Things to do in Northern China

Our most recommended things to do in Northern China

Great Wall Hiking: Small Group

1. Great Wall Hiking: Small Group

your guide will meet you at 8am and then drive to Simatai West. You will start the hiking around 10:30am, and it will take about 3 hours to complete. A lunch at a local farmer’s restaurant will be organized after the hiking before returning to the city. This section offers arguably the finest hiking anywhere on the Great Wall. It is extremely photogenic, with over 15 watch-towers, and steep gradients that give constantly changing perspectives and wide, open views. There is fascinating variety in the watch-towers here. Some have two storeys, others three. Some have flat roofs, others rounded and others again are pitched with upturned eaves. This section of the wall is wild, ruined, preserved and original. On a clear day, it is difficult to fail to take good photographs here. 

Beijing: Peking Opera Night Tour w/ Transfer

2. Beijing: Peking Opera Night Tour w/ Transfer

In the evening, your guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel from 18:30 to 19:00 and transfer you to the amazing Peking Opera at Liyuan Theater.  Peking Opera is the most world-known, representative and influential Chinese opera with a long history of more than 200 years. As a national cultural treasure in China, Peking Opera is also one of the three main theatrical systems in the world. It is a combination of singing, dancing, dialogue, mime, acrobatics and presenter's feelings, which can vividly express the special traits of a character. As the best place to appreciate Peking Opera, Liyuan Theater will give you an amazing night. You will really enjoy yourself and have a better understanding of Peking Opera after the show. When the show starts, your tour guide and driver will leave. After the show, you will need to get back to your hotel on your own.

Beijing: Old Beijing e-Bike Adventure

3. Beijing: Old Beijing e-Bike Adventure

Following your e-bike safety briefing, you will set out on the adventure. Starting with a practice lap around the surrounding Hutongs, your guides will teach you about the history of the Hutongs, including some interesting facts about who lived there. Once you're a pro at riding, head to Ghost Street to see where you should come back for some food, you may even see a ghost. Jump straight back into the Hutongs where you will navigate through some narrower streets to really get a feel for the culture. As you come out of those Hutongs, you'll see the gorgeous gateways and entrance to Lama Temple before crossing over the road to see one of the most beautiful streets in Old Beijing, Guozijian. This street is where you can give Confucius a wave if you catch his statue at the Confucius Temple. Following the temple, ride all the way along Guozijia, past the old academy where students would study, across the road and back into some more welcoming Hutongs. These Hutongs are some of the most densely populated with bars, restaurants, and cool cafes, including cat cafes. Venturing through these Hutongs, you'll come out at the Drum & Bell Towers, which are 2 fantastic towers with over 700 years of history between them. In this courtyard between the towers is a social area for locals to have fun with their friends. It's also a point for you to have some fun trying a super fun social sport. Riding towards Houhai Lake you're likely to see some local swimmers, both in summer and in winter. This magical lake is one of 3 main lakes created in the center of Beijing. Riding around the edge of the lake, you'll see that it is a very popular spot for locals to walk and socialize. You'll also ride by Prince Gong's mansion, which is the best-kept mansion from the Qing Dynasty. From the lake, follow a river as it branches off towards Nanluoguxiang, which is a Hutong street which has turned into a very popular shopping street. Your last stop will test your memory and listening skills, so make sure to listen to what your guide has to say right at the beginning. Your tour will later conclude as you ride through the Hutongs back to the starting point.

Beijing: Jinshanling Great Wall Group Tour with Lunch

4. Beijing: Jinshanling Great Wall Group Tour with Lunch

Depart from your hotel in downtown Beijing at approximately 6:00 am. Enjoy a simple breakfast before starting the trip to the Jinshanling Great Wall. Start your 3-hour hike on the eastern section of the wall at 10 am with plenty of photo opportunities of the surrounding foliage, architecture, and towers along the way. Be surrounded by ancient architecture to marvel at the along this 6 km hike. Take time to enjoy the breathtaking sights along the parapets on this relatively less crowded section of the wall with room to stop and admire the views. This section of the Great Wall offers a look at each unique tower along the way, ensuring there is always something new to discover. After the included lunch, your adventure will conclude and you will be transferred back to the city. Hotel pick up is only available from select hotels located within the second ring road in central Beijing.

From Beijing: Great Wall & Forbidden City Full-Day Trip

5. From Beijing: Great Wall & Forbidden City Full-Day Trip

Discover the history of the Great Wall on this guided day trip from Beijing. Travel aboard an air-conditioned van. Visit Tiananmen Square and have an authentic Chinese lunch. Choose between a tour with or without a roundtrip cable car ride that allows you to get to the wall faster with stunning views. You'll be picked up from your hotel in Beijing in the morning and drive to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. Your guide will provide you with lots of interesting information. At the Great Wall, you can either hike on your own or take a cable car to the highest point. Enjoy a traditional Chinese lunch at a restaurant near the Ming Tombs. After lunch, marvel at Tiananmen Square before continuing to the Forbidden City, the largest royal palace in the world and the last stop on this tour. Spend some time exploring this vast complex before being transferred back to your hotel. During the day, you'll have the opportunity to visit jade factory stores and get a foot massage in a Chinese medicine shop.

Ancient Beijing & New Olympic Area Group Day Tour

6. Ancient Beijing & New Olympic Area Group Day Tour

For this coach tour, your guide and driver will pick you up from your hotel at between 7:30 AM and 8:00 AM. Drive to Hutong and take a rickshaw to visit the ancient Beijing hutong alleyway area including Drum tower, a local family and Shicha Lake. The real culture of Beijing is the culture of the hutong and courtyards, which attract more tourists from home and abroad than the high-rise buildings and large mansions. Continue to visit the Lama Temple, Yonghe Lamasery which is considered the largest and most perfectly preserved lamasery in present day China before heading out to see the lovely giant pandas in Beijing Zoo. The site is comprised of 16 different exhibition areas and halls, but one of the most popular of these is the Panda Hall. Then go to the Olympic Green and take pictures outside the Water Cube and Bird's Nest. During the trip, you have the chance to visit the Silk Arts and Pearl Shop. At the end of the tour, you will be dropped off at your hotel.

From Beijing: Badaling Great Wall & Ming Tomb Full-Day Tour

7. From Beijing: Badaling Great Wall & Ming Tomb Full-Day Tour

You will be picked up from your hotel, located within the second ring road of Beijing, between 6:30 and 7:00 AM. On your way to the Great Wall, travel to the Ming Tombs 55 miles away from downtown requiring about an hour of driving. The thirteen Ming Tombs are the best-preserved Chinese imperial tombs with a 600-year history. The tour of the Ming Tombs takes about an hour and finishes up at 10:45. Before lunch at 11:30, you will have 45 minutes for a short visit to the Jade Gallery. Jade carving is an important and famous blend of the excellent skills in carving and Chinese traditional cultures. Have a traditional Chinese lunch at the restaurant inside the Jade Gallery. After lunch, travel to the entrance at Juyonguan of the Badaling Great Wall. There you will have 1.5-hours to hike and take in the appeal of this ancient location which is also where the first emperor of Beijing, Emperor Yongle, and his Empress Xu are buried. On the way back to your hotel, experience the Chinese tea ceremony and culture at a tea house and then transfer back to your hotel within Second Ring Road of Beijing.

Beijing: Mutianyu Great Wall Small-Group Tour with Lunch

8. Beijing: Mutianyu Great Wall Small-Group Tour with Lunch

Escape the hustle and bustle of Beijing city center and travel in the comfort of an air-conditioned van to the northeast Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China. Benefit from the services of a local guide and enjoy a tasty lunch before you decide whether to take the chairlift or brave the long hike of around 4,000 steps to reach the ramparts. Get stunning views of the surrounding forest from the top. Take a closer look at the restored brickwork and watchtowers that helped protect the imperial city and tombs from invasion. Enjoy 3 hours to explore at your own pace. Then, brave the single-rider toboggan ride back down to the foothills and experience this legendary attraction from a different perspective.

Beijing: Welcome Private Tour w/ a Local

9. Beijing: Welcome Private Tour w/ a Local

Explore the city with a friendly local who is passionate about his/her city and eager to share all the tips and tricks that will help you make the most of your trip. Meet where you're staying to get familiar with the neighborhood, find out about the best places to eat and buy groceries, the easiest ways to get around and the top things to see and do. By the end of the tour, you'll feel more comfortable in navigating the city and confident that you have all the information you need to make the most of your stay. During the walking tour, you will have the option of taking public transportation or taxi to get around the city. Please contact the local tour operator if you’d like a private car included in the tour.

Mutianyu Great Wall Bus Transfer with Options

10. Mutianyu Great Wall Bus Transfer with Options

Save time and money taking this dedicated bus direct to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, one of the most famous sites in the world. Climb aboard the bus departing from downtown Beijing City and arrive at Mutianyu. Follow your guide from the parking lot to take a shuttle to the admission gate. Have the option to buy the ticket combination for the wall and cable car and save time when you arrive. Enjoy 4–5 hours of free time to climb up to the 20th Watchtower to take in the scenic view. Marvel at this amazing structure you have seen in so many pictures. If you choose, take the scenic cable car and see one for the most famous attractions in the world from another point of view. Upon exiting the Great Wall, take the shuttle back to the parking lot. From there a bus will take you back to Beijing City.

Other Sightseeing Options in Northern China

Want to discover all there is to do in Northern China? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Northern China

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 4,212 reviews

I experienced working with Dominic twice. Once to rent an e-bike, which was well worth it on a hot day in Beijing! It was easy to get around, it was fun and he had great recommenations of what to do and see! I spent some time tooling around to see where things were, and hung out at the Houhai lake too! I also went on a Hutong tour with him where he showed me all the great hidden food places and was patient enough to wait while I pinned them on my map. He also shared good historical information which I appreciate as a history learner.

The transport and meeting location was easy and convenient. The instructions were clear and easy to follow. The one difficulty was that our tour bus guide did not speak English and gave the group a long introduction to the history of the Great Wall in Chinese before we arrived. In the end, we made it to the wall, really enjoyed the hike and had a wonderful day.

Great way to explore old Beijing. Fun and informative. Would recommend for first day of arrival as the journey reveals great places to explore my foot during rest of stay. Thanks much!

Leon, our guides, has been really kind with us. He guided us all day long, his tour has been full and detailed.

It was a fantastic experience! Our tour guide, Leo from Mubus was excellent.