In the beginning of May, I flew to Beijing for two days on a whim (which eventually set me back a few thousand MYR that I have yet to completely recover from) while the hubs was there attending an international expo. I had not have any plans to step foot in China anytime soon so all my itinerary was rushed and without much research. I even thought of squeezing the great wall into my checklist but the schedule was just way too tight. Now that I’ve had a taste of China, the great wall is definitely in my books. Most likely opting for the hiking trail or the lesser known parts of the wall away from Beijing, a chance to see more of the country.
Day 1 – Temple of Heaven & Tiananmen Square
Every place to see in Beijing is huge. Somehow, huge seems like an understatement even. I underestimated the size of the Temple of Heaven’s grounds which led to me underestimate the time we would need to cover the whole place. We stuffed ourselves silly with sausages because we’ve burned up all our breakfast midway through and it wasn’t even lunch time yet! But it was all worth it to see the Temple of Heaven right before our eyes after all the years of seeing it in photos (and as a half-completed wooden model on my desk).
Temple of Heaven
No idea what this is – after awhile, they all look the same
(Jacket – Zara)
Love the tree-lined pathways
(Basic Top – H&M; Pleated skirt – Grain & Grass; Shoes – H&M)
It took half a day to rush through the Temple of Heaven and by the time we were done with lunch, a short exploration of the hutongs and the obligatory shot of Tiananmen Square, we made it to the gates of the Forbidden City an hour before it closed. We decided against paying for what would have been a sprint from its south gate to the north gate and chose to hike up Jingshan Park for the ultimate view of the Forbidden City the following day.
Day 2 – Summer Palace & Jingshan Park (Forbidden City)
Again, I underestimated the size of Kunming Lake, the central lake in the grounds of the Summer Palace, and the near impossibility to circle the lake on foot in half a day. It took forever and a sausage to reach the Tower of Incense. I do not regret it one bit, except the fact that we attempted to continue on foot to reach the Jade Belt Bridge. Should’ve taken the boat ride way earlier.
Tower of Buddhist Incense
Being cheesy under the Jade Belt Bridge
(T-shirt – Uniqlo)
We ended our second and last day in Beijing on a cheat note – checking off Forbidden City from our bucket list because we’ve seen it from across the street. Heh. Yes, Jingshan Park. A short hike up to the peak and we discovered the photographers’ haven and the vista of the Forbidden City was to die for. I bet it was better than merely wandering lost within the grounds. I had to squeeze between photogs to get a good shot, though it was far from good as, again, I underestimated the breadth of the city and ditched my wider lens at the hotel.
Breathtaking view of the Forbidden City
What I have managed to see in Beijing within the two days was nothing short of fascinating. Of course, Beijing is too large for two days but it was two days very well-spent. It was also an introspective time where I found myself questioning my idealism and rediscovering myself.
The gift of sobriety is clarity and a sense of connection – and travel only enhances that.
– J. Maarten Troost