Beijing (also known as Peking), which literally translates to “Northern capital,” is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China. Beijing will be the home of the Summer Olympics in 2008. As the name suggests, BeijingBeijing is located in the northern section of China. It is a fairly mountainous area with rivers running through it. Monsoons affect the climate there. Summers in Beijing are hot and humid while its winters are very cold and dry with strong winds. Three quarters of the rainfall takes place in the summer months. Beijing also experiences frequent dust storms due to the erosion of the deserts. At times, rain is unnaturally induced by the Beijing Weather Modification Office to lessen the effects and aftereffects of said storms. The best time hands-down to visit Beijing is in the fall as that is when the weather is at its best, or as a second place option, during the spring. The weather is also favourable, but the dust storms can be impeding. If you can handle the harshness of China’s winters, the snow does wonders to brighten the beauty of the city. Try to avoid traveling there during peak vacation times for China as traffic becomes heavily congested.

Beijing’s modes of transportation of course include air travel and roads that accommodate both cars and buses. In addition, the city has a five-line subway system. Two of the lines are run on land and three run underground. Several more are under way. There are also railways, the two main train stations being the Beijing Railway Station and Beijing West Railway Station. Taxi services are of course available, as well.

Yi He Yuan Summer PalaceBeijing is home to countless incredibly beautiful attractions, some old and some new. The Great Wall of China needs no introduction and is of course a must-see while visiting the city. One particular section of The Great Wall at Mutianyu called JianKou is what you might call wildly beautiful. It is more unkempt than many other sections, set amongst the mountains with nature abounding. Another pin in the map that absolutely should not be surpassed is the Forbidden City Imperial Palace. Built in the 1400’s, this palace is breathtakingly beautiful from the gardens up to the rooftops. Also, check out the Jingshan Park-the highest point of Beijing city, to get a view of the Forbidden City from above. Some other incredible attractions include the world’s largest town square-Tiananmen Square, the National Museum of China, the Ruins of The Old Summer Palace, and the Temples of Heaven, Earth, Sun, and Moon. These are only a tiny percentage of the amazing sights the city of Beijing has to offer.

The cuisine of the city has long relied greatly on mutton-be it boiled, fried, minced, or steamed. Pork is also what you might call a staple food item in Beijing. Some other favorites are fish and (of course) the Peking duck. One of the more widely used seasoning-type foods is the onion. Beijing has many fabulous restaurants to feed your appetite during your travels there. Some widely recommended examples include Fangshan, Quan Ju De, Alameda, Huang Ting, and Din Tai Fung. Beijing will be a vacation you will remember forever.