After the very tiring second day, I woke up with only slightly hurting legs. I expected them to be more painful, but it was bearable.
I woke up early and headed to the Temple of Heaven. It was really close to my hostel. Not even 10 minutes walking distance.
I paid the entrance fee and was at first overwhelmed by the natural beauty of the place and the activities that the locals, especially the seniors were practicing early in the morning, including Badminton, Taichi, Water caligraphy and more.
I enjoyed watching them which I found way more interesting than the Temple of Heaven itself.
So definitely make sure to visit this sight as early in the morning as possible. I think I was there at around 8 or 9 am.
After you are finished taking photos of the Temple of Heaven, you can also have a look at the Temple of Good Harvest. There are also many people exercising.
Some women were playing an interesting game wich looked like a hybrid between badminton and dancing. And the ball had a chiffon tail, so when it went flying up in the air, it actually looked like a beautiful singing bird.
I have all of that on film, so if I ever get to find a cool video editing program, I will just edit them all together into one video and post it here. If you guys have any suggestions for a good video editing software that is not too hard to learn and not too expensive, then please let me know.
Anyway, after leaving the Temple of Heaven, I took a taxi to the Forbidden City. I could have taken the metro, but the station was kind of far away, and I honestly didn’t feel like taking the metro again. The metro in Beijing is very cheap, but also quite inconvenient since you always have to change lines.
Arriving at the Forbidden City, I was first confused because it said Palace Museum. I thought the Palace Museum was something different, but then quickly found out that it actually was the Forbidden City. I also bought a beautiful map that looked like drawn by hand. And I also got a electronic guide with a gps function that always told me where I was and gave the most important information about that certain place.
It was nice walking around the grounds and snapping photos of the intricate and unique architecture.
I would still advise you not to fall into the traps of the souvenir shops inside the Forbidden City. They are pros, and they will seriously make you buy stuff that you don’t really need. They will actually follow you, run after you to make you buy that thing they are trying to sell you. In the end, I was so pissed, that I just bought it. The best thing is to not even step foot inside those shops.
When I wanted to leave the Palace Museum, I was kind of confused. I couldn’t find the exit right away, so I ended up strolling in the park right before the exit and took some photos of the surrounding.
Some high school students then wanted to ask me some questions and take photos with me. They also offered me some delicious chocolate as a thank-you.
In the end, I finally managed to get out of the Museum and headed up to Jingshan Park to get a view of the Forbidden City from above.
The walk up was a bit tiring, but it didn’t take too long and soon I found myself at the hill. After having climbed up the Great Wall, this ascension was a piece of cake :’D
The views from up there were unfortunately not as perfect as the views I got at the Great Wall the day before. Everything was smoggy and foggy and the pictures just didn’t turn out as well as I expected.
Still, you can easily grasp the gigantic size of the Forbidden City. It literally is bigger than a german suburban town. I am sure that it is bigger than the suburban town I come from.
After the Palace Museum, I actually planned to visit the Summer Palace, but I realized that I probably wouldn’t have enough time. I still took a taxi and told the driver that I wished to go to the Summer Palace. He then started talking in chinese and told me that it probably wouldn’t be worth it, since it was quite late, and the Palace closed in like 2 hours or so. He also said with this traffic, it would probably take us around 1 hour to even get there. He then offered to drop me off at the nearest metro station. I was really impressed by myself that I understood everything he told me :’D It seemed like he was impressed, too, because he was laughing and talking to me as though I was a local. I then decided to go to Sanlitun, the main area for shopping and restaurants.
When I arrived there, I was kind of disappointed. It was quite a let down and not at all comparable to Nanjing Road in Shanghai. The whole area felt too westernized and kind of out of place.
I chose to roam around the sidestreets to find a restaurant to eat at. Most places would serve food at 5pm (it was around 4.30). I didn’t want to wait, because at 6.30 pm I had to be at the hostel to be picked up for the Kung-Fu show. I was lucky with a Japanese restaurant which was quite small but very, very cute.
I ordered rice and sushi (as I can remember), quickly finished my meal, went to Starbucks, got a drink and then stopped a taxi.
That was probably one of the longest taxi drives in my life. It took me 1 hour and around 80 (!!!) rmb to get to my hostel. If I knew how long this would take me, I would have taken the metro. I was almost late for the pick-up. I still had to get changed and leave all my bags in my room, but I made it in the end.
Upon arrival at the Kung-Fu show, I went inside and looked for my seats. The last few hours didn’t go well with the let-down that was Sanlitun and the long taxi ride, but I met Lisa again! The girl I met on the Wall. I also met another friend of hers, Lynette, a french girl who stayed at the same hostel as Lisa. They also just met at the Kung-Fu show. How random! That was the best finish to that rollercoaster trip that was Beijing.
The Kung-Fu show was amazing! Waaaaay better than the opera. I can only recommend you guys to visit it. Here are some pics:
After the show, we walked all the way back, trying to find a metro station. By the time we found a metro station, I realized that we were right in front of the Temple of Heaven which meant that I could walk to my hostel from there. It was quite late in the evening, but I wasn’t scared at all. I said goodbye to my newly-found friends, bought fruits and snacks for the train ride the next day and then headed to my hostel to pack and go to sleep.
Although my trip to Beijing included a lot of fails (Getting lost, wrong hostel, longest taxi ride ever,…), I can say that I truly enjoyed Beijing. It is not my favourite city though, and if it wasn’t for the Great Wall, I probably wouldn’t have visited.
This was my last day in Beijing, and the next morning would start with a train ride to a different city.
Stay tuned to find out where I was headed to next.
Have you guys ever been to Beijing? What were your experiences? Tell me in the comments.