In-Flight Catering and Travel Tips for Beijing, ChinaOctober 07, 2014 by Stacey Farooqui
While China has already seen huge economic growth in our lifetimes, over the next 10 years the country is set to undergo an aviation expansion like none seen before. This level of importance in the global community means that it is valuable to research this booming market. The logical starting point is Beijing (translates to “Northern Capital”), the capital city of the People’s Republic of China, which is home to over 20 million residents.
Due to the very distinct seasons present in Beijing, September and October are the most active times for visiting the area. These two months are considered the autumn period for the city and provide the best weather. If you are traveling during the winter, be sure to come prepared for below freezing temperatures and increased haze due to homes and businesses using more power for heating. Travel delays can happen during spring due to sandstorms and during the summer due to frequent rainstorms.
Beijing Capital International Airport (ZBAA) is the main airport in the city. In-flight catering is available for private aircraft, consisting of a variety of Western and Chinese culinary options. Make sure to provide at least 24 hours’ notice so there is ample time to procure and prepare everything needed for your order. Beijing Nanyuan Airport (ZBNY) and Beijing Xijiao Airport (ZBBB) are both military airports, but they support private aviation. A new airport, Beijing Daxing International Airport, is scheduled for completion in 2018.
Beijing is not only impressive in its size, but also in the beauty of its architecture and natural landscapes. The first landmark that typically comes to mind if the Great Wall of China. While in Beijing, you will have access to several famous sections of the Great Wall, the closest of which are only a half-hour drive from the city. The long history of the city and distinct architecture can be found by visiting the many historical buildings. The Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, Gong Wang Fu and the Gate of Heavenly Peace are just a few places to consider if you have enough time on the ground. In addition, city boasts many public parks (“gongyuan”), including Jingshan Gongyuan, Beijai Gongyuan, Ritan Gongyuna and Xiangshan Gongyuan.
With over 3,000 years of history shaping its culture, Beijing has numerous festivals and events throughout the year. Chinese New Year celebrations last for 15 days with the Lantern Festival marking the end of the event. If you are in town during these celebrations, be mindful that many businesses may be closed. The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is celebrated in either September or October (Chinese festivals follow the traditional Chinese calendar, so dates fluctuate each year). There are many locations that locals gather to celebrate and watch the moon during the festival, so you have your choice of many gorgeous backdrops for your first Moon Festival experience.
If you are looking to spend some time indoors, you can explore the many museums located within Beijing. The Palace Museum holds historical works that span the last 5,000 years. The National Museum of China is also located in Beijing and is located at the famous Tianamen Square. The Shijia Hutong Museum is a new museum that is dedicated to preserving the history of the traditional Beijing lifestyle. This museum is only open for a few hours a day, so be sure to check their schedule before planning a visit. The Beijing Museum of Natural History is the place to go if you are interested in learning about the evolution of life in China, including the rare opportunity to view a Stegodon zdanskyi skull.
Equally impressive is Beijing’s culinary history. The city is world-famous for its signature dish, Peking Duck, which dates back at least 600 years. Quanjude is one of the top-rated restaurants specializing in roast duck is also the largest restaurants of its kind in the city. Hot Pot is another distinctly Chinese dish, and Hai Di Lao is one of the restaurants where you can join locals in enjoying this culinary delight. If you are in the mood for European fare, The Temple Restaurant Beijing offers lunch and dinner options.
With the sheer size of Beijing, its global stature and draw for visitors, there is no shortage of accommodations to fit any budget. Once you have your hotel booked and your visa has been issued, be ready for an incredible journey, both in-flight and on the ground. If you have already been to Beijing and have tips you would like to share, add your comments below.
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