Arrived at night in Beijing by high speed train from Qingdao, Tian An Men (天安门) was the first thing I went straight to see, it was lit up and blocked off, no one would be able to get any closer beyond the iron fences. Nevertheless, it looked great at night.
Got to see traditional buildings here and there when roaming in Beijing downtown.
Hutong (胡同) means small streets or blocks where local people live or vendors sell goods. It's been one of Beijing's major attractions, tourists could walk in it to see how the locals live. The most famous Hutong in Beijing is called Nanluogu Xiang (南锣鼓巷) which I toured around a bit the next day, nothing special in it, pretty much like any other tourist street.
Beijing Yiheyuan (颐和园) AKA, Summer Palace. It was the garden for emperors to enjoy in Qing Dynasty, now it's an attraction for tourists, you won't believe how big it is until you see it in person. Basically, get in from the main entrance, you will be standing on a highland where you could overlook a great huge lake. On the highland, you could walk around and at last go down to tour around the lake.
I think the reason it's called Summer Palace is that there's a lot of trees and you don't feel very hot being in there. Emperors liked it, tourists like it, too. Saw so many people just after I entered.
On a bridge after the entrance looking down, there was a waterway below, shops on each side.
Huge and beautiful architectures like temples, pagodas, pavilions in the Summer Palace. The emperors knew how to enjoy life.
Down the hill by the lake area, a good place to just chill out.
Hiring small boats to tour the lake would be a good option in a good weather day. But I hadn't been very lucky with the weather on that trip.
Beijing Opera in the Summer Palace attracted all the tourists' attention. It was only the emperors that had the right to watch Bejing Opera in the Summer Palace before.
Before in Qing Dynasty, Tian An Men was the front gate of Forbidden City (故宫), emperor's palace. Now it's the emblem of Beijing, almost everyone who visits Beijing comes to see it. Across the street on the other side of the road is Tian An Men Square. Behind the Tian An Men, the Forbidden City has been well preserved, open for tourists to visits at an entrance ticket of 30 RMB. There could be thousands of tourists want to visit the Forbidden City in a day during the tourism high season in summer, so either you can plan on coming to see it early in the morning or late in the afternoon, I waited about 1 hour in a line of tourists outside before I could actually enter.
Emperors wouldn't have been happy if he knew his palace was visited by so many tourists nowadays. Basically, it was a place where they lived, met the ministers, and dealt with government affairs.
At the back of Forbidden City, there was a park called Jingshan Park (景山公园 )built on a small hill, where you could climb up to the top to see the whole Forbidden City from up above, the day I went was hazy, reasons you know...
Beijing was the host of summer Olympics for the year of 2008, the main stadium, Bird Nest and the stadium for water sports, Aqua Cube have been tourist attractions ever since the Olympics was finished. Picture above is the Bird Next.
The Aqua Cube for water sports.
Starfish and scorpions sold at Wangfujing (王府井小吃街) tourist street, take a bite of them before they do.
Summer was also my busy season, so I didn't get to spend enough days there, and after a couple of days in Beijing I kind of missed the fresh air far down south in my hometown, Yangshuo. My regret was I didn't see the Great Wall and other attractions on this trip for the weather situation and overwhelming number of tourists in the summer, I've made my mind to visit Beijing again next time already. I came back home after touring Beijing. And I will keep posting more about China and Yangshuo, thanks for reading.