Whether you see it through the prism of its glorious past or its ambitious future, Beijing is equally bewitching. Grand architecture, gastronomic adventures and graceful artistry – it’s a mix that’s equally complex and addictive. Absorb the best in 24 hours, as I take you around some of my favourite places, in this fascinating capital city.
Starting my day with a splash
A quick dip in the pool. What a way to start the day!
Packing a grab-and-go breakfast
For some brekkie on-the-go, I pack some fresh fruit and croissants. So convenient!
Flag-raising ceremony at Tiananmen Square
The flag goes up, so do hundreds of selfie sticks! It’s quite a sight to see at the world’s largest public square.
Playing Jianzi at Temple of Heaven Park
Socializing over morning workouts is the norm at this 267-hectare park. How about some Tai Chi or Chinese hacky sack with some friendly locals?
Admiring Jianbing making on the street
I watch an old lady smoothly swirl Jianbings on a hot griddle. One bite into this savoury crisp-fried crepe and I can tell why people line up for it.
Exploring the Hutongs on two wheels
Duck off the main streets into the small back alleys and I can spot everything from hipster boutiques to retro coffee shops.
Enjoying a boat ride at Hou Hai Lake
Why stick to land when you can explore the city by boat? I think the old-school architecture and bridges are so Instagrammable from the water.
Savouring Beijing style dumplings at Gulou
What a spread! A lunch of jiozi, vinegar dipped peanuts, sautéed mushrooms and cup of Chinese tea from this mom and pop restaurant will keep me going.
Soul connecting at Yonghe Gong
Dense clouds of incense and magnificent arches greet me at this grand Buddhist temple.
Rummaging for antiques at Pan Jia Yuan
Trinkets and treasures. Pottery and propaganda books. I could spend hours just wandering and bargaining in this lively flea market.
Visiting the 798 Art District
I love the edgy art galleries and cosy book cafes in this sprawling neighbourhood.
Getting my caffeine fix at Voyage coffee
I’m craving a caffeine kick, and the smell of espresso in the air means I’ve come to the right place.
Watching a food performance at Hai Di La
Part chef, part magician, I’m amazed watching a ball of dough into delicious hand-pulled noodles before my eyes. Pass the chopsticks!
Admiring the Olympic Village Water Cube
Whizzing through traffic I spot the giant water cube in the Olympic village light up.
Watching Peking opera at Li Yuan theatre
History, lavish costumes, elaborate makeup, music and dance come together in this high-pitched traditional Chinese opera.
Relishing Peking duck at Da Dong Roast Duck
I stare at the chef’s knife as it carves thin delicate slices from the freshly roasted duck. Crispy outside, juicy inside - it’s the best I’ve ever tasted.
Embracing the evening at Qianmen Street
Just because the sun’s gone down, doesn’t mean I’m turning in. This lively street full of shops and restaurants is still full of people long into the night.
Unwinding at Jiang Hu Live music
When I’m looking for something a bit more chilled, this cozy jazz bar is the perfect place to recharge.
Drinking craft beers at Jing A happy hour
Feels like it’s always happy hour here at Beijing’s hottest bar, where the only thing I like more than the beer is the atmosphere.
Food adventures at Wangfujing Food Street
Warning: the menu here includes centipedes, grasshoppers and starfish. I build up some courage and order some skewered scorpions. Crunchy.
Enjoying drinks at the Atmosphere Bar
More drinks! More music! I’m way above the city in Beijing’s highest bar. It’s cocktail time with some new friends.
Riding on the tricycles
Skip the subway. Hold tight as we zip through traffic in Beijing’s speediest form of public transportation. Don’t forget to haggle first.
Midnight Sichuan meals at Guijie Street
Midnight Sichuan? Yes please! I order the spicy crayfish, but at this place – and at this hour – everything is delicious.
Retiring to bed
Warm lights and soft sheets welcome me home.