When you dock from your cruise to Tianjin, China’s capital is in easy reach, and exclusive multi-day Beijing shore excursions are the perfect way to discover and explore the sprawling city’s riches, both ancient and modern.
On one such multi-day Asia shore excursion, follow in the footsteps of ancient Chinese emperors as you visit the important sites around Tianjin of the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Temple of Heaven is the largest existing sacrificial building where the Heaven Worship Ceremony was held by emperors from the 13th through the early part of the 20th century. Stand on the Circular Altar Mound, where sacrifices were made to Heaven on the day of the Winter Solstice every year. Walk the Vermilion Steps Bridge, thought by emperors to be the access to heaven. Enjoy the Temple of Heaven as it exists today, a recreation area and park with the famous grandfather tree, a 500-year-old Nine Dragon Cypress tree, as its most notable attraction.
Tour the Forbidden City, the magnificent imperial complex built in 1420 that served as the palatial heart of China and home to 24 emperors, and the superb landscaped gardens of Summer Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Travel the Juyongguan Pass to the Great Wall of China and experience the world’s greatest defensive architecture, constructed by thousands of Chinese hands over thousands of years. Hear legend, stories, and poetry on your guided walk. Walk the largest open-urban square in the world at Tiananmen Square and explore the variety of landmarks, including the Great Hall of the People and the Tiananmen Gate that punctuate the square.
If you’re of a mind for singular adventures, among the best things to do in Beijing from a cruise are self-guided tours that put you in walking distance of Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Wangfujing district. Shop for souvenirs, then eat your way down Snack Alley located at the south end of Wangfujing, sampling Peking duck, steamed buns, oodles of noodles, ginger tea, mooncakes, candy fruits, or scorpions on a stick, if you dare.
Popular single-day Beijing shore excursions include a motor coach tour to the Great Wall, with stops at the “Water Cube,” the Olympic Aquatics Center, now a waterpark, and the “Bird’s Nest,” Beijing’s National Stadium, site of the 2008 Olympics, and so named because of its intricate steel woven design exterior.