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Beijing is No.1 travel destination in China which is full of things to do. Though not the most beautiful place in China, Beijing is certainly one of the most attractive destinations for photographers. Without the many pleasant colors of natural landscape in Guilin and Jiuzhaigou, Beijing attracts photographers to appreciate its grandiose imperial palaces, old peaceful Hutongs as well as the incredible Great Wall of China. Wherever you reach, you find a place to take a unique photo to record the beauty and connotation of this historical city.
Our Beijing photography tour takes you to find the most beautiful and unique views of each impressive sites in Beijing in in-depth way.
Travel Route: Beijing / Great Wall
Travel Length: 6 Days
Tour Code: CD-BPT-05
Tour Type: Customizable Private Tour
Departure: You Choose (you may plan it according to the best season and time.)
Ni Hao, welcome to Beijing, the iconic city as well as the capital of China!
You will be met by your local tour guide at the arrival hall of Beijing Capital Airport, or railway station, then be escorted to check in your hotel in downtown by a private comfortable vehicle. The rest of today is on your own to relax. If you want to explore nearby, feel free to get some practical suggestions from your tour guide.
Arrival Ideas: At present, there are many international and domestic flights to Beijing. Besides, you can take a high speed train to this capital city from Shanghai (5-6 hrs), Xian (5.5 hrs), Guangzhou (8-9.5 hrs), etc.
After breakfast, start to explore the historical face of Beijing with a brief visit to Tiananmen Square which is now the largest city plaza in the world. Tiananmen Gate on the northern square was the site where the Chairman Mao announced the establishment of the People's Republic of China. Stepping into the Tiananmen, you will see one of the world’s 5 most important palaces – Forbidden City, a huge palace complex of more than 9,000 rooms where 24 emperors of Ming and Qing Dynasties used to live in. Pass through various doorways to admire the magnificent and well preserved buildings decorated with yellow glazed tile roof, white marble base and splendid colorful paintings.
In the afternoon, you'll marvel at the Temple of Heaven which is a great place to shoot another unique architecture style - fashioning order and symmetry. You can first take the panoramic view from a high point, then go to get some close shots of temples. The most famous one is Qinian Temple – a giant temple poking into sky with ornate stage. After Temple of Heaven exploration, go to visit Jingshan Park, the best location to get a nice shot of one watchtower of Forbidden City and take a panoramic view of Forbidden City under the golden sunset.
After the shooting the stunning sunset, get back to your hotel.
After breakfast, your tour guide and driver will take you to Jinshanling Great Wall which is about 130km away from Beijing city. After check in your hotel, start to your photography on the Jinshanling Great Wall.
Jinshanling Great Wall is located on the west of Simatai Great Wall. It is the best section for you to observe the diverse architectural style of Great Wall here. Towers were built by different styles for different use. Impeccable unites for battles were also built on the great wall, including walls for block enemies and horses, crenels for shooting, etc. The spectacular mixed view of cloud, mist and sunset glow is a famous feature of Jinshanling Great Wall.
After shooting the beautiful sunset on the great wall, get back to your hotel.
Get up early, and drive to the foot of Simatai Great Wall.
As the landmarks of Simatai Great Wall, Wangjing Tower and Xiannv Tower are very famous among photographers for the far-reaching views you can have from the high point. On the Wangjing Tower(986m), you definitely will be busy with pressing the shutter to shoot the breathtaking picture as many as possible. If lucky, you may see the god-given cloud sea. Just imagine the picture that the dominating great walls crawl like a dragon in the cloud sea.
Leave Simatai Great Wall, then drive back to Beijing.
After breakfast, go to explore the unique feature of Beijing - Hutongs. You will visit and shoot two most recommended Hutongs in Beijing - South Gong & Drum Alley and West Four Hutongs. Walking leisurely on the streets of Hutong, meet the unexpected beautiful scene, visit local family in Hutong... there are too many things to do.
South Gong & Drum Alley (Nan Luo Gu Xiang) – this Hutong is the best preserved Yuan Dynasty Hutong which keeps an entire checkerboard-style traditional residential arrangement. Known for its fabulous Hutong architecture, many teleplays once framed here. There are some boutique bars gathering here, which allows you to take some photos with leisure taste of life.
West Four Hutongs (Xi Si Hutong) – best for those who are seeking wild and well-preserved Hutong and quadrangle courtyards. Though close to the prosperous Xidang Commercial District and Financial District, Xisi Hutongs consist of 8 parallel alleys which keep original wild features.
If time allows, you will continue your visiting to the majestic Lama Temple. It is the largest and best-preserved lamasery in Beijing. After dinner. go to shoot the night views of National Center for the Performing Arts (National Grand Theatre). The fashionable and modern building looks fantastic with different lights on.
Today, get up very early to shoot the fabulous sunrise in the Summer Palace,
the largest and best-preserved imperial garden in China. It
is a great experience to take a stroll in the private garden of ancient
emperors, to record some unique scenery which used to be only enjoyed by royal
families. There are temples, gardens, pavilions, bridges and corridors,
together with a huge lake and small hill forming an enchanting traditional
Then you will be escorted to the airport for your flight to next destination.
Since trave time are limited and interests are diverse, we have hand-picked three highlighting themes which you should never miss in Beijing.
There is no another place on earth can match the fabulous imperial culture that Beijing has. In the past 5 hundred years, Beijing was always the royal center of China. Many brilliant imperial palaces, halls, temples were built as a very important part of Federal existence. Every brick, every tile, every slate records the solemn history of ancient Federal China. Take the Forbidden City for instance, there are more than 8,000 rooms, which make it impossible to shoot every details. So you should pay most attention to discover some of most featured from all sites.
Forbidden City – most outstanding highlights of Forbidden City are: palaces, city moat and towers, which showcase the imposing scene of royal city. The grandiose city gates with red paint are also shooting scene. If you are interested in Chinese architecture, you can pay more attention to the detailed parts, such as eave, window carving, pillars, etc.
Summer Palace – it is a great experience to take a stroll in the private garden of ancient emperors, to record some unique scenery which used to be only enjoyed by royal families. There are temples, gardens, pavilions, bridges and corridors, together with a huge lake and small hill forming an enchanting traditional Chinese painting.
Temple of Heaven – The temple of heaven is rather an altar than a temple. It is a great place to shoot another unique architecture style - fashioning order and symmetry. Its size is 4 times of Forbidden City’s. The arrangement embodies the ancient theory – “Heaven is round, Earth is square”. You can first take the panoramic view from a high point, then go to get some close shots of temples. The most famous one is Qinian Temple – a giant temple poking into sky with ornate stage.
A sunny clean weather is perfect for imperial city shooting. Summer and Autumn are two great season when there are many sunny days. Winter is another great season for photography for you to see the mixed scene of snow and ancient buildings. Furthermore, there are usually fewer tourists.
1. Choices of lens
It is better to take wide-angle lens because you need to take the panoramic views of the whole complex of buildings. And some palaces and temples are very large and tall.
2. Catch the best hours
The imperial palaces look more splendid under the golden light of sunrise and sunset. So you can get up very early to take the panoramic views of sunrise, then go inside the sites to take some closer photos, and lastly wait for the beautiful sunset in the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven or Summer Palace.
3. Transfer advice
Beijing is the largest transfer hub in China. There are frequent and flexible international flights connecting Beijing with major international cities. As for the transfer inside Beijing city, we will arrange comfortable private vehicle and driver.
Beijing is not only the political capital city of the ancient empires, but also the home of local Beijingers whose ancestors made Beijing as their home thousands years ago. Hutong is the unique residential unites created by local which combine living, trade and entertainment together. Every Hutong has its own story, every street tells its own history. Today, some Hutongs become scenic sites which are preserved by government; some Hutongs still serve as their original roles – residential house, workshop, market; some Hutong are ruins.
For photographers, there are two main highlights you should focus on – architecture and folk living. Hutongs were built and decorated by different style depending their different roles and budgets. You may have no idea that some royal families and famous figures once also lived in Hutong. Well, their Hutongs were designed, built with better materials and large size. While, the regular Hutongs which belong to civilian are typical quadrangle courtyards.
South Gong & Drum Alley (Nan Luo Gu Xiang) –this Hutong is the best preserved Yuan Dynasty Hutong which keeps an entire checkerboard-style traditional residential arrangement. 16 unique hutongs lies from east to west. Known for its fabulous Hutong architecture, many teleplays once framed here. There are some boutique bars gathering here, which allows you to take some photos with leisure taste of life.
Pipe Slanting Street (Yandai Xie Jie) – as the name suggest, this street used to be a trading place for pines during late Qing Dynasty. These Hutongs are best place to take some themed photos which reflect the combination of sentiments of both old and present days.
Above two Hutong are two recommended place to explore the contrast of the OLD and NEY Beijing. Well, following two Hutongs are very unique, have rich history and keep old tradition. And you can concentrate on shooting in a quiet surrounding.
West Four Hutongs (Xi Si Hutong) – Zhai Hongqi, famous researching expert of Chinese Hutong Culture, recommends Xi Si Hutongs to those who are seeking wild and well-preserved Hutong and quadrangle courtyards. Though close to the prosperous Xidang Commercial District and Financial District, Xisi Hutongs consist of 8 parallel alleys which keep original wild features.
Rice Market Hutongs (Mi Shi Hutong) – here used to be the rice trading market. Streets here are wide. Many aristocratic houses with large courtyards locate along the street. It is said this place were residential area for powerful officers and famous scholars.
Summer and Automn are best season to take photos of Hutongs in Beijing. No matter the green trees or the golden leaves can be a great setoff of Hutongs.
Since Hutong is a complex of houses and street, there is no a best hour to take photos. It is totally on your own to find the view with the help of lights, setoffs, etc.
1. Choices of lens
Different lenses are needed to shoot different features in Hutongs because Hutong is a special residential group of different buildings with really Beijing locals living inside.
2. Where to go
It is not necessary to take photos of every Hutongs. We will arrange two Hutongs to visit.
3. Travel like local way
There are still many locals living in Hutongs. While visiting Hutong and its peoples, show your respect and be friendly.
4. Accommodation advice
Beijing offers flexible choices of accommodation at different levels in different regions. Usually, we arrange hotels near to central regions in Beijing .
[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >