Once Forbidden Now a Must-See

On May 14, 2012, in Beijing, Forbidden City, Historical Relics, by Jack Li

In my previous post entitled ‘Jingshan: The Park on the Hill’, I mentioned the fantastic views which can be encountered. If you haven’t already, it is time to experience on of these views at ground level; namely, The Forbidden City (The City). One of, (if not), the most famous tourist attracts, The City’s central location […]

In my previous post entitled ‘Jingshan: The Park on the Hill’, I mentioned the fantastic views which can be encountered. If you haven’t already, it is time to experience on of these views at ground level; namely, The Forbidden City (The City). One of, (if not), the most famous tourist attracts, The City’s central location makes it readily accessible. Either taking Line 1 and getting off at Tiananmen West or East stations or taking Line 2 on the subway to Qianmen Station are both viable option in reaching The City. Whether signing-up for Beijing tours or deciding to travel to Beijing independently, then I insist that The City should be at the top of your ‘things to see & do’ list.

I personally went with a group on a cold March day to The City, whereby it was necessary to wrap-up warm especially with the wide-open, wind-swept spaces in The City. Naturally, entrance to one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country will be busy. Hence, if you get the chance, best to visit on a week day. Due to the enormity of the place, we found it a bit of a mission to actually find the main section of The City. However, once there, this is where, at your discretion, to get a tour guide. Outside, people may pretend to act as guides even if they can speak English, but be warned, only choose a tour guide well inside The City as they will be wearing a professional badge – we learnt this from experience!

In Chinese, The City is known as ‘Gugong’ with its presence embodying the splendour of the country’s past. The City took fourteen years to construct and was completed in 1420 under the Ming Dynasty. I am sure you will be asking yourself ‘What does the “forbidden” part of the name mean?’ Well basically, the general populace were ‘forbidden’ from entering The City with exception from having permission from
the emperor. Serving the reign of twenty-four emperors, having the largest collection of wooden structure in the world, covering 24 hectares and surrounded by a ten meter wall; it is thus understandable why, in 1987, the palace became listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.

As a final point, there needs to be emphasis placed on the importance of preserving historic value of The City and questioning commercialisation. At the end of our tour, for instance, our guide showed us a man in a store who is claimed to be a nephew of the last emperor and now is a professional calligrapher. Buying a personalised work from this man would be pricy, but its bespoke production does increase its value. Commercialising The City with modern brands on the other hand, may not necessarily help with preservation efforts. I do enjoy my Starbucks coffee, yet I am pleased with the closure of The City’s very own in 2007, for instance. If anything, The City is a ‘must-see’ simply for its generous architectural grandeur and its rich cultural depictions such as The Palace of Heavenly Purity, which seated the Emperor’s throne and also The Palace of Earthly Tranquillity which housed the Empress. Even the smaller architectural pieces, like profound symbolic figures of the imperial dragon and phoenix and lions to name a few, will leave you in awe  on your China travel to The City.

A Visit to Jade Lake Park

On April 25, 2012, in Beijing, Festivals, Parks & Gardens, by Jack Li

When you travel to Beijing, you will see that there are lots of parks offering locals and tourists enough opportunity for some outdoor activity, a walk around a lake, family time and a nice scenery to take pictures. If you want to learn about the country and culture you can get a lot of information […]

When you travel to Beijing, you will see that there are lots of parks offering locals and tourists enough opportunity for some outdoor activity, a walk around a lake, family time and a nice scenery to take pictures. If you want to learn about the country and culture you can get a lot of information on organized China tours where you can rely on the tour guide’s knowledge. For the less informative but more relaxing part of your holiday you might take the opportunity to visit Beijings parks. There are many parks with their own atmosphere, so they are not just all the same.

Yuyuantan Park (Jade Lake Park) is situated in the western part of Beijing and is surrounded by other places of interest such as the CCTV Tower west of the park or the Millennium Monument and the Military Museum close to the south entrance. Two man-made lakes build the center of this municipal park which is a great place to visit especially in spring time during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival starting towards the end of March. There are more than 2000 cherry trees mainly in the north western area of the park. Apart from the different types of cherry trees offering great scenery for pictures you will also find many other types of trees, including bonsais, and also rare stones in the park.

There are several entrance gates; the general admission fee is 10 RMB, half price for students. The park opens between 6:00 and 6:30 am and closes between 20:30 and 22:30 pm, depending on the season, and the last admission is at least an hour before closing time. It might seem annoying that you have to pay money to enter a regular municipal park but this guarantees that the park it very well cared for and it’s also less crowded than some parks where there is no entrance fee.

Around the lakes and most of all around the entrance gates you will find lots of stands to buy souvenirs, things for kids and adults, dried fruit and other snacks. And you will also pass several food areas where you can get all different kinds of warm and cold meals with tables to sit down to enjoy your meal. You can try out things like grilled scorpions which aren’t really typical for this area but still an experience for visitors. There is also a big variety of sweet treats from different countries, like ice-cream, churros, crêpes, sugar cane juice, cotton candy or fried durian fruit.

Currently the eastern lake is drained for construction but that doesn’t affect any of the other activities going on in the park, like for example photography contests or auctions of pictures. Of course, more people stay in the western half of the park because of the better view on the lake. There you can rent boats, have a picnic, do some outdoor activities, just go for a walk and enjoy the great view. Many Beijing hotels are in the vicinity of the big parks offering some nature just around the corner.

The National Art Museum of China

On April 24, 2012, in Beijing, China Attractions, Museums, by Jack Li

All people who travel have different plans, interests and expectations. Still, when you travel to Beijing few people will leave out famous Wangfujing Street on their Beijing tours. So if you’re interested in culture and contemporary art the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) is a great place to visit on the same day because […]

All people who travel have different plans, interests and expectations. Still, when you travel to Beijing few people will leave out famous Wangfujing Street on their Beijing tours. So if you’re interested in culture and contemporary art the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) is a great place to visit on the same day because it’s located right at the north end of Wangfujing Street. There is no general entrance fee; you just need to present your passport at the ticket booth. Depending on the temporary exhibitions there might be an extra fee but that’s not generally the case. At the entrance desk you can also leave bags and jackets without paying a fee.

The museum was built in 1959 for the tenth anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. It was finally completed and opened to the public in 1962. Since then the institution has been a center for research and exhibition and is the most important institute for art in China. It displays mainly modern and contemporary art works by national artist, not only paintings but also photographs, calligraphy, printing art, ceramics and sculptures. Occasionally, pieces of art from abroad are displayed and there have also been numerous international exhibitions.

The main body of the gallery is built in the style of a traditional Chinese pavilion with a roof out of yellow tiles and a title board at the entrance gate which was inscribed by Mao Zedong. The inside of the building is very modern and equipped with the newest technologies after undergoing major renovation in 2002/2003. The museum consists of three main exhibition floors, the first, third and fifth floor with high ceilings leaving enough space even for very large paintings. There are 17 exhibition halls covering a total area of 8,300 square meters.

Visitors hoping to learn about the development of Chinese art in the past centuries won’t find a lot of information about it. This might come as a surprise to some so it’s always a good advice to check out the gallery’s homepage to find out about the current exhibitions. Some are only displayed for no longer than a week and others last up to a month but rarely longer than that. But therefore the temporary exhibitions with works of renowned Chinese artists are hard to find in other places, especially in such dimensions. Moreover, the changing themes and pieces of art also keep it interesting for local visitors.

For people interested in art and especially in contemporary art this place is worth a visit although it helps to know in advance what to expect. And to find out more about Chinese culture and history there is more than enough opportunity to learn when going on China tours. In all bigger cities there are definitely numerous museums and exhibitions for all kinds of interests.

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Diversity in History

On April 23, 2012, in Beijing, Historical Relics, Museums, by Jack Li

To escape the springtime heat and falling pollen (for hay fever sufferers) on your travel to Beijing, there is always the National Museum of China to try out. This building is directly opposite The Great Hall of the People on Tiananmen Square and houses some of the best artwork and historical relics the country has […]

To escape the springtime heat and falling pollen (for hay fever sufferers) on your travel to Beijing, there is always the National Museum of China to try out. This building is directly opposite The Great Hall of the People on Tiananmen Square and houses some of the best artwork and historical relics the country has to offer. What’s more, admission is free but due to the significance of the place; ensure that you bring your passport in order to enter. Queues aren’t too much of an issue as there are plenty of security inspectors on hand. Be sure not to take food and drink into the museum (there is a café and food stalls inside) and avoid using flash on your camera in the exhibits where picture-taking is allowed. Tiananmen East on Line 1 is the nearest subway station and there are many Beijing hotels in relatively close proximity.

The museum formed in 2003 and is the product of two predecessor museums (the Museum of the Chinese Revolution and the National Museum of Chinese History). After which the museum closed for four years and reopened in 2011 with twenty-eight new exhibition halls. The scale of the building (191,900 square meters) means that you could spend a whole day there (or in any case, you could just go to the parts you’re interested in). These facts alone should, hopefully, be reason enough to go and experience the grandeur of the building and its vast collections.

The historical content found at the museum encompasses topics ranging from; prehistoric man in China (the ‘Peking Man’), Neolithic China and all the way through to the dynastic periods. Within this historical timeline, various themes are encountered which highlight the amazing diversity in China’s history. In particular, the prevalence of ceramics is a running theme throughout the historical exhibits. The designs and production of the pottery, for one, are a remarkable indication of the society’s progression down the ages. Even the usage of the numerous ceramic containers reflects the sharing culture in which China adopted thousands of years ago and has continued ever since.

Nevertheless, the exhibits convey an important message insofar as China’s history is multi-layered and colourful. Indeed, sections of the museum which can be highly recommended to view include reading about the country’s unification, international trade, ethnic groups and social reforms. These topics are all extremely thought-provoking and complement China’s historical diversity. Notes, maps and general information pertaining to the infamous Chinese explorer, Zheng He, are available to read. Amongst other things, Zheng He, was noted for sailing as far as Africa in the 15th century! Another particularly interesting aspect which one exhibit draws upon is the prominence gender; with both male and female figures represented (such as a display of figures of ancient female polo players).

To truly appreciate China, then reading about its history might be a good place to start, and the descriptions in the museum can provide a basic overview as they  are written in a concise manner in both Chinese and English. If anything, rather than reading, the majority of your time will most likely be spent by staring at some of the incredible artifacts such as depictions of emperors and jade-fashioned items or a couple of superb terracotta warriors (if you are not going to travel to Xi’an but are considering Beijing flights).

 

 

 

‘Timing is Everything’

On April 17, 2012, in Ancient Houses & Courtyards, Beijing, Historical Relics, by Jack Li

Travel to Beijing and you will notice looming over the hutongs are the ancient Bell Tower (Zhōnglóu) and Drum Tower (Gǔlóu) which were used for timekeeping in the city. The towers are conveniently located a small distance between each other with a courtyard separating them in the middle. This close proximity means that tourists can readily […]

Travel to Beijing and you will notice looming over the hutongs are the ancient Bell Tower (Zhōnglóu) and Drum Tower (Gǔlóu) which were used for timekeeping in the city. The towers are conveniently located a small distance between each other with a courtyard separating them in the middle. This close proximity means that tourists can readily buy a through ticket to both towers at a cost of 30RMB. Alternatively, if you prefer, an individual ticket to the Drum Tower costs 20RMB and 15RMB to the Bell Tower. These attractions are a must-see and can be explored alone or on one of many Beijing Tours. If travelling individually, the towers can be reached after heading south from exit B at subway Guloudajie Sation or by bus.

The Drum Tower stands at a height of 46.7 meters and the Bell Tower is 47.9 metres. The bell itself is made of copper and weighs in at 63 tons and to ring the bell, there is a 2 metre long hanging log. When struck, the bell can be heard up to 5km away. It should be noted that the bell is only rung once annually at Chinese New Year. As the largest ancient bell in China, it is understandable why it was named ‘King of the Ancient Bells’. If visitors have any medical conditions, they should be aware that the immense height of these ancient buildings means that there are a lot of steep steps to be climbed. Yet once at the top of the towers, the views are breath-taking as visitors can gaze over low-rising old-Beijing, the parks and lakes and the high-rise modern city in the background.

The towers have indeed experienced a tough past with the infamous Eight-Power Allied Forces’ invasion ravaging much of the ancient city
in 1900. As a result, there is only one authentic drum out of an original twenty-four left in the Drum Tower. This drum is called the ‘Watchman’s Drum’ and its remains display the brutality but also resilience of Beijing’s history. The Bell Tower also exhibits vestiges of its tarnished past with Emperor Qianlong erecting a stone column, ‘The Imperial Stele’ in 1747 in light of when the Bell Tower was under reconstruction. The ingenuity of the city’s architects can be seen with how the Bell Tower was redesigned in such a way so as to prevent the onset of fire.

Thankfully, efforts by the city have meant that these ancient towers and their relics inside have been either restored or replicated. In contrast to the Bell Tower, visitors have a fantastic opportunity to absorb the ancient sounds of the Drum Tower on a regular basis. Live performances from the replicated drums happens every hour or so within opening times. Inside the Drum Tower, visitors can also learn of the fascinating reasoning behind the Chinese calendar and observe other time-keeping models. The tower exhibits a variety of timekeeping incense burners and marvellous devices such as Beilou and Bronze Kelou. These towers are unquestionably a great place to visit and they cover many areas of interest. As the towers are situated in a tourist hotspot, you might also want to check out some Beijing hotels in the area.

 

A Confucian Education

On April 16, 2012, in China Attractions, Historical Relics, Temples, by Jack Li

When you travel to Beijing, you may be familiar with The Lama Temple due to its sounds and smells of incense. However, not to be overlooked and perfectly situated opposite the Lama Temple, you can find the country’s historic centres of educational excellence. Specifically, these are called The Temple of Confucius (The Temple) and the […]

When you travel to Beijing, you may be familiar with The Lama Temple due to its sounds and smells of incense. However, not to be overlooked and perfectly situated opposite the Lama Temple, you can find the country’s historic centres of educational excellence. Specifically, these are called The Temple of Confucius (The Temple) and the Imperial Academy (The Academy). The Temple was built in 1302 and is the second largest Confucian Temple only to the one in Confucius’s home of Qufu. On the other hand, the Academy was the equivalent to a state-run university and was the highest institute of education in China. The Temple is down Guozijian Street which is fairly easy to spot as the street is fronted by a large gate. Furthermore, Guozijian Street can be reached via Yonghegong Lama Temple subway station. Along the street there also are plenty of shops to buy Confucius-related goods after visiting the Temple. In general, Beijing flights are a useful source of information for anyone who wants to get their experience of the ancient city started.

Both The Temple and The Academy are famous for their respect towards academia. From a personal perspective, anyone interested in political
thought will certainly appreciate the exhibitions shown at The Temple. That said, the English text at the exhibitions is written in a straightforward manner for visitors to understand the basic principles of Confucianism. Out of the two, The Temple is the one which exclusively showcases the spiritual element Confucianism. The Temple, for instance, comprises of the Dacheng Hall (Hall of Great Accomplishment) and Chongshengci (Worship Hall). Dacheng Hall is a particularly interesting building to visit as this where offerings such as
musical instruments are placed in homage to Confucius.

The tranquillity of the grounds around the Temple and the Academy make it a very pleasant place to stroll. The grounds are adjacent to
each other so buying a ticket to visit both would be worthwhile. The courtyards around the Temple and the Academy certainly allow you to picture what it may have been like either a learned scholar at The Temple or as a student in the Academy. This is especially true after viewing the superb Biyong Palace which is encircled by a moat within the Imperial Academy and was where the Emperor would read from his throne. With so much history, these courtyards obviously have a few stories to tell. Amongst other things, some intriguing features for visitors to view is the Temple’s 700-year-old Chujian Bai (Touch Evil Cypress) and the hundreds of stone carved tablets displaying names and examination results of previous scholars.

Confucius (551–478BC) developed on a quest of self-discovery from an early age after his aristocratic family was driven to poverty after the death of this father. He eventually rose to become a skilled statesman and helped expand ancient China. To understand the Chinese attitude towards life, either in terms of business or the home; it is helpful to gain an insight into Confucianism. Going to The Temple can provide this. For instance, visitors can learn of some of the important values of Confucianism such as ‘self-cultivation’. In addition, visitors can learn how Confucian thought has influenced modern China by taking into account the concepts of meritocracy and equality. More interesting, if you visit The Temple you may even be surprised to read how Confucianism has influenced European thinkers which later led to the industrial revolution. To experience this captivating part of the city, here are some nearby Beijing hotels to consider.

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Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring… and The Palace

On April 12, 2012, in Historical Relics, Temples, Tours, Towers, Pagodas & Grottoes, by Jack Li

There are some highlights on your travel to Beijing which should not be missed. ‘Yiheyuan’ or The Summer Palace (The Palace) is no exception. In order to truly appreciate what The Palace has to offer, be prepared to allocate a large proportion of your day there. This becomes evident when considering that the grounds of […]

There are some highlights on your travel to Beijing which should not be missed. ‘Yiheyuan’ or The Summer Palace (The Palace) is no exception. In order to truly appreciate what The Palace has to offer, be prepared to allocate a large proportion of your day there. This becomes evident when considering that the grounds of The Palace spans 290 hectares. Furthermore, pay attention to some of the Beijing Tours on offer as this could make your visit less bothersome.One of the most convenient ways to reach The Palace is by getting off at Beigongmen (North Palace Gate of the Summer Palace). Alternatively, go to Xiyuan Sation, exit C, and walk west.

The Palace is rather expansive, so as a tourist, it would be worth considering buying a map at the ticket office, an audio guide or look for an English-speaking tour guide. From experience, English-speaking tour guides can be found outside the entrance gate of The Palace. It is best to be safe and ensure that your tour guide appears official (such as carrying a professional badge) and that you negotiate a price before and agreement. A tour guide may typically charge in the region of 100RMB, so splitting the cost within a group doesn’t seem quite so bad.

The conception to build The Palace came from Emperor Qianlong’s insistence to celebrate his mother’s sixtieth birthday in 1750. This
may have seemed extravagant; however, The Palace has been well-used and revered ever since with two major reconstruction projects taking place after foreign-led forces destroyed much of the palace in both 1860 and 1900. In 1886 Empress Dowager Cixi, for example, forwent many of the country’s navy funds into rebuilding The Palace.

In spite of its name, the multifaceted character of The ‘Summer’ Palace makes it an appealing location to visit in any season.  In the winter, for instance, some daring people have been known to walk on the thick, iced-over Kunming Lake (this is not particularly advisable). Whilst towards the warmer months, Lake Kunming allows tourists to take leisurely paddle boats rides. Secluded from hustle and bustle the rest of Beijing, it is understandable why Empress Dowager Cixi was adamant in restoring The Palace as a place in which to retreat. Since 1924, The Palace has welcomed the general public to enter its grounds and today The Palace serves as a historical hotspot and as a recreational park.

The Palace certainly has its fair share of history which can be felt at every twist and turn along its extensive paths. In 1998, the Palace was proudly placed on the World Heritage List by the United Nations after it was given official recognition for its outstanding architecture, preservation and beauty. One feature of this list which is particularly interesting and entered in the Guinness Book of Records is the Long Corridor. Constructed in the mid-18th century, with over 14,000 paintings and stretching 782 metres this stunning walkway expresses much of China’s cultural past showing tales such as that of the infamous ‘Monkey King’.

To assist with your China travel plans, here are some of the essential must-see attractions of The Palace. If you decide to go to the waterways around Suzhou Street, note that your tour guide may not be able to accompany you. Yet this section provides a fascinating insight into what life at The Palace may have been like, with numerous (64 to be exact) small shops. The wonderfully designed Marble Boat is another must-see attraction. Despite being a ‘boat’ made of stone, it nevertheless symbolises the resilience of China (and coincidentally, The Palace). Finally, at a staggering 41 metres in height, try to aim to visit the Tower of the Fragrance of the Buddha. This structure is the pinnacle of The Palace and it is said that reaching the top increases your longevity!

Would this excite your taste buds?

Before you take that China flight back home there is one stop everyone has to visit in Beijing. If you want to be adventurous with your foods and see how your taste buds and stomach can handle a different perspective, head down to Wangfujing Street. This street is very well known when it comes to […]

Before you take that China flight back home there is one stop everyone has to visit in Beijing. If you want to be adventurous with your foods and see how your taste buds and stomach can handle a different perspective, head down to Wangfujing Street. This street is very well known when it comes to different foods that the Chinese people eat and cook. It is also very easy to access, the subway is the best way to go just get off on Line 1 at Wangfujing Station, exit A.  So if you want to experience a true cultural difference than compared to your Western foods, Wangfujing Street is a must for your Beijing Tour.

 


Wangfujing Street itself is a major shopping district, with many department stores and centres, souvenir stalls and has the largest bookstore in Beijing which also has a foreign selection. This upbeat area of Beijing is exciting with music and bright lights everywhere, one would definitely be very entertained and fascinated by everything that is on show. However your main destination is the Wangfujing Snack Street (Wangfujing XiaoChiJie) it is in a side alley of the main shopping area and it doesn’t pick up until 6pm. There are stalls either side of the alleyway packed with different cuisines, Chinese souvenirs and mini marts.

 

Now not everyone will be gamed enough to try some of these foods but there are foods which can be eaten by all without freaking out the taste buds. They consist of different styles of dumplings, kebabs, spices, different types of desserts and toffee covered fruits. It is highly recommended that you at least try these foods. However, it is also very entertaining witnessing someone who is game enough to try out the ‘different’ cuisine. The adventurous eater may want to try scorpions (either have a large one or three little ones), bugs, centipedes, star fish, snakes, spiders, silk worms, mutton testicles and many more. Majority of these are placed on a stick similar to a kebab. A recent review by some people in regards to the smaller scorpions on a stick is that it tastes similar to pork crackling but there were some people who disagreed with this observation, guess it is up to that person and their taste buds. It is recommended to have a beverage with you just in case you have underestimated the taste.

 

Whilst enjoying this cuisine, you can also check out the stalls. Majority of these stalls are full with Chinese souvenirs for example many silk products, key rings and figurines, as well as scarves and purses. But be warned as being a tourist they will definitely start at an interesting, ridiculous price, so be prepared to haggle with them so at the end you get a good bargain for the item. However this can only be done at the street stalls, not at the department stores and shopping markets.

 

This area is very central to everything, with many hotels in this district. This entire street has a lot to offer and one can truly spend majority of the day here. Wangfujing Street is probably one of the only pedestrian streets in Beijing, it is said that it can take about 30 minutes to walk from either end and that is without looking inside the shops. Within your Beijing trip, Wangfujing Snack Street cannot be neglected at all. The foods are famously known around the world and this is the street to get it. So definitely bring your camera or even a video camera to get shots of these foods to impress people at home and also the reactions on people’s faces when they first eat this interesting cuisine.

The Temple of Heaven

On November 3, 2011, in Beijing, Cool Places, Historical Relics, Temples, by Jack Li

If you are the kind of person who likes saving money on interesting attractions then on your next China Tour make sure you see the Temple of Heaven. From April 1 to October 31 its cost 15RMBs, through November to March it only cost 10RMBs. Temple of Heaven is located in Beijing. So when you […]

If you are the kind of person who likes saving money on interesting attractions then on your next China Tour make sure you see the Temple of Heaven. From April 1 to October 31 its cost 15RMBs, through November to March it only cost 10RMBs. Temple of Heaven is located in Beijing. So when you travel to Beijing and want to save money then make sure you visit the Temple of Heaven.

The Temple of Heaven is 3X bigger than the Forbidden City and smaller than the Summer Palace. Emperors believed that they were the Sons of Heaven so they dared not build the Forbidden City bigger then the Temple of Heaven. The Temple was built so the Emperors had a place where they could pray to the heavens and offer up sacrifices. Prayers were offered in the spring so the people could have a good harvest. During the winter solstice offering were made to heaven. 

Temple of Heaven was built in 1429 during the Ming Dynasty. The area of the Temple is 66.7 acres. When the builders where building the temple they built it high and round, because the people believed that Heaven was round and earth was square. There are three principle building which are ‘Altar of Prayer For Good Harvests’, ‘Imperial Vault of Heaven’ and ‘Circular Mound Altar.

Alter of Prayer for Good Harvest is 124 feet in height and 98 feet in long. It stands on a round foundation and has three levels made out of marble stones. It has a bright blue tile roofs. An interesting fact about the temple is that it has no nail employed. The Imperial Vault of Heaven looks like a blue umbrella when standing far away from it. The structure is smaller then the Prayer for Good Harvest. Vault of Heaven is made out of bricks and timber. Emperors used the Vault to place the memorial tablets of the Gods there.

Circular Altar has three layered terraces also made out of white marble. The Circular Mount Altar was used by the emperors to pray to heaven. The Ming and Qing emperors would offer sacrifices to Heaven on the day of the winter solstice each year. The ceremony would thank the heavens for the blessing that they received and to hope that they future would be just as good. In the middle of the Circular Mount Altar lies a round stone called the Center of Heaven Stone. The stone echoes when a visitors speaks loudly when  standing on or by the stone.

When you are walking around you need to notice how many times you can see the number 3 and 9 being used around the Temple grounds. Three and nine are lucky numbers in Chinese numerology. Nine is meaning the highest value digit and is associated with the emperor. Nine square root is three. Three is significant to the natural terms- Beginning-middle-end or introduction-development-conclusion.  

These three main attractions are surrounded by trees and gardens. Some of the trees are over 100 years old. While you are enjoying your stroll around the garden you can see people practicing tai chi or playing instruments or board games. Other people will be singing or dancing or just simply flying a kite.

The Temple of Heaven Opens at 6am and closes at 8pm. From 8:30-4:30 is when the temple is open.  If you would like to see the cultural side of China during your Beijing tour then the Temple of Heaven is what you want to see. The Temple of Heaven is a great way to save money and to see something interesting.

A Taste of Chinese Ethnic Cultural

On November 1, 2011, in Beijing, Cultural Experience, by Jack Li

When you are deciding what to do on your China tour and you decided that you want a chance to understand the cultural in China, then the ‘Chinese’s Ethnic Cultural Park’ is what you need. There are 56 ethnic groups in China and the park coves 40 of them. Visiting the Chinese Ethnic Cultural Park will add […]

When you are deciding what to do on your China tour and you decided that you want a chance to understand the cultural in China, then the ‘Chinese’s Ethnic Cultural Park’ is what you need. There are 56 ethnic groups in China and the park coves 40 of them. Visiting the Chinese Ethnic Cultural Park will add to your Beijing Tour.

Each ethnic group has a different kind of living styles and customs. Each one of these customs adds to the Chinese cultural. The Cultural Park is also known as ‘China Nationalities Museum’. When you visit the park you will be able to experience the different cultures through singing, dancing performances and art and crafts. You will also be able to see the traditional houses. The best cultural experience you can have at the Park is tasting the food from the different ethnic groups.

Several of the exhibits will show you the different living conditions of each group, it will also show you the different cultural articles such as pictures and crafts made by each group Hans people exhibit has a cave house with three courtyards. The cave houses are what most people lived in throughout the Qing Dynasty. Some of the different houses you can see are: Hui- Caves houses, Li-ship shaped house, Tujia- stilt house and the Mosuo- wooden house. The Zang Museum exhibits show’s the typical houses of the Khamba area, plus amazing Tibetan Pictures. If you make the right time you will be able to see the Tibetan style of singing and dancing performances.

The Cultural Park has many attractive scenic spots in the park. The first is the Big Banyan tree, this tree symbolizes the 56 ethnic groups banding together. The second is the Ethnic Bridge it connects the north and south parks. The bridge uses Bai, Dong and Zang people architectural styles. Lastly is the Tenggeli Waterfall, this Waterfall is the biggest man made waterfall in China and falls 161 feet high.

If you are lucky enough you might be able to get a guild who is willing to show you their own cultural. The park holds different kinds of ethnic groups festivals thought out the year. The Lius People have a Knife-Pole Festival, and the Yugur’s have a Harvest Festival. From April to October the Dai People have a Water-Splashing Festival. If you choose to take part in the Water-splashing make sure you do not touch the water before the Dai People, it is respectful to wait.  

From April to October flowers bloom, the sun shines, birds sing. While you are walking around the park you will be able to smell rice and wheat fragrance. This park will make you want to savor the moments you spend there.

The admission will cost 90RMBs that will allow you to visit the South Park and The North Park. The park opens at 8:30am and closes at 7pm during the summer months. The winter months the park will opens at 9:00 and closes at 5pm. Important note the South Park is only open from April to November. The best way to get from your Beijing hotel to the park is by subway go to line 8 and get off at the Olympic Sport Center station and leave through exit D.

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