Day-2 Beijing Back in Yesterdays
The Forbidden City is the major highlight for today, worthy my early up at 5am. After a simple breakfast, I got on the bus to Jingshan Park, yes again. Getting into the park at its opening at 6:30am, I have the first best moments by taking sunrise photos of the Forbidden City.
Jingshan Park is facing the North Gate of the palace, but it is not accessible so I have to take another bus ride to the South Gate. After a long line of waiting, I finally get the ticket to enter.
If you look at the foundation plan of the Forbidden City, it appears as a massive rectangle with more than 30 side sites to visit. So it is actually. I have a clear idea of the parts that I want to see the most and discard some less important sites.
The Forbidden City is built on and along an invisible central axis. It runs from north to south, dotting it there are the Meridian Gate (??), Golden Water Moat (???),Gate of Supreme Harmony (???), Hall of Supreme Harmony (???),Hall of Central Harmony (???),Hall of Preserving Harmony (???), Gate of the Palace of Heavenly Purity (???), Palace of Heavenly Purity (???), Palace of Jiaofeng (???),Palace of Earthly Tranquility (???), Gate of the Palace of Earthly Tranquility (???), Imperial Garden (???), Qin’an Hall (???), Gate of Shunzhen (???) and finally the Gate of Spiritual Valour (???).
The central axis is also the major route for tourist groups. In order to keep away from the crowds, I choose another route at the right side by the central axis. And when the crowds move towards the Imperial Garden, I make my way back to the three major halls: Hall of Supreme Harmony, Palace of Heavenly Purity and Palace of Earthly Tranquility.
There are two smaller sites worthy a check out: Clock House (???) and Treasure House (???). Extra fees of 10RMB each. Clock House is a delight especially for clock fans; here you can see numerous clocks and watches that once exclusively belonged to the emperors. Accessories and daily essentials are on display in Treasure House.
I spent 3 hours at the Forbidden City and give myself one hour for lunch and break before I head to the next attraction: Summer Palace.
Summer Palace is located in Haidian District, one and a half hour away from the Forbidden City by subway. Entering from the North Palace Gate (???), I walk westward to the Garden of Fullspring (???). Along the westbound way, it covers some major sites: Longevity Hill (???), Tower of Clouds-Retaining Eaves (???), Hall of Listening to the Orioles (???), Long Corridor (??), Pavilion of the Fragrance of Buddha (???) and I take a boat trip on Kunming Lake (???).
At the other end of the lake, there is the exquisite Seventeen-Arch Bridge shining under the sun. Walking my way around the lakeshore, I pass by Wenchang Tower (???), Heralding Spring Pavilion (???), Hall of the Jade Ripples (???) and finally get to the Garden of Harmonious Virtue (???), where the Theater Tower is located.
It is nearly 5pm when I get out of Summer Palace at its east gate. I know I am going to have a late dinner today when I get on the bus heading to the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube in Chaoyang District.
It is true when people say the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube look prettier at nighttime. These giant constructions are the proud records of China’s Olympics memories. No need to get inside, an exterior walk suffice to admire its handsomeness.
1. The Forbidden City / Imperial Palace Museum (?????)
Highlights: Massive royal palace imprinted with Chinese architectural beauty and long history.
Address: No.4 Jingshanqian Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 5:00pm (1st April to 31st October), 8:30am – 4:30pm (1st November to 31st
March). Ticket offices close one hour before the close time. Closed on Mondays.
Suggested Visiting Time: 2-3 hours
Admission: RMB60/person (extra 10RMB/person for Clock House and Treasure House)
Getting There: Bus NO.1, 20, 82, 120, 126, 203 and 728 to Tian’anmen West Station (?????); Bus NO. 1, 10, 22, 37, 52, 205, 802 and 728 to Tian’anmen West Station (?????); Bus NO. 101, 109, 124, 202, 211 and 846 to Gugong Station (???); Subway 1 to Tian’anmen Dong Station (?????) or Tian’anmen Xi Station (?????).
Note: The Meridian Gate at Tian’anmen Square is the only entrance and the Gate of Marshall Valor facing
Jingshan Park is the only exit.
2. Summer Palace (???)
Highlights: Royal garden and Dragon Lady (??)’s favorite spot for Peking Opera, offering a pleasant walk
in a hot day.
Address: NO.19 Xin-jian-gong-men Rd, Haidian District, Beijing
Opening Hours: 6:30am – 8:00pm (1st April to 31st October), 8:30am – 5:00pm (1st November to 31st
March). Ticket offices close one hour before the close time.
Suggested Visiting Time: 1-2 hours
Admission: RMB30/person (1st April to 31st October), RMB20/person (1st November to 31st March).
Extra fees apply for Garden of Harmonious Virtue (RMB5/person), Pavilion of the Fragrance of
Buddha (RMB10/person), Suzhou Street (RMB10/person), Wenchang Tower (RMB20/person).
Getting There: Bus NO. 209, 330, 331, 332, 346, 394, 508, 579, 584, 601, 609 and 696; Subway 4 to Summer Palace North Palace Gate Station (???????)
3. Bird’s Nest and Water Cube (??,???)
Highlights: Postmodernism evident in architecture and holds the glorious memories of 2008 Beijing
Olympic Games. Today’s family place for summer day swimming and after dinner walk.
Address: No.11 Tianchen East Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Opening Hours: All-day for exterior visit
Suggested Visiting Time: 1 hour
Admission: Free for exterior visit
Getting There: Bus NO. 113, 407, 656, 660 and 689 to Beichen Bridge Xi Station (?????); Bus NO. 328, 425, 484, 518 and 628 to Wali Nankou Station (?????); Subway 8 to Olympic Center Station (?????) or Olympic Park Station (???????).
Transportation between Sites
1. Hostel to the Forbidden City: Walk 650m to Qianmen Station (???) and take Bus NO.5 or 82 to Xihuamen Station (????) after 4 stops, walk 200m to the entrance.
2. The Forbidden City to Summer Palace: Walk 100m to Gogong Station (???) to take Bus NO. 103 or 101 to Xisilukou Station (?????) after 3 stops, walk 400m to Xisi Subway Station (?????) to take Subway 4 to Beigongmen Station (????) after 13 stops and exit at A1 Exit, walk 500m to Summer Palace.
3. Summer Palace to Bird’s Nest and Water Cube: Exit Summer Palace at its east gate and walk 200m to Yiheyuan Station (????) and take Bus NO.508, arrive at Chengfulukou Xi Station (??????) after 8 stops and change to Bus NO.86 to National Stadium Station (?????) after 5 stops and walk 500m.
4. Bird’s Nest and Water Cube to the hostel: Take Bus NO.82 to Qianmen Station (???) after 20 stops and walk 300m back to the hostel
Recommended Dinning Places
1. Yinxiang Xiao Guan (????)
Notable Dishes: Golden Wrapped Curry Chicken (?????), Sweet Shrimps (?????), Blueberry Smashed Potatoes (?????), Kongpao Tofu Shrimps (?????), Home-made Pear Soup (????) and Yinxiang Fried Rice (????)
Address: NO.4 Weigongcun Street, Zhongguancun Nan Avenue, Haidian District, Beijing
Price: RMB 50-100/person
Tel: +86 010-88410598
2. Nado Spicy and Dry Hot Pot Restaurant (??????)
Notable Dishes: Hot pot with everything you can imagine to put into
Address: NO.11 Xin’ao Mall, Hujing Dong Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Price: RMB 50-100/person
1. Security checks
When enter the Tian’anmen Square near its tower, there is the first security check and you need to get ride of fire lighter, matches and other flammable stuff. After getting your ticket to the Forbidden City, there is another check in front of the Meridian Gate.
Water can be brought into the Forbidden City. Designer lighters can be kept at the entrance and claimed back after the visit.
2. Supplies for long-hour walking
If you are planning on a long visit inside the Forbidden City or long walks in the city, you shall prepare yourself with enough water and quick food. Let’s face it, 10 Yuan for a bottle of water? That’s a rip-off you don’t need!
3. Extra fun at the Water Cube
Put this site as your last attraction for the day and continue the fun with a swimming inside it. Highly recommend for families with kids. There are over 100 facilities for water playing.
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