China's capital and second-largest city (after Shanghai) is more than 3,000 years old but it moves at a dizzying pace. Beijing is home to some of the most notable attractions such as Tiananmen Square, the largest open-urban square in the world, the Forbidden City and its Palace Museum, Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven and the Badaling section of the Great Wall. Chairman Mao is also here - embalmed in his mausoleum. For a visit through old Beijing, a hutong (narrow alleyways) tour in a rickshaw under swaying, red lanterns is a great way to soak up the atmosphere of this amazing city.
For the Olympic Games in 2008, Beijing started an ambitious building programme and its architectural legacy includes the National Stadium ("Bird's Nest") and the National Swimming Centre ("Water Cube"). For art and culture, visit the Dashanzi Art District. For shopping, head to Oriental Plaza shopping mall, Wangfujing Street and Panjiayuan Market where you can pick up almost-perfect counterfeit fashion.