Travel, Teach, Live in China
You can visit Beijing in five days and see all the major sights if you hurry. Beijing is an immense city of 15 million people packed with sights, activities and history. You could easily spend a month there enjoying something different every day. Since most travelers don't have that long, there is a widely used five-day itinerary that covers most of the "must see" attractions.
Start day one at Tiananmen Square. All tours of Beijing logically start there at the center of town. Get to Tiananmen Square early to watch the flag raising then walk around and ponder all the history that happened there. Next walk one kilometer north to the Forbidden City. It is also called the Imperial Palace Museum. Spend the rest of the day there touring its four gigantic halls and reviewing the history of every Chinese dynasty.
Climb the Great Wall of China on day two. Take Bus 919 Fast from Deshengmen to the Badaling stop. The ride costs 12 yuan and takes about one hour. Hike up and down the Great Wall for amazing views and a pretty good work out. There are many amenities right on the wall. There are places to eat, shop and relax so you can spend all day there.
Spend day three at the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace. Board bus 744 on the south side of the road outside the south gate of Taoran Pavilion Park. Ride the bus 15 minutes to Tiantan West Gate and walk south 400 meters to the Temple of Heaven. The complex was a religious center for emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Spend the morning there then head to the Summer Palace. The imperial court used to go there to escape the summer heat. The palace rivals any in the world with ornate gardens, temples and pavilions.
Tour the impressive gardens at Prince Gong's mansion on day four. It is the biggest and best maintained royal mansion of the Qing Dynasty. Spend the morning there then head to the historic Hutong neighborhoods. They are a maze of narrow streets and alleys that wind through Beijing. Wander among the courtyards, shops and street vendors. There is no better way to get a taste of authentic China.
Begin day five at the Capital Museum. Spend several hours here viewing the amazing collection of ancient jade, stone and bronze artifacts. Spend the afternoon at the Ancient Observatory and the Silk Market. After dinner head back to Tiananmen Square and conclude your five day visit to Beijing where you began. The spectacular sight of the buildings lit up with millions of bulbs is a fitting finale to your tour.