Our primary goal was to see this trendy,
cosmopolitan area and the result was a gourmet
Sanlitun Village is a shopping, dining and
office complex in the second Embassy and
business area of Chaoyang District, Beijing.
We stayed at the A-Hotel which is in the
Workers Stadium just to the west of Sanlitun.
Workers Stadium is home to Beijing's
premier sporting and music venues.
The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall is one of the largest building
construction projects ever completed. It
stretches across the mountains of northern
China, winding north and northwest of Beijing.
It is constructed of masonry, rocks and packed-earth.
It was 6400 km (4000 miles) long. Its thickness
ranged from about 4.5 to 9 meters (15 to
30 feet) and was up to 7.5 meters (25 feet)
tall. It was built over 2,000 years ago,
by Qin Shi Huangdi, the first emperor of
China during the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C - 206
The Great Wall can be seen from the Earth’s
orbit but, contrary to legend, is not visible
from the moon, according to astronauts Neil
Armstrong, Jim Lovell, and Jim Irwin.
We set off on a trek from a nearby
remote village to climb up a steep slope
to reach the Great Wall. We walked along
the Mutianyu section which is in excellent
condition, before descending on a sledge
on the slideway (fun but very busy and touristy!).
There are fewer tourists here than the Badaling
section but, it was pretty busy. We had lunch
at The Old Schoolhouse in Mutianyu.
Tiananmen Square & Zhongshan Park
This third largest city square in the world
lies south of the Forbidden City. It has
great cultural significance as it was the
site of several important events in Chinese
history. Outside China, the square is best
known in recent memory as the focal point
of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989,
a pro-democracy movement which ended on 4
June 1989 with the declaration of martial
law in Beijing by the government and the
death of several hundred civilians.
Between the square and the Forbidden City
is the Zhongshan Park which is the site of
the former Altar of Land and Harvest (from
1421, emperor YongLe, Ming dynasty). The
emperor would visit twice yearly - in the
springtime to bring a good harvest and in
the autumn for thanksgiving. Five different
colours of earth are still kept at this altar,
representing land from throughout the nation.
After 1911 the site became a park and was
renamed in 1928 in honour of Sun Yat-sen,
better-known in Chinese as Sun ZhongShan,
who is considered to be the father of modern
China. Sun ZhongShan was a key figure in
the 1911 revolution which brought down the
Qing dynasty and ended imperial rule in China
and became the first president of the new
republic. He is so popular that there are
currently more than 40 ZhongShan Parks in
ZhongShan Park is a fine example of classical
Chinese landscape gardening and is famous
for its many old cypress trees, some of which
are over 1,000 years old.
The Summer Palace is the largest and most
well-preserved royal park in China. It is
recognized as 'The Museum of Royal Gardens'
and greatly influences Chinese horticulture
and landscape with its famous natural views
and cultural interests.
The construction started in 1750 as a luxurious
royal garden for royal families to rest and
entertain. It later became the main residence
of royal members in the end of the Qing Dynasty.
Composed mainly of Longevity Hill (Wanshou
Shan) and Kunming Lake, it occupies an area
of 300.59 hectares (742.8 acres). There are
over 3,000 man-made ancient structure, including
pavilions, towers, bridges, corridors, etc.
The 728 metre long corridor has crossbeams
under the roof which divides it into 273
sections, all of which are richly decorated
with 14,000 paintings. When the Qianlong
Emperor authorized the construction of a
palace garden in 1750, he also commissioned
the building of the Long Corridor at the Summer Palace for his mother. This was so that she could
enjoy a walk through the gardens, and at
the same time be protected from the elements
by a sheltered passage-way. It took 15 years
It’s best to go in the North entrance
so that you can enjoy Suzhou Market Street
and walk up the steep slopes and steps and
through the temples of the rear hill area
whilst you have the energy!
Olympic Park was built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics
and Paralympic Games. Home to the Bird's
Nest and the Water Cube in addition to other
venues used for the Olympic and Paralympic
Games. There are occasional trees marking
the long extending paved walkways and a canal
that runs through the park. Lights go up
from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Accessible by public
transportation. It's beautiful at night.
Now that the olympics is over, in the evenings
the water cube has a really good water &
light show played to a live orchestra.
It's sort of like the Bellagio show in
vegas but much more intense, well worth seeing.
Qianhai Park ('Qian Lake') is situated just north of BeiHai Park in
the heart of the tradional hutong area of
central Beijing. Along the west side of QianHai
is Lotus Lane, a delightful river-side pedestrianised
lane with a variety of cafes, tea houses,
bars and boutiques that blend modern and
traditional elements in their design. Lotus
Lane is only a few years old but the origins
of the 'Back Lakes' area as a trendy
hangout go back further.
Beijing Museum of Tap Water - No.6 Courtyard (Qingshuiyuan) north street
The museum is built on the original place
of the first water plant in Beijing- Zhongzhimen
Water Plant. Inside the museum are 130 objects,
110 pictures, 40 models, and sand tables
on display that reflect the 90-year-old history
of Beijing tap water. The exhibition shows
the difficult development of Beijing tap
water from the establishment of Jingshi Tap
Water Co.Ltd in 1908 to the foundation of
the People's Republic of China in 1949
and then the subsequent more rapid progress
in developing tap water from 1949 to late
1970s and since reform and opening up. Of
course, all this would have been abundantly
clear had there been any English translation
at all! (unless you have totally exhausted
all the other interesting places to visit,
or you are really mad about water systems,
then don't rush to go there)
Beijing's hutongs are more than just architecture. They are
the people who live there. They are a museum
of Beijing's folk custom and they are
a witness to the city's history. At present, there are about 4,550 hutongs,
the broadest over four meters wide and the
smallest -- the eastern part of Dongfu'
an Hutong, a mere 70 cm across -- just wide
enough for a single person to traverse. Although
the city has changed a great deal over the
last 500 years, the hutongs remain much the
same as during Ming and Qing times. See more about Hutongs