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Temple of Heaven - Grand Building

Since arrived in Beijing in the early morning, after a short rest in our hotel, we began our half day tour to the famous historical site in Beijing – the Temple of Heaven.

After lunch we went to the magnificent and colorful Temple of Heaven which is where emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties would make offerings to heaven and pray for good harvests. Here was our first real look at one of these garden and building and showed us how good these guys were at building along compass lines. It was kind of overcast but still pretty cool and exciting. We walked around the whole park which had some awesome trails through rows of trees. When worshipping Heaven there were many different phases throughout the ritual with ceremonial sacrifices.

Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven was originally built long times ago. Much of it has been reconstructed since the 1800's due to fire or some other type of damage. It was crowded. Surprise, surprise! The Temple of Heaven is not an active temple instead it is a museum now. A huge museum that is larger than the Forbidden City if include the gardens. The actual buildings are not quite as impressive though, but it is well worth visiting. The gardens are beautiful and so is the architecture.

One of my favorite things about seeing the Temple of Heaven was getting a peek at the inside of the buildings. The exterior architect already amazes me but the interior offers so much more. They have intricately painted ceilings, exposed beams, intricately painted exposed beams. They're beautiful!

During the half day tour, although the time is very short, our tour guide told us a lot about this old architecture most of which is the history. Finishing the half day tour, we decided to experience the famous Beijing Nightlife. Sanlitun is very famous and I heard it many times. Now I got the chance to visit there. We four guys sitting in the bar hearing the beautiful songs. How cool, I like it!

Impressive Half Day Hutong Tour

This is my second time to Beijing and I absolutely have a wonderful trip. Today is my last travel day in Beijing. In the morning I cleared up my luggage and at 1:30 pm began my half day hutong walking tour. Thanks a lot to my knowledgeable English speaking tour guide. I learnt so much about the history of ancient Beijing during this short trip.

The tour began at Shichahai area. With very quiet and comfortable environment, we visited the former residences. Then walk to the 300-year old courtyard nearby for a half an hour visit. This courtyard is a private residence of the Zhu family. It can be dated to the Ming dynasty and it is also one of the most complete existing courtyards in Beijing. As the name implies, these courts are formed by inward—facing houses on four sides, closed in by enclosure walls. The quadrangle uses the brick stone as ink, paper and records of the traditional Chinese concept of family and lifestyle.

Beijing Bell Tower

During the walking tour, I was happy to see a symbol of ancient buildings – Bell and Drum Tower. The Bell Tower bell was very impressive, but I was more impressed with the Tea house at the base of the tower. The Drum Tower was also very impressive, with a great demonstration of the drums and a great view south to the back end of the Forbidden City. The tour guide told me that Bell and Drum Tower is a public pavilion building in ancient China. The bell and drum were originally ancient musical instruments, and later used for timekeeping purposes.

On the way back, I got the chance to walk through Yinding Bridge, a narrow channel joining Qianhai Lake and the Houhai Lake; Tobacco Pipe Lean Street, a quaint 800-year-old hutong located directly north of Yinding Bridge. The name of it also has a legend as well.

About 5:30 pm I got back to my hotel, and then I found my legs have become feeble. I really need to do some exercises. After three days trip, I have to say goodbye to Beijing. I really enjoy my trip here. Thank you very much to beijinglandscapes.

Impressive Great Wall Hiking

Prepare for China tour for a long time, we decided the beautiful Beijing, the capital city as our first destination. Since Beijing is so rich in tourism resources so our tour in Beijing is full of entertainment.

Mutianyu Great Wall

Time flies, this is our last day in Beijing and we had an early start in the morning as we had organized a trip to the Great Wall of China. We didn't join the great wall at the usual tourist spot like Badaling, instead joining it at Mutianyu, high in the mountains. It was a brilliant sight. We had to get a cable car up the Lookout Tower form which we would start our walk. It provided stunning views and we decided to go with 23 watch towers which would take approximately 3 hours. I had learnt that Mutianyu section of the Great Wall was originally built during the Northern Qi Dynasty in the mid-sixth century, used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs during the Ming Dynasty.

The Wall itself was harder to walk on than I had imagined. The Wall has been preserved very well, with all of the original bricks, however this makes walking along it somewhat harder! The steps are very steep and very small, never straight. The watch towers were raised so we were constantly climbing up to them before climbing back down the other side.

Now we had been walking, up and down steps and slopes for over an hour and my legs were starting to ache. We had to stop numerous times to regain our breath. Finally we got to the top watch tower. Standing by the flag at the top of Tower 23, we took in the amazing 360 degree view and caught our breath. Although I was completely exhausted, the amazing feeling of reaching the Tower made it all worth it!

Although the half day tour is short, it made me thought provoking about life. The climb was the most physically and mentally challenging thing I think I have ever done. I'm pleased that we made it. It provided an overwhelming sense of achievement and is something I will never forget. I really enjoy a wonderful trip in Beijing!

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