Best sights to see for first-time visitors to Beijing


China is a land of immense beauty. Once you think you've been awe-struck enough, there's another natural or manmade marvel waiting just around the corner to captivate you. And you better believe that Beijing - the capital of the People's Republic of China as well as one of the world's most populous cities - is teeming with manmade wonders. If you ever make your way to Beijing on locum tenens assignment, be sure to stop by these sights.

Forbidden City

Think China and we bet ancient architecture comes to mind. You wouldn't be wrong to imagine that. Within Beijing's borders lies China's largest and most well-preserved array of ancient buildings. Up until the Republic dethroned the last Qing emperor, the Forbidden City was off limits to the general public. Now you can take a tour of the Three Great Halls and the Imperial Garden any time you'd like, with an entrance fee, of course. Pay extra for the audio tour; Roger Moore (yes, James Bond) narrates.

Summer Palace

As the sun sets on the Summer Palace and Kūnmíng Lake, the surrounding sky fills up with golden and violet hues so vivid you'll be seeing in gold and purple for days. It's an experience you won't soon forget. Be sure to dedicate an entire day to this idyllic, pastoral palace filled with lake tours and Buddhist temples. (In other words, start early in the day and then end with that sunset view.) Oh, and stop by the Long Corridor where you can gaze upon traditional Chinese paintings.

The Great Wall

No locum tenens adventure to China is complete without stopping by the Great Wall. It's hands-down one of the most famous landmarks in the world. Many people think that the Great Wall meanders on uninterrupted but in fact, it exists in chunks. That's because of wear and tear over the centuries but also because there was no need to build where mountains and other natural defenses already existed. It starts in Hushan, Liaoning in the east and ends at Jiayuguan Pass, Gansu in the west.

There are many places to visit along the Great Wall. Stray from Bādálǐng as it is the most touristy section of the wall. We suggest Mùtiányù for jaw-dropping views and an authentic experience.

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