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My Ding-a-Ling

Beijing Travel Blog

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Beijing old city walls

We are now in Beijing having caught the sleeper overnight from Xi'an.  Beijing West railway station is better than I remember, it was being rebuilt the last time we were here, but it is still a good place to get out of as quickly as possible.  That is not quite as easy as it sounds as the station is not on the underground so we need to take a taxi or bus to reach our hostel.  The bus that goes direct to our accommodation does not seem to go from the bus station so with a little help from a friendly local we hop on a bus to Tiannanmen Sq from where it is a short walk to the underground.  (I call it the underground but in Beijing it is actually called the subway).

Today we decide to find our way by local bus to the Ming Tombs.

Old Observatory
  These are reasonably close about 30km north of the city and about half way to the Great Wall at Badaling.  We find the right bus quite quickly and the helpful conductor confirms it will take us to Changping where we need to change to a bus that goes to the tombs.  She also points out the right place for us to wait for the next bus and one arrives within a few minutes.  So far so good. 

We get off at the entrance to the tombs valley and walk up the processional avenue that leads to the tombs themselves.  The entrance is a large gateway leading to a processional avenue of at least 1km flanked by 18 sets of statues - lions, elephants and at the final end soldiers and officials.

Old Observatory
  At the end of the avenue we need to wait for a bus to take us on the the tombs themselves (we could perhaps walk but the map is unclear exactly how far the tombs are and we guess at least 3km).  Eventually a bus arrives and drops us at DingLing. 

This is the tomb of Ming emperor Wanli (1572-1620) and the only tomb here that has been excavated.  The entrance ticket allows access to the underground chambers in which Wanli and his 2 empresses were buried and excavated in the late 1950's.  It is hard to capture on camera but the tomb chambers are impressive as are the surrounding temples and the general area.  Looks like we make a good choice today.   

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Beijing old city walls
Beijing old city walls
Old Observatory
Old Observatory
Old Observatory
Old Observatory
Entrance to Ming tombs
Entrance to Ming tombs
Avenue to tombs
Avenue to tombs
Dingling tomb walls
Dingling tomb walls
Beijing
photo by: Deats