You might say that Beijing is an agglomeration of culture and future. There’s no shortage of appealing sights in China’s capital, especially when you can easily cross out six out of the country’s 53 World Heritage Sites in just three to four days of transiting through the city. Those six sites are among Beijing’s best travel sites and emblematic views, but you can add a few more ‘grams to your (digital) albums by exploring just a little more and getting ready to take quick snapshots. Don’t forget to bring a battery pack!
We continue our Beijing Bucket List, 6-Day Transit Visa Series and visit some of the most Instagrammable sights in the city. Sure, this is an ever-growing collection of visual vistas, so share your snaps with everyone by tagging us (@beijingkids or #beijingkids) and our sister brand, the Beijinger (@thebeijinger or #thebeijinger) on Twitter and Instagram!
Where to snap: The Summer Palace, then go to Guangrun Lingyu Temple on the southeast side of Nanhu Island.
Best time: Sunset regardless of the season. The temple faces the sunset and the mountainous region of Beijing
Where to snap: The central roof of Galaxy Soho, viewed from the ground floor of the main building. This spaceship-looking mall is a sight to behold from the outside, but there’s nothing much to see but boutiques, stalls, and stores on the inside. However, the central roof is open to the bright sky above, and it looks like you’re truly inside a building from one of those sci-fi or futuristic flicks.
Best time: Whenever you visit this space-age mall!
Where to snap: The Crowne Plaza Hotel on Chaoyang Road. This is just one of the grand chandeliers in their ballrooms and reception halls.
Best time: If you’re visiting Chaoyang U-Town Plaza, which is beside the hotel.
Gloomy Great Wall
Where to snap: At the Great Wall, preferably in the Huanghuacheng (lakeside) section, on a polluted (or perhaps foggy) day. Yes, who says the Great Wall sucks on a smoggy day, which can possibly happen when you hike there? While you won’t be able to see the surrounding mountains, the fog gives a sense of mystery, akin to what the ancient tower guards might have seen in their wintertime duty.
Best time: In the afternoon when the smog/fog scatters the sunlight.
Where to snap: Everywhere in Beijing, as long as it’s in the afternoon AFTER a thunderstorm. This snap is perhaps one of the most beautiful yet difficult to take because of the timing. Thunderstorms usually happen in the summer (May-July). I’m still waiting for the perfect time to catch this captivating scene on any of Beijing’s historical sites!
Where to snap: Panjiayuan Antique Market, though most of the souvenirs sold here are not really antique but mass-produced memorabilia painted with bronze or gold to look like they’ve just been unearthed from somewhere.
Best time: Whenever you visit the market. Many of the vendors will let you take snaps of their items.
Photos: Andy Penafuerte III, courtesy of Emma Qi (fiery sunset photo)