So I am already back from China. Ready to share my full experience. If you haven’t read the first part – it is Here.
Must see places in Beijing
So after my one week stay in Beijing, which places I would recommend to visit? First of all, one week in Beijing is a little bit too much. Better to travel to China for two weeks and travel inside the country.
The first thing to see in city center and „Forbidden city“ in there. This is a place that emperors used to live and it was not reachable for a peasants, but we entered in there. And so many Chinese tourists did. But it is truly amazing – more than 9000 rooms, you would need more than 24 years if you would like to stay overnight in each and every room.
Another place to visit – Summer palace of emperors – perfect place to feel why rulers wanted to go out of the city. There are even the corridors in the territory, that are helping to hide from direct sun. They were built in order for the emperors to walk in the territory. But I would still recommend to choose cooler day, not as we did, because it is difficult to enjoy the place when you are just thinking how not to melt. Inside there is a big lake, so you can use small boats to reach some objects. It is not very cheap if you are going everywhere by boat. One ride is around 3 Eur, thinking that entrance is less than 9 Eur. But for us it was really worth it as it was just too hot to walk anywhere. The boat takes you to a little Venice – very romantic and cozy. And then you can go back to the 17 arch bridge and walk to objects close by. Also it is possible to rent a water bike for 9 Eur, just make sure you have enough cash, as they ask for deposit too – few hundred Juan.
My favorite place – Lama temple. It is the only still working temple that we have found. So when we just enter we feel the incense smell, You have to offer it 3 peaces every time. Also, in there you meet monks from Tibet, you feel a great aura of Buddha, even though it is not your religion – you can not deny the energy that is around you.
One of the best moments is when we took a cold latte from a close by international chain coffee shop, rested next to the temples, thinking and discussing about life. Also in Lama temple You can find a huge Buddha statue, that is included in Guinness record book, because the statue is 26 m tall and made from one peace of wood – impressive.
Bei Hai park – a winter residence of the emperors. It is a really nice place to visit, just do not trust google maps, because instead of walking in the middle of the park you might end up in the residence quarter. Then you can feel like god, because google shows that you are walking on water. Before entering to the area – police is checking your documents, because it is high security zone, you know, important people live here.
Temple of Heaven – one of the most impressive temples in the city. Beautiful park around, with flower gardens. You can not enter the temple, you just look from outside. There is also an echo wall in this complex. The only problem is that temples are closing at 5 pm. so you better come earlier, even though best time (talking about the weather) is after 3 pm.
And the most important place to visit – a Great Wall of China. First advice – do not go to Badaling section! Why? Because all Asians are going there, because they have this logic that if an object is full – that means it is good. And if it is only you on a wall – it is bad. They are used to be packed in metro, streets, shops and everywhere. For us it is all way around – we love to feel that the wall belongs only to us. So I would recommend to go to Mutianyu section. How to get there? As we are super travelers we were thinking to go on our own, but the last minute we decided to take a tour. Best decision ever. Why? Because otherwise you have to take 3 different buses, that no one speaks English in there, no idea which bus stop you have to leave. Also the bus does not go exactly next to the wall. That means we would have needed to climb around 3 km uphill to reach the place our bus left us. And it is hot, so you do not wanna make even one step more than it is needed. So for us our health and good mood was more important than to save 10 Eur. We got the tour from Beijing walking tours because after we were planing to go to „Free walking tour“ as I do same in Vilnius. So even before reaching the wall we were happy we didn’t go on our own. On the way we found out the history of the Great Wall of China, so we can imagine Mongolians coming from the mountains, trying to take China. Because in general Chinese is peaceful nation. I mean in order not to fight Mongolians they built a wall that is longer than 20000 km! During the constructions so many people died that it is just crazy. So during the tour the bus will get you right next to the hoist – for which you pay extra 13-14 Eur and get on top in 10 mins. For that you do not have to climb 40 mins by yourself. So we had 3 h to enjoy the wall – going up and down, up and down. The feeling is just amazing to be on top, another check – the third wonder of the world for me. 🙂 Even though it was really hot and humid (+33 degrees Celsius). At first we went all the way to the right – to the first watch tower, meanwhile taking many pictures – in this case we were resting a little bit too. BTW, even though Mutianyu is 70 km from Beijing, there is still smog, so you can not see everything clearly. Or was it a fog during the day? So visibility wasn’t the best.
So after 3 hours of climbing and walking on the wall, we were ready to have lunch. The way down is really interesting – you can take a Tobago, when you are going on a metal track, siting on a plastic seat. You are the one that controls the speed, and also the voice reminds passengers „Slow down; Do not stop; No pictures“. So after the tour we got great lunch with our group – western Chinese style 😀 that means that we would like it – sweet and sour and stuff like that. During lunch we were discussing about China political situation, how people live and so on. What does the fact, that You need to wait in a line of 2 million people to get a car, tells You? ( few thousand gets the permission every month) Of course, the pollution, but it just reminds Lithuania 40 years ago. A fact is a fact, right?
Food Variety in Beijing
Food variety in Beijing is really high. Before going to the small restaurant without menu in English, be aware that for Chinese delicacy are animal limbs, head, fatty bacon. Just like in grandmother‘s village, but somehow it did not fascinated us. So making a blind choice or listening to the advice of Chinese should take this into account, because of our delicacies is very different from theirs. It is common to have an English menu with pictures. It also means that you will pay at least twice the price, but the double of it will be EUR 3-4 per dish for 2 people. So we have decided to eat delicious and safe. And sweet of course. 🙂 If you want the so-called “street food” you can go deeper into the hutongs (local inhabitants of the area) or go to Wangfujing Street. Which is reminiscent of the diagonal alley of Harry Potter – a lot of everything – from the bizarre souvenirs, food, sweets etc. Here you will find the famous scorpions, who even fried in hot oil is still moving. Yak yak, but it is necessary to try.
Fun facts and fun stories
When you look back, you think about the trip, at least me, I do not remember how many places I have visited, or the dates I go to know. I remember the atmosphere, the emotions, mood and people that were together. So in this trip we were trying to be happy and not too tired to enjoy. So when the second day we were supposed to go to Great wall of China we decided not to. Because we were really tired because of the jet lag. And it turned out really well. And that was the best day, when we went to Lama temple with a cold coffee, interesting chats and so on. Later on that day another fun thing happened. When we were trying to reach an Olympic stadium, we got of the metro where google said to. But no Olympic stadium around. We ask some people. The guy didn’t speak English so some others came to help us – such a friendly people. 😀 So they said we need to go 5 more stops. When we put google maps and their maps together, the view wasn’t exactly the same. Ok, doesn’t matter. We go to Olympic stadium and all the city around is really nice. No white people – difficult to find it – now we know. So probably because of this reason some journalists wanted our interview about the Football championship in Europe. We said yeah, of course. Another story to remember. We do not think they will show all interview as we do not speak Chinese, but probably the last sentence as we are shouting „Go China“ in Chinese. 😀
After three days of intense traveling we decide to sleep one day. Good decision. To go to a museum when it is +33 outside – another great decision. So because of that, we visited the museum of art. And for our big surprise there was the communist party 95 anniversary exhibition. Very interesting for us, we feel like 50 years in the past.
Another object that we didn’t plan to visit before – a zoo. Fun fact – all pandas in the world belongs to China. Other countries are renting them from China. And they are cute. Zoo is close to the Summer Palace so you can visit both of it in one day. Entrance fee is only few euro, and it is more for families than tourists. But we saw real panda – eating bamboos 14 h a day and not caring about anything else. Really cute and we really got „Panda disease“. We saw Panda everywhere and we want to buy everything that is with panda – so cute. So next to the metro we found many stuffed animals, so of course we bought panda – cheap and kinda good quality.
In addition we saw a Confucius temple – it is close to Lama temple. You can visit both of them same day. In this temple You can find museum about his life, some temples and cozy park around.
Also we visited a non touristic Sun park, locals are going there for a swim, are playing with kids, there are a few attractions for kids mostly.
China – my first Asian country left a big mark in my heart – a truly another world. And also, people think that you are an alien. All in all experience from China is difficult to put on the paper. Or to show in the pictures – you need to feel that heat, smog, feel people‘s eyes on you, try the local food and use the gestures in order to communicate. I hope everyone will have a chance to experience that sooner or later.