Why choose Beijing

Dive into Beijing, where emperors once commanded the vast Middle Kingdom from their Forbidden City throne. This city's continental climate, marked by hot summers and cold winters, serves as a gateway to both imperial splendors and vibrant, modern life. Beijing is more than its globally iconic Great Wall; it's a place where you can wander through hutongs to uncover the pulse of daily Chinese life. Intriguingly, Beijing is also known for its remarkable transformation into a city with more than 3,000 public parks, contrasting its historical architecture with green spaces.

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Beijing stands as a monumental city in world tourism, revered not only for its commanding Forbidden City but also for lesser-known treasures like the Temple of Heaven, where emperors once prayed for good harvests. Though well-trodden paths lead to these landmarks, the real magic of Beijing lies in its unexpected corners—the ancient libraries within the city's temple complexes, the traditional teahouses tucked away in bustling districts, and quiet, contemplative gardens.

For an unforgettable taste of Beijing, indulge in Peking Duck, a dish perfected here over centuries. This recipe features a duck with crisp, golden skin and tender meat, traditionally served with thin pancakes, sweet bean sauce, and slivers of spring onions. The meticulous roasting process, using specific breeds and wood types, highlights a culinary craftsmanship unique to Beijing, offering a flavorful journey not requiring an adventurous eater, just one eager to savor.

Several international cruise lines, including Viking and Princess Cruises, navigate near Beijing, allowing travelers to explore its rich tapestry of past and present. Excursions often include tours of Tiananmen Square, the sprawling Summer Palace, and even side trips to less-visited sections of the Great Wall. These tours provide not only a deep dive into Beijing's imperial past but also highlight modern achievements and personalities like the renowned film director Zhang Yimou, whose works continue to celebrate and challenge perceptions of China.