That is 3 of the most historically significant tourist sites in the world, all in a single city.
With a little inside information, many of the attractions and establishments in Beijing are affordable to visitors with very little money (Or desire to part with it).
We are going to focus on the information that will best save you time, money and long tourist queues.
90% of budget tourists visiting China use the Lonely Planet China Guidebook like it was a Bible.
Therefore, those 90% end up going to the same places, at the same time and thinking how great an investment that 2KG book was.
They don't realize that they are being herded into long line ups and overpriced hotels.
They are certainly not stupid.
Many believe that all the information they'll need in order to survive any Beijing travel can be found in the Lonely Planet. They trust the book so much that they follow it blindly and lose the spontaneity that should be part of any great travels.
The book won't tell you that the hotel around the corner is nicer and half the cost. Half the cost and no long waiting lists because they are not listed in the pages of a Lonely Planet Beijing Travel Guidebook.
Once any undiscovered attraction, hotel or restaurant gets a mention in the Lonely Planet, they quickly become tourist traps.
The owners of these newly listed restaurants and hotels raise their prices and the crowds of tourists soon follow. Beijing travel is big business, but taking a copy of the Lonely Planet along with you is never a bad idea.
You can get more information about the Lonely Planet China at Amazon.com.
Or you could bid on a copy on the auction site Ebay.com
Even if you buy a slightly used copy of last years edition, it's worth it. Unless you can find a way to download the 467 pages of this website. :). That option coming soon! Everything is better when it is free!
Get Your Chinese Visa Before You Travel to Beijing
You'll need a Chinese tourist Visa before you do any Beijing travel.
There are working visas and business visas to China but we focus on the Chinese tourist visa or 'The L Visa' and what you'll need to do to get one.
Find out more on the China Visa page. You can download the Chinese Visa Application Form there.
Arriving at Beijing's International Airport
I flew into the ultra-modern Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK). It's located in the Shunyi District, about 20km North-East of the Beijing City center.
The Beijing airport is a hub for travel destinations and tickets are very cheap. Try an excursion to Mongolia because it is a cheap excursion and a short flight away.
If you decide to visit Mongolia then make sure you are prepared. Here is by far the best online Mongolia Travel Guide you'll find.
The Chinese spared no expense in order to offer the best impression of a growing China to foreigners with Beijing travel plans. The Beijing International Airport really is the modern flagship of one of the oldest cultures in the world.
Back when the city was named Peking.
I purchased my air tickets online with Cheapoair.com. The program does an extensive search of all the airlines, booking sites and online price guides to find the best available online Air Tickets for the best prices.
Their price on the flight, including all taxes and fees, was simply the best anywhere. The advantages of booking your flight online are many and growing. When you book an Air Ticket online you get access to options available only online.
For example, if you want to change the date of your return flight, you can do that online. Also, remember that the further you book ahead, the cheaper the flight will be.
Leaving the Airport for the Beijing City Center
It's so refreshing to be able to get off an airplane whithout worrying about how you are going to ...
Navigate your Way Out of the Unfamiliar Airport
Locate the Correct Public Transport with no Measurable Ability to Speak Chinese
Endure the Long Bus Ride Wearing the Same Clothes You've had on for the Past 19 Hours
The Airport Pick-Up Service will save you massive amounts of time, hassle, stress and sleep. Sometimes that can be worth the extra money.
Budget travel doesn't mean you have to suffer. Arriving in Beijing after a 15 hour flight on a plane, and especially at night makes an airport pickup service a welcomed releif and a safer alternative.
The driver will be waiting for you walk through the arrival's gate. He / She will be smiling and holding up a sign with your name on it. They will carry your bags and drive you in a comfortable mini-van to your hotel and take your bags up to your room.
Warning! Using these Pre-Arranged Airport Pickup Services are addictive. Once you've used them, it can be hard to return to hauling bags onto public buses just to save $20 Bucks.
The best value airport pickup service shouldn't cost you more than $30USD each way. Taking the public bus into the city center can cost you as little as $5USD but they are not the same thing.
You have to include the most iconic tourist destination in the world on your Beijing travel Agenda. We'll show you the best parts of the Great Wall to visit with the least amount of tourists.
From the Beijing city center, it's just a short drive or bus ride to the Badaling section of the wall. This was the first section of the wall opened to visitors, and as such is the busiest and most well known.
If you can do one thing while you execute your Beijing travel plans, then get to the Great Wall. It's simply the most iconic thing that you can do when you travel to Beijing.
It is a structure known the world over, and you won't forgive yourself if you miss this experience.
Another destination that is popular with visitors is the Beijing Zoo. The pandas are always a popular draw, but the zoo has much more to offer, including a number of historical buildings.
The Beijing Zoo has been around in some form or another for nearly as long as the Forbidden City. It was only turned into a zoo in the past hundred years or so, however.
Today it is a place of great conservancy, and the animals continue to draw visitors each year. The Giant Pandas are the most famous residents, but many other animals are housed there as well, including Bears, Tigers, and Crocodiles.
Learn more about the Beijing Zoo, how to get there and what it costs.
If shopping is part of your Beijing travel plans, then you must learn about the local markets. Shopping in the local markets is an activity many tourists partake in to get an that authentic connection with the feel of the city.
The night markets are great, especially if you want to try some great food and then take in some of the happening Beijing nightlife. Just remember that the Beijing night Markets are open to the elements.
There is little shelter from the rain and when it rains in Beijing, it is not nice to get caught out without an umbrella. Then again, the rain drops might burn holes in a regular umbrella (Acidic rain, anyone?).
Be sure to check out our Beijing Weather page for a weather forecast before you make plans.
Shopping in Beijing is another great opportunity to become acquainted with life in the city. There are plenty of different kinds of markets, from silk markets to antique markets and much more.
Just be prepared to bargain if you want to get a good deal!
One of the first things that budget minded travelers can do to save a bit of money is get to know the Beijing Subway. It is much more affordable than taking a taxi and yet less prone to traffic jams.
The Beijing subway provides service to most of the urban and suburban parts of the city, as well as most of the major tourist destinations you will likely want to see.
When making their Beijing travel plans, many people worry that they won't be able to do all the things that make a trip to China special, or that they won't be able to take in all of the culture the city has to offer, especially if they are short on time.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
You can see most of Beijing's major tourist sites in a single day. Find the right tour of Beijing that best suits you on our Beijing City Tours page.