The capital of China, the beating heart of this thriving and bustling country. We all know the population of China is insanely huge and rapidly growing each day. I don’t know about yourself, but Beijing (China in general) overwhelms to a point of anxiety. I have heard the rumors, seen the stories of how the population size of China is taking over the streets themselves. Within one weekend (three to four days) I believe it is possible to get a taste of both ancient and new through the streets of China’s unique capital city; weave in and out of thousands of years of imperial history masked together with the thriving scenes of the 21st century society.
Day 1: arrive & check in & eat & markets & wander
The first day is always the best day to explore your surroundings, wander through the neighborhood in which you are staying in, stock up on the necessities (such as water and cookies), gawk at the fact that you are in Beijing, China. Follow your nose to the first restaurant you smell and randomly pick something off the menu.
WHERE TO STAY:
We stayed at Leo’s Hostel in the heart of Xicheng Qu, within walking distance from Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Can’t complain about this accommodation solely for the fact that the location was beyond perfect. Walking distance to some of the main attractions and to the metro, the gateway to the rest of the city.
The hostel was kind enough to host a Christmas festivity for all the travelers staying there.
Beijing is filled with all sorts of markets; a great place to practice your haggling skills as well. These Chinese markets are specifically for just about anything and everything you need, want or can think of. One of these markets is catered towards the design and sell of pearls. pearls earring, pearl necklaces, pearl strings, pearl rings, pearl everything. BUT only the top floor, the rest of the floors are just about anything you want to purchase: cameras, chopsticks, purses, plugs, panda dolls and so much more. You can spend a solid few hours just roaming up and down the aisles of all the goods while everyone yells at you to buy their merchandise.
Luckily for us, the hostel that we were staying at; had a festive celebration for those travelers that celebrate Christmas. Holidays singing, dumpling making and a mannequin challenge!
Day 2: The Great Wall of China
a whole day should be dedicated to this massive masterpiece of history. I not only dedicated a day to it, but also a blog post with how we spent the day at the Great Wall and which entry was the best. Here are some teasers:
Night Food Market:
be adventurous, if you dare!
Day 3: Temple of Heaven
The Temple of Heaven isn’t just one temple dedicated to the Emperor. It is a 15th century park filled with beautiful architecture that was built as a sign of respect towards the gods.
It costs rough 28-30 RMB at the main gate and that allows you entry into all the temples inside. It is a beautiful park, filled with exotic colors and beautiful landscapes. In the early morning you will see locals practicing tai chi or playing games.
Day 4: The Forbidden City & Tienanmen Square
Tienanmen Square is the fourth largest square in the world and attracts foreigners as well as locals for all sorts of reasons. For many Chinese people, this square is dedicated to their leader Mao, his portrait is largely displayed in the square. The square leads into the Forbidden City.
The Forbidden City
The city was constructed between 1406-14020 and is over 950 acres with around 9,900 rooms. It is actually a city. During its prime (for some 500 years) this served as the heartbeat of China’s political power ruled by the Ming Dynasty up through the Qing Dynasty. Walk back in time, through the architecture and art wonders of the Ming and Qing Dynasty.
The Imperial Gardens
Jammed packed weekend into order to see some of what Beijing has to offer and there is still sooooo much more to see. China is a HUGE HUGE country with very different cities and country sides. Four days, four weeks, four months probably isn’t enough time to explore the Chinese land, culture and lifestyle. But four days in these hotspots is enough to tease you for a longer journey in the future. The visa is good for ten years so you might as well come back in the future 😉
until next time Beijing!