History Lesson – Great Wall (2/2)

On May 9, 2012, in Beijing, Great Wall, Historical Relics, by Jack Li

There is still more to know about the Great Wall’s history, the one site nobody wants to miss on their Beijing Tours. Read on for further information if you haven’t decided yet which places you want to see on your China Tours. The Great Wall is worth it! Nearly all of the following feudal dynasties […]

There is still more to know about the Great Wall’s history, the one site nobody wants to miss on their Beijing Tours. Read on for further information if you haven’t decided yet which places you want to see on your China Tours. The Great Wall is worth it!

Nearly all of the following feudal dynasties did some construction on the wall, repairing and extending it partly as a defense against invasion from the north. Southern and Northern Dynasties (420 – 589 AD) were a time of civil war and political chaos but art, culture and technology revived nonetheless. During this time some of those smaller dynasties worked on the wall but as a defence against each other and not in a joint effort. The following Sui Dynasty ended the division between the rivaling regimes. To improve the defense system the Great Wall was rebuilt and extended. On the one hand these projects were great accomplishments but on the other hand they were made at the expense of the workforce resulting once again in Chinese history in revolts and rebellions.

The following period was marked by several smaller and less important dynasties and kingdoms developing more or less independently from each other in the northern and southern parts referred to as the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. During the followong Tang Dynasty there was no need for the emperors to do construction on the wall to more than a minimal extent due to their superior power over northern nomad neighbors.

After generally serving its purpose for 1500 years the Mongolian emperor Kublai Khan took control over China in 1271 and proclaimed the Yuan Dynasty little later. With the foreign rule the northern border between the Chinese and the Mongolian territory ceased and with it also the necessity to reinforce the Great Wall. In the end famines, natural disasters as well as revolts and rebellions caused by political instability finally ended the domination of the foreign power towards the end of the 14th century. Zhu Yuanzhang, the rebel leader of the Red Turban Rebellion, became the first emperor of the following Ming Dynasty.

The Ming era in China were golden times in Chinese history marked by cultural exchange, political stability, economic prosperity and population growth. During this time enormous construction projects were in the center of attention, the Great Wall, the Grand Canal and the famous Forbidden City in Beijing being the most important ones. To prevent further invasion from the north the Great Wall was extended in a 100 year project. Many of the locations where visitors can see the wall are from these times, for example at Badaling or Mutianyu close to Beijing.

The Manchu took over control of Chinese territory in 1644 and founded the last dynasty in Chinese history, called Qing Dynasty. With this second foreign power in China the Great Wall lost once again its main purpose. Since then only the state has undertaken efforts to restore parts of it and has opened them to the public. The Great Wall is one of the most famous sights in China and a unique symbol of Chinese civilization. For this reason and with some facts about history in mind it’s worth seeing it for anyone going on China Tours.

History Lesson – Great Wall (1/2)

On May 9, 2012, in Beijing, Great Wall, Historical Relics, by Jack Li

The Great Wall is the must see for every visitor coming to Beijing and it is therefore an essential part of most Beijing Tours. By bus it takes between two and three hours from the city center depending on the location you want to go to. There are several ones, some more popular than others […]

The Great Wall is the must see for every visitor coming to Beijing and it is therefore an essential part of most Beijing Tours. By bus it takes between two and three hours from the city center depending on the location you want to go to. There are several ones, some more popular than others where you can see the wall in differently well preserved states. But this feeling you experience when you are there makes up for the wait. So, don’t miss this famous site on your China Tours.

Due to geological conditions Asian and western cultures developed almost independently from each other during long periods in history. Until today many details about Chinese history are unknown to visitors from western countries. Everybody knows about the Great Wall but few people are familiar with its long and interesting history so here is a quick overview.

Construction of the Great Wall began even before China’s first imperial dynasty in belligerent times, known as the Spring and Autumn Period and the following Warring States Period. These periods are part of the Eastern Zhou dynasty which was the last dynasty before the reunification of the territory and the first imperial dynasty.

During this time seven rivaling states fought against each other and built individual walls to defend their territory against the attack of the enemy states. Stamping earth, gravel and stones were the main materials of these walls. After more than 200 years of mightily fights the state called Qin became the most powerful one conquering other states and finally destroying them.

Their king, who became known as Shi Huangdi, founded the Qin dynasty (221-207 BC) and by uniting all seven states he became the first emperor of China. He decided to join the existing walls together and added some more sections as a defense against the northern tribes, Mongolian people being the most feared enemy. When this huge project was finished the wall had a total length of over 5,000 kilometers (about 3,100 miles) in an east to west line and its remainders still mark the historical northern border of China.

After the decline of the comparably short Qin dynasty the Han dynasty was founded (206 BC – 220 AD). It became one of China’s early golden ages, a time when the consolidation of the state lead to cultural, economical and technological glory. During this period the existing walls were reinforced and lengthened. At that point in time the Great Wall reached its longest extension with a total length of more than 8,000 kilometers (about 5,000 miles) including branching walls, tranches and natural barriers such as hills and rivers.

Many parts of this ancient man-made architectural masterpiece created in early times with unimaginable efforts has been a destination for many people interested in architecture, ancient sites and old civilization for numerous years. Many planned tours to the Great Wall even offer pick-up services from your Beijing Hotels so you can get there easily by coach.
Read part two for more history about the Great Wall.

Chill Out in Hou Hai

On May 7, 2012, in Beijing, China Travel Gossip, More Places of Interest, by Jack Li

‘What can I do on a sunny day on my travel to Beijing?’ – Here’s a thought, try Hou Hai. The place is popular with tourists which is made more obvious after considering what it has to offer. The spontaneity of creating your own itinerary can be extremely fun and the randomness of the Hou Hai area makes this all […]

‘What can I do on a sunny day on my travel to Beijing?’ – Here’s a thought, try Hou Hai. The place is popular with tourists which is made more obvious after considering what it has to offer. The spontaneity of creating your own itinerary can be extremely fun and the randomness of the Hou Hai area makes this all the more appealing. One suggestion is to go on one of the different Beijing tours to the Drum and Bell Tower in the morning and then mosey down to Hou Hai in the afternoon. Hou Hai is reachable from Gulou Dajie station, subway line 2 and is the perfect area to spend a sunny afternoon, as I discovered on Saturday.

Before reaching the lakes, there is always the chance to explore Hou Hai’s stores. These stores sell a spectrum of products where most people will find something of interest. For one, the shop owners will often welcome you to try out their items. In one shop, for example, you can test out your musical ability by playing various ocarinas. Most probably my favourite, is a store where you can buy satirical postcards and then have the opportunity to write them out downstairs whilst you Hou Hai experience is fresh in the mind.

So now you are probably fatigued from browsing the shops which line Hou Hai. To cool off there are a selection of bars and cafes and some excellent teashops allowing you to sample (taste and smell) some of their finest produce. Even though tea might seems like it should be drunk on a milder day, the tea shops around host and wealth of fruitful iced teas. My personal choice was to opt for a refreshing mango smoothie (as opposed to a friend who went for a more adventurous ‘Yakult’ concoction).

Once you have your iced-drink in your hand, it is time to head towards the lake for some fun! Locals can be seen swimming in the lake, (but personally, considering the congestion on the water, I would prefer not to). Instead, there is the exciting option of hopping on a paddle-boat. This is an activity not to be ignored, especially as the boats can accommodate groups. From here, you can sit back, relax and take a sip of your smoothie – (well, depending who is doing all the work paddling!).

We had a particularly enjoyable time listening to some background music on a friend’s phone and weaving past boats, swimmers and ducks. Alas, no standing is allowed on the boats so any rendition of ‘Rose’ and ‘Jack’ from the film the Titanic was out of the question. In some respects, boating on the lake ironically felt like a driving test with the amount of precise manoeuvres required. The main difference however, was that it was inevitable not to avoid a collision with fellow boaters, especially when meandering under the low-lying bridge.

After parking our boat, we found an eatery for dinner and ordered some cold noodles and cucumber with a spicy sauce which was definitely the perfect finale to warm springtime day in Beijing. Days like this certainly make me reflect as to when I should book my next Beijing flights!

 

 

 

 

 

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Ready – ‘Steady’ – Go!

On May 2, 2012, in Beijing, Getting Around, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

With the rapidly increasing number of vehicles on Beijing’s roads controlling traffic has become a real challenge. Even building new roads and extending the subway system still can’t cope with the rapidly growing number of road-users. When you travel to Beijing you will certainly see a difference to many other big cities. The best way […]

With the rapidly increasing number of vehicles on Beijing’s roads controlling traffic has become a real challenge. Even building new roads and extending the subway system still can’t cope with the rapidly growing number of road-users. When you travel to Beijing you will certainly see a difference to many other big cities. The best way to experience it is probably to try out as many ways of transportation as possible on your Beijing Tours. And taking a taxi can really be exciting!

Within the last years Beijing Municipal Government has made some adjustments in an effort to reduce traffic jams and increase the average speed on the road. Introduced as a temporary measure in July 2008 for the Olympic Games all private cars were banned for one out of the five weekdays according to the last digit of their number plates to improve the air quality and the traffic situation. After positive results of these measures this system has been extended and is still in effect today.

 

When you find your way around in Beijing’s traffic it might seem that there are a lot fewer rules and people just go whenever they want. But that’s not quite true. In general, more important than the rules and traffic signs are the things going on around you. There is not just a lot of traffic; there are also all kinds of vehicles… and lots of pedestrians. There are cars, many of them taxis, buses, bikes, rickshaws, motorcycles and in rare cases even carriages and everybody is determined to get to their destination as quickly as possible.

 

So here is some general advice for people new to Beijing:

1. If you want to get around the city center during rush hour times, between 7 and 9 am and again from around 5 to 7 pm taking the subway is usually the better choice compared to taking a taxi. In many places even walking can be faster than going by car. There are times when traffic at the Second Ring Road just doesn’t move at all. The subway is also very crowded but it still won’t get caught in traffic jams and many subway lines go nearly every minute during rush hour.

2. Keep your eyes open and look into every direction before you cross a road. Even if the pedestrian traffic light is green other vehicles usually go first. They are not only stronger but also faster, so watch out for bikes, motorcycles and cars in the turning lanes!

3. Just like green doesn’t mean you get to go first, red doesn’t necessarily mean you have to wait. If there is no traffic or a big gap between the cars, why should you waste your time waiting? Just walk depending on the situation and not so much depending on the color of the traffic lights.

4. On roads with several lanes it’s not unusual for people to walk to the middle of the road when there is a gap in the oncoming traffic and then wait in between the lanes with cars all around for an opportunity to cross to the other side.

5. Honking is used more as a warning, or to get people’s attention, as a ‘watch out, here I come’, and usually not meant in an offensive way or as a reaction to bad driving of another road user. And in Beijing you’ll hear a lot of honking!

6. If you’re not sure how to behave, you can learn all the tricks from the locals. Just observe, follow the others and learn.

The way traffic works is probably not better or worse than in other places, just different and a lot more flexible. Not all bigger Chinese cities have a subway system, so that’s a big advantage of Beijing’s public transportation. You’ll see some differences between Chinese cities if you take the opportunity to go on China Tours. In any case, some patience helps but Chinese traffic is not a problem but an experience!

Written in the Stars

On April 18, 2012, in Beijing, Historical Relics, More Places of Interest, by Jack Li

Just off Exit C at Jianguomen Station is Beijing’s Ancient Observatory. The observatory was built in 1442 under the Ming Dynasty and by then it was given the name, ‘Platform of Star-Watching’. Only until the Qing Dynasty was it called an ‘observatory’. The observatory is a very significant landmark in the city as it represents […]

Just off Exit C at Jianguomen Station is Beijing’s Ancient Observatory. The observatory was built in 1442 under the Ming Dynasty and by then it was given the name, ‘Platform of Star-Watching’. Only until the Qing Dynasty was it called an ‘observatory’. The observatory is a very significant landmark in the city as it represents an exchange of ideas between Chinese and Western thinkers around the time of the renaissance. Furthermore, the observatory can boast to be one of the oldest of its kind in the world. Give or take, you can comfortably spend about an hour at the observatory if you decide to travel to Beijing. Lastly, it should be noted that because Jianguomen is transportation hub, it is easy to reach the observatory from many of the local Beijing hotels.

The highlight of this attraction is the observatory platform which passes over 17 metres in height. At the top of the platform, this is where the magic really happened! Essentially, this is where the astronomers would stargaze and apply their knowledge by utilising the marvellous pieces of equipment on display. The astronomical instruments which you will see are not just scientific gadgets, but they are finely crafted works of art fashioned from bronze. Below the platform, in the garden, there are also other instruments to be found. If anything, it is a good idea to visit the observatory just to admire the historical fusion between east and west.

Constructed along the city wall, the observatory is reminiscent of a period of international innovation. The Forbidden City, the Observatory of Paris and the Royal Greenwich Observatory were all built around the same time, for instance. Indeed, the Ancient Observatory has its beginnings in a time of an international exchange of ideas. Essentially, it was a German adviser who influenced the Emperor to use western measuring and calculation methods. From then on, a number of astronomical instruments were built with some of the most notable today including the Armillary Sphere, Celestial Globe and the Azimuth Theodolite.

What makes the observatory rather unique is its sense of preservation. For example, out of quite a few observatories under the old Chinese dynasties, the Ancient Observatory is only one to survive. The observatory is also very impressive considering it was able to recover many of the instruments it lost after they were looted in the past. Nevertheless, the observatory has gained recognition for its preservation achievements. For example, in 1982, the National Cultural Relics Protection Bureau recognised the observatory as a National Heritage site. Even famous people such as the ex-Prime Minister from Britain, Tony Blair, have visited the observatory!

On face value, it would appear that the main purpose of the observatory would have been to assess calendar dates by staring at the cosmos. However, the observatory had many purposes such as aiding navigation for seafarers and assist with military tactics. Apart from astronomy, the observatory also exhibits a range of other measuring devices such as delightful examples of ancient clepsydras (water clocks). Whilst in the garden, there are a range of different sundials to view – its fun to check just how accurate these dials are against your watch! In any case, if the observatory interests you and you want to learn more, Beijing flights are a good first port of call.

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‘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.

 

Welcome to Wangfujing

On April 9, 2012, in Beijing, China Travel Gossip, More Places of Interest, Shopping, by Jack Li

Wangfujing is situated in the centre of Beijing which makes it a perfect location for people to visit from anywhere in the city. To reach Wangfujing, visitors can take the line one of the subway and get off at Wangfujing station, exit A. Despite the bustling roads around Wanfujing, the pedestrianized layout of the area […]

Wangfujing is situated in the centre of Beijing which makes it a perfect location for people to visit from anywhere in the city. To reach Wangfujing, visitors can take the line one of the subway and get off at Wangfujing station, exit A. Despite the bustling roads around Wanfujing, the pedestrianized layout of the area means visitors can have a relatively relaxed shop. For international access to the city, some operators such as; China Airlines and Air China may be a useful way in which to get your trip started.

Commerce has flourished in the Wangfujing ever since the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368). The name ‘Wangfujing’, however, actually arose later under the Ming dynasty from “Wang Fu”, meaning princely residence and “Jing” which means ‘well’. Relics of Wangfujing’s past can be found around the area. These include the ‘Wangfujing Well’ and the stunning, Romanesque-styled, Wangfujing Cathedral which was rebuilt in 1904. Walking down the main street will also provide an excellent opportunity to take some fun-snaps with the camera due to the fact that the street is dotted with statues which portray life in old-Beijing. Together with these reasons, and more mentioned below, this should hopefully influence your decision to go and travel to Beijing.

At 810 meters long and over 200 shops, Wangfujing is not short of retail outlets. On the main street, visitors can experience an array of modern shops where the latest products and designs can be found. If accessing the main street from the ‘south entrance’ (Wangfujing Nankou), visitors will pass the Oriental Plaza mall which, given by its size, can provide nearly everything a shopper desires. If you love reading books, then Wangfujing is probably the place for you. Indeed, the street has a strong connection with the written word. For example, Wangfujing was once named ‘Morrison Street’ after George Morrison, an Australian journalist. Whilst today the main street displays two fine bookstores which both sell western literature. Wangfujing Bookstore is the larger of the two stores and sells western material on the third floor with the Beijing Foreign Languages Bookstore being the other.

Visiting Wangfujing at night is certainly worth considering because this is when the main street is illuminated with fantastic neon colours. For instance, the Citizen Clock Tower certainly appears impressive towering over the street in the dark. Moreover, for those who have built up quite an appetite from shopping along the main street, there is always the option of venturing into Wangfujung Snack Street (Wangfujing XiaoChiJie) which comes alive after 6pm. As a note of warning, some of the foods here may be very different from what you may be used to (such as scorpion and sheep testicles). On the other hand, taking the opportunity to visit this food market will nevertheless enrich your experience of local culinary delights. Furthermore, the market serves some very tasty and popular treats like glazed fruit kebabs (Tanghulu) along with more ordinary foods like noodles.To make your experience of Wangfujing even more pleasurable, Beijing Hotels lists many luxury hotels near to the area.

 

The Family Museum Experience

On April 5, 2012, in Beijing, Museums, Tips & Ideas, by Jack Li

You are going to travel to Beijing and are interested in nature and the environment? If you are travelling with kids the Natural History Museum of Beijing might be the right place for you to go. It is one of the biggest museums of its kind in China and offers lots of interesting things to see for […]

You are going to travel to Beijing and are interested in nature and the environment? If you are travelling with kids the Natural History Museum of Beijing might be the right place for you to go. It is one of the biggest museums of its kind in China and offers lots of interesting things to see for all ages. It’s easy to find right next to the Park in which The Temple of Heaven is situated. There you can also relax and walk around and, of course, visit the famous temple before or after your visit to the museum. Or you can book one of the numerous Beijing tours instead if you want to see more historical sights.

Especially on a holiday this place is packed with kids, parents and grandparents enjoying family time together. There are different areas, for example The Gallery of Ancient Reptiles, the Dinosaur Park or the Discovery Park where visitors can see, touch and learn. With many hands-on experiences it is very child friendly and interestingly presented. Some appliances don’t work anymore but especially the kids don’t seem to care too much about it.

Like most other museums it is closed on Mondays, just keep that in mind when you plan your trip. Although there is no general entrance fee you have to pay for the special exhibition. But I’d say it’s worth the money.
If you don’t have good knowledge of the Chinese language it is advisable to rent an English translator because some parts of the museum are only in Chinese and in other parts some titles and explanations are in English but all further information is not. For some further details, the translator is very helpful and informative and easy to use.

Although it is popular with families and it attracts lots of visitors there is still room for improvements, concerning for example modern technologies and interactive appliances. Nevertheless, the 3D and 4D Theater is a real highlight with several different films which are shown at different times during the day. Unfortunately, there so far no films in English and also no translation service for the theater. So it is not made for foreigners.

The last floor is currently partly under construction and hard to find since the stairs of the main hall just lead to the upper floors. So you either have to walk up and then find stairs to walk two floors down or you have to cross the first floor to find stairs leading downwards. There are several stores to buy games, books and other souvenirs as well as cafeterias for a little break in between. All in all it’s a very recommendable location for a family trip.

You’ve already seen everythingthat’s important to you in Beijing? Go on travelling, there are so many other intersting places to see. Why don’t you travel to Shanghai?

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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.

Natural Beauty in the Center of Town

On October 31, 2011, in Beijing, Nature Scenery, Temples, by Jack Li

If you like to walk through parks and see nature at its best. Then on your next Beijing Tour plan on visiting Jingshan Park. It was once a royal garden now it’s a stunning landscape garden. When you travel to Beijing plan on seeing the Forbidden City and Jingshan Park in the same day since […]

If you like to walk through parks and see nature at its best. Then on your next Beijing Tour plan on visiting Jingshan Park. It was once a royal garden now it’s a stunning landscape garden. When you travel to Beijing plan on seeing the Forbidden City and Jingshan Park in the same day since they are right by each other.

Jingshan Park is located in the center of Beijing on the south-north axis. It is right behind the Forbidden City. So your day can start by visiting the Forbidden City then you can leave the city through the north gate go across the street and walk around Jingshan Park. On a clear day the visitor will be able to see a clear view of the Forbidden City. Jingshan Hill is the highest point in Beijing. From here you can see the Bell and Drum Towers, Beihai Park and the White Dagoba Temple.

Jingshan Park can date back to the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties (1271-1911). Jingshan hill served as an imperial garden. There were fruit trees planted in the Ming dynasty. Pavilions were built around the park so that the emperor could make sacrifices to his ancestors. The royal family would also enjoy hunting around the park.

Jingshan Park was open to the public in 1928 and in 1949 the park was rebuilt. The paths were paved and the buildings were renovated. The park covers 57 acres. While you are visiting make sure you see -first Qinwang Pavilion, second five summits, third hall of Imperial Longevity and forth Yongsi Hall or Missing Hall.

Qinwang Pavilion has two stories and is surrounded by white marble. The emperors would worship the tables of Confucius here. The second thing to see is the Five Summits they are located around Jingshan hill at each summit is a pavilion. These pavilions used to have a copper Buddha stature that represented the five tastes which were sour, bitter, sweet, acrid and salt. In 1900 all of the Buddha’s statues were lost during the warfare.

Thirdly you need to see the Hall of Imperial Longevity-the emperors paid their respects to the ancestors here. Some emperors had their portraits placed in there so that they could be worshiped. Lastly you need to see the Yongsi Hall or Missing Hall this is placed were the past emperors and queens bodies where placed after they past away.

If you are looking for something to do that is close to your Beijing hotel then Jingshan is right for you. Since it is in the Center of town it will only be a subway ride away. It is a great place to spend your day. It is opened from six A.M. to nine P.M. During the colder months remember to wear warm clothes.

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