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Travel blog Beijing | What do you need to see?

Last summer I went to China with the program Experiencing China of Tsinghua University. Besides the two weeks, I stayed there for another week and I have visited a lot of things that you can read in this travel blog Beijing. Haven’t you read part 1? Then read this here.

Day 14: Summer Palace

Last night we needed to say goodbye to Luisina, Marta, and Klaudia, but today started the week that I was allowed to discover Beijing more. Fortunately, I wasn’t alone: Tijn was going to stay for two more weeks, Victor another day and Tiago a couple more days. It is, of course, a lot more fun to be together than alone.

Today we went to the Summer Palace. This is one of the most amazing palaces of China and it is a summer palace where the emperors spent their summer. Well, it wasn’t really a great place to spend the summer, to find a place to cool down, because it was around 35 degrees. But it was definitely beautiful!

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

We first went with the taxi to the Summer Palace and that was really an adventure. The traffic in China is really chaotic and the taxis just drive into every single hole they can find. After we arrived at the Summer Palace, we got stared at by lots of Chinese people who were also going to the Summer Palace. It was a beautiful palace, with a lot of different gardens, alleys and other special places. As a highlight, we also sailed a boat, so we could see the Summer Palace from up close. Definitely a special palace!

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

After our visit to the Summer Palace, we all went to our hotels. Tijn was so sweet to bring me with the Taxi, so I didn’t have to go alone (thanks, Tijnie! ;)). After arriving in the hotel, I figured out I was super close to Wangfujing Street, a street with a lot of different stores. Of course, I love shopping, so that was great. In the evening I took some girl-time and I went shopping. Later in the evening, I met with the boys to get some good food.

Day 15: Temple of Earth

Today we were only with the three of us and we decided to visit a couple of temples. We were actually planning on going to the Lama Temple and I actually didn’t know about the Temple of Earth. We thought this was the Lama temple and that’s why we came across the Temple of Earth. This temple is really big and there were a lot of different buildings to see. Also, it had a big park that was next to the temple. This park was really beautiful. In this park, you could look at people who were practicing Chinese martial art and a couple of other traditional Chinese dances. Very nice, of course, because this way you could discover the Chinese culture.

Temple of Earth

Temple of Earth

Temple of Earth

Temple of Earth

Temple of Earth

Temple of Earth

Temple of Earth

Temple of Earth

Temple of Earth

Temple of Earth

Temple of Earth

Temple of Earth

Lama Temple

After the Temple of Earth, we went to the Lama temple and this was one of the most beautiful temples I have ever seen. At the entrance, we got a package of incense sticks and it was, therefore, the intention to smoke three incense sticks per fire pit. There were nine fire pits in total and if you went past all of these fire pits, it could bring luck. Well, of course, I went past all these fire pits and I hope it will bring me luck in the future.

The beautiful thing about these temples is that they give people the opportunity to practice their faith. There were a lot of Chinese people who were praying for different gods and they also used the incense sticks to pray.

Lama temple

Lama Temple

Lama Temple

Lama Temple

Lama Temple

Lama Temple

Lama Temple

Lama Temple

Lama Temple

Lama Temple

Lama Temple

Lama Temple

Lama Temple

Lama Temple

Lama Temple

Lama Temple

Lama Temple

Lama Temple

Confucius Temple

The Confucius temple was next on our list. This is a beautiful temple which is entirely devoted to Confucius. There is also a large statue of Confucius in front of the temple and especially the large stone tablets with Chinese documents from the past were very impressive to see.

Confucius Temple

Confucius Temple

Confucius Temple

Confucius Temple

Confucius Temple

Confucius Temple

Drum Tower

The Drum Tower was the last stop of the day. This is a large tower with different drums on top. These drums were played every hour, which made a great sound. Because of the architecture of the temple, the sound was reflected and the various large drums were wonderful to listen to.

Drum Tower

Drum Tower

Drum Tower

Drum Tower

Drum Tower

Drum Tower

Day 16: Ming Tombs

Of course, we also visited the Ming Tombs. Several Chinese emperors were buried here and the tombs were designed according to Chinese principles of geomanticism. The location of the Ming Tombs was chosen based on the idea of ​​creating harmony between the natural environment and the burial monuments.

To get to the Ming tombs, we first had to take a bus trip. Once arrived, we first decided to have a delicious lunch in a small restaurant. Every time we visited a restaurant, the Chinese owners were really enthusiastic. They then try to sell you everything and even go outside to tell you that there are a number of Western people in their restaurant. Hilarious!

After our lunch, we quickly went to the Ming tombs and this was very impressive to see. You could walk to the tombs, which was actually the nicest part of the entire trip. The tombs themselves were not very impressive to see, because these are really just big red boxes. But when you consider that Chinese emperors are buried there, you think very differently.

Ming Tombs

Ming Tombs

Ming Tombs

Ming Tombs

Ming Tombs

Ming Tombs

Ming Tombs

Ming Tombs

Ming Tombs

Ming Tombs

Ming Tombs

Sacred Way

After the Ming tombs, we went to the Sacred Way or the road that leads to heaven. On the side of the road, there are various images: 12 human images and 24 animals. These images all have different meanings.

When we walked there, we asked someone to take a picture of us. The three of us sat on the floor until a little Chinese girl asked to take a photo with us. Of course, we wanted that and that made the picture even better.

Sacred Way

Sacred Way

Sacred Way

Sacred Way

Sacred Way

Sacred Way

Day 17: Cuandixia Village

It was time to leave the city of Beijing and to visit an old village, Cuandixia Village. This is a village of the Ming Dynasty and it looked beautiful. First, we walked through the village for a while, where of course we also had lunch.

After discovering the village and having photos taken by a number of people, we decided to go up the mountain to get a view of the village. Compared to the Great Wall, it was only a few steps until we were upstairs. However, to make it a little more exciting, we started the “off-road” route. We walked upstairs, although I already slipped a few times with my Puma sneakers. The view was, of course, beautiful, but we also had to go down again. Well, the way down was a lot steeper than I thought and after a few steps, I slid down like a clumsy person. Then I also got stuck with my leg behind a tree, but I didn’t slid all the way down (thanks to the boys) and I was quite unscathed. My white lace dress was completely covered in mud, haha.

Cuandixia Village

Cuandixia Village

Cuandixia Village

Cuandixia Village

Cuandixia Village

Cuandixia Village

Cuandixia Village

Cuandixia Village

Cuandixia Village

After the hike, we decided to go to Beijing again. It was more than 2 hours traveling and we wanted to see some things in Beijing. However, when we arrived at the bus stop, we found out that the bus only arrived at seven o’clock, while it was four o’clock. After sitting on the ground for a while, a nice couple came to us to ask if we wanted a ride. Well, of course, we didn’t say no to that. At first, we thought they would only take us to the nearby bus stop (where buses were driving), but they took us all the way to a subway station in the city of Beijing, which meant we only had to take the subway for half an hour. This was of course super nice and that would not happen so quickly in the Netherlands. So it was quite an experience!

Cuandixia Village

Cuandixia Village

Cuandixia Village

Cuandixia Village

Cuandixia Village

Cuandixia Village

Cuandixia Village

Cuandixia Village

Day 18: Houhai Lake

Today, we went out again and this time to Houhai Lake. This is a large lake with very nice hutongs full of souvenirs. I love souvenirs and this was really a great place to be. The lake was full of water lilies and then Tijn and I found out that we apparently had eaten the head of a water lily (while we thought it was fruit ..).

Houhai lake

Houhai lake

Houhai lake

Houhai lake

Houhai lake

Houhai lake

Houhai lake

Houhai lake

Houhai lake

Houhai lake

Huedo Zhenjun Temple

The next stop was this beautiful temple. Temples always remain a special place to visit, especially because this is where the Chinese culture really comes to the fore. For example, different Chinese people were practicing rituals to show their respect to the gods. This is also very special to see.

Huedo Zhenjun Temple

Huedo Zhenjun Temple

Huedo Zhenjun Temple

Huedo Zhenjun Temple

Huedo Zhenjun Temple

Huedo Zhenjun Temple

Huedo Zhenjun Temple

Beihai Park

Our last stop of the day was Beihai Park, a park with a beautiful lake and of course a temple. I couldn’t get enough of the beautiful Chinese temples and what was also very beautiful was the image of the seven dragons. What was striking about these tourist attractions was that there were almost no Western tourists in sight. Quite logical of course that the Chinese people looked up when we came by and especially when we took photos of the different sights. What was also funny was that the Chinese people were trying to secretly take photos of us.

Beihai Park

Beihai Park

Beihai Park

Beihai Park

Beihai Park

Beihai Park

Beihai Park

Beihai Park

Beihai Park

Beihai Park

Beihai Park

Beihai Park

Beihai Park

Beihai Park

Beihai Park

Day 20: Fragrant Hills

We were supposed to go to Fragrant Hills yesterday, but this day had literally fallen into the water. It was raining so hard that we couldn’t do anything at all and so we decided to make it a quiet day. Today we went to Fragrant Hills and it was well worth it. I actually called this the Chinese wall 2.0, because I have never walked so many stairs. After climbing stairs for more than two hours, we arrived at a beautiful Chinese temple high on a mountain. We had a beautiful view of the entire city of Beijing.

After hanging around the Chinese temple for a while, we went down with the cable car. Tijn and I didn’t want to walk all the way back and a cable car is, of course, a good solution for that. We also had a beautiful view and I realized that this was one of the last days in China.

Fragrant Hills

Fragrant Hills

Fragrant Hills

Fragrant Hills

Fragrant Hills

Fragrant Hills

Fragrant Hills

Fragrant Hills

Fragrant Hills

Fragrant Hills

Fragrant Hills

Fragrant Hills

Fragrant Hills

Fragrant Hills

Fragrant Hills

Fragrant Hills

Fragrant Hills

Fragrant Hills

Fragrant Hills

Fragrant Hills

Fragrant Hills

Fragrant Hills

Fragrant Hills

Fragrant Hills

Fragrant Hills

Fragrant Hills

Shopping souvenirs

In the evening we went shopping for souvenirs. China is known that you can bargain to get lower prices and well, I do like bargains. Tijn has actually done all the work, but I left the market hall with a lot of different souvenirs. These souvenirs are really a reminder of the beautiful journey I made.

Souvenirs

Souvenirs

Day 21: Going home ..

Today was the day I had to go home and I was looking up to it a lot. Not that I didn’t want to see my family and friends, but more because I knew that I would not see this beautiful country for a long time. One thing is certain: I am definitely going back to see even more of China. The time I had in Beijing was really great and I made friends for life. China has certainly received a special place in my heart and it was an experience to remember.