Capital of China and home to more than 14 million people,
Beijing has more to see than you could get through in
a lifetime. Beijingers know that they live in the cultural,
political and psychological center of China. Throughout
the land, people chat in Putonghua, based on the Beijing
dialect and follow the orders of the Beijing based Central
Government. The city is also the educational center
of China, with many of the best universities in the country.
It follows that Beijing is also where the majority of
foreign students choose to live and study. And, as 2008
Olympic Games venue, there has never been a hotter time
to be in Beijing.
With a state-of-the-art second terminal being built
at the Capital Airport and a new network of underground
stations about to be opened, Beijing is a travel hub
for both international and domestic destinations. Built
on a grid, it is easy to find your way around Beijing
as soon as you figure out North from South. The highly
developed university area is itself in the northwest.
Wandering inside Beijing's second ring road area gives
a totally different view. One-storey courtyards, each
with a tall tree in the middle, make central Beijing
pleasantly green. Surrounded on three sides by mountains,
Beijing's local peaks are the site of sections of the
Great Wall, a destination for all visitors to the city.
With Governmental departments and national Embassies
all located in Beijing, the city is full of people getting
paperwork signed for business or travel. From the World
Trade Center in the Central Business District to the
computer hypermarkets in Haidian, Beijing's economic
life has never looked healthier or more diverse. Although
more laid back that Shanghai, Beijing sees more money
circulating among its cultural attractions, theatres,
and art museums. Every cuisine imaginable can be tasted
in Beijing, with the best version often served near the
provincial representative office or national embassy.
Step into the Forbidden City for a taste of life in
the court of the Emperor, or take a walk through the
Emperor's personal gardens of Beihai or the Summer Palace.
Less obvious than these impressive pieces of ancient
urban design are the homes of famous writers and painters,
famous restaurants and trading areas that make up the
fabric of the past. Beijing's 20th Century history can
best be told by Beijingers themselves so put on your
best local accent and head for the streets to listen
to some of the best story tellers in the country.
|Beijing's Best Universities
Aside for tailor-made courses at the PRC-CIE Academy,
Beijing has higher education institutions to suit all
interests. Beijing's many universities, each with their
own specialization, are of such high standards that students
from across the country queue to get in. Many of these
universities are in the Haidian District, to the north
west of the city, where a huge student population means
that social activities are many and the nightlife colourful.