Thursday, February 05, 2009

Beijing, China (I)

Destination #9: Beijing, China (I) [Quick Facts]

Year of Visit: 2006 (Before Beijing Olympic Games 2008)

My family and I have not gone for a family holiday for a decade since our trip to Australia in 1996. As my grandparents were getting older and a travel fair in town, my mom proposed that we sign up for a trip to China and bring my grandparents along. They are first generation Malaysian Chinese but i reckoned they would love to have glimpse of their parents' motherland.

As for me, travelling makes me happy!

If I were to go back to my ancestors' roots of origin, i will make a trip to Fujian and Fuzhou Province. That can wait. I have to brush up on my Mandarin and Foo Chow dialect first.

Anyway, we signed up for a 10 days guided tour to Beijing, Tianjin and Chengde!

I didn't know what to expect from my paternal grandparents' country of origin. I only heard unpleasant and moving tales from my late great grandmother and other older relatives about life in this massive nation.

We arrived at the spanking new Terminal of Beijing International Airport. Beijing was a lot more developed than the China i had depicted from my late great grandmother's tales. Clearly, China has transformed over these years. Only if my great grandma could see it for herself.

The wide roads in Beijing were dominated by cars these days instead of bicycles although there were still a significant number of bicycles on the bicycle lane. Yes, now they have bicycle lanes for bicycles!

And there are so many cars in Beijing that they have to stack up their cars like this at the car park!

Our first destination was none other than the famous

Tiananmen Square
(天安门广场/Tiān'ānmén Guǎngchǎng)

It was supposed to be the beginning of autumn when we were there but the northern Siberian wind blew into Beijing bringing the temperature down to around 10 degrees Celcius. I wasn't properly attired thus i had to endure the chilly wind. brrr.

The Tiananmen Square is the largest open urban square in the world.

It is also infamous as the site for the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protest.

Modern Beijing.

Everything here is massive, that includes the public buses.

A stone's throw away from the square is the Forbidden City

It is the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dinasty. Built in the 15 century, it is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This is the gate leading into the Forbidden City.

That's Chairman Mao on the portrait.

I find this officer of the People's Liberation Army quite amusing.

Only North Korea and China have such uniforms nowadays i think. Somehow their uniforms seem to suggest that they are from a communist country. I know it makes no sense. Ignore me.

Inside the massive Forbidden City.

I was impressed by the size of this palace! I'm a fan of ancient China's history and all its dynasties. I was ecstatic to be able to walk around the Chinese imperial palace.

We walked from one gate to another, and another. It's huge!

The mythical creatures on the eaves represent the social ranking of the building occupant in ancient China. Twenty-four emperors lived in and ruled China from the Forbidden City over nearly 500 years.

Parts of the Forbidden City were closed for the Olympic Games refurbishment during my time of visit. Nevertheless, there were plenty to see in the imperial palace. From the throne of the emperor to the Hall of the Supreme Harmony.

There are a few beautiful gardens in the Forbidden City as well.

What do you see? Use your imagination.

After a few hour's walk around the Forbidden City, we arrived at the last gate of the imperial palace. From this gate I saw this beautiful structure sitting on top of the hill. Not sure what it is though.

The modern city of Beijing.

You must visit the giant pandas if you are in China. They are like Kangaroos to Australia.

The giant panda and another endangered animal in some small zoo in the Beijing suburb.

Next, the Summer Palace (颐和园, Yíhé Yuán)

The summer palace dates back to the 16-17 century and served as a summer resort for members of the royalty.

A statue of a dragon at Summer Palace.

The natural landscape of the hill and the lake together with the palaces, bridges and temples give this place an outstanding aesthetic value as the UNESCO puts it when it was declared a World Heritage Site in 1998.

I have no doubts as to the truth of that statement.

I let you judge from the photos.

After the trip to Summer Palace, we headed back down town for a sumptuous Chinese cuisine and then back to our hotel. Hotels were mushrooming everywhere in Beijing when we were there, in anticipation of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

Beijing traffic jam, just as bad as in Kuala Lumpur.

Our hotel.

Beijing is massive so I am going to have to put up several entries on Beijing alone.

Watch this space for more of Beijing, Tianjin and Chengde.


Josephine on 5 February 2009 at 12:07 said...

Nice photos!
I wish I can travel as often as u!
Envy leh!!!

Ju Ann on 5 February 2009 at 12:53 said...

Beijing is beautiful!! The weather in Autumn and early winter is great too!!

I look forward to pictures on great wall - you did go right! :)

jlshyang on 5 February 2009 at 14:22 said...

Josephine: You travel quite alot also isn't it? I can't travel much anymore now due to time constraints and lack of funds. lol

Ju Ann: I agree with you. I thoroughly enjoyed Beijing. of course i did! lol. It's a shame if one travels to Beijing but didn't visit the great wall :)

Josephine on 5 February 2009 at 14:38 said...

No, I travel to other countries once a year only.

But, but, but, i travel between SG and MY every week. wuakaka!

jlshyang on 5 February 2009 at 17:16 said...

Josephine: Once a year is very good already! I went on a 10 years hiatus from travelling until year 2006. After that i totally caught the travel bug but now it has come to a halt again but I certainly hope i will have the opportunity to travel at least once a year too after this.


Copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved Revolution Two Church theme by Brian Gardner Converted into Blogger Template by Bloganol dot com