Beijing will host the XXIV Olympic Winter Games in February 2022. This is a particularly special occasion as China’s capital city previously hosted the XXIX Olympic Summer Games in 2008, making them one of the few to host the Games twice.
Beijing benefits from fewer crowds during its winter months which results in the major landmarks being significantly quieter. Plus, the excellent food and winter activities on offer – besides the Games – ensure that spirits remain high. Here are the 5 top experiences in Beijing during winter.
Step into history at Forbidden City
Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Forbidden City was constructed during the early 15th century under the Yongle Emperor, Zhu Di. For 500 years, it served as the political and ritual epicenter of China as well as the residence of the emperors. Surrounded by a moat, the inner complex features some of the best-preserved buildings, ceremonial halls, and shrines in China. Previously off-limits to the majority of subjects and members of the royal families, the Forbidden City captivates year-round and February is ideal for exploring the Palace Museum.
Sharpen your skills with a cooking class
The diverse cuisine available in the Chinese capital is the antidote to the cool climate. Local Beijing dishes are available alongside classic Sichuan and Cantonese specialties, with Peking duck, jiaozi (dumplings), xiaolongbao (steamed buns), and Chinese hot pot guaranteed to keep you warm. Once you’ve found your favorite plate, discover how to make it for yourself in a cookery class at the Beijing Cooking School or The Hutong.
Ski in the shadow of the Great Wall
Located a little over an hour’s drive from the city center in the Jiugukou natural scenic area, the Beijing Huaibei International Ski Resort is one of the best ski resorts in the area. In addition to 2.8 miles of slopes, this picturesque resort provides direct views of the Great Wall of China as well as a 1,200-meter high chairlift. Even if you are not a skier, the views make it worth a day trip for the opportunity to see the ancient landmark peeking out from the snowy landscape.
Soak up the scenery at Summer Palace
Although you might think visiting Beijing’s number one attraction is better suited to the warmer seasons, the Summer Palace is breathtaking during winter – and temperatures are more agreeable for navigating the complex on foot. Formerly an imperial garden during the Qing dynasty, this lakeside residence comprises a traditional Chinese landscaped garden with lakes, plants, trees, pagodas, bridges, and other architectural delights. In February you will benefit from a peaceful atmosphere with the chance to see the lake frozen over with ice skating a possibility. Towards the end of the month, you will be fortunate to spot the early signs of spring.
Sink into luxury at a hot spring
Winter is the perfect time to bathe in the natural hot springs that are dotted around Beijing, providing therapeutic health benefits. Jiuhua Hot Springs Resort features a mix of indoor and outdoor pools with Quing Dynasty decor and a menu of traditional Chinese massage treatments. Meanwhile, the open-air springs at the Xiaotangshan Longmai Hot Spring Resort are convenient after a visit to the Mutianyu Great Wall or as a pit stop during a long layover.
Contact me when you are ready to book a trip of a lifetime to Beijing. Tune in and see the Olympic Winter Games February 4th to 20th.
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