(credit) Traveler’s Digest
Beijing is absolutely fantabulous! First time for me. I didn’t stay long, but had a great time even though I don’t speak a lick of Mandarin, save for “xie xie”. Highlights:
1) GREAT WALL AT BaDaLing
I know this is not exactly in Beijing-proper, as it’s over 7oKM north of the city. It’s well worth the trip. Actually, it was the main purpose of my trip because I’ve always wanted to stand on the Great Wall of China. When I lived in Tokyo for many years, I didn’t ever visit The Great Wall. Gyah. My one regret. So when I had this chance, I jumped on it.
The Great Wall is broken into sections now, but the best place to visit is BaDaLing as it’s the most well-preserved section of the Great Wall. Don’t settle on closer sites. BaDaLing Great Wall was promoted as a key national cultural relic, and enlisted in the World Cultural Heritage Directory by UNESCO. On July 7, 2007, it was listed among the New Seven Wonders of the World!
Beware! So my friend told me that his cousins were duped into visiting a fake “Great Wall”. Seriously.
2) DASHANZI / 798 ART DISTRICT
This is the most dynamic, exciting place in north-east Beijing. A contemporary art space, it’s a neighbourhood brimming with art galleries, photography spaces, boutiques, clean-styled European cafes, large-scale public-art installations, and eats. They are housed in once Communist-era factories and warehouses. As my friend stated, “It’s super dope.” For reals.
This space made me so happy — to see contemporary Beijing in all its glory. Creative young people. Inspirational art pieces. Really good Illy coffee at T Cafe. The huge Transformer near the T Cafe. Colourful, artful graffiti. A must see. My favorite exhibit was for painter Sun Ying at Line Gallery.
(credit here) Sun Ying painting
3) DIN TAI FUNG, NORTH CHAOYANG DISTRICT
The first time I ever consumed the delicious xiao long bao dumplings (soup-inside) at Din Tai Fung was in Taipei, Taiwan. I almost died. So. Very. Good. The plump, juicy dumplings come nestled inside a huge basketball-sized bamboo-steamer. You take your soup spoon, delicately place a dumpling, poke a small hole with a chopstick. Let some of the soup escape into the spoon. Sprinkle a bit of vinegar-soysauce-slivered-ginger on it, and stuff the whole thing in your mouth, slurping up the escaped soup in the spoon. Nummers.
So while I know Din Tai Fun’s seafood xiao long bao are not Beijing-style northern dumplings, I had to have them again. And they were so amazingly as tasty as ever that I almost cried. Along with a place of sauteed pea-shoots in garlic and consomme; ramen noodles with baby bok choy; smooth red bean paste inside little pillows of thin dumpling skins; shaved ice with slathered in condensed milk and sliced strawberries; and a refreshing cucumber-honey drink.
PS: Din Tai Fung was voted as one of the Ten Best Restaurants in the World by The New York Times. Amen to that.
Website in English: Din Tai Fung Global Beijing
(credit) Traveler’s Digest
The prettiest temple with its majestic bold colours (the indigo-blue is most impressive) and feng shui elements (the temple is round while its base is square). Stunning. I adored the Temple of Heaven. Actually, I loved the whole park, especially the places where you could find elderly Chinese folks playing chess, practicing dance, choirs, chatting with friends, wandering the gardens. It’s worth it to spend the hours there, so buy the ticket that allows you to enter different parts of the park, instead of just admission to the temple.
Across the street from the East Gate is the Pearl Market, where you can go a little crazy.
Where: Subway Line 5 to TiantanDongmen Station, Leave from Exit A and you’ll find the East Gate of the Park of Temple of Heaven.