Beijing Day 13: Farewell Lunch

My last day in Beijing. We did a little shopping at a electronics shopping mall to get a USB stick so that I can bring the photos home. Ben also brought me to Walmart to do some browsing.

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We had lunch at a restaurant near the apartment hotel that Ben stayed. This restaurant serves some homey dishes as the name suggests. We had a cold octopus appetizer. It was sweetish and pretty good.

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We had a water boiled fish for the main. Continue reading

Beijing Day 12: Dinner at Dong Lai Shun Muslim Restaurant

It was a cold windy day. What is better than a hot pot meal?

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Ben brought me to a Dong Lai Shun Muslim Restaurant for dinner. Dong Lai Shun is one of Beijing’s oldest Hui, Chinese Muslim restaurants. It is a hot pot chain.

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We waited for at least 30 minutes to get a table. It was full house. This is a popular restaurant; more so in cold nights.

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The blueish porcelain hot pot vessel is the signature of this hot pot chain. Charcoal in the center of the pot heats the broth. Continue reading

Beijing Day 12: National Museum of China

It was a windy and chilly day. We decided to go for an indoor activity to avoid the cold.

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The National Museum of China was an apparent choice since it’s within walking distance from Qianmen Dajie. It is located on the eastern side of Tiananmen Square. The entrance to the museum is free. You can imagine the line as everyone was trying to get indoor.

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The National Museum of China is huge. It has a total floor space of  200,000 square meters for display. This museum was a merger of the Museum of the Chinese Revolution on the northern wing and the National Museum of Chinese History on the southern wing.

This building was built in 1959 for the celebration of the tenth year anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. It is directly across the Great Hall of the People built at the same time. Continue reading

Beijing Day 12: Lunch at Quanjude in Qian Men Dajie

I got a stick of the sugar coated haw for snack before lunch. It was RMB2 (CAD0.35).

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The sourness of the haw whet up my appetite for lunch.

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Qian Men DaJie is a touristy street lined with time honoured shops.

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Quanjude is one of the time honoured shop in Qian Men Dajie. Quanjude has several locations but this is one of the most popular one due to it’s location.

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The above line shows it’s popularity. We waited for 30 minutes before we got a table.

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We opted for a combo for two for RMB270 (CAD45). This is pricey in Beijing standard.

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First came the appetizer. It’s a cold jello dish with goji berries, bean curd, and things that I dont remember now. Continue reading

Beijing Day 12: Temple of Heaven

My last full day in Beijing is dedicated to the Temple of Heaven which is a complex of religious buildings at the southeastern part of central Beijing. The complex occupies an area of 2.7 square km; larger than the Forbidden City. It was a place where the emperor (son of heaven) gave thanks to heaven and prayed for good harvest for the following year.

The Temple of Heaven was constructed from 1406 to 1420 during the Ming dynasty. It was inscribed as a UNESCO Heritage site in 1988.

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The park is opened to public in 1918. It becomes a popular place for people to gather for singing, exercising, socializing and past times.

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A corridor like those found in palaces with a colour scheme of blue to represent heaven.

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The most recognizable building in the complex is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. It is a circular building on a triple layered white marble terraces. This is where the emperor would offer sacrifice to the heaven on Winter Solstice.

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The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests has round roof with three layers of eaves. The circular roof symbolizes the sky and blue represents the color of heaven. The building is built completely in wood without the use of any nails. The original building was burned down by a fire caused by lightning in 1889 and it was re-built several years later. Continue reading

Beijing Day 11: Lama Temple

After lunch we proceed to visit the Lama Temple or Yonghe Lamasery. If you take the subway, there is a station named after the Yonghe Palace i.e. Yonghegong Station.

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The Lama Temple was built in 1694 during the Qing Dynasty, as the residence of Prince Yongzheng. In 1944, the Qing Dynasty formally changed it’s status to a lamasery and it became the national centre of Lama administration. This is the largest and most well preserved lamasery in present day in China.

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The entrance fee is RMB25 (about CAD4) per person. A huge bell welcome visitors to the temple. The Lama Temple is built on the north south axis since it’s was a palace in origin.

Yonghe Lamasery Map

The above is a layout of the palace; courtesy of travelchinaguide.com.

The transformation of the Yonghe Palace to Lama Temple include:

  • Yonghe Gate (used to be the main entrance to the palace)  to Devaraja Hall (Hall of the Heavenly Kings) which houses the statues of the four Heavenly Kings
  • Yonghe Gong (used to be the main palace) to Hall of Harmony and Peace which displays three Buddhas; Sakyamuni (middle), Kasyapa-matanga (right) and Maitreya (left) and 18 Arhats (statues of Buddha disciples  on both sides of the hall
  • Yongyoudian (used to be prince Yongzheng’s living room and where his coffin was placed after his death) to Hall of Everlasting Protection houses a statue of Bhaisajya-guru
The rest of the buildings include:
  • Falundian (Hall of the Wheel of the Law) where Lamas read scriptures and hold Buddhist ceremonies and  houses a large status of Tsong Kha-pa, an ancestor of Lamaism. This is used to the the living area for the Emperor’s wives
  • Wanfuge (Pavillion of Ten Thousand Happinesses) where tens of thoussands of Buddhas are displayed along with an enormous status of Maitreya stood on a white marble base

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Like all the palaces, halls were guarded by stone lions, symbols of Imperial family.  Continue reading

Beijing Day 11: Lunch

We strolled the neighbourhood for lunch after the visit to the Temple of Confucius. We found a neighbourhood restaurant with photos of dishes pasted on the wall which looked quite appetizing.

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We ordered a Chinese salad for a starter. Chinese appetizer is usually called “liang pun”; i.e. cold dish. I really like the above slightly tangy and crunchy salad especially the lily flower.

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Ben loves to eat rice with soup. The above homey meat ball, suey choy and cellophane noodle soup was so warming. Continue reading

Beijing Day 11: Temple of Confucius

Day 11’s itinerary was to visit the Temple of Confucius at Guo Zijian street in Dongcheng District. The Confucius Temple in Beijing is ranked second in size (22,000 square meters) behind the Temple of Confucius in Qufu in Shandong Province of all the temple of Confucius in China. It is built in 1302 in the Yuan dynasty and expanded during the Ming and Qing dynasties.

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The admission fee to the Temple of Confucius is RMB30 (CAD5) per person. This includes the neighbouring Guo Ji Jian (Beijing Imperial College) which was the institute of highest education in China.

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A statue of Confucius stood at the entrance of Dacheng Gate (Gate of Great Accomplishment).

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There are 198 stone tablets placed on either side of the front courtyard of the Dacheng Hall. The stone tablets contain 51,624 names of Jinshi (the advanced scholars) of the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. Continue reading

Beijing Day 10

On the return trip from Xian to Beijing, I wanted to try to take the public transport from the airport to Wangfujing instead of taking a cab which costs RMB100. We took the express train from the airport to city center which costs RMB25 per person. From the city center we took the subway back to Wangfujing which costs RMB2 per person. So, there will be a saving of RMB46 for the two of us. However, we dont think it’s worth the hassle as we had to lug our luggages up and down stairs through the long corridors of the subway station and a long walk back to the hotel from the subway station.

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We headed to the APM mall for lunch. We had our favourite “Mala La Xiang Quo”. The above was RMB140 (about CAD24).  We went back to the hotel to rest since we woke up very early for out flight.

At dinner time, we went out for dinner with a few of  Ben’s colleague. We went to Tai Hing at APM, a HongKong style restaurant.

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We had pineapple buns for appetizer. Some of Ben’s colleagues commented that it’s weird to have sweet bun as appetizer.

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One of Ben’s colleague wanted to order the BBQ pork as he loves it after he had it earlier. It was served in a hot plate and doused with sweet honey sauce. Continue reading