and more. And they look amazing! 

But let’s be honest, those pictures only show a tiny part of what this city is really like. The real Beijing is busy and full of surprises. You might get lost in a maze of old alleyways, see grandmas practicing tai chi in the park,  or have yet to learn what’s in the delicious-smelling food on your plate.

So, before you pack your bags, let’s dive into some of the lesser-known yet fascinating aspects of this city that might just make your trip even more memorable. 

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Unexpected Delights in Sightseeing

When you visit Beijing, you’ll quickly notice that there’s more to see than just the big, famous landmarks. And if you love to explore history in quiet, tucked-away spots, the city has some gems that regular tourists often miss.

One special place is the Lao She Memorial Museum, which is dedicated to Lao She, a famous Chinese writer. It’s located in a traditional courtyard house, and visiting it feels like stepping back in time. Another thing worth sightseeing in beijing is the Shijia Hutong Museum. This place tells the story of another hutong but with a different twist. It’s like a time capsule of ordinary life in this city.

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Cultural Insights

Visiting Beijing is a great chance to dive into some unique cultural experiences. Here’s what you need to know to really appreciate the local customs and make the most of your visit:

  • Local Etiquette and Customs – It’s important to greet people with a nod or a slight bow instead of a handshake. Remember, showing respect is key in Beijing. Also, always accept gifts with both hands; it’s a sign of politeness.
  • Tea and Traditional MealsTea isn’t just a drink in Beijing; it’s a part of daily life. Joining a traditional tea ceremony can be a peaceful and enlightening experience. Meals, too, are more than just eating. So, don’t miss out on trying dishes in a local restaurant where the flavors are as rich as the history.
  • Local Festivals – While most tourists flock to well-known sights and events, there are many local festivals that offer a real taste of culture. Look out for the Mid-Autumn Festival or the Dragon Boat Festival. These are times of joyous celebrations with lots of traditional food, music, and activities that bring everyone together.

Understanding and participating in these aspects of Beijing’s culture will not only enhance your trip but also give you truly extraordinary stories!

the real beijing
In Beijing meals are more than just eating. Be sure not to out on trying dishes in a local restaurant where the flavors are as rich as the history.

Public Transport Etiquette

Beijing’s public transport system is huge and can take you just about anywhere in the city. It includes subways, buses, and even bicycles for rent. The subway is especially popular because it’s fast and avoids traffic. Buses cover wider areas, so they’re great for reaching places the subway doesn’t go.

In Beijing, the way you act on public transport is important. People value personal space, even in crowded situations, so it’s polite to keep to yourself and avoid making loud noises. On the subway and buses, it’s common to see people quietly using their phones or reading. If you have a backpack, it’s considerate to take it off and hold it by your side when it’s crowded. This helps create more space for everyone.

To travel the city like a local, it’s handy to have the Yikatong, a rechargeable transportation card. You can use it on buses and subways. Just tap the card when you enter and exit. It’s simpler than buying single tickets each time. You can get these cards at subway stations, and topping them up with money is easy.

the real beijing
To travel the city like a local in Beijing, it’s handy to have the Yikatong, a rechargeable transportation card. You can use it on buses and subways.

Seasonal Considerations

Beijing experiences four distinct seasons, each with its own unique flavor and set of events. Spring, from March to May, is a beautiful time to visit, especially if you are a nature lover. That’s because you can enjoy the cherry blossoms and other spring blooms in many of the city’s parks.

During Summer, the city buzzes with energy and hosts various outdoor festivals and events. However, be prepared for occasional heavy rains as this is also the rainy season. In autumn, the weather is cool and pleasant, making it perfect for exploring. 

The autumn foliage, particularly in suburban areas like the Fragrant Hills, is a stunning sight. This is a great time for hiking and outdoor activities. And don’t forget winter, especially if you’re interested in experiencing the Chinese New Year celebrations in January or February. 

📖 Recommended Reading: If you’re looking for more useful information, check out
Beijing and Xian: A Comprehensive Tour Guide.

In a Nutshell

So, pack your curiosity along with your suitcase and get ready to discover all the wonderful secrets Beijing offers. Remember, the best adventures are the ones that bring unexpected joys and discoveries, and Beijing is waiting to share its treasures with you!

Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission for any purchases made through the links. Your trust is important to us, and we ensure that all products or services we recommend meet or exceed our editorial standards.

Last Updated on April 22, 2024

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