• Photo: LU JINRONG / Shutterstock

Haidian District

In the last decade or so Haidian has become Beijing's educational and technological center, although there's still a lot of Old Beijing left here, including the wonderful Summer Palace, with its lakes and ancient pavilions.

The major IT players, including Microsoft, Siemens, NEC, and Sun, all have offices in this area, and in the Wudaokou and Zhongguancun neighborhoods you’ll find kids geeking out over the latest gadgets at electronics superstores, studying in one of the many cafés, or blowing off steam at some of the area's dance clubs.

The campuses of China’s most elite educational institutions, Peking University and Tsinghua, are large by Chinese standards and provide a tranquil respite from the busy surrounding area, with wide lawns and Chinese gardens complete with scenic bridges and pagodas. A large number of foreign students attend Chinese universities, with South Koreans the most numerous, so restaurants and shops catering to their needs are easy to find, especially around Wudaokou station.

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