Where to stay in Beijing

Où dormir à Pékin ?

Where to stay in Beijing, the capital of the People’s Republic of China? Here’s our selection of the best places to stay!

China’s capital since 1153, Beijing has a monumental surface area of 16,800 km² and a population of 21.15 million (2013). The megalopolis is undergoing rapid economic growth and is therefore changing very rapidly. Located in the northeast of China, Beijing’s appeal lies in its proximity to the Great Wall of China and the presence of many famous historic buildings such as the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Temple of Heaven – all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Beijing is so huge that it’s a good idea to study the map before you land, and in particular to know which neighborhood to sleep in so as not to be caught short and waste money and time when you arrive. Here’s our overview of Beijing’s accommodation districts.

Shichahai

Shichahai, loger à Pékin

Photo credit: Flickr – Chris Bentley

Known as the district of the three lakes – Qian Hai, Hou Hai, Xi Hai – Shichahai is a very popular area in downtown Beijing, where life is bustling and people go about their daily business. The three lakes are in close proximity to many historical and cultural sites of interest, as well as to the remains of traditional Chinese houses: the Hutongs. The district has acquired a trendy atmosphere while preserving its traditional soul. The district offers numerous small boutiques, bars and restaurants right in the heart of the city. To stay in Shichahai is to experience the authentic essence of Beijing.

Dongcheng

Dongcheng, loger à Pékin

Photo credit: Flickr – Cathy W

This district lies on the eastern flank of the Three Lakes, and represents the historic site of the Royal Palace of the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. You can visit the Imperial Palace and Temple of Heaven, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Confucius or Tian’anmen Square. Dongcheng is a cultural mecca with many museums: National Museum, China Art Museum, Beijing People’s Art Theater, Central Institute of Modern Theater… In the Dongcheng district, take a stroll down Wangfujing Street, one of the most famous shopping streets in the Chinese capital.

This car-free street is often packed with people. Large department stores, hotels, boutiques and international brands spring up on both sides of the street, as well as Chinese brands. Whether you’re looking for travel souvenirs, tea, brushes, Chinese ink or handmade clothes, or a bite to eat at the night market on Sncak Street, Dongcheng is the place to stay in Beijing.

Haidian

Haidian, loger à Pékin

Photo credit: Wikimedia – Ahen0barbus

If you work in the web and new technology sectors, or if you’re moving abroad to work in a start-up, you’ll need to find accommodation in Haidian. Located to the northwest of Beijing, the Haidian district aims to be China’s competitor to California’s Silicon Valley. You’ll come into contact with many Chinese students, as the district is home to most of the city’s universities. With 2.24 million inhabitants living on 431 km², it’s a city within a city, ideal for booking accommodation in Beijing away from the hustle and bustle of the city center.

Chaoyang

Chaoyang, loger à Pékin

Photo credit: Flickr – Jean

This is one of the most privileged districts for expatriates. The infrastructure is easy to access, with shopping areas, international schools and restaurants of all kinds, a peaceful suburban lifestyle without being too far from the Three Lakes District. You can visit the Yonghe Temple (built in 1694), Beijing’s Ancient Observatory, Espace 798 – a modern art museum – stroll through the many parks or take your children to the Happy Valley amusement park. A good compromise for finding accommodation in Beijing.

Main photo credit: Flickr – Ade Russell

Map of hotels and accommodation – Beijing,cn