Beijing has a unique fizzing energy that few other cities around the world can match. Imperial palaces and ancient alleyways mingle with cutting-edge architecture and new shopping malls, and outside is the majestic Great Wall. For first-time visitors to Beijing, there is certainly plenty to keep anyone occupied.
The tourist attractions in Beijing are spread out and usually large in size. You will immediately see and experience more by going to fewer places. You feel you could use more time in Beijing, and also you feel you never have enough time there. So the question is: how long should I stay in Beijing?
How many days should I spend in Beijing?
Do you want to see historic buildings, nightlife, nature, or hike the Great Wall for a day or two? Are you keen on museums and love history? How do you propose to get around (car, subway, bus, train?) What’s your daily spending budget for a Beijing trip… All these factors will influence your final decision on how long you should stay in Beijing.
One day/night in Beijing is definitely a very short time. But five days is enough to see the most iconic sights and get a taste of Beijing life. Make good use of time then it’s possible to cover all the major tourist attractions in 3 days. At this point for any first time visitors 3 days would be the minimum suggestion. You won’t be disappointed if you decide to stay in Beijing for 3 days or much longer for some of top must-do experience in Beijing.
If a longer stay is possible you’ll explore many more hidden treasures in and around the city. Visiting the mountain areas or looking around in Silk Market, Pearl Market and hutongs worth a few days extra. Mutianyu Great Wall will cost you half a day or more, while hiking from Jingshanling to Simatai West is a whole day trip.
A longer Great Wall hike or exploring some lesser known attractions would easily cover a week or more. If you have more time you could also go outside of Beijing like Datong ( Yungang Grottoes & Hanging Monestary) and the ancient walled town of Pingyao. Two weeks in Beijing would be too long for most people, but some might enjoy visiting parks, shopping, eating, going to suburban sites and small attractions.
For first time visitors why not see all the major traditional tourist sites:
The Great Wall, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, Hutong (ancient alleyway), and Bird’s Nest &Water Cube.
For regular visitors explore the lesser-known sights in Beijing:
Lama temple, Confucius temple, 798 art district, Houhai(Rear Lake) bar street, Beijing Zoo(Panda House), The Ming Tombs, Beihai (North Lake)Park , Jingshan (Prospect Hill) Park, Prince Gong’s Garden, Grand View Garden (Daguanyuan), Fragrant Hills, Marco Polo Bridge, The Ruins of The Garden of Perfection and Light and so on.
Above are some popular themes. You could pick any part of any of them and put them together with anything else. If you want to explore more of the city and the nature outside, you can even make up a program of 10 days. But this depends on the time of year you go there, your interests and budget.