Oh Beijing, such a wonderful city full of culture, modern sides, famous spots, delicious food and party possibilities. We spend five days in this city in October 2016 as a short break in between our exchange semester. It was gorgeous! The smog was hard on us and it makes me sad how humans influence the nature so much but still, I was in awe all the time. Here you’ll have my favorite spots in the city:
Temple of Heaven
The first day was short so we just dropped our stuff at the hostel and made it to the Temple of Heaven. It is a very beautiful and traditional park in the middle of the city.
Food and shopping
We went shopping south from Tian’anmen and north the Temple of Heaven. There is a big shopping district and you can eat delicious food. Not just there but in all the city we had mouthwatering food. Try a traditional hotpot, a Chinese duck if you’re not vegetarian like me, a fruit stick with cherry tomatoes on it (not as bad as it sounds, in China tomatoes is seen as a fruit) and order tons of different meals while sharing with friends. I was there is a friend from exchange, she is from Switzerland and met two fellow students from my Germany university.
On another day we went to the Pearl Market where similar as to the Luohu Market in Shenzhen you can bargain for fake products but also traditional Chinese clothing.
My favorite spot in the city is the Summer garden with an incredible view over the city as well as beautiful flora and lots of traditional buildings, religious places, a big lake and cute boats on it. We spend a day here but could have spent way more. I definitely recommend you to go!
Nights in Beijing
Nights in Beijing offer diverse possibilities. I actually had my first visit in a strip club where my female friend and I got invaded in for free with lots of cocktails, a fruit plate and a shisha. It was weird at the beginning but they treated us like stars and the ladies where actually really cute. Another place to visit is the Houhai are with one bar by the other. There you can find diverse live acts, strip shows or KTV.
If you enjoy more cultural experiences have a night at a traditional Chinese opera. That is what we did as well. The singing is a matter of taste, not my taste actually, but the outfits and show is incredible, so I was still happy we went to see it.
We actually went to a area right from the Forbidden City and first thought that is already it but since the entrance is a lot less, it is not so crowded even though we went on a weekend and it was covered with freshly weds posing for their wedding photos. A lot of red dresses which is very popular as being the color of China but also white ones. It was really beautifully so see so many beaming smiles.
Surely, we found our way into the real Forbidden City. It was full of people and even if the area is fascinating and gives you a deep inside into the Chinese culture the tourist masses somehow made it less special. Short before the closing hour it got better. So, if you can make it during the week try it, I heard it is better that way.
Chinese Great Wall
Our whole weekend was covered in smog, one of the first bad weekends that fall as people told us. Still we did the best of it and the Chinese Wall welcomed us with a mystified look. I always thought you’ll have an easy walk along the wall but it’s not. We went to the Mutianyu Great Wall. There are multiple spots near Beijing where you can experience the great wall. Actually, I had muscle aching the next days but it was definitely worth it!
Our last few hours lead us to this beautiful temple in the middle of the city. It has is home to a huge 18 meters high buddha figure. I adore that in Chinese cities, no matter how crowded and chaotic they are, there is always a temple nearby where you can calm your mind and get amazed by all the details and love people put into building this religious places.
Sure, we did more in Beijing, but this are the favorite points we went to. Five days where not enough but better than nothing. Except for the smog it is one of my favorite citys in China.
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