Visiting Beijing

I spent the last half of September travelling around China with the rest of my family from Australia. My sister and I flew in directly from London to arrive, rather weary-eyed to a waking Beijing city. We had a good day walking around before the rest of the family flew in, so we travelled by foot. Beijing is one of the bigger, modern cities but filled with lots of tradition. The streets were wide, clean and not at all like the streets of India that I had imagined.

Of course one of the things one must eat when in China is the Beijing (Peking) duck. I ended up eating this twice on the trip, one at Da Dong Roast Duck, a rather upscale, and busy restaurant even when we arrived for a late lunch at 2pm. Dishes are beautifully presented and the duck prepared table-side. The other restaurant, apparently more famous but definitely on the group-tour trail was Quanjude. Both ducks were fresh, nice skin but I’ve still decided it’s not my most favourite Chinese dish.

We visited a lot of different things in Beijing including a number of tourist temples (such as this Confucius shrine below), a number parts, and of course some of the bigger sights.

Such as the bustling Forbidden City where we walked through courtyard and courtyard amazed at the sheer number of spaces and the wonderful stories behind each of the different parts. The Forbidden City sits on the opposite side of the street from the Tiananmen Square (where the events of the past were carefully stepped around). Both were amazing places to see. I’m also really pleased that my sister organised it for the two weeks before the Chinese national holiday where, pretty much the entire country, moves around on their feet. Just compare the space above to the pictures in this article.

We also visited the Temple of Heaven which was just as majestic as all the other parts.

And we finished one of the evenings we had there with a visit to see some Shaolin Monks and the kung fu show. It was very similar to one of the acts that I’d seen here in London but it’s still very impressive to see the skills and training they have.

We took a day trip out to the Great Wall of China as well. The day turned out perfect – a little cool, very sunny with very clear skies and great visibility. There are apparently many different parts of the wall one can visit and we went to one that was challenging with the parents, but still very well kept with lots of places to stop and rest as well as places that weren’t too steep or old.

Beijing is also home to the Summer Palace (pictured below) that is a majestic ground including a lake with many boats and the world’s longest terrace for the Empress Dowanger to walk down and enjoy the view.

Our visit to Beijing finished up with a visit to a Hutong, a family visit which was nice to see how local’s lived traditionally and a quick trip to the Olympic Park where I was surprised still had lots of activity going.

Beijing gave us the flavour of the traditional side of China steeped in history and lots of impressive structures made a long time ago. It also gave us a taste of how modern China is developing with lots of new buildings, huge constructs and impressive buildings.