Beijing, Beijing. I don’t even need to introduce it for travelers to know what it is. You’re already thinking of the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the 2008 Olympics, the Temple of Heaven, and the Terra Cotta Warriors (just kidding on the last one — that’s in Xi’an!) To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of Beijing. Not because it’s a bad city; but because it’s THE city, and because of this, I’ve been there too many times. That’s the thing: big cities, especially Beijing, are very exciting the first time you go. The second time, you’ll probably think the place still has charm, but you can’t keep seeing the same things every time. I’ve learned that if you want to actually enjoy your trip(s) to Beijing, you have to look at it from different angles, especially because Beijing (as THE CITY) tends to represent China in most visitors’ eyes. Don’t be too quick to define Beijing as “China as a whole” though. Beijing has a fascinating history and sweet locals, but it can also represent probably the three biggest negative expectations westerners have regarding China: pollution, overpopulation, and “Big Brother is Watching You” government surveillance. Of course, no place is so simple, least of all Beijing. So, for those going to Beijing, remember: keep an open mind, let Beijing show you its charm, and find unique angles to experience something fresh every time.