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)
In early part of the day I visited two of the must do attractions in Beijing of the Temple of Heaven and Yonghegong (Lama Temple). Temple of Heaven is located close to Tiantandongmen Station on Line 5 of the subway. The temple is surrounded by a huge recreational park and has the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests as the center piece attraction. The park is a good breather from busy city where you can see lot of local performers, opera recitals and picnicking. Lama Temple can be reached by Line 2 (the loop line) from the station named after the temple. The temple houses a 26 meters tall Maitreya Buddha statute carved from a single piece of White Sandalwood included in the Guinness Book of Records.
Tiananmen Square (Tiananmen Guangchang)
It was around 3 by the time we reached back to city. Now was the time for visiting other landmarks - Tiananmen Square, Temple of heaven and Forbidden city. We spent some time at Tiananmen Square. Forbidden city is just opposite to it. But we missed the other two places by some wrong time estimation as Forbidden city last entry closes early and you can visit only limited portions in Temple of Heaven if you are reaching post 5.30 pm. Although this miscalculation cost me the experience to see those other creations, but I guess the visit to Great Wall itself was itself good enough an experience to cherish. We were to take afternoon flight next day for our onward journey. But guess the Beijing experience was not just over for us. Next day early morning when I woke up, there was this beautiful snowfall. The road, the cars, the roof, the trees all were covered with snow flakes.
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
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
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.
Forbidden City Music Hall
1. The Forbidden CityThe Forbidden City is in Beijing and is actually an ancient palace city. It is called so because the ordinary folk were not allowed entry into this palace. It was the grand palace known to the Ming as well as Qing dynasties about 560 years. Over 24 Chinese emperors are said to have lived here. Presently it is one of the top 5 places in the world recognized. It is a great demonstration of the Chinese architecture with its grand golden rooks painted in the colors of yellow and red. The museum inside the palace has the ancient relics.
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!
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.
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.
My last sightseeing stop in Beijing had to be the 2008 Olympics venue that put the city back on world map. That iconic arena shaped as bird’s nest and a giant water cube are sheer architectural wonders. Line 8 on the subway network connects to the venues. You have to stay till night when both the venues are lit to witness them in their full glory. The day I visited the stadium it hosted a football match between AC Milan and Inter Milan, seeing the supporters gathered to cheer their respective team buzzed the place with phenomenal live energy. No wonder ManU is evaluating options to get listed on Singapore stock exchange seeing growing fan base in the Asian subcontinent. After all the walking around my feet were aching like anything. What better reason to get a Chinese foot massage? They use a special cupping technique which is soothing in a funny way. I had to leave next morning early by train to Shanghai and didn’t want to spend my last night sleeping in the hostel room. When in Beijing you can party, party hard and party all night long just head to bar street in Sanlitun area. I was on my own and randomly entered this place that was playing international pop music. Set on a table that was shared by many people. A young guy sitting next to me ordered a Hookah (water pipe) and it came with two pipes. He offered the other pipe to me and there we go. Later he told me he was from North of Italy studying in Beijing and has traveled to India couple of times! Goa was his favorite holiday destination and he had a tattoo with India on it. He and the bar owner dragged me to elevated dance platform when the DJ played “I Just Came To Say Hello” by Martin Solveig. Time to hop. Next stop an English sort of pub serving Guiness! Am I really in Beijing? What next, Chinese hip-hop at an underground sort of place with a huge dance floor with dancing poles in the middle. And the clubbers having great time swinging around it, who really need the specialists ;)? Change of mood again and I stop at next place playing retro music at 3.00 AM. When I walked into the place seemed like party had just started. Next time I look at the watch and its already 4:30 AM and I was hungry. You just step out of the club and street food is waiting for you.Day 09: Fast Train Home
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!