Shop ‘Til You Drop’ at the Beijing Silk Market

On September 5, 2011, in Beijing, China Travel Gossip, Shopping, by Jack Li

One of the Must See Attractions when you travel to Beijing is the enormous six storey Silk Market. It is very convenient on the subway from most Beijing hotels and taxi prices are reasonable, just be sure to get the chinese name for where you are going as there is a very high chance the driver […]

One of the Must See Attractions when you travel to Beijing is the enormous six storey Silk Market. It is very convenient on the subway from most Beijing hotels and taxi prices are reasonable, just be sure to get the chinese name for where you are going as there is a very high chance the driver will not speak any English.

You will find a huge amount of stalls selling a variety of merchandise, and there is an entrance directly from Yong’anli subway station which brings you into the centre of the action, starting at the lower floors selling mostly handbags and shoes. Goods are mostly imitations of well known designer and high street brands, although non branded items are available alongside this. All the big brands are here including Chanel, Mulberry, Louis Vuitton, Christian Louboutin etc and there is quite a range of high street from Adidas to Zara.


The pedestrian entrance walking from the subway to the market itself is also worth a look, as it sells a range of trinkets, magnets, gadgets and stationary – perfect as a gift for someone back home! There are also unusual inventions here that you would expect to see in Asia, for instance a mini fish tank complete with a built in alarm clock, side light and pen holder!

 

You can catch the lift or take escalators up to the further levels selling clothing, electronics, jewellery, children’s toys and homeware products, you name it and there is a high chance it is probably for sale at the market somewhere! Even newer and less obvious brands are replicated at the Silk Market, for example Cath Kidston’s iconic floral printed accessories and the very popular Lelli Kelly embellished children’s shoes.

 

There are many restaurants and snack stalls around, they appear to be more concentrated on the higher levels and prices are reasonable. The famous Quanjude Peking Duck restaurant has a space on the sixth floor and there are also other food options such as a McDonalds within walking distance.

The market is extremely busy, usually attracting around 50,000 visitors on a daily basis, therefore the sellers are very experienced and will start with extortionate prices. Be prepared to haggle hard as the starting price is likely to be hugely inflated, it is possible for a starting price of 5000 RMB to be haggled down to around 80 RMB. It is easy to spend all day there, exploring the various stalls and different quality of items available.

 

If you are after a slightly easier time with more chance of a bargain or just a tiny bit more space it may be worth visiting in the early morning or evening, as the market is open daily from 9am until 9pm, however due to the guaranteed hoards of potential customers you may still end up paying more than you should be.

 

If you are unsure about navigating the market or the sights and sounds of china, there are many Beijing tours available including specialist shopping tours. There are options for whatever length you require, including multi trip tours that also visit other major Chinese places of interest such as Shanghai and Xian.

The Wanfu Hall

On August 31, 2011, in Beijing, Historical Relics, More Places of Interest, Temples, by Jack Li

The Wanfu Hall (literally “the hall of ten thousand buddhas”) is situated behind the Falun Hall in the Lama Temple. It is the most magnificent hall in the temple, consisting of three seperated parts linked by corridors. The middle part of Wanfu Hall is a three floor main hall, with the two floor Yansui Hall […]

The Wanfu Hall (literally “the hall of ten thousand buddhas”) is situated behind the Falun Hall in the Lama Temple. It is the most magnificent hall in the temple, consisting of three seperated parts linked by corridors. The middle part of Wanfu Hall is a three floor main hall, with the two floor Yansui Hall to its left, and the two floor Yongkang Hall to its right. The three halls seem to blend into each other, and form a harmonious building. The elegant paintings on the walls and eaves somewhat represent the architectural style of the Liao (AD907-AD1125) and the Jin (AD1115-AD1234) Dynasty.

The building is named “wanfu” because there are about ten thousand small statues of buddha placed inside the walls of the hall. However, the most attracting thing in the hall is not the walls of ten thousand buddhas, but a huge statue of Maitreya. You can see the famous statue once you enter the Wanfu Hall. It is a 26 meter high statue made by one single piece of white sandalwood. The precious timber was a gift from the sixth Dalai Lama of Tibet to Emepror Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty. To carve the timber, the emperor spent over 80 thousand silver dollars in total. The wooden Maitreya looks tall and strong, with gildings all over his body, on which dotted various beautiful gemstones. The cassock he wears is made of yellow satin that worth 5 thousand silver dollars.   It is one of the three treasures of the Lama Temple.

In addition, there is a wooden niche made of Jinsi Nanmu, a very precious timber in the eastern side hall of the main hall. Skilled carpenter carved 99 vivid cloud-dragons over it. The wonderful niche is another treasure of the Lama Temple. The third treasures is the 500-Buddhist-arhats hill in the Falun Hall.

Yonghegong Lama Temple

The Yongyou Hall

On August 31, 2011, in Beijing, Historical Relics, More Places of Interest, Temples, by Jack Li

The Yongyou Hall is situated right behind the Lama Temple Main Hall. From the outside, you can easily identify that the hall is seperated into 5 rooms. There used to be 10 rooms inside the halls. During renovations, each of the two adjoining rooms were united as one. When Emperor Yongzheng moved into the Forbidden […]

The Yongyou Hall is situated right behind the Lama Temple Main Hall. From the outside, you can easily identify that the hall is seperated into 5 rooms. There used to be 10 rooms inside the halls. During renovations, each of the two adjoining rooms were united as one. When Emperor Yongzheng moved into the Forbidden City, he lived in the Lama Temple, and used the Yongyou Hall as his study and bedroom. Later after he died, his coffin was temporarily placed in the hall for condolence. Because of this event, the Yongyou Hall became a place where memorial ceromonies of the royal family were often held in the Qing Dynasty. The name of the Hall, “Yongyou”, literally means blessing all the emperors that has passed away.

In the centre of the Yongyou Hall, there are three lotus-like seats. The statues of the Medicine Buddha, the Amitabha, and the Shihou Buddha are placed from left to right in a row, sitting quietly on the seats, with an average height of 2.35 meters. All of the three statues are made of sanders. On the eastern wall of the hall hangs a beautiful portrait of the White Tara, and on the western wall, an exquisite tapestry of the Green Tara. Rumor has it that the tapestry used to be destroyed for careless protection. It is Emperor Qianlong’s mother and her maids who renovated it according to the remains. The precious tapestry has a history of more than 290 years now.

Yonghegong Lama Temple

The Lama Temple Main Hall

On August 31, 2011, in Beijing, More Places of Interest, Temples, by Jack Li

The Lama Temple Main Hall was the place where Yongqinwang, later Emperor Yongzheng, received the officials and the generals. In the north of the Hall there are three bronze statues of the Three Buddhas¡: Sakyamuni in the middle, Dipamkara on its left and Maitreya on its right, each of almost two metres high. There are […]

The Lama Temple Main Hall was the place where Yongqinwang, later Emperor Yongzheng, received the officials and the generals. In the north of the Hall there are three bronze statues of the Three Buddhas¡: Sakyamuni in the middle, Dipamkara on its left and Maitreya on its right, each of almost two metres high. There are two sets of Three Buddhas in Buddhism. One is Sakyamuni with Medicine Master Buddha of the Eastern World on its left and Amitabha Buddha of the Western World on its right. These are the Three Buddhas of Space, meaning that Buddha is everywhere. However, the statues in the Lama Temple are the Three Buddhas of Time. Sakyamuni represents the present, Dipamkara the past, and Maitreya the future. The three of them together symbolize that Buddha exists at all times. On the northwest corner of the Main Hall there is the bronze standing statue of the Goddess of Mercy, and on the northwest corner the bronze standing statue of Maitreya. On the holy seat in front of the two mountain walls sits the statues of the Eighteen Arhats. Facing the Main Hall in the front yard are the Four Lecture Halls.

Yonghegong Lama Temple

The Falun Hall

On August 31, 2011, in Beijing, More Places of Interest, Temples, by Jack Li

The Falun Hall is one of the largest halls in the Lama Temple. It used to be the place where grand rites and ceremonies were held, and where the monks chanted sutras. The architectural style of the hall represents a perfect combination of Han Culture and Tibetan Culture. The plane of the hall has a […]

The Falun Hall is one of the largest halls in the Lama Temple. It used to be the place where grand rites and ceremonies were held, and where the monks chanted sutras. The architectural style of the hall represents a perfect combination of Han Culture and Tibetan Culture. The plane of the hall has a shape of cross. On the roof of it, there are 5 Tibetan golden pagodas. A huge lotus-shaped seat is placed at the centre of the hall, upon which sits a 6.1 meters high coppery statue of master Tsongkhapa, who was the founder of Shamanism, a branch of Tibetan Buddhism. He greets the tourists with his gracious smile. Built in 1924, it took 2 years for the skilled craftsmen to finish the statue, costing for more than 200 thousand silver dollars in total. Behind the statue, there is an wood carving, 500-Buddhist-arhats hill. The narra hill-like wood carving is about 5 meters wide, 3.5 meters long, and 0.3 meters thick. On the hill, you can see vivid arhats made of gold, silver, copper, iron, and tin. Each of them is only 0.1 meters high, dotted among the wooden hill. The exquisite 500-Buddhist-arhats hill is one of the three treasures in the Lama Temple. In front of master TsongKhapa’s statue, there is a basin made of Jinsi Nanmu (a valuable timber). It is said that Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty bathed in the basin three days after he was born.

Besides the statue and the wood carvings, the hall is also famous for the colorful drawings on the wall and the Buddhist scriptures stored inside. On the eastern and western walls, there are elegant frescos telling interesting stories about master Sakyamuni. It shows that how he was born form his mother’s armpit, how he acquired profound knowledges, and how he became a buddha eventually. Famous Buddhist scriptures, for example, the Tripitaka, are stored on the shelves in front of the eastern and western walls. The Falun Hall is filled with Buddhist relics and treasures, you would gain a better understanding of Buddhism if you visit there.

Yonghegong Lama Temple

Circular Mound Altar and The Echo Wall

On August 26, 2011, in Beijing, Historical Relics, More Places of Interest, by Jack Li

Circular Mound Altar: The Circular Mound Altar embodies the roundness of heaven in. There are three layers of altar with one is bigger than the other from bottom to top. The total height is 5.17m while the biggest altar measures 54.92m in diameter and the smallest 23.65m in diameter. Each layer is nine steps higher […]

Circular Mound Altar:

The Circular Mound Altar embodies the roundness of heaven in. There are three layers of altar with one is bigger than the other from bottom to top. The total height is 5.17m while the biggest altar measures 54.92m in diameter and the smallest 23.65m in diameter. Each layer is nine steps higher than the one on its top. At the center of the top altar is a cobblestone plate encircled by nine laps of fan shaped marble slabs. The number of marble stones in each circle is nine or multiples of nine, also the railing boards and balustrades for ancient Chinese consider nine as a heaven number.

The Echo Wall:

The Imperial Vault of Heaven, made of brick and timber, is 19 meters high and 15.6 meters in diameter. It is surrounded by a circular wall of polished brick with an opening to the south. This is known as the Echo Wall and is 3.72 meters high, 61.5 meters in diameter and 193 meters in circumference. If a person whispers close to the wall at any point, his voice can be heard distinctly at any other point along the wall. This is possible because the wall is round and hermetically constructed with smooth, solid bricks.

Temple of Heaven

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest

On August 26, 2011, in China Attractions, Historical Relics, by Jack Li

The temple’s main building is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, where the emperor prayed for a bountiful crop each year. The round hall, 38 meters high and 30 meters in diameter, has triple eaves and a blue, cone-shaped tile roof crowned with a gilded knob. Surrounding the hall is a 6 meter high […]

The temple’s main building is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, where the emperor prayed for a bountiful crop each year. The round hall, 38 meters high and 30 meters in diameter, has triple eaves and a blue, cone-shaped tile roof crowned with a gilded knob. Surrounding the hall is a 6 meter high circular stone terrace with three levels, each edged with a balustrade of carved white marble. Without the use of steel, cement, nail, or even big beams and crossbeams, the entire structure is supported by 28 massive wooden pillars and a number of bars, laths, joints and rafters. The furnishings within the hall are still in their original positions from Emperor Xianfeng’s era. In the forefront and above the throne are tablets enshrined in honor of Heaven. On either table on each side are tablets of the emperor’s ancestors. Each tablet is fronted by an altar. A total of 24 kinds of offering were made on the altar, including soup, wine, assorted grains, and calf. The feudal monarchs and their sacrificial rites have long vanished into history. However, this group of magnificent and lofty structures stands as a fine testament to the ingenuity of the ancient Chinese and a piece of mankind’s cultural heritage.

Temple of Heaven

The Hall of Imperial Zenith

On August 26, 2011, in Beijing, Historical Relics, More Places of Interest, by Jack Li

The Hall of Imperial Zenith, with various memorial tablets of God kept in house-like shrines, is a place for emperors to pray for good harvests. Built in 1420 (18th year of Ming Emperor Yongle’s reign), this hall is to the north of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest. With a tricolored glazed door leading […]

The Hall of Imperial Zenith, with various memorial tablets of God kept in house-like shrines, is a place for emperors to pray for good harvests. Built in 1420 (18th year of Ming Emperor Yongle’s reign), this hall is to the north of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest. With a tricolored glazed door leading to an altar surrounded by stone balustrade, the hall was built with blue glazed roof tiles. The platform in front of the hall has eight steps on each of its three sides. Guxi Gate stands in the west part of the courtyard. The plaque inscribed with Chinese characters—Huangqidian—were written by Ming Emperor Jiajing.

Historically, on the first and the fifteenth day of each lunar calendar month, the officer in charge of the worship ceremony would send his men in to clean the hall and burn incense. One day before the ceremony, the emperor would finish the worship process. Then, the Director of the Board of Rites would go on to worship God, and the officer in charge of the ceremony would move the memorial tablets of God to the double-dragon pavilion. Finally, the imperial guards would place them in the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest.

Temple of Heaven

Central Business District, Beijing

On August 25, 2011, in Beijing, China Travel Gossip, Cool Places, Nightlife, Shopping, by Jack Li

Beijing’s Central Business District, or more commonly known as CBD is the main area of finance, media and business services in the capital. It covers about 4 kilometers squared of the Chaoyang District, in the eastern part of the city. China has become a global economic giant, and the CBD is at the heart of […]

Beijing’s Central Business District, or more commonly known as CBD is the main area of finance, media and business services in the capital. It covers about 4 kilometers squared of the Chaoyang District, in the eastern part of the city. China has become a global economic giant, and the CBD is at the heart of the nation’s business transactions. The District has attracted 117 Fortune 500 companies in the financial, consulting, IT and media sectors. The CBD is home to many of the world’s most impressive skyscrapers as well as Beijing Hotels. These include: the China World Trade Centre, the CCTV Headquarters, Fortune Plaza, Beijing TV Centre and the Beijing Yintai Centre. You would probably see these skyscrapers from your Air China flight when you are approaching the capital.

On one of my first few days in Beijing, I woke up a bit late so there was no time to go and visit the major sites, so I thought since I’ve only got the afternoon free, I’ll take a walk down the Business District, and I am so pleased that I did. I even came back one evening, because the skyline looks even more stunning at nighttime.

My personal favorite is the China World Trade Centre Tower III (right), not to be confused with the China World Trade Centre. TowerIII has 81 floors and 30 elevators (which travel at 10 meters per second!). Completed in 2009, this architectural giant stands 330 meters tall. It is thus the tallest skyscraper in Beijing. It serves many purposes. Firstly, it houses an exquisite 278 room 5-star hotel. Offices occupy the building up till the 55th floor. The 79th till 81st floor is special. It is home to one of the finest bars and restaurants in Beijing. Imagine sipping on a martini 300 meters high whilst overlooking one of the most spectacular cities in the world. It was a great experience. When I come back to Beijing, my first nightspot visit will be the bar at the top of the China World Trade Centre Tower III.

The China World Trade Centre is a group of buildings of which Tower III belongs to. It has everything from a hotel to an exhibition hall, offices and even a high-end shopping mall called China World Mall. Not only does it have Fendi, Hermes, Tod’s, Christian Dior, Shanghai Tang, Armani stores and boutiques, it also has an ice skating rink. So after you’ve been to the shops, bought a few things the best way to recover from the open-wallet surgery is to cool off and wind-down on the ice.

Another important attraction at the CBD is of course the CCTV Tower (left). As you can see from the picture, it is a very unique piece of architecture. It is 234 meters high (44 stories). It is the headquarters for China Central Television (CCTV), the major state television broadcaster in Mainland China. Due to its unorthodox shape, it is said that a taxi driver once nicknamed it, ‘da kucha’ which roughly translates to ‘big boxer shorts.’

The CBD is one of the most remarkable financial districts in the world, equally as impressive as Canary Wharf in London, or Wall Street. Sure, it may not be tourist attractions per say, however it is still well worth a visit when you Travel to Beijing.

 

Shidu

On August 25, 2011, in Beijing, Mountain Areas, Rivers & Gorges, Valleys and Scenic Spots, by Jack Li

Located in the southwest area of Fangshan District of Beijing, the Shidu scenic zone is well-known for its unique karst landform. Shidu in Chinese means ten ferries. The valleys along the Juma River in Shidu were made from bedrocks during the Middle Proterozoic Era (1,000-1800 million years ago). Being the main feature of the karst […]

Located in the southwest area of Fangshan District of Beijing, the Shidu scenic zone is well-known for its unique karst landform. Shidu in Chinese means ten ferries. The valleys along the Juma River in Shidu were made from bedrocks during the Middle Proterozoic Era (1,000-1800 million years ago). Being the main feature of the karst landform, these bedrocks are dolomites. Dolomite is a sort of soluble rock. Shidu is the largest canyon with karst peaks and forests in the north of China. There are typical mountains and hard rocks in the north of China.  Clear waters and steep cliffs are just like the landscapes found in the south of China. It is hailed as an extraordinary sight in the north of China, an incredible fairyland and a fictitious land of peace.

There are numerous spots of karst landform. The most famous three places are Feilai Rock in Xianfeng Valley, a thread of sky in Gushan village and a Buddhist Fo character. These are all geological wonders.

 attractions in  Shidu

Erdu: Many cliffs that are like barriers between the valleys

Sandu: Pray for rain in Bamboo shoots Peak

Sidu: Fairy peak and bright moon

Wudu: Mountainous wind breezes which rustles the leaves of trees

Liudu: A sandy beach which is perfect for sunbathing on a hot day.

 Shidu Story

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