A Travellerspoint blog

Beijing, China: The city that surpassed all my expectations

(part 1)

-5 °C
View Harbin -> Beijing on morphium's travel map.

Beijing (北京), also known as Peking, is a metropolis in northern China and the capital of the People's Republic of China. Beijing is China's second largest city after Shanghai, with more than 17 million people in Beijing's area of jurisdiction.

Fully loaded with some snacks and two big bags, we began our trip towards this marvelous city on our good-for-nothing planet, met our third companion at railway station and hastily got on the train. Here we go. Journey is started!

Thousands of Chinese. Soon is Chinese New Year, that's why all them people are in hurry to back home.
Crowded rail station in Harbin

Crowded rail station in Harbin


Unlike Russian trains, Chinese carriages have three storeys of sleepers. Sounds disgusting, but actually not that bad as it seems.
We three had a good sound sleep on train. And, frankly, that's very unusual for me. I'm kind of person who is hard to fall asleep in crowded public environments.
硬卧上/中/下

硬卧上/中/下

In the morning we were at Beijing Railway Station.
Not very tired, but rather interested to find a place to put up at.
Beijing Railway Station

Beijing Railway Station


Sarah is her English name. The rarest girl I ever met in China, who I'm not going to describe a lot at this blog. :) I can pour out my thanks towards her long long time for all she had done for me and us in this trip, but I prefer to show my gratitude in an intimate atmosphere, face-to-face. :)
Me and Jiaqi

Me and Jiaqi

We found this place... nope. More precisely put, Sarah found this place online, and I barely could believe we really can have such a nice place for the money they charge us. In Beijing. That's quite far from city center, but public transport works really properly in Beijing. That's one of the reason I loved this city. So, we had a nice place to stay less than couple hours after we reached the capital of the Celestial Empire. Here we gonna stay for next 12 days.
Hall

Hall


TV with hundred of Chinese chanels

TV with hundred of Chinese chanels

Relaxing after a road

Relaxing after a road


Zombie (:

Zombie (:


Kitchen

Kitchen


= )

= )


Place we lived from the outside

Place we lived from the outside

Day 1
Next morning we have a simple, but delicious breakfast. Mom cooked some Russian 'blinni's for us. Yum-yum.
Russian traditional pancakes with honey and caviar

Russian traditional pancakes with honey and caviar


yummy

yummy


Chinese girl, too, highly appreciated a taste of Russian cuisine

Chinese girl, too, highly appreciated a taste of Russian cuisine

Without losing a moment, we left our apartment and moved to a place, that needn't any representation for Chinese people, people who have something in common with China, and others also should ever heard of this place in their life before.
Mao

Mao


The Forbidden City was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is located in the middle of Beijing, China, and now houses the Palace Museum. For almost five centuries, it served as the home of the Emperor and his household, as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City


Built in 1406 to 1420, the complex consists of 980 surviving buildings with 8,707 bays of rooms and covers 720,000 sq m (7,800,000 sq ft). The palace complex exemplifies traditional Chinese palatial architecture, and has influenced cultural and architectural developments in East Asia and elsewhere. The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.

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We two

We two


Spaciousness

Spaciousness

Columns

Columns


Uyghur language

Uyghur language

Shadow clock

Shadow clock

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Label: don't climb

Label: don't climb

Yellow wall

Yellow wall


Wall at the exit, the end of Forbidden City

Wall at the exit, the end of Forbidden City

:)
This AC made me laugh

This AC made me laugh

Finishing firsthand acquaintance with Forbidden Palace, we headed for Jingshan Park.
Climbing to the top of the hill

Climbing to the top of the hill


Having a rest after hard climbing

Having a rest after hard climbing


Jingshan (景山, literally "Prospect Hill") is an artificial hill in Beijing, China. Covering an area of more than 230,000 m², and spans across both the Xicheng District and the Dongcheng District, Jingshan is also immediately north of the Forbidden City on the central axis of Beijing. Originally an imperial garden, it is now a public park, known as Jingshan Park (景山公园).

Jingshan Park

Jingshan Park


The 45.7-metre high artificial hill was constructed in the Yongle era of the Ming Dynasty entirely from the soil excavated in forming the moats of the Imperial Palace and nearby canals. It is especially impressive when one considers that all of this material was moved only by manual labor and animal power. Jingshan consists of five individual peaks, and on the top of each peak there lies an elaborate pavilion. These pavilions were used by officials for gathering and leisure purposes. These five peaks also draws the approximate historical axis of central Beijing.

View of Forbidden City from behind

View of Forbidden City from behind

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No climbing!

No climbing!

No smoking!!!

No smoking!!!

No suicide!!!!!!!!!!

No suicide!!!!!!!!!!

Mammoth Sarah

Mammoth Sarah

After a lunch, we continued our pedestrian daytime trip, making our way towards 北海公園.

Beihai Park (北海公園) is an imperial garden to the northwest of the Forbidden City in Beijing. Initially built in the 10th century, it is amongst the largest of Chinese gardens, and contains numerous historically important structures, palaces and temples. Prior to the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1911 this area was connected to the Forbidden City, but since 1925 it has been open to the public.

Beihai Park

Beihai Park

The Bai Ta (White Dagoba) is a 40 m high stupa placed on the highest point on Qiónghuá Island. Its body is made of white stone. Sun, moon and flame engravings decorate the surface of the tower. Destroyed in 1679 by an earthquake, it was rebuilt the following year, and restored again in in 1976, because of an earthquake which occurred at Tangshan City, near Beijing City. A reliquary, secreted inside the structure are Buddhist Scriptures, monk's mantles and alms bowl, and the bones of monks (their remains after cremation).

Stupa

Stupa


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Nice apparel

Nice apparel

We saw some Chinese beauties

We saw some Chinese beauties

I know I can find a good exposition

I know I can find a good exposition

Steeply

Steeply


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On the bridge

On the bridge

Sim-sim, disappear

Sim-sim, disappear

Disappeared

Disappeared

Marvelous doors

Marvelous doors

Next destination, before going home, Tian'anmen Square.
On the way we tried some Chinese sweet potato. Too sweet, but good :)
Choosing sweet potato: she knows how to do it

Choosing sweet potato: she knows how to do it


地瓜

地瓜


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Here we bought some souvenirs. Peking Opera masks.
Peking Opera Masks

Peking Opera Masks


Theirs' creator is attraction himself :)
Master

Master

The National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) (国家大剧院, literally: National Grand Theatre), and colloquially described as The Egg, is an opera house in Beijing, People's Republic of China. The Centre, an ellipsoid dome of titanium and glass surrounded by an artificial lake, seats 5,452 people in three halls and is almost 12,000 m² in size. It was designed by French architect Paul Andreu. Construction started in December 2001 and the inaugural concert was held in December 2007.

NCPA

NCPA

Be honestly, I did expect more of Tian'anmen Square. Now I know many people say like this. It didn't look as huge and grand, as they make people think about it. At least for me and us.
They are going to lower a flag

They are going to lower a flag


Lowering a flag

Lowering a flag


"Striked the colours"

"Striked the colours"

Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Square

After lowering a flag, they chase all people out the square

After lowering a flag, they chase all people out the square


And it became empty

And it became empty

It got dark, Mao again

It got dark, Mao again

Day number two.

世界公园 or Beijing World Park.

On the way to park I took a note of this interesting building

On the way to park I took a note of this interesting building

Beijing World Park is a theme park that attempts to give visitors the chance to see the world without having to leave Beijing. The park covers 46.7 hectares and is located in the southwestern Fengtai District of Beijing. It is about 17 km from Tiananmen, the City center, and 40 km from the Capital International Airport. The park opened in 1993 and is estimated to receive 1.5 million visitors annually.

Entrance

Entrance


Japan

Japan


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South Chinese garden

South Chinese garden

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I think that's nice image, ain't it?

I think that's nice image, ain't it?


Under the hill

Under the hill


We really loved this garden

We really loved this garden

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This garden is most beautiful place in the park

This garden is most beautiful place in the park


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Happy tourists

Happy tourists

Iraq?

Iraq?


India

India


Combodia. I wish I can go there one day

Combodia. I wish I can go there one day


Thailand

Thailand


Second time I met the Giant, next time it will be real

Second time I met the Giant, next time it will be real


Egypt

Egypt


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I forgot

I forgot


mini-Manhattan

mini-Manhattan

mini-Statue of Liberty

mini-Statue of Liberty

mini-Colarado

mini-Colarado

mini-Stonehenge

mini-Stonehenge

Difficult to distinguish from the real one

Difficult to distinguish from the real one


Notre Dame

Notre Dame


Don't let her do it, baby!

Don't let her do it, baby!

Genuine Trojan Horse

Genuine Trojan Horse

Fake Wall

Fake Wall


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:(
There was a miniredsquare, but no Saint-Petersburg

There was a miniredsquare, but no Saint-Petersburg


Hiden

Hiden


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Red Square

Red Square

Third day

The Great Wall of China

Well, that's really something what need no introduction.
Unlike Tian'anmen, Great Wall really impressed me and us by its scale and grandness.

"You are not a human-being, if you never stay on great wall" Or something like this

"You are not a human-being, if you never stay on great wall" Or something like this


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People going by me yell and run away in fear

People going by me yell and run away in fear


That was eerie

That was eerie

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Long way we made, long way we gotta make

Long way we made, long way we gotta make


Windy Sarah

Windy Sarah

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Me

Me


That's not very easy, really

That's not very easy, really

The way we made

The way we made


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Jump over there

Jump over there

Another View

Another View


Lohhhhhhhng

Lohhhhhhhng

Nice

Nice


No people around. We left them behind

No people around. We left them behind

Top top TOp

Top top TOp


This road looks being infinite. We prefered to stop here and go back

This road looks being infinite. We prefered to stop here and go back


Top

Top


On the top

On the top


Don't take a look around

Don't take a look around


:)
The end of Great Wall

The end of Great Wall


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Descending

Descending

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Sunset over Great Wall

Sunset over Great Wall


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Day 4

Temple of Heaven, Peking Duck

Chinese playing Xiangqi. I like this game

Chinese playing Xiangqi. I like this game


The Temple of Heaven, literally the Altar of Heaven (天坛) is a complex of Taoist buildings situated in the southeastern part of central Beijing, in Xuanwu District. The complex was visited by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest. It is regarded as a Taoist temple, although Chinese Heaven worship, especially by the reigning monarch of the day, pre-dates Taoism.

Like an ant

Like an ant


Amazing photo, amazing Sarah

Amazing photo, amazing Sarah

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She loves trees. Am I tree?

She loves trees. Am I tree?

Who knows why I'd stood there?

Who knows why I'd stood there?


Peking Duck is a famous duck dish from Beijing that has been prepared since the imperial era, and is now considered one of China's national foods.

Ordering a duck

Ordering a duck


Сutting poor duck

Сutting poor duck


The dish is prized for the thin, crispy skin, with authentic versions of the dish serving mostly the skin and little meat, sliced in front of the diners by the cook. Ducks bred specially for the dish are slaughtered after 65 days and seasoned before being roasted in a closed or hung oven. The meat is often eaten with pancakes, spring onions, and hoisin sauce or sweet bean sauce. The two most notable restaurants in Beijing which serve this delicacy are Quanjude and Bianyifang, two centuries-old establishments which have become household names.

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Yummy

Yummy


There they cook it

There they cook it


Place's story

Place's story

Mama and duck

Mama and duck

Sarah going to eat this duck

Sarah going to eat this duck

Quanjude

Quanjude

Day 5

Sarah was crying and weeping bitterly, asking me to give her a day off. Unlike us, weariless tourists, she needed a rest.
Well, ok, no problem. She had no chance to see a "Ailuropoda melanoleuca", as we were heading for Beijing Zoo.

On the way to zoo, we saw this bicycle again.
This vehicle produced an indelible impression on my mum, I had to take an image of it

This vehicle produced an indelible impression on my mum, I had to take an image of it

Now we are in the zoo.
The next ape I saw was free

The next ape I saw was free

The Giant Panda is a bear native to central-western and south western China. It is easily recognized by its large, distinctive black patches around the eyes, over the ears, and across its round body. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora, the Giant Panda's diet is 99% bamboo. Other parts of its diet include honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges, and bananas when available.

熊猫

熊猫


It sleeps in the way people do

It sleeps in the way people do


Chinese interviewing comrade Panda

Chinese interviewing comrade Panda

The Giant Panda and I

The Giant Panda and I


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What a carefree creature!

What a carefree creature!

Panda superman

Panda superman

At last he decided to descend

At last he decided to descend

Big Tiger

Big Tiger

Then we inadvertently left zoo and entered The Five Pagoda Temple (五塔寺).

五塔寺

五塔寺


The Five Pagoda Temple (Wǔ Tǎ Sì), formally known as the "Temple of the Great Righteous Awakening" (大真觉寺) or "Zhenjue Temple" (真觉寺) for short, is a Buddhist temple from the era of the Ming Dynasty located in the city of Beijing, China.

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The temple has a square foundation, the "diamond throne", that stands 7.7 metres (25 ft) tall. The foundation can be accessed through a spiral staircase and supports five pagodas and a glazed pavilion. Each of the pagodas has a rectangular floor plan. Four of the pagodas are positioned on the corners of the foundation (one pagoda on each corner), the fifth pagoda stands in the center. The five pagodas are associated with the Five Dhyani Buddhas. The corner pagodas have 11 layers of eaves, whereas the slightly taller central pagoda has 13 layers. The total hight of the structure from its base to the tip of the central pagoda is 17 metres (56 ft).The building is constructed from brick and white marble, but the building has taken a rusty color due to the oxidation iron traces in the stone. All four walls of the foundations are decorated with carving of the one thousand sagacious Buddhas arranged in rows as well as Buddhist symbols (such as dharma wheels), animals (elephants and peacocks) and floral designs (bodhi trees), as well as Sūtra texts.

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We quited Beijing Zoo from the west gates, where is quite rare to see tourists. That was the reason they almost don't check tickets. Our plan for a day was completed, but that still was too early to go home, so we made our mind to return to zoo. At the entrance we just showed them old used tickets, and I said "不好意思, 我们迷路了", what means we got lost and want to find another exit. They let us in.
Here we go. :) We went to see some vermigrades.
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At the exit
Pandas

Pandas

Posted by morphium 00:41 Archived in China

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