Celebrity’s Global Insiders On: Beijing

beijing_992x744Celebrity has teamed up with one of the world’s most influential travel brands, Travel + Leisure, to create a group of savvy travel and lifestyle experts who offer insights on everything from the destinations that Celebrity visits, to the modern luxury vacation experiences they provide. This group—known as Celebrity’s Global Insiders—share their favorite finds around the globe so that you can travel like a pro, crafting unique and memorable experiences in key destinations on all seven continents. 

The Chinese New Year period, between February and March, is traditionally among the busiest for traveling to Beijing. According to the government, over 2.4 billion road trips will be taken during the month-long celebratory period, as Chinese citizens travel all over the country to see family and friends, eat good food, and take in the sights. While Beijing will be particularly bustling during the new year, China’s capital city—which now boasts of 21.15 million people—is worth visiting any time of year.

Recognized as China’s political, educational, and cultural center, Beijing is also home to the amazing Forbidden City, which was the official residence for 24 different emperors though two dynasties. The entire complex consists of 800 buildings and is listed by the UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. Other top Beijing sites include the Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square and, of course, the Great Wall of China.

For more suggestions, here’s how Celebrity’s Global Insiders recommend spending your time when docked in Beijing.

MARC MURPHY CroppedMarc Murphy (Executive Chef and owner of Benchmarc Restaurants)

You can’t get far in Beijing without catching the aroma of jianbing, one the city’s most popular snacks. This large crispy crepe, stuffed with green onions, eggs and a dash of chili, will give you plenty of energy for all the exploring you’ll no doubt do. After visiting the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, head to Duck de Chine for a delicious and traditional take on Peking Duck, one of the most famous dishes in Beijing.

Alicia Ng CroppedAlisa Ng (Founder and CEO of ShopLatitude.com)

Pānjiāyuán Market is a flea market lovers paradise. Even if you are not into shopping, it is undoubtedly the best place in Beijing to discover handmade crafts, antiques, vintage jewels, age-old art and more. This bustling market only takes place on weekends, but it’s worth planning your trip around. Bargaining is key—start by offering the vendor a third of his asking price—and it’s generally pretty easy to score a lower price as sellers sometimes ask up to 10 times the authentic cost. The ceramics, calligraphy and colorful Tibetan carpets were some of our favorite items; be sure to go early in the day to browse the best selection.

Julia Dimon CroppedJulia Dimon (Travel columnist and television personality)

For the adventurous eater, the Donghuamen Night Market has dozens of stalls selling some of the world’s most exotic snacks, including silk worms, scorpions, starfish and centipedes. But, if centipede doesn’t do it for you, the lively nighttime market also serves up traditional treats like dumplings, noodles and fresh strawberry kabobs. It’s a delicious spot to visit for the daredevil diner.

KATE BETTS 45 x 45Kate Betts (Fashion journalist and award-winning magazine editor)

Pearls are inexpensive in Beijing and the Hong Qiao Pearl Market is the best place to buy them. There are several stalls selling everything from seawater pearls to freshwater pearls. Don’t forget to bargain for a better price!

 

 

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