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One of the things that I like to do when I’m traveling is look at and explore the various UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Of course, I track that too (currently at 37). On a recent trip to Beijing, I took a look at the 7 Beijing UNESCO sites and was able to visit 5 of the Beijing UNESCO sites
Beijing UNESCO World Heritage Site – The Great Wall
Perhaps you’ve heard of the Great Wall of China? 😀
There are 2 sections of The Great Wall that are near Beijing. The Badaling section is the closest to Beijing, but also the most crowded. We chose to go to the Mutianyu section. We hired a private car for 2 through our hotel (Grand Hyatt Beijing) which cost us 1000 CNY. We had him pick us up at the hotel at 6 a.m., drive to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall (arriving at about 7:40 a.m., just after the wall opens for the day).
(SEE ALSO: Great Wall Mutianyu Toboggan Review [VIDEO])
After we were done with the Mutianyu Great Wall, our driver waited for us and afterwards drove us to the Summer Palace (another Beijing UNESCO site; see below). He dropped us off at The Summer Palace and then we took the subway back to our hotel.
Beijing UNESCO site – The Summer Palace
The Summer Palace is a large complex of buildings and temples build around Longevity Hill and a large man-made lake. This one of the Beijing UNESCO sites is in the northwest of Beijing and is accessible from the Beigongmen exit of the Beijing Subway (Line 4) – take Exit D.
Tickets are 30 CNY for just the entrance to the compound and 60 CNY for a ticket that included entrance to the various exhibits inside (50% discount for children and seniors). I bought the more expensive ticket but I didn’t feel it was worth it. Perhaps it was due to not planning our visit well but there was only one site inside the compound that we visited that cost extra, so afterwards I wished I had just bought the cheaper ticket.
Beijing China UNESCO Heritage Site – Peking Man Site
The Peking Man Site is a series of caves where scientists have found several significant hominid remains. This includes Homo Erectus (700,000 to 200,000 years ago) as well as very early remains of Homo Sapiens.
This Beijing UNESCO site is located in Zhoukoudian about a 1 hour drive from the center of Beijing so you will want to either rent a car or a driver. This was one of the 2 Beijing UNESCO sites that I did not get to visit on my trip to Beijing.
Beijing UNESCO Site – Forbidden Palace
Technically the Forbidden Palace / City is inscribed as one of the Beijing UNESCO sites as Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang. The Forbidden City was home to the Chinese Emperor for over 500 years (until 1911)
The Forbidden Palace complex is located right in the middle of Beijing, directly across from Tiananmen Square. You can get to the Forbidden Palace on Line 1 of the Beijing subway, at either the Tiananmen West or Tiananmen East stops. There is a security / bag check to enter the Forbidden Palace in Beijing as well as a passport / ID check. To buy your tickets, you also show your passport or ID card and that is used as your ticket.
Beijing UNESCO Heritage Site – The Grand Canal
The Grand Canal goes from Hangzhou to Beijing (or is it Beijing to Hangzhou? 😀 ). I know this is probably the epitome of “checking things off a list” rather than any type of meaningful tourism, but I had a hard time figuring out how to “count” this Beijing UNESCO site – there didn’t seem to be any listings of where exactly in Beijing this canal was.
When I asked in a Facebook group full of knowledgeable people, the 2 places I was given as a suggestion were
- Beijing Tongzhou Canal Park at 39.909856, 116.684768. This is off of Subway Line 6 at the NORTH CANAL WEST station. This is supposedly the end of the modern canal
- The end of the historical Grand Canal is near Shichahai
We chose to go to Shichahai, and while I did not find any sort of official plaque, I’m still “counting” it 🙂
If you do, I highly recommend a quick stop over to the Drum and Bell Towers which are in the area and super interesting.
Beijing China UNESCO Site – Ming tombs
The Ming Tombs are a Beijing UNESCO site about 30 miles (43 kilometers) northwest of Beijing. It’s a series of mausoleums built during the Ming Dynasty. There are 13 different tombs grouped together in the same basic area.
Because this was a bit further out of Beijing, we did not get to visit this Beijing UNESCO World Heritage Site when we were in Beijing.
Visit the Beijing UNESCO Site – Temple of Heaven
The Temple of Heaven was built as an Imperial sacrificial altar in the 15th century. This Beijing UNESCO site is a collection of religious buildings and landscape gardens
The Temple of Heaven is located near the Tiantandongmen subway station on Line 5. Use Exit A2 out of the subway and then the Temple of Heaven is about 300 meters to your right.
Tickets to the Temple of Heaven are 15 CNY for an entrance ticket or 34 CNY for a ticket that includes all of the various stops inside, with 50% discounts for children and seniors. Having been burned the day before by paying extra for a through ticket at the Summer Palace that I felt we didn’t really use, I got only the entrance ticket and wish that I had paid for the full ticket.
Have you visited the 7 Beijing UNESCO sites? Which was your favorite? Leave a note in the comments
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