Organized tours of the city and its outskirts run by big hotels, CITS and other agents offer a painless way of seeing the main sights quickly. Though they’re not cheap, the price will include lunch and a tour guide: a trip to the Summer Palace, Yonghe Gong and a pedicab jaunt around the hutongs is ¥360. The one-day tours offered by the cheaper hotels offer better value, and you don’t have to be a resident of theirs to go along. All the youth hostels offer good-value evening trips to the acrobatics shows and the opera a few times a week, and trips to the Great Wall.

Tour operators

Beijing Sideways (beijingsideways.com). Dash around Beijing in a side-car, its adjoining motorbike driven by a local expat. Plenty of options available, including hutong tours, night tours, and trips to the Great Wall.

Bike Beijing (bikebeijing.com). Offer some excellent bicycle tours of Beijing and its surrounding area, from half-day hutong trips to 15-day grassland journeys.

CITS A variety of one- and two-day tour packages on “Dragon Buses”, which you can book from their offices, from the BTS office or from the information desk in the Friendship Store.

City Bus Tour (www.citybustour.com). The most convenient city tour operator; coaches are modern and you’ll have an English-speaking guide. A day trip with them costs ¥380.

The Hutong (thehutong.com). This excellent outfit runs some interesting tours, including informative culinary and tea-market trips.

UCCA (ucca.org.cn). Informative tours of their gallery in the 798 Art District.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

China features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

An expert's guide: where to stay in Shanghai

An expert's guide: where to stay in Shanghai

Shanghai has to be a contender for the buzziest city in Asia, a thriving business hub that's brashly modern yet wears its history on its sleeve. Dense with glit…

23 Oct 2017 • Simon Lewis insert_drive_file Article
The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook