On the second last day of our trip,it was time for us to catch the bullet train to the capital city of Beijing.At a speed of about 330 km/hr,this is the world's third fastest carrier with networks stretching for about a radius of 2000km.First up was the Forbidden City-a place where the Ming and Qing Emperors resided for more than 500 years, which used to be off-limits to the common people.After exploring the main buildings in the Forbidden City, drive around Tiananmen Square to see the biggest city-center square in the world, as well as some of the iconic buildings like the Front Gate, Chairman Mao's Mausoleum, Monument to the People's heroes, Great Hall of the People, Tiananmen Gate and National Museum of China.
Best Time To Visit
Best time to visit Beijing is from April to June and from September to October
How To Reach
Book a Package Tour
Great Wall at Mutianyu
What’s better than watching grown men and women struggle up 5164 steps? Joining in on the fun by signing yourself up for the half or full marathon in Tianjin China. Each Spring in 2000-3000 participants gather to run and crawl their way up and down the largest man-made built barrier in the world. Aside from the wall, runners get to go through a local village and a valley with spectacular views of the China’s iconic wall.
Temple of Heaven (Tiantan Park)
The next day after breakfast we went for sightseeing. Our first stop was the Temple of Heaven where Beijing’s seniors gather each morning to enjoy a variety of activities; from badminton and Tai Chi to street opera and ballroom dancing, This is a true taste of Chinese community life! Of course you also visit the magnificent temple itself.
Tiananmen Square (Tiananmen Guangchang)
The Tian'AnMen Square is known as the spiritual heart of China. Famous for its historical events, like demonstrations on May 4th, 1999, that inspired young Chinese to fight imperialists and warlords, and build a strong independent country. The Gate of Heavenly Peace is on the square's north end. And at the center of the square is the 40m-high Monument to the People's heroes and Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum. Also, the Great Hall of the People lies on the west along with the Museum of Chinese History.
GREAT WALL OF CHINA
A coach picked us next morning from the hostel at 8:30 AM lead by a lovely guide dressed in shocking pink, Monica. Mutianyu is about 90-minute drive from Beijing city and on the way we were briefed on various historical facts about the wall. At some point of time in history every fifth person in China was involved in building the wall to safeguard the Chinese empire from Manchurian and Mongolians. As someone has very rightly put it in the past what was built to keep people away is now a medium to bring people from all over the world together as they want to visit something so magnificent. Mutianyu section is about 2.5 km long and has 22 towers. You could reach on the top by cable cars or if feeling athletic can take a 20-minute hike and save ¥40 for one-way cable car trip. I decided to skip the cable car and started my journey to the great wall on foot with two fellow Belgian boys. After sweating in temperature of 36 degrees with high humidity I reached the top (don’t ask me when was the last time I was in gym). From here you can either turn right of the wall which is in more in its original form with some six towers on steep curves of the hills or turn left which is largely restored and evenly slopped. I headed right, easier side first,walked up to fourteenth tower and turned back to get to more historic sections. The climb here was really stiff with knee high steps. Miley Cyrus blaring loudly in my ears “I wanna fly, I wanna drive, I wanna go… I wanna be a part of something I don’t know… And if you try to hold me back I might explode” with Can’t Be Tamed kept pushing me. What Chairman Mao has quoted time and again is debatable but when he said “He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man” there are absolutely no two ways. Every time that whiff of air hit you in the dense forests surroundings the wall it reminded how soothing it would have been for guards protecting their dynasties in most extreme living conditions. Slopping down the mountains on wheeled toboggan ride down from the wall was awesome. It’s like being on a roller coaster with absolutely no external controls, you decide the speed and you be your own complete master. After all that exercise I was damn hungry and Monica had arranged for a very authentic Chinese meal experience. It was group of ten eclectic people being served ten different Chinese dishes to be shared. I found sharing food Chinese tradition more intimate experience than cold distant Western culture of sticking with what you ordered and your plate! We were back at hostel by early evening. After resting for a while stepped out for dinner and had the most delicious tofu dish at a local restaurant.Day 07: When Floaters Meets Stiletto
First site on today’s agenda was Summer Palace that was easy to sget to by Line 4 on subway at Beigongmen Station. Listed by UNESCO as World Heritage site its described as “a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. The natural landscape of hills and open water is combined with artificial features such as pavilions, halls, palaces, temples and bridges to form a harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value.” There are some twenty different attractions spread across three square km area of the palace. In one of the halls I was lucky to catch live performances of marshal-arts, dances and Chinese music as done in ancient times to entertain royalty and their guests. It took about four-five hours to wonder around this mammoth complex including climbing Longevity Hill. The Tower of Buddhist Incense and Clouds Gathering Temple on top of the hill were most beautiful relics of Chinese heritage. Next stop for the day was busiest shopping street of Wangfujing. There is a snack street that has food stalls selling exotic stuff as alive spiders, silk warms, seahorses that would be served deep fried on a stick and seasoned to taste for the brave-hearts! For more mundane affair lamb kebabs, dumplings and wraps would tickle your taste buds. If you are an avid reader than visit to Beijing Foreign Language Book Store would be a great stop. I spent couple of hours browsing through work of contemporary Chinese authors writing in English. Picked up a book by Mark Salazman titled The Laughing Sutra with story written in the most hilarious fashion of a Chinese monk’s travel to America in search of a manuscript for his master that can lead to immortality. Salsa in Beijing? The club Salsa Caribe was perfect destination for a night out. Seeing Chinese grooving on salsa beats of a Cambodian live band was most amazing experience. What I loved about the club was no one to scan at entrance what are you dressed up in, if its floaters or stiletto you are at your will to dance the night away. No pretense, sheer fun. I joined the group dancing and learning the salsa moves!Day 08: Bonding Over Hookah and Goa
Temple of Heaven Park
I bought the entrance ticket for CNY15. The entrance ticket only gets you into the park. If you want to visit the building, you would need to pay another CNY20. You could purchase the combo ticket for CNY35. The interesting point about the Temple of Heaven is the architecture. There are 3 Main areas: Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests Imperial Vaults of Heaven Circular Mound Altar The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is a round building on a square platform. The Imperial Vaults of Heaven is surrounded by round walls. The Circular Mound Altar is of course a circle, on top of a square platform. The entire place is in a semi circle. The interesting point in this place is the Echo Wall. It is said that if 1 person whispers at one end of the wall, the other would hear it on the other end.
Gate of Heavenly Peace (Tian'an Men)
Most people visit Tian'anmen Square on their way to the Forbidden City. Both can be done together in a morning or afternoon. Tian'anmen Square is the largest public square in the world. It is arguably the most-visited site in Beijing. It lies on the historical central axis going through the Forbidden City.
Beijing Zoo was planned as a "side dish" rather than a "main dish". The main reason we went to Beijing Zoo was the Panda House. The entrance to Beijing Zoo + Panda House + Boat trip = CNY40 If you want to visit the aquarium, you can add some money. Young bamboo shoots were planted surrounding the area. Whereas the pandas were locked in their cages and play area. The part that excites me was the boat trip. There are 2 boat trips: Round Trip to Purple Bamboo Garden (returning to the Zoo) Single Trip to Summer Palace (not returning to the Zoo) Went into the boat. A guide were explaining the history of the waterways. The waterways that were using were also used by the Empress Dowager Cixi. The bridge on top were low in height. During rainy days, the boat would not be able to pass through.It was interesting.At the end she announced that we have arrived at the Purple Bamboo Garden. Excited. I was ready to get off the boat.
Great Wall Of China The grandeur of the Great Wall of China can't be felt unless and until you yourself experience it! The great architecture takes your breath away! The lush green forests surrounding it, the trans-siberian train passing underneath it... everything is just picture-perfect!
The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the center of Beijing, China. Built in 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 buildings and covers 7,800,000 sq ft. Its worth seeing the Forbidden City.
5. BEIJING NATIONAL STADIUM: Another place that makes it to the to- do list is the Birdnest Olympic Stadium and the Olympic WaterPark. It was designed as the main stadium of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. National Aquatics Center, and colloquially known as the Water Cube, is an aquatics center that was built alongside Beijing National Stadium in the Olympic Green for the swimming competitions of the 2008 Summer Olympics. Despite its nickname, the building is not an actual cube, but a cuboid (a rectangular box).THINGS TO EAT IN CHINANow, China is a hard core non vegetarian country. Anything and everything you can think off is eaten here which might just amaze you throughout your trip. The place is a paradise for all the non- vegetarians, however, survival seems to be difficult for someone like me who happens to be a vegetarian. Here is a guide to some of the very well known sumptuous feasts in China:1. The Beijing Duck: Peking Duck or Beijing Duck is best-known for the thin and crispy skin, rich taste and long history. the popular opinion is conclude some ways and timing to eat Beijing duck. The duck is tasted palatable in spring, winter and autumn. The authentic versions of dish should be served with most skin and little meat. Generally it is eaten with pancakes, sweet bean sauce and scallion. The sweet bean sauce is smeared on the pancakes, then slices of meat is put between the pancakes. 2. DUMPLINGS: Dumplings have a delicate wheat-flour skin around warm, moist prawn or pork contents. They are similar to what we call Momos in India. The crescent-moon dumplings are served steamed, fried or in a soup, sold by the number of dumplings or weight. Use your chopsticks to share from the one platter–the Chinese way. On your table you’ll find black rice-vinegar and smoky chilli-oil to drizzle into your little dipping sauce dish. Be ready for the juicy dumpling contents to burst with flavour in your mouth. 3. FLATBREAD: Golden-toasted flatbreads and pastries come in many tasty forms in China’s capital and make a filling street food cooked on the spot or a shareable restaurant starter.They are similar to sweet pooris in India. 4. MOONCAKES: A Mid-Autumn Festival favourite, I did not have the chance to try them but it remains a very sought after thng. The classic yuè bĭng is a sweet biscuity cake with a dense filling of red bean- or lotus-paste around an egg yolk ‘moon’. No sweet snack looks as prosperous and self-contained as round moon cakes branded with Chinese symbols glazed in the tops. 5. BARBEQUE SKEWERS: Beijing has adopted the Chinese-Muslim lamb skewer from Xinjiang and evolved it. Anything that captures your imagination can be skewered and roasted at street hawker stands. The hawkers just stop to as if you'll like it Point to what you want spicy (là) or not (bùlà). as soon as the sun starts to set, these hawkers start putting there stalls on the pavements and you can see a group of men sitting on the small table chit-chatting. As you’re in Beijing and the buzz and dazzling lights of the market might just convince you to try spicy shark, snake, starfish, seahorses or sheep’s testicles. 6. BEIJING HOT POT: Now, this one is a must do.This bubbling copper pot of soup is cooked at your table by you and your friends, adding fresh meat and veg. It’s a warming Beijing favourite.The pot is shaped like a ying-yang. One side the broth is spicy equipped with the famous Chinese spices and the other side is just salt water. Choose what raw vegetables and lamb (or other meat, fish balls or mushrooms) you would like on your platter to cook for yourself in the pot. Then drop in ingredient-by-ingredient what you would like to cook and eat. Each person scoops out their goodies with a slotted spoon (or just chopsticks) and eats it with a dipping sauce, which can include sesame oil, savoury BBQ and fermented soybean. At the end, add the noodles to the soup to draw up the flavours.THINGS THAT MIGHT HELP1. Learn a few Phrases in Mandarin. Very few people are able to speak in English, so it was always great if are able to converse in their language. Like, I am a vegetarian so the words 'Sùshí zhǔyì zhě' were like my trump cards. Plus, you are able to impress them.2. The Beijing Subway is extraordinarily cheap- 2 yuan anywhere in the city. Make good use of it.3. The people in Beijing are relatively louder than the average. It might appear that these folks are fighting but instead they are just having a normal conversation.4. The men prefer to grow the last fingernail of their right hand as it is used to pick the ear and the left one won't do it as well as the right one. 5. Learn to master the art of using chopsticks. These folks eat rice with chopsticks and spoons are difficult to find.
798 Art Zone
This is one of the most famous places that has successfully attracted many artists, poets and painters over the years whether Chinese or from other parts of the world. It is also known as Dashanzi Art District and is 18 km away from the first stop. It is one of the biggest and celebrated art area in Beijing. The area has its roots in the abandoned factory buildings. The art area of 798 can trace back to 2003, when an abandoned factory was rented to a freelance painter, who opened his own art gallery. 798 refer to the name of the factory. The spacious site is a welcome for art galleries and ambitious projects. It goes without saying that 798 has become a hub of contemporary art in modern Beijing. It is a well suited area for art galleries. A walk down the area will help you see the preserved appearance of old factories, rusty steel construction or abandoned site. It is like reliving the past of 798 factory in the old city of Beijing. Today this place holds top quality exhibitions, quaint museums, cafes, cinema screening films most days. It is perfect example of upholding traditions in a modern city. The rustic charm that it endorses truly made it one of my favourite places in the city.
Beijing Capital International Airport
We flew out of Beijing Capital International Airport on Air Koryo. For the "worst ranked airline in the world" it was a hell of a lot better than United! Yes, even the food was better. And the beer was free. This is not as much of a compliment to Air Koryo, North Koreas national airline, but an affront to United. Get your shit together guys.
Qianmen is another interesting place at the far end of Tiananmen Plaza. Before you go to the Qianmen Shopping Street, you might want to visit the China Railway Museum which is more of a Victorian style building. I never thought Qianmen could this beautiful. I thought it was just another street like the Wangfujing Street. But no, it was so different from Wangfujing Street. I liked the blend of modern stores and the grey bricks of Chinese houses. I also liked the fusion of Western & Eastern brand side by side on the same street. If you are looking for a good bargain. Get off the main street and go to the back street. You can get some silk scarf for as low as CNY10 per piece. I bought 3 and I am pretty satisfied. They are smooth and nice enough for me.
We went to the Forbidden City. Paid CNY60. But it was really worth it. I spent my whole daytime there. Tips: There are tonnes of tour guides. Wait patiently for the one that speaks your language. Follow them. They will tell you some interesting tales & facts about the palace. The doors, gateway, bridges, staircases, etc all come in odd numbers. It is either 3, 5, 7 or 9. The middle one is the path only taken by the emperor and his highest ranking ministers. Visiting the Emperor`s bedroom. You thought it is a bench. In fact, it is a bed. The emperor was only 5 feet plus in height. Big bucket of waters are placed beside the large courts. If there was really a big fire, the bucket of water is not enough to extinguish the fire on such a large court. It is believed, water against wood, wood against gold, gold against fire. Fengshui said putting a bucket there, you won‘t get fire.
Olympic Sports Center
After getting back to Beijing from Badaling, we drive to visit the Olympic Park. As the major venue of the 2008 Olympic Games, the Olympic Park contains three areas including the Forest Park in the north, a major venue and supporting facilities area in the center and the completed stadiums and the reserved area. The completed stadiums are the National Stadium (Bird's Nest), National Swimming Center (Water Cube) and the National Indoor Stadium (Folding Fans). We will have an outside view of the Olympic Park. Transfer back to your hotel after the day tour.
Hello Everyone......Finally I am writing my next blog after a long gap.Currently I am in Beijing,China. Really a good city, over crowded, over polluted , with good peoples (till now). Started to explore Beijing in free time...like weekends..Previous week I went to HouHai Bar street which is really a great place and must visit if you are in Beijing or Planning to be here soon in future.This place is well connected with Subway line. Nearest subway is Shichahai which is line 8. Exit from subway walk just 5 mins and you will able to see a lake which is known as Houhai Lake.If you are in group then take a boat ride. Deposit 400 RMB for pedal boat or 600 for battery boat. Take some beer, drinks go into the lake and enjoy the show.There are few pole dance club, so if you like then can enjoy there too..As well known ,drink is not that costly. in 100-120 RMB you can get 12 shots of drink... so be there to bottom up.Overall place is must go either you are in group or with some one special..I went with friends and enjoyed alot.Estimated Time to Explore :- If you are living in Beijing then you can go and explore this place, otherwise go to night near by 9-10 PM and enjoy the night life,Estimated Money :- Depends on your drink... nay way 500 RMB will be a good amount to explore that place...So enjoy this place. In case of any query ,you can reach me at my mail id which I mentioned into my profile and also don't forget to like my facebook page..https://www.facebook.com/MyVisionTravelogue/?ref=bookmarksHave a good life,,, Take care...
Hutong, an ancient Beijing city, is located in the city center, with about 700 years history. The word "hutong" originated from the word "hottog" which meant "well" in Mongolian. Legends have it that villagers dug out a well and inhabited the area. Those old natives are till date constituting the local families there. In fact the passage formed by lines of Siheyuan (a compound with houses around a courtyard) where old Beijing residents live is laid down in this ancient face of Beijing city. You're sure to get lost in those winding lanes and alleys!
Songzhuang Art Community
I then went to Songzhuang art colony which is I have a complete bias for. It is located in Tongzhou District and is the most famous and biggest artist community in Beijing. Painters, sculptors, performing artists, musicians, composers, writers, photographers, name it and you will meet them all in this single colony. It is in true sense home to about thousand artists. It used to be a laid back quite town but has today managed to emerge as the most sought after centre in China’s contemporary art scene. A tranquil place where all dreamers live next to each other! If you are looking for an environment blessed for deep inner contemplation then Songzhuang is what you are looking for. It is the best place to meet the artists, learn some of their struggles and stories of great achievements. You can begin your trip with a visit to the Artists Reception Center on Xiaopu Jie at the village square or to the Songzhuang Art Museum off Xiaopu Jie in northern Songzhuang.