hANnaeYTHING

Beijing Travel Guide

This travel blog talks about the Part 4 of 4 of our China trip, when i look back on this day, my excitement from start to finish did not waiver. This was the last leg of our Quad-City China trip. In reference to my previous post, Beijing is known to be the crown of China and i am yearning to share why it is so.

After exploring the ancient city, Xi’an, we are now heading to Beijing. You can either take a 2 hour plane ride or take a train which has 2 options: high speed train which is around 4-5 hours travel time or sleeper train. Sleeper train has two options as well, with stops or non-stop. We took the non-stop sleeper train which departed at 6:00 PM and will arrive 6:30 AM the next day.

We were all in high spirits when we went onboard the train. Cabin rooms were already preassigned. In a room are two double-deck single beds and a small table in the middle. It was not very spacious though there are designated place for the luggage but since each one of us had a big and one small trolley bag, then we just put some of our things under the bed. We were able to settle our things and the train left Xi’an train terminal on time.

 

At the Sleeper Train.

 

What is nice about our experience is that there are four of us who traveled together, we fit perfectly in one room. It is always nice to share this kind of experience with friends.

Mike and Beth still fit at the lower bed. This photo was a few minutes after our train left at Xi’an train station.

They provided us with pillow, mattress and comforter. There are also several water stations (Hot and Cold) around the train. Before we went to the train station, we bought several noodles, drinks and snacks in preparation of this trip. There was also a store inside the waiting lounge for passengers riding this non-stop sleeper train. The prices were just the same as the prices at the stores outside the train station.

It was so much fun! We bought our own alcoholic drinks too, it was like a night out in a running train. It was one item off my bucket list and it was so special because i get to spend it with people who matters. This kind of adventure requires that you and your companions are in sync in what you like and that you can talk about anything and have some fun at the same time.

We arrived in Beijing at exactly 6:30 AM the next day. We stayed at Spring Time Hostel, it is a few steps away form Dongsi Station at the heart of Beijing. The tip that i have been sharing since in all my travel blogs is to choose a hotel near a train station because trust me, it is easier to locate and easier to commute.

 

Our room was not yet ready when we arrived at the hotel, but they have wash room and we quickly freshened up and left our things to have our breakfast.

Cafe inside Spring Time Hostel.

View from our window are hutong houses or the traditional chinese houses.

We walked around the vicinity near our hotel where a lot of supermarkets and restaurants can be found and we came across a Chinese fast food, Western Mahua. It was very spacious and clean, most of all, food was really good and has so many options to choose from.

This instantly became our go-to fast food during our entire Beijing trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a hearty breakfast, we then started our Beijing sight seeing tour. This was my second time to visit this beautiful city, my first visit here was way back May of 2011 with my family. We availed of a 3 day group tour that time but just the same i am excited of what is in store for our DIY trip.

Beijing is Peoples Republic of China’s capital formerly romanized as Peking, this is the second biggest city of China after Shanghai. It is the political center of this country with official buildings and embassy areas dominating the area. Beijing is a complete mix of old and new, you can find vast modernization amidst the most ancient norms and cultural settings. It is such an interesting city to explore.

Beijingers are much friendly and approachable than any other Chinese people from different city like Shanghai. They have the so called “Great Beijing-ism” attitude which each local here displays. They are more keen of talking about current events and politics.

Our first stop was the Forbidden City, also known as the Palace Museum, and Gu Gong in Chinese, lies at the city center of Beijing, and once served as the imperial palace for 24 emperors.

The Forbidden City is divided into two parts. The southern section, or the Outer Court was where the emperor exercised his supreme power over the nation. The northern section, or the Inner Court was where he lived with his royal family.

Listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site in 1987, the Palace Museum is now one of the most popular tourist attractions world-wide and even though that this was my second time to visit this place, i am still in awe of it’s history and grandeur.

Let me take you to a photo tour of this majestic place.

At the entrance of Forbidden City is a portrait of Mao Zedong or Mao Tse-tung, the leader of the Communist Party and the chairman or the head of state from 1949-1959.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 2011 Forbidden City with our group tour mates.

 

North Gate of Forbidden City.

May 2011 at the Forbidden City iconic North Gate.

 

March 2018 at the iconic North Gate.

Across the entrance of Forbidden City is the equally famous, Tiananmen Square. When we went there last March, Tiananmen Square was closed to the public since Pres. Kim Jong-Un was there to visit China. Security is at its highest level.

Tiananmen Square is located at the center of Beijing and means “Gate of Heavenly Peace”.

In 1989, after several weeks of demonstrations, Chinese troops entered Tiananmen Square on June 4 and fired on civilians. Estimates of the death toll range from several hundred to thousands. It has been estimated that as many as 10,000 people were arrested during and after the protests. Several dozen people have been executed for their parts in the demonstrations.

Tiananmen Square May 2011

 

Tiananmen Square March 2018

After hours of walking, we then head to grab a late lunch at the multi-awarded restaurant Lao Qing Feng famous for their dumplings. A must eat when in Beijing!

We went back to the hotel to check in and rest.

WANGFUJING STREET NIGHT MARKET

After a restful afternoon, we are ready to walk again to Wangfujing Street which is just a few meters from our hotel. Wangfujing Street Night Market or also called as  Donghuamen Night Market is  located near the north entrance of the commercial street. It enjoys high popularity among local people, providing visitors gourmet snacks in different style. The night market opens around 6:00 PM and the entire street begins to be brimmed with mouthwatering flavors.

Tips:
1. There are davenports every several yards prepared for visitors to have a rest. And one can use the shopping barrows along the street for free.
2. Visitors can take a sightseeing bus at south end of the street which runs through this street and Nanheyan Street. Tourist guide on the bus can introduce the history and main scenic spots along the street in detail. The bus runs 50 minutes altogether with 8 stops. The bus fare is CNY20 per person.
3. Currently, Beijing has adopted tax  refund policy (Value Added Tax or VAT) among overseas tourists, and there are several designated tax free stores in the commercial street, including Gongmei Mansion, Wangfujing Department Store, Dong’an Department Store, and Wuyutai Tea Shop.

Here are some of the street food we devoured during our visit.

This kind of exotic delicacies is such a big hit in the area for photo and video of tourists.

 

Peking Duck Shawarma

 

Chinese sausage

 

Charcoal cake

Day 2 was The Great Wall of China day!

The Great Wall, one of the greatest wonders of the world, was listed as a World Heritage by UNESCO in 1987. Just like a gigantic dragon, it winds up and down across deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus.

May 2011.

March 2011.

The Great Wall is consist of walls, beacon towers, and passes, etc, the long-extending Great Wall worked as a complete and solid military defense line in ancient China, protecting the Central Plain from invasions of northern nomadic tribes.

Took off early from the hotel to go to Mutianyu.

Early birds at the train station.

From the train station, we took a public bus then a taxi to get to Mutianyu. It was nearly 2 hours travel.

We bought 3 tickets: for the chairlift ride, Great Wall Entrance and the toboggan ride.  One thing i noticed is that this place is not crowded. Everything is in place as we went up to the Chairlift ride. No long queues and everything is orderly.

The chair lift ride was a little scary and it has no seat belts so you need to stay put. You can still take a good video and photos too but you need to be very careful with your gadgets.

 

 

The cool 11 degrees weather plus an awesome aerial view of the Great Wall of China is a sight to behold that morning. We purposely took off very early as we want to  avoid big crowd from tours which usually arrive around 9 AM to 10 AM. We were already at the Great Wall at around 8:00 AM and yes it was not crowded with tourists.

I get to have unedited instagram-worthy photos!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But don’t be fooled by those photos, it was very tiring and i am so glad that the weather is really nice, we were channeling our tired feet to the coldness of the place. Again, it is always great to travel with friends who knows how to have fun despite tired feet.

You can actually explore the wall at your own pace, you can rest, that’s the beauty of this side when there are not much tourists.

Last May 2011, when my family and i took a trip to Beijing, we joined a group tour. They took us to Badaling side. We rode a cable car going to the entrance of the Great Wall. It was safer, i should say compared to the chairlift ride at Mutianyu.

Here are two of the decent photos that my sister was able to capture. One with my mother and the other one with my niece. Look at the crowd! We can’t even have one family photo here with the myriads of tourists.

with my niece, Juneah.

 

With my Mama Lita.

I am super glad that we took the Mutianyu side. This i can truly say, i re-checked one of the items off my bucket list!

From Mutianyu, we went down the Great Wall of China by a toboggan ride. It is a ride that uses a metal chute and teflon glides with a simple levered break to control your speed.

I paid to have a decent photo of this experience as we are not allowed to take out gadgets and it was really scary that i could not think of anything than how to control the lever that i will not bump the person in front of me or me being bumped by the person behind me.

My 500 CNY photo.

There are several shops at the exit/entrance (same place) and we had coffee and sandwich after our Great Wall of China experience.

Spring time in China.

We went back to our hotel to freshen up and in the afternoon we went to the Beijing Stadium.

It is an extra ordinary landmark that where the 2008 Olympic Games were held. Also referred as the Bird’s Nest, this is the world’s largest enclosed space and the world’s largest steel structure with 26km of unwrapped steel used.

 

Our Day 3 in Beijing started early to go to Summer Palace.
It is the largest and most well-preserved royal park in China and has long been recognized as ‘The Museum of Royal Gardens’. It was an imperial garden during Qing Dynasty.
UNESCO included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List on December 1998. It declared the Summer Palace “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”.

Photo Credit: Beth Bacus

For our lunch, we are giddy as we will try Peking Duck. In Beijing, Roasted Duck restaurants can be found in every corner but it has been written in the food reviews that one of the best Roasted Peking Duck is at Jingzun Restaurant.

At the entrance of the restaurant.

Munching on these while waiting for our order.

Walked around Beijing after a hearty Peking Duck Meal.

TEMPLE OF HEAVEN
It is the largest  masterpiece among China’s ancient sacrificial buildings. This is also a included in the UNESCO World Heritage site.

Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, the largest building in the Temple of Heaven. Taken last May 2011.

Temple of Heaven March 2018.

May 2011. Temple of Heaven.

We went grocery shopping at Wu Mart which is just a minute walk from our hotel and we found more Chinese delicacies to taste.
For pasalubong ideas, here are some of the few that i bought at Wu Mart.

Thin Oreo cookies in flavors not available in the Philippines.

White Rabbit is famous in China too. Perfect gift idea.

 

We had a night cap at the Wangfujing Pedestrian Street. A busy street with so many shops.

 

Daytime at Wangfujing last May 2011 with my family.

 

Wangfujing Pedestrian Street. May 2011.

Before we walked back to our hotel, we tried Malan Noodles which is very famous in Beijing. It actually expanded to USA too. They are famous for their freshly made noodles.

 

 

Our last and final day in Beijing is chill day! There is this coffee shop near our hotel that we always pass by but did not have a chance to see up close. The smell of freshly made Chinese pastries is what we experience whenever we pass by. We decided to have a breakfast here before our flight back to Shanghai. Holiland Bakery is one of the best bakeries in China with over 200 branches in 50 cities of China. It is the first Chinese bakery franchise. Their coffee and pastries did not fail us.
It was a long day for us since we took a connecting flight to Shanghai then Shanghai to Cebu but we definitely had a wonderful time. It was 10 days of adventure and fun! ♥

Our China trip via China Eastern Airlines.

I love collecting train tickets and museum tickets, these are great reminder of the beautiful trip that was.

Went home with a handful of Holliland pastries and beautiful memories in my heart.

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