Visit Tiananmen Square
Visit Tiananmen Square
This square has witnessed many important events in Chinese history. At sun rise, you can see the raising of the national flag here and wonder if a new day will bring new hope to this country and its people.
The poem A Flower in the Square, written by my dear friend Carly Wong, was inpired by the vivid colours that she saw while standing in the middle of Tiananmen Square watching the flag-raising that occurs every morning at sunrise, the break of dawn, over Beijing city. It was a remarkable and unforgettable experience.
The composition of this poem spans over a period of 10 years. The first verse was written on June 4, 1989; ten years later, Carly added on the second verse.
Along with cuisine and...
Along with cuisine and landscaping, the art of acrobatics place the Chinese culture in a niche of its own. I watched this group go through its complex balancing routines for two hours without a single mishap. It's amazing that not one of these 54 spinning plates would fall. The odds are just against it!
Getting out of Beijing
The municipality of Beijing is more than just Beijing city. It is very easy and very rewarding to get out of the city, especially if you are a visitor and able to do it during the week. At the weekends, tens of thousands of Beijingers head for the hills, to the west and especially to the north, where the whole economy relies upon this weekly influx of city people.
The Great Wall is in rural Beijing, and in Hebei province nearby, and I have put tips in the Beijing Shi/Huanghuacheng, Miyun and Haizi sections for the Great Wall at Huanghuacheng, Jiankou and Mutianyu areas.
There are the silver pagodas and silver mountain at Haizi, and the great deep valleys north of Hairou and Miyun that lead into a fascinating mountainous area just an hour from the city. You can reach both Hairou and Huangcheng by city bus from Dongzhimen (forget about the train: although the Chifeng line passes Hairou and Miyun, it takes more than two hours to get from Beijing Bei to Hairou!).
It is easy to rent a taxi for half or a fullday.
Remember that once you get off the beaten track around Beijing, no English is spoken and no English will appear on sign-posts: you really will need to make sure our phrasebook has Chinese characters as well.
However, it is worth the effort - just as New York is not the USA and London is not Britain, so Beijing is not China, but you will find China nearby, just an hour away by bus.
Hoping to Strike Gold
If you have a sudden need for Chinese antiques then Panjiayuan is the place to satisfy your desire. Over 3000 dealers glare their wares on an open courtyard selling all kinds of goods from the yesteryear. There's hardly one thing that you can't get that smells ancient at Panjiayuan even though some goods may be fake. Bargaining is another thing and while there's no guideline for doing it right, keep in mind that old doesn't always mean expensive. On weekends is the best time to experience the full force of the market although that also means having to share your space with a horde of other people. From dodgy ancient coins to 1980s books.
Get around Beijing by bicycle
China used to be called the sea of bicycles and in Beijing today the bike is still a convenient vehicle for most people. Renting a bike may be a better way for you to see this city at your own pace. You can rent a better bike in your hotel and pay 20-30RMB for a day's rent, with a certain amount of money for the deposit first.