Things to do in Beijing
Check out Beijing’s flourishing contemporary art scene
This former industrial complex in the Dashanzi district is the hive around which all Beijing’s contemporary artists swarms. 798 Art District (www.798district.com/en) has a wealth of galleries that hold revolving exhibitions from local and international artists, and there are cafes, bars and art shops to ensure you won’t have to go more than 30 minutes without cashing some of those holiday tokens.
Get on your (ice) bike
In summer, Shichahai Lake's glass-like surface is dotted with lotus flowers, whilst weeping willows huddle round the edges. In winter, it turns into a giant skating rink where you can hire ice bikes, thus hopefully avoiding the indignity of sore knees and elbows. You can hire everything down at the lake, which is open during daylight hours.
Get yourself a good Cupping
One of China's most offbeat medicinal treatments is cupping: the act of applying heated cups to skin to effect suction. It can help all manner of bodily ailments, from skin and blood disorders to rheumatic problems. There's not many places left that still do it so if you want to give this most ancient of treatments a whirl, book a session (www.klook.com/activity/2064-traditional-cupping-beijing).
Lose yourself in the worlds weirdest food market
Even if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool meat and potatoes hound, a trip to Beijing will be incomplete with visiting Donghuamen Night Market. Culinary weirdness abounds - get those chops round spiders on sticks, deep fried scorpions, sheep’s penis and maybe even a seahorse.
Stoke your fire at Dragon Gorge
Set 80km (50 miles) from downtown Beijing is Longqing Xia, otherwise known as Dragon Gorge. Take the dragon escalator up to the gorge - an escalator claimed to be the longest in the world. Climb up the mountains or take a cable car, before taking a river cruise between the lush great pillars that jut from the water. Adrenalin enthusiasts will get their fill here too, with bungee jumping, rock-climbing and abseiling on offer. Beijing Trip will get you there (www.beijingtrip.com).