Sunday, January 25, 2015

Forbidden City

In my last post, I went into way more detail than I expected about the history of Tian'anmen Square. It was on the list of top things to do while in Beijing.

The rest of the list included the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace and hutongs. I didn't pay for any tours, just rode the metro to them, paid the entrance fee (at the places that had them) and wandered around aimlessly. If I was really interested in the tours it was quite easy to eavesdrop on the tour guides and follow them around. This was especially true for the larger tour groups.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Tian'anmen Square

Beijing is the capital city of China and thus makes it one of the most important. It also has a long deep history dating back thousands of years. This history encompasses 7 World Heritage sites, including the Great Wall. Further, it is the birthplace of The People's Republic of China.

I went to several of the top sites in Beijing. I opted not to get the tour guide for these sites. I figured that I could use the internet to learn what I wanted to learn and these were places I wanted to just explore on my own. It was also an adventure navigating the metro and arriving on my own.

I googled what to do and see in Beijing and I found a list that listed different things to see during a short trip. I used those to decide what I should do. This post initially was going to be about all the places I saw in Beijing, but the first part I wrote ended up taking me a long time and can stand on it's own as a post.

Tian'anmen Square

Saturday, January 10, 2015


I was really lucky that it was so clear when I climbed the Great Wall. I left Beijing on the 27th of December on the train and I could not see a lot when I looked out the windows. This was because the air quality index (AQI) was high. In other words, there was a lot of pollution in the air.

This is an ongoing problem throughout all of China, not just Beijing. The problem also includes Shanghai.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Great Wall of China

A trip to The Great Wall was a certainty at some point during my stay in China. I couldn't imagine staying here for 2 years and not making a visit to it. As it was, I felt like my 5 month stay was far too long without venturing to this historic icon.

I was prepared to go during Christmas break since the start of the school year really. When I divulged these plans to people they advised me to dress warm because at that time of year Beijing is so cold. The winds out in the open would make it that much worse. I didn't want weather to deter me, so I purchased a large thermal jacket from the pearl market in Shanghai. I spent just over $100 on the coat and was hoping I didn't get ripped off by too much as I was not sure what I should be paying and I had to barter to get the price that I did get (a future post will go into detail about this). I looked at the same jacket online and it cost over $800 so regardless of if I could have acquired it cheaper here, I did save plenty of money.