The First Encounter Again

Beijing Travel Blog

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Tian'an Men Square

Today was the big day we started our trip to China. We left for Schiphol Airport around 11.00am. Lucky enough everything started flying again a few days before, and with only 15 minutes of delay we left at 2.45pm to Frankfurt, where we had to wait a little while for our flight to Beijing. That flight went by pretty fast, even without sleep.

We landed in Beijing at 8.35 am Sunday morning. It was a six hour time difference, and we didn't sleep much in the plane. After the whole blabla of passport controls, visa checks and luggage we proceeded the exit. It was pretty gray outside, and a bit colder then expected (17 or 18 degrees Celcius). The rooms weren't ready yet so we did a sightseeing tour through Beijing. I've been there in 2006, before the Olympics, and i have to say not much seemed very different when we were driving through the city.

Of course there were even more buildings, very high buildings, but also a lot of reconstruction/renovation, especially the Hutong areas. There were a lot of cars and motorcycles too, and everything just drove from left to right and was so weird. Like there were no rules (except the traffic lights). People just crossed the street between the cars, even zebra's didn't make sense, cars weren't stopping so you had to watch out while crossing.

We visited Tian'an Men Square and walked over the entire length of the square, past Mao's Mausoleum towards the other end where we made a group picture. Fun thing still is that because of the domestic tourism (90%-95%) many Chinese people want to take a picture of us too.

Llama Temple Blueprint
Not at all shy they just ask if you want to take a picture with them and suddenly you're surrounded by six people. I still find it funny :) After that we drove past the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven, towards Dongfang Hotel, our 'home' for the next few days.

We went to a Dai restaurant where we had our traditional Dai lunch, In the afternoon we visited the Llama Temple. We decided sleep wasn't a good thing so we just went there. The Llama Temple (Yonghegong) is a (Tibetan) Buddhist temple. The temple itself has five halls separated by courtyards, which indicates it's an important and rich temple. The entrance hall with the Maitreya Buddha (Buddha of the future), then came a hall, the most important one, with the three Buddhas (past, present (Sakyamuni) and future), the next hall with the Maitreya Buddha, now as the Buddha of healing, the fourth hall with a huge statue of Tsong Kapa, founder of the Yellow Hat Sect, and the last one with the huge Buddha.
This Maitreya Buddha stands 18 meters above ground....and 8 meters below. It was amazing to see it standing there, made of White Sandalwood. The temple entrance and halls are beautifully decorated and with all the trees and plants it's simply beautiful. It was very busy with people praying and burning incense, lots of incense, not one piece but entire bushes. After that we had a welcome dinner, we had to walk through the rain to get there...a heavy downpour it was also on the way back.

It was only the first day, but i already loved being back in China.

Just a slight remark about the weather in April/May in Beijing. It's a bit on the cold side. It was about 17 degrees C, but the wind was very cold. So if you go to Beijing in the end of April...bring sweaters, or at least a warm coat, just in case. It was supposed to be warmer but for some reason the weather was a bit behind schedule, all of us felt like freezing on the big squares with a lot of wind. And take umbrellas with you.

Africancrab says:
Posted on: May 30, 2012
spicyricecake says:
Congrats on featured blog! Yep, even if there are changes most of the time people can't tell because the city's so big
Posted on: May 30, 2012
mosted says:
Congrats on the feature!
Posted on: May 30, 2012
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Tianan Men Square
Tian'an Men Square
Llama Temple Blueprint
Llama Temple Blueprint
Beijing Hotels & Accommodations review
The hotel is nice and simple, the room was big enough for the both of us, with a decent bathroom. Nice and simple. I only needed to get used to the be… read entire review
photo by: Deats