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Prince Gong's Mansion Day Tour

Once heard that Prince Gong's Mansion is the back garden of the Forbidden City, the history of Qing Dynasty, today I came to enjoy the view of it. The scale is smaller than Summer Palace and the other to destinations, but it is still worth a visit and wander, if you have done all the other stuff. The tour here will be last about 2 hours.

Prince Gong's Mansion

The dwelling is a traditional courtyard mansion of a style that was so attractive to me. Two stone lions guard the main gate, and magnificent buildings stand to the fore of the mansion, with an elegant garden at the rear. It could be divided into two main parts – the residence and the garden. The living quarters stand within three sets of courtyards occupying a central, eastern and western situation and the construction and materials used are similar to those in the Forbidden City while the garden, surrounded by artificial mountains, known as Jincui Yuan, is of high standing on account of its layout and distinct design.

Artificial Lake

In the living quarters, there now display some precious antiques. Also there are some stores selling souvenirs, if you like, you could buy some home like I was. Arriving in the garden, a big lake caught me sight at first. In the middle of the lake there stands a pavilion. Wandering in the green path or sitting in the pavilion view the harmonious scenery, you will feel relax and comfortable. In the center of the garden, you will be absorbed by the artificial hills. Though not large, the garden contains more than 15 spots and the most popular one is the Fu Stele which is placed in a cave. The Chinese character 'fu' carved on the about 8-meter-long stele is a copy of the Emperor Kangxi's handwriting.

To help visitors gain a better understanding of the culture attaching to the mansion, the administration of Prince Gong's Mansion has converted Bat Hall into a teahouse. 70 RMB for the full tickets, visitors' program includes a full tour of the mansion, tea drinking, observing the exquisite art of the tea ceremony, sampling Beijing style titbits, and enjoying folklore performances, all of which evoke an enthusiastic response. But with limit travel time, we did not join this part.

It is a place really worthy of a visit and I can assure that every aspect puts the culture and life style of the Imperial China's elite into perspective. Really beautiful and delicate!

Panda House and Olympic Stadium Day Trip

Pandas in Beijing Zoo

One of the animals that have been linked with China, probably the most important one, is the panda. So during the tours in Beijing, everyone should not miss the chance to see this world animal. Today I visited Beijing Zoo to see the pandas in the afternoon however generally speaking I was very disappointed. From TV shows, the pandas look fat and cute. Sometimes the small ones are very naughty to climb up and down. In Beijing Zoo the Panda House is divided into two parts – the Asia Games Panda House and the Olympic Panda House. However today I saw, there are only 5 pandas living in the big house and they look lonely. Two of them were sleeping and the other three were sitting lazily. Is it because they have just having lunch? I don't know. Also one of them looks very weak and its feather fell off (especially the black feather around the eyes) which looks very horrible! May it got ill. During about 30 minutes tour in Panda House, I did not feel happy at all, on the other hand, I felt sad about the pandas although their living conditions are very good. Maybe it is better to let them back to nature at least the environment similar to the nature not like here just for tourists to take photos.

Olympic Stadiums

Luckily the next destination – Olympic Park make me feel relaxed and comfortable. I enjoyed my time here. The song "You and I" brought me back to the excellent open ceremony of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The park is vast so allow plenty of time to walk. It is an ideal place for wandering around, watching Chinese, and appreciating the amazing architecture of the Bird's Nest stadium and the Water Cube. Bird Nest enjoys a good to look around although it was a bit of a misty in the late afternoon. Large numbers of tourists walking on the square, taking photos and there are also some people flying beautiful kites. Of course I would not miss the chance to take beautiful photos in front of the Bird Nest and the Water Cube (the two symbol modern buildings of Beijing). For limit travel time, I did not visit the Forest Park.

If time allows, I advise you to visit the Olympic Park in the evening. With all lights on, red Bird Nest and blue Water Cube, there will appear the dreamlike scenery!

Grand View at Mutianyu Great Wall and Forbidden City

We have stayed in Beijing for a week from Sep 17th to 23th, but just one day free. For this day, we booked the Beijing one day tour but not bus tour, covered Mutianyu Great Wall, Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. It was my first time to Beijing, and it has been the experienced memory.

View of Mutianyu Great Wall

No visit would be complete without seeing the Great Wall of China, said by friends. This BeijingLandscapes.com recommended me the section at Mutianyu because of less crowded. The Great Wall has a history of more than 2000 years. The first part was built in Spring and Autumn Period, and all the walls were joined up in Qin Dynasty. All wall was built depend upon labors only without any help of facilities. Since then, it has been rebuilt and maintained many times. The Great Wall at Mutianyu is the first choice for many foreign tourists, it is said that this section has beautiful scenery and less crowded people. In fact, it was really. We took various pictures with many strange postures, showed the happy mood of us. About 2 hours later, we ended this Great Wall, and had local Chinese lunch. If you are afraid of the height of the Great Wall, you can also take cable car to view from an opened sight.
 
Around Tiananmen Square

Then we moved to Tiananmen Square, and visited Forbidden City, also known as Palace Museum in Chinese. It is located at Beijing center and opposite to Tiananmen Square from the Changan Avenue. It is said there were 24 Chinese emperors lived there during Ming and Qing Dynasty. It is worthy the name of the largest and well-preserved wooden group of buildings in the world. The elaborate sculpture techniques and magnificent construction made me enjoyed myself in it. Especially the Exhibition of Treasures, showed us the imperial appliances in ancient China. They are so valuable that were protected very well. Everyone told us the luxurious life of emperors and their family. In fact, as far as I know, you can find the family love rarely among these values at that time.
 
Last, we visited the Bird Nest and Water Cube from distance. They are the representations of modern architecture of Beijing. There are many travelers took pictures with them, and there is only 10 meters between them.

I thought this Beijing tour just is the start of my China tour, I would enjoy the various beauties of China in my life. 

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