Beijing Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
Me and my housemate joined a package tour to Beijing + Xi'an last Feb 18 to 21 to celebrate 2007 Lunar New Year in China. We arranged everything in Singapore for this trip. We knew that independent travel would be difficult for us since we can't speak and read chinese, and we don't have time to waste. So there, we went for a package tour to China!
Even from the start, we knew that our tour guides will be speaking "little English". This hit me when I ended up taking photos instead of listening to the guide. He spoke chinese all through out the trip, I cannot understand a word. Our tour guide would explain things in Mandarin for 30 minutes, and would translate it to English for 3 minutes. Despite of the language barrier, I still enjoyed my trip to the middle earth (thanks to Rough Guides and other travel books).
Okay here are the highlights of my tour in Beijing:
Tiananmen Square • A very exciting place to visit because of its fame (or I would say notoriety) of the not so distant history of revolt that caused great multitude of death. In a normal day - locals and tourists normally crowd this largest square in the world. It is exciting and scary at the same time to see Chinese soldiers march around the square. I can’t explain it but it is a surreal experience.
Forbidden City • Chinese Architecture at it’s best! A half-day is not enough to fully appreciate and explore the whole complex.
Great Wall of China • It is a very long wall but you can only see a portion of it. And to appreciate the true grandeur of the wall, one has to travel long distance. It was on the foot of the wall where I tried the General's attire. It was a funny experience indeed.
Temple Of Heaven • This is another icon of China. It is the cylindrical temple with three levels depicting the commoners, the emperor and the heavens.
Beihai Garden • This is where I got lost. I got separated from the tour group for taking Too much picture. It was really interesting to see Beijingers doing tai chi, water calligraphy in this garden park. My highlight here is the statue of dragons of different colors.
Summer Palace • This used to be the Emperor’s summer abode. This place is very scenic with a temple on top of the hill. This place is worth a visit.
Yonghe Lamasery - This used to be an emperor's abode, but to forge alliance with the Tibet Lama, they offered this temple to him. This is a living temple. Beijingers usually go to this temple to pray and burn incense.
Things I don’t like with joining tours would be the endless visits to factories…silk, pearl, jade and only Chinese gods know what else. The time we went there, Beijing has started preparing for Olympics 2008. There are five Panda mascots representing the games. They are BeiBei JingJing HuanHuan Jingjing Nini, their names mean Beijing Welcomes You (Beijing Huanjing Ni).
I also enjoyed Acrobatic Show in Beijing; I guess this is the best in the world! Another thing, the Kung Fu show is more than what I expected. They combine ballet with kung fu! Interesting, di ba?
Funny thought I had in Beijing: The taste of Peking duck in Beijing tastes the same with Peking duck that I ate in Shang Palace Manila.
Since it was wintertime when we visited Beijing, I was a little disappointed that I have not seen the great wall on a sunny day. And since a friend is moving to Beijing to work, I am plan to see the great wall again. :)