A quick guide to Beijing
Beijing is a huge city, and it’s also a province of China. It has a central urban area, plus 2 rural districts. And with an area larger than the US state of Connecticut, Beijing also has an enormous population — approximately 17 million people, officially, but other estimates reach as high as 21 million. In any case, the city of Beijing has a population greater than the country of Australia.
The good news for a visitor, however, is that you’re only going to be interested in the central area. Beijing has 6 ring roads circling the central part of the city, and you’re probably only going to be interested in the areas within the 5th ring road. Most tourists, in fact, are probably going to stay within the 2nd or 3rd rings, and only on the East side, where most of the Western-style hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs are located.
Here are some of Beijing’s most popular areas for tourists:
- Houhai, Beihai, Lama Temple
- CBD: Central Business District
- Haidian, Wudaokou
- West side
- 2008 Olympics area
View Basic Beijing in a larger map
Where to stay
In Beijing, you can stay in the cheapest hostels or in some of the world’s most trendy hotels. Whatever fits your mood, lifestyle, and budget.
Beijing is full of hotels. There are thousands that might suit your needs, so the best thing to do is choose which area you’d like to stay in, then pick a hotel. As I pointed out above, most of these areas are in the Central and Eastern parts of Beijing; that’s because these are the areas where non-Chinese have traditionally stayed and lived, so there are more Western amenities in these districts.