I spent 5 days in Beijing, China with a dear college friend that was living in Hong Kong . This was my first trip to Asia and I wanted to see everything.  The eventual itinerary focused on SE Asia, but I was able to spend the first few days in Beijing, a city I’ve always wanted to visit. Unfortunately, the logistics of including Hong Kong forced me to drop it from the itinerary.

Day 1: fly from New York to Beijing via Detroit
Day 2: late arrival in Beijing, overnight in Beijing
Day 3: visit Forbidden City and surrounding areas, overnight in Beijing
Day 4: visit Arts District, Olympic Park, Summer Palace, overnight in Beijing
Day 5: visit Jinshinlang section of Great Wall of China, overnight in Beijing
Day 6: visit Temple of Heaven and other temples, overnight in Beijing
Day 7: visit hulongs and do some shopping, fly from Beijing to Hanoi

Delta (economy): JFK-DTW-BEI
China Southern (economy): BEI-HA

Park Plaza Beijing – moderate+
Recommend: yes

Great Wall of China
There are several sections of the Great Wall that can be visited by tourists. We choose Jinshinlang, which is 2 hours from Beijing center. The weather was perfect on the day we visited, warm and clear with a cool breeze.

Forbidden City
I thought the Forbidden City would get monotonous after a few minutes, but each courtyard has unique structures and architecture. Walking around the site just kept producing interesting vantage points. Afterwards, we walked to the top of Jingshan Park for a bird’s eye view of the entire complex.

Forbidden City, Beijing, China

Smaller temples in Beijing
Everyone has seen pictures of the Temple of Heaven and all the more famous temples around Beijing, but we really enjoyed visiting some of the smaller temples, like the Lama Temple and Confucius Temple.


China is so big and diverse that my travel bucket list there keeps increasing.  The top areas are Shanghai, Chengdu and the giant pandas, Tibet, and Xian. In addition to these cities, the natural landscapes of the country are also intriguing.

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