8am: Start your day at Tian'anmen Square, allowing for a 30-minutes stroll around the China's largest public square.
8.30am: Explore the sites around the square. After a photo stop at Monument to the People’s Heroes, head south to the Memorial Hall of Chairman Mao, where his body is preserved. 45 minutes is plenty of time to explore.
9.20am: Carry on northward to Tian’anmen Rostrum guarded by the enormous portrait of Mao above. Allow yourself a 20-minute breather to take a spectacular view of the entire square before entering Zhongshan Park, the original place where Chinese emperors prayed to the God of Land and Grain. Half an hour is enough to enjoy this park.
10.10am: Exit the park and head north to the Forbidden City. Allow yourself at least three hours to wander around in this most amazing imperial architecture.
1.30pm: Leave the palace through its north gate and take Bus 109, 124 or 103 to Beihai Park (about 5 minutes). Or just walk westward to the park and eat at any small restaurant on your way.
2.30pm: Leave the restaurant with a full tummy. Spend two hours walking, or rowing, around one of China’s best-preserved imperial gardens.
4.30pm: Exit the park through the south gate and take Bus 103 (about 15 minutes) to Wangfujing for a slice of modern Beijing. Jump on one of the electric tour buses for a 45-minute tour of the area. That leaves a good hour for shopping!
5.30pm: After completing a full circle, walk north up Wangfujing and turn left at the intersection by the Foreign Language Book Store. Head west to Donghuamen Night Market, and tuck into some of the hundreds of freshly prepared specialties on offer in Beijing’s most famous food market. About one hour should be enough.
7am: End of tour.
Expenses: Tian'anmen Rostrum: 15 yuan Zhongshan Park: 3 yuan Lunch: 40 yuan Forbidden City: 60 yuan Beihai Park: 20 yuan Wangfujing tour bus: 15 yuan Dinner at Donghuamen Night Market: 30 yuan Transport: 2 yuan