Great Wall: They say that you are not a great man if you haven’t visited the great wall. A lot of celebrities and known personalities have visited this place. and is rumored to be seen in the moon. The Great Wall of China is one of the most awesome sights in the world, and also known in China as the Great Wall of 10,000. It is an ancient Chinese fortification built from the end of the 14th century until the beginning of the 17th century, during the Ming Dynasty, in order to protect China from raids by the Mongols and Turkic tribes.
Forbidden City: Forbidden City, also known as the Palace Museum, was where 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties lived. It was off-limits to ordinary citizens and is the biggest and best-preserved cluster of ancient buildings in China.
Summer Palace: The Summer Palace is one of the China’s largest and best-preserved imperial gardens. It is a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design, integrating the natural landscape of hills and open water with man-made features into a harmonious and aesthetically exceptional whole
Temple of Heaven: Dating to the 15th century, the Temple of Heaven was where the emperor made an annual pilgrimage to pray for good harvests. Occupying an area of 273 hectares with four gates at the cardinal points, and walls to the north and east,it is China’s largest existing complex of ancient sacrificial buildings
Tiananmen Square: The Tiananmen Square in the center of Beijing is the biggest square in the world. It is 880 meters from north to south, and 500 meters from east to west, with total area of 440,000 square meters and can hold one million people.
Bird Nest: Located in the Olympic Green, Bird Nest was designed for use throughout the 2008 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. The design, which originated from the study of Chinese ceramics, implemented steel beams in order to hidesupports for the retractable roof; giving the stadium the appearance of a “Bird’s nest”.
Water Cube: Beijing National Aquatics Center, nicknamed the Water Cube is an aquatics center that was built alongside Beijing National Stadium in the Olympic Green for the swimming competitions of the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Other description above are the submitted information given to me by my tour guide. Please press the link to see my posts for that particular place. As for the others that I haven’t given any post, I think I will post it some other time soon…
This is the tourist trail, so visiting these places is a must! You haven’t been to Beijing if you haven’t visited these places 🙂
For our 2nd night in Beijing, instead of sleeping in a hotel, we opted to ride the sleeper train going to Xian, China. Anyway, I wasn’t able to get pictures of the Beijing west station, so I grabbed some of them from the net–so, forgive me once again! 😦
BUYING THE TICKETS
Anyway, after a whole day touring the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and Summer Palace, our tour guide drop-us off the Beijing West train station. But before that I asked her to write the Chinese words “Please let us buy ticket going to Xian, a soft-sleeper for 4 persons”. If you are going to D-I-Y in buying train tickets, I really suggest you to put those words in Chinese…
We were dropped off in the 2nd level of the train station, which I later realized is the departure area. And take note, we still don’t have tickets since all the netizens out there says that the tickets can easily be bought in the train station, and reserving it online will cost much more money.
So, I don’t have the freaking idea where to buy tickets! I was so stressed because my family looks very tired already and I want them to rest. And since I was the coordinator of this trip, I should be held responsible. So, I tried asking the counters, which seems to be the ones where a lot of Chinese are lining up and buying tickets (take note, I’m still in the 2nd floor, I don’t know that there was a ground floor yet!); so, I also lined up and then I showed them the piece of paper and they waved their hands and said “Mei-yo” (forgive how I spell it) which I learned from some Taiwanese movies… that it means “No” or “None”. I was so shocked that I frowned out them and said “Wei Shi Ma” which means Why?.. Then they talked to me in Chinese and I don’t understand it anymore… the other one pointed her hands to her right which signaled that I should go there… and I’m like “where?” instead of going where she pointed me at, I just went to my family, and I just tried to figure out the situation.
I also asked the policeman or security guard or whatever that is wearing blue there, but he also can’t speak English! For God’s sake, I was really appalled and just can’t believe what is happening.
My Phone which is searching for “How to Buy Tickets in Beijing west train station” was taking too long to load… and I know I’m already spending a lot of money for that. There is no wifi there, only my phone and my postpaid subscription in the Philippines. Anyway, since the internet is my friend when it comes to travel, I searched for an internet shop nearby and thank God I saw one! The internet shop is located near the stairs, and then I realized that there is somehow a “ground floor”. When I’m almost got inside the internet cafe, a Chinese man who looks so curious, made me think maybe he can help (although it can be dangerous at times); I then showed him what is written in the note, and he said “Ah! Ticket?!” and I said “Yes! Yes!” then he pointed me to go downstairs and I’m like hesitant to do so…. So, he escorted me down…. and pointing to the “Vast Ticket Station” and he also assisted me to go to the right line. I was really happy and thankful to him.
For the random man, who helped me… I’m really thankful for you! Whoever you are.. God Bless you!
Well, now I learned that the ticket buying counters of the train station is downstairs; so if ever the taxi dropped you off at the second floor or like a “departure hall” already, just go down, you can use the stairs at either side of the building (it is outside the building, no need to go in, and you will also not be able to go inside if you don’t have tickets). You will notice it is the ticket-buying counters if you see a large sign (just like in the airport where flights are written), and you can go inside without anyone asking for your ticket 🙂
Remember, no one speak clear english there, so foreigners like me, it will really be hard… but hope this few tips above will help you. Just let me repeat it:
The ticket counters are on the ground floor of the train station
The departure halls are in the second floor of the station
Anyway, if you wanna reserve your tickets weeks before your trip, you can reserve in this website, but it will be much costlier than buying it on the station itself:
Even though we are so tired from walking all day (Going to the Ming Tombs and The Great Wall), we still have to walk again for our night tour! I made my itinerary as jump-packed as possible, in order for us to visit everything in just 5 days. Well, my idea was a good idea when I was just planning it but when I’m already there, I realized that it was really a bad idea! We are already tired and so exhausted and just wanna rest but because of my miscalculations and “greediness” we are forced to attend this night tour.
Although I should still applaud myself because our night tour was quite cheaper than the other tour operators in Beijing, and also, we enjoyed a lot!
Our night tour itinerary includes a visit to the Olympic stadium and the Water Cube! the visit during the night in this WIDE park was really spectacular! They called this park as Olympic Green. Also, in the park there is a McDonalds and other fast food chains.
The park area is really huge with good landscaping. There are colorful flowers planted in the park that made it more attractive. Walking here is really tiring especially when you are already exhausted from your previous itinerary during the day.
The water cube which looks like an ice cube with a surface (like of a bubble wrap) is really cute. It houses the Olympic size swimming pool. I wasn’t able to enter but we just took pictures outside of it. According to Wikipedia, it has a capacity of 17,000 persons during the Olympics but was reduced to 6,000 after the event.
The Birds Nest or the Olympic Stadium is really one of the greatest architecture I’ve ever seen; Its size and shape is really eye-catching, thus, it made me look at it as if I’m a child who saw a living unicorn. I was amazed and just stared for it for about 5 minutes.
This Stadium, also according to Wikipedia, has a capacity of for 91,000 people, but the capacity was reduced to 80,000 after the Olympics.
In the Olympic Green, you can also find the Linlong Pagoda which houses a broadcast station. I think this is their modern version of a Pagoda… Great Isn’t it?
The next stop of our night tour, is the Wangfujing Street!! In this street there’s a lot of vendors selling different kinds of food stuff and most of them are put in a stick. There you can also find some exotic food like scorpion-on-stick instead of the usual hotdog-on-stick! I tried eating one of the things that I don’t recognize… I still don’t know what it was… but all I can say is that the taste was great!
By the way, we are about to ran out of Chinese Yuan, we only have US dollars and Philippine Peso with us. We are looking for money exchanges in Wanfujing but we cannot find a single one. We just realized that there are no money exchange counters that are open 24/7 in China or let me say there is none at all! You can only find one in some good hotels like Novotel. Anyway, we experienced having not enough money in China because we can’t exchange our dollars or Peso in CNY. I got stressed a lot because I didn’t know that unlike Hong Kong or Singapore or any other country, they don’t have Currency Exchange counters. I learned that you can only exchange your money in the airport or in the bank (since the bank closes by 5pm… we are too late to exchange our money and the next day is a Saturday!). But Thanks to the internet, I learned that we can just withdraw money from the ATM. J Good Lord! I was really scared!
After that, we went to a place called Houhai Area. According to our tour guide/driver, the place is where locals go for drinking. This is there night life area. You can also buy souvenir stuffs here.
Once you enter the Houhai area, you will immediately feel the Chinese vibe. It has small alleys where shops are facing each other. It is a beautiful sight.. It is as if you are walking in a market centuries ago.
We also stop-by the Tian’an men Square—the largest square in the world and we did some photo-ops. We just stayed in one corner and took a lot of photos.
Then, after that, we went back to our hotel by around 11pm. We are all dead tired. But the night tour was fun!
Our night tour with Shane costs 500CNY or P3500.00 or $81USD. The tour lasted for five (5) hours and it was a private tour. The costs is still cheaper than the one offered by big travel agencies in Beijing. Anyway, if you want to contact him, you can go to his website http://www.yangshane.weebly.com.
Shane is a good man, and helpful. He will leave you alone to enjoy by yourself, unlike being in a group tour where your time is limited in every place that you visit, and you just keep on walking… Being in a group tour makes your picture taking time really limited because you are scared to be left out by the group. What is good about Shane is that he also explains some facts and trivias about the place. He will also give you a mobile phone for his customers to use if ever they lost their way or if they have any questions.
I will definitely book with him again if ever I’ll be back in Beijing! 🙂
Anyway, overall, this night tour is a night to remember. Walking in a foreign place with your family makes you feel relaxed and happy.
The Summer Palace was the rest house specifically restored for the powerful Empress Dowager Ci Xi — the first woman who ruled the empire. She made the last two emperors (during her reign) as her puppets that succumbed to her every desire.
In this place, Emperors and their consorts visits this place during the summer to relax and escape the heat in Beijing, hence, the name Summer Palace.
The Summer Palace has already been there even before this dragon lady (Empress Ci Xi) came up to power, but, this was unfortunately destroyed and was burnt to ashes by foreign conquerors.
The Emperor, the Empress’ son, asked that this magnificent structure be rebuilt to its former glory. This will serve as a gift for his mother-Empress Dowager Ci Xi, who was before became very attached to this place when she was still a lowly concubine. And also this will serve as the Emperor’s political strategy to get the Empress off the main imperial palace and to get rid of her constant interference in political affairs. But, unfortunately, a lot of political issues came up…this pushed the finishing of this beautiful palace in a halt for years.
After a few years, even though the empire is still in chaos, and where the Chinese Navy just lost another war, the Empress Dowager Ci Xi ordered the restoration of this palace. She ignored the needs of her people and instead invested the big sum of money for the Summer Palace that is still standing there until today. We might say that the Empress is selfish, but without her insistence of creating this legacy, we, the people of today will not be able to see how grand and beautiful this place is.
In fact, this palace is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site since December 1998 and named as one of the beautiful palace garden ever created. It shows the unique Chinese garden landscape design and its beautiful architectural concept.
The Palace has a big man-made lake sitting down the slope of the mountain; where the main halls of this palace is located. To get to the main halls, you need to walk the long corridors that is winding, passing through the side of the lake and some palace halls. While walking in this long corridors, you have the chance to feel that you are one of the royalties… Looking at your right is the stunning lake which makes your heart flutter in happiness. It makes you feel happy and relaxed at the same time.
The truth is, that this Summer Palace had also a lot of history embedded on its walls, much more history than the Great Wall (in Badaling). This was created during the Jin Dynasty (2 dynasties earlier than the Ming) but as I said before, was destroyed, but was restored by the 3rd to the last emperor of China. Which was unlike the Badaling Great Wall, it was only made during the Ming Dynasty.
My Family and I weren’t able to climb up to the beautiful three-storey old hall, because, once again, our tour guide doesn’t want us to go. Anyway, as we traversed the long corridors, I already had a glimpse of how beautiful this place is. One which is unforgettable and the history which surrounds it makes it more wonderful.
You have 2 ways to go and see this beautiful site. Either you ride the ferry boat, which is also designed like an old-style Boat with colors just like the ones seen in the palace — Green, blue and red. Or you can opt to walk down the long corridors–which I suggest since you will pass by a lot of halls with history embedded on it.
Tips and Suggestions:
It is better to visit this place, not in a tour group, since they will only give you a limited time to enjoy the place.
Bring water. Although there are vendors inside this Palace, it is better if you have your own, since they might just pester you
Make sure to use walking shoes or slippers, don’t use high heels, you will be walking a lot
wear comfortable clothing
bring your camera and take a lot of pictures
We used Sinohotelguide again for our tour, it costs $28USD per person (P1204.00) but I suggest going here with a private your guide or on your own.
For you, who are still thinking whether to tick this off from your itinerary, please, remember what I said above. This is a beautiful place and worth every cent of your hard-earned money.
Subway Line 4: get off at Beigongmen Station (Beigongmen means the North Palace Gate of the Summer Palace); or get off at Xiyuan Station, get out of the station from Exit C2 (southwest exit) and walk west.
Take bus 209, 330, 331, 332, 346, 394, 683, 690, 696, 718, 801, 808, or 826 and get off at Yiheyuan Station.
Take bus 469 or 539 and get off at Yiheyuan West Palace Gate Station.
Take bus 209, 319, 320, 331, 332, 333(内), 333(外), 394, 432, 438, 498, 628, 664, 718, 801, 826, 特6, Yuntong 106, Yuntong 114, or Yuntong 118 and get off at Yiheyuanlu Dongkou Station (The Eastern End of Yiheyuan Road).
Take bus 303, 331, 346, 375, 384, 393, 498, 634, 683, 696, 697, 718, 801, 808, 特5 or 特10 and get off at Yiheyuan North Palace Gate Station.
Take bus 74, 374, 437 or 952 and get off at Xin Jian Gong Men (Yiheyuan New Palace Gate) Station.
Ticket Fees and Prices: (Price quoted in Chinese Yuan, Philippine Peso and US Dollars)
Entrance Fees: Nov.1 – Mar.31, 2012 April 1- Oct. 31
note: I apologize for the photos. I don’t have photos without my mom or my brother in it, since we are traveling in a group tour so we opted to maximize our time by taking photos with a person in it for souvenir.. 🙂 I promise that for my next travels, I will always take photos of the landscapes only.
It is nice to walk in a place once forbidden. This a city, a kingdom, which was always there but is not accessible for the common people. The place is characterized by common people as Heaven on Earth…
Words cannot describe how beautiful this place is. It made me think, what if I will be the emperor or even the empress of this wonderful place, what will happen? and what will I feel? Anyway, walking and standing in this great forbidden palace made me feel that I’m one of them. It makes you go back to the pages of history itself! It has centuries of history written on its walls and hallways which makes you ponder more on how beautifully preserved this palace is. No words can ever describe my lovely experience in the Forbidden City.
The experience of walking in the old passageways makes me feel like I’m one of the royalties. Not only that, it gave my hollow imagination a chance to make me an empress in just one day. I just imagined walking its corridors in a red silk clothing while guards and eunuchs follow my every step. I imagined sipping tea while looking at the grandeur of each of the halls and knowing that I’m rich and I’m powerful….. (screech…. Imagination o..v..e..r)…Back to reality!… the real deal is that being an Empress is a hard job! and the politics inside and outside the palace is just head-spinning chaos… so I better stop imagining those stuff and just enjoy being a common person who has her own privacy and freedom to travel!
Well, one of the things the empress cannot do is that she cannot travel! Poor her!!! I cannot fathom being locked out for all of my life! Although who wants to travel in a war-ridden country which has full of enemies?! if I will be her, I’ll just stay at home and be pampered by her eunuchs..
The Forbidden city is a PALACE. a grand and humungous one! With over 9000 rooms! My tour group took 2 hours just to pass-by the grand halls. Remember, we just passed-by the halls or structures in the middle, we didn’t actually explore the whole thing but it took us 2 hours (2 grand hours of Walking), maybe if you wanna tour everything and see everything, it will take you 5-8 hours to finish this thing off!
The Forbidden City gives you a glimpse of how grand China is during those period and you will just pop the word “Wow” because the history of China and of this place is just amazing! It made me envy of such rich history of China, it made me think of what will happen if Philippines have also royalties in the past.
Well, the forbidden city is really a place to visit! It is a must see! if you have been to China and wasn’t able to see this, I’m telling you to go back and to see this sight! This is really wonderful! The biggest palace in Asia I’ve ever seen! Much bigger than Korea’s Gyeongbokgung palace and much more lively!
We booked our tour with Sinohotelguide for $28USD or P1027.00 which also include tour in Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace. But you can always do it on your own.
Downside is: There is a lot of people! It is really crowded!! No pictures taken without other person being there. All pictures have strangers on it. This is the downside! However, it is still a beauty, so go there in the afternoon, when it is near closing time. We went there in the morning, it seems that tour groups go there in the morning And it became really crowded. You can always see a lot of tour groups and their flags waving in the air.
1. Go late in the afternoon
2. Don’t go there during Chinese holidays
3. Watch the Last Emperor of China to feel something about the place
4. Hire a tour guide or go there by yourself
5. Wear Comfortable clothing, especially shoes! You will be walking for hours there! We just pass through, we did not roam around the area but it took us 2 hours
6. Bring a lot of water with you! I didn’t see any stores inside the area
7. Don’t visit during Summer, it is really hot! we went there in Spring but it was already humid.
1. Don’t be part of a group tour if you walk pretty slow or you have difficulty in walking, since they will just pester you and say “Hurry up! Hurry up!” My mom and dad wasn’t able to visit this place because our tour guide walks really fast and my dad cannot catch up with her… So my dad just decided to stay behind, since my mom is a martyr, she just followed where my dad is.
2. You can visit the place by yourself and just get a geo-tour (you get a headset which has an information regarding the place; the information is recorded in the machine)
Admission Fee: 40 CNY (Nov 1. to Mar 31, 2012); 60 CNY (Apr 1 to Oct 31)
Admission fee for the Treasure Gallery and Clock and Watch Gallery: CNY 10
Opening Hours: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm (Nov. 1, 2011- Mar 31, 2012) Last entry is by 3:40pm. 8:30 to 5:00pm (April 1-Oct 31, 2012) Last entry by 4:10
How to get here:
Subway Line 1: get off at Tiananmen West or Tiananmen East Station, walk north through the Tiananmen Tower (Gate of Heavenly Peace), and then you’ll find the Meridian Gate (south gate) of the Forbidden City.
Subway Line 2: get off at Qianmen Station and walk north through the Tiananmen Tower.
Take bus 101, 103, 109, 124, 202, 685 or 814 and get off at Gugong (Forbidden City) Station.
Take bus 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 52, 120 or 802 and get off at Tiananmen Xi or Tiananmen Dong Station, walk north through the Tiananmen Tower (Gate of Heavenly Peace), and then you’ll find the Meridian Gate (south gate) of the Forbidden City.
Take bus 9, 17, 44, 48, 59, 66, 803, 808, 特4, 特7 or Tuanjiehu Special Line and get off at Qianmen, Qianmen Xi, or Qianmen Dong Station, and walk north through Tiananmen Square and you’ll find the Forbidden City in front of you.
First, I want to inform each and everyone of you that I went to Mutianyu Great wall which is farther than the well-known Badaling Section. So, here is my experience and some tips from my tripadvisor account (My Stay 2009), Enjoy!
This Wall is said to have a 1400 year old history. and while I was searching for some information to put here in my blog, I learned from Wikipedia, that this part of the great wall is much older than the one in Badaling since it was made during the Northern Qi dynasty which is unlike the Badaling section, it was made only during the Ming dynasty. Basically, the wall is made to secure the city center during the Qi and Ming Dynasty. It is definitely a BIG Wall to wade off enemies (since it was especially designed to “not be climbable”) the imperial army also throws arrows from the wall to defeat their enemies. It was said to be GREAT since this fortress was a success, it wade off enemies for some decades, and only until Genghis Khan became the leader of the nomads that the Great Wall failed to protect its city.
The Mutianyu section, according to BeijingTrip, is 2,500 meters (2,734 yards) long which is rimmed with mountains, which makes it forms like a snake amidst the ever-sloping mountains.
My Reaction when I saw this is that my jaw literally dropped, (It is really a dream came true) It is really long, huge, and steep. Well, I chose this wall since it is quieter and there are less people visiting this place than the Great Wall in Badaling. There is only a few pesky vendors in the wall itself. And we took pictures without any other person in it. We have parts of the wall by ourselves. Mutianyu is such a great part of the wall since hikers can do their job there, since the walls have sections that are too steep, some of its section are kind of rugged. The wall seems to be less-renovated than its counterpart in Badaling, since you can see that trees are growing in the wall itself.
Moreover, you have 2 choices to go up to this great wall, it is either through the cable car or you can hike. We have chosen the cable car, which is like the cable car used in ski escapades. It is quite scary because you are going really high. And when you go down, you also have 3 choices, either to walk down, take the cable car or ride the toboggan. Well, everything is quite fun but I suggest you try both (toboggan and cable car) for a more fun-filled experience since the toboggan ride is really scary yet it seems safe. It goes down really fast but it is all under your control
I suggest going to this part of this wall because there is less people, more time for photo-ops
1. Don’t try buying to the vendors there or even ask about the price since they will pester you by walking with you side by side until you give up and buy something from them
2. Don’t mind the vendors
3. Bring Water and wear comfortable clothes during summer months
4. Bring your camera and enjoy
5. You can either book a tourguide (sinohotelguide is one, it is cheap or you can take the train or bus going to this great wall)
Anyway, let me cheat a little bit. I posted here my previous review from tripadvisor. But I added more commentary and PICTURES!!
We booked this 3-star hotel using Agoda and we got 45% of the usual deal. So we just paid P6,000 for our 2 nights stay in the hotel. But first, I want you to know that hotels or accommodations in Beijing are affordable… you will have no problem regarding accommodation costs once you plan to visit this vibrant city, unlike Singapore where hotel accommodations are too costly (For Filipino standards).
The hotel is quite small but is really pretty, it is clean and well decorated. We got a standard modern room instead of the more expensive traditional ones. The rooms that we got have two single beds, and clean bathrooms. There is no refrigerator but there is a mini bar (where you can buy some stuff). There is also a TV but unfortunately, they only have Chinese channels.
The courtyard is very cute, it feels that you are really in China. They set up a lot of chairs and tables where the guests can sit and relax…which I think is a good way of compensating knowing that the sitting capacity of the lobby is really unequal to the number of guests of this hotel.
I also loved the gold fishies in the lobby. They are so cute… I’m gonna die!!!
The staff is also very hardworking, they also helped us by being the contact person of our tour guides. The male front desk staff (I forgot his name) even went up in our room when he cannot contact us through the phone. Check-in and Check-out is a breeze, so no worries about that.
The buffet breakfast has few variety of food but it tastes great, so no worries about it. But if the breakfast is not a complimentary one, I suggest going out and just eat somewhere else, so that you can get more value of your money. And I don’t suggest eating porridge there! It doesn’t taste like porridge or (“lugaw”) here in the Philippines. It tastes like “gawgaw” or does have a bland taste.
The only problem of this hotel is the location, though it may be said that it is in the center of Beijing, the location can be so much of a hassle especially if it is your first time going to the hotel, and if you doesn’t speak Mandarin. The hotel is really hard to find (and you need to ask the local people about the location of this place, and most of them doesn’t know how to speak english). Good thing was we booked a transfer service going to this hotel. But, in fairness to this hotel, its location is really near the Forbidden City and of that Tiananmen Square, and some other tourists places in Beijing. The only problem is that it is hard to find at first.
The hotel is located in the center of the Hutongs (like small alleys) so you need to walk at least 7-10 minutes from the hotel to the main road.
Overall, the hotel is nice, with a friendly and hardworking staff, with a nicely decorated, clean and comfortable rooms, and very cute courtyard. I can say that this hotel is okay and I recommend it, as long as you don’t mind walking for another 10 minutes or so after a day of walking in Beijing.
If you are traveling in China, make sure you have every name and addresses of the places you are going to visit as well as the name of your hotel in Chinese, so that it will be easier for you to go home or ask the directions if ever you are lost or such.
Anyway, here is the address and contact details of this hotel. And I just found out that they have their own website! Last May when I’m looking for more information regarding this hotel, I didn’t come across their site. So here you go…
Name of Hotel: Beijing Traditional View Hotel
Address: 33 JuEr Hutong, JiaoDaoKou south street,Dong Cheng District, Beijing, China