Beijing's best cultural attractions are found off the beaten path
Known for being one of the four great ancient capitals of China, Beijing is undoubtedly a city that boasts of breathtaking landscapes and a rich cultural heritage that can be easily found within their streets. According to Aaron Gou, Assistant-Manager Concierge at Rosewood Beijing, the following activities are what you need to put on your itinerary the next time you make a trip there.
Ride a rickshaw through the Hou Hai Hutong
A quick way to learn the locals' way of life is to take a trip down one of the most famous and historical parts of Beijing, such as the "hutongs" in Hou Hai — essentially narrow streets or alleys along the lake. You'll find many places of historical influences and homes that have been built for centuries. Simply make a reservation with Rosewood Beijing's concierge to get in touch with a local tour company for the best "hutongs" experience.
Helicopter tour of the Badaling, Great Wall of China
You might find the entire Great Wall of China slightly intimidating to conquer at first glance, so to narrow it down, head straight to the Badaling section, also known as the most representative part. If you aren't that keen on taking a walk, your next best option is to admire the iconic symbol from the air via helicopter. The view's just as great, if not better, from above.
Visit the 798 Art Factory
Here's where you'll find plenty of galleries, design studios, and art exhibition spaces. Needless to say, it's probably the most hipster part of Beijing to visit. A must-visit? The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) — a place that holds a contemporary arts library and three sizeable art galleries. There's also a 50-year-old complex of decommission military factor buildings that exude a unique architectural style.
Take tai chi lessons in the Temple of Heaven
Even if tai chi isn't your thing, practising it in one of the most famous scenic spots in the city will definitely be an unforgettable experience. Plus, it'll become one of those stories you can count on to please your mother. Tip: Book your lessons in the mornings as that's when fewer people come by.
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