Beijing Tourist: First time out.Tian’an Men & Houhai Lakes

See also: Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

In recent days, the weather in Beijing has been wonderful. Pollution has also been at its lowest since my arrival, with blue skies and ability to see the sun in the sky. So I decided to venture out into central Beijing a little and explore.

At first, I went straight for the obvious – Tian’an Men Square and Forbidden City. Bad idea. To start with, this was my first trip using Beijing’s famous Subway. It is famous because it’s soon to surpass London Underground as the longest track length and to be honest at just 20p per ride, regardless of the length of the journey, I think it beats ‘tube’ for that alone! It is fairly new system and most of it has been built (or dug up) in the past decade and in the next 6 years they plan to extend it even more. Good news for all, as I hear rush hour here is unbearable to say the least. I did not have to experience that, since it was a Sunday. What I wasn’t expecting was airport-like security check points at every subway station. Before you can get through the ticket barriers, you need to go through metal detector and put your bags through x-ray scanners. At least you don’t need to take out the liquids.. although they check those at Tian’an Men Square. And that’s where it became even more frustrating. As as I got out of the station, to access the street, was another intense security check. Finally a little frustrated, mostly at locals’ inability to queue orderly, I found myself in front of Tian’an Men building.

Alex and Beijing - Blog about Life in Beijing - Alex Filicevas - Forbidden City - Tian'an Men
Tian’an Men
Alex and Beijing - Blog about Life in Beijing - Alex Filicevas - Forbidden City - Tian'an Men
Tian’an Men

I didn’t go into the building to explore the Forbidden City as it was slightly later in the afternoon and I decided to leave for another day. Instead, I cross to the other side of the street (of the motorway to be exact) to Tian’an Men Square, which claims to be the biggest square in the world. They also had stringent security check to access that with an even longer queue, so I decided to leave it and head back. To leave the area, I had to go through security check in a cattle herd like environment that I was pushed, shoved and heavily breathed on… 10 minutes and two more security checks later I escaped hoping that it’s not what all of the Beijing is like. Glimpse of Tian’an Men Square..

Alex and Beijing - Blog about Life in Beijing - Alex Filicevas - Tian'an Men Square
Tian’an Men Square
Alex and Beijing - Blog about Life in Beijing - Alex Filicevas - Tian'an Men Square
Tian’an Men Square

With a guidebook in hand I went exploring ‘real Beijing’ through Hutongs (traditional Chinese alleys) of Houhai area. You wouldn’t be disappointed, its different, it’s beautiful and it’s so Chinese. You see everything: souvenir shops, restaurants serving Peking Duck which I am yet to try, luxury cars and tuk-tuks, Emperor’s Palaces, homes of the poor and the well off. Such a contrast, it’s unbelievable. Then eventually you come out into Houhai (Back Lake) which is part of a three lake cluster full of tourists and locals alike, bars, food stalls and restaurants. A little like Southbank on London, but with more diverse character.

Alex and Beijing - Blog about Life in Beijing - Alex Filicevas - HouHai Lake
Hou Hai Lake

 

Alex and Beijing - Blog about Life in Beijing - Alex Filicevas - Houhai Lake Bridge
Houhai Lake Bridge
Alex and Beijing - Blog about Life in Beijing - Alex Filicevas - Houhai Bank street
Houhai Bank street
Alex and Beijing - Blog about Life in Beijing China - Alex Filicevas - Houhai Lake
Houhai Lake
Alex and Beijing - Blog about Life in Beijing China - Alex Filicevas - Houhai lake bank
Houhai lake bank
Alex and Beijing - Blog about Life in Beijing China - Alex Filicevas - Houhai Lake
Houhai Lake
Alex and Beijing - Blog about Life in Beijing China - Alex Filicevas - Palace
Palace
Alex and Beijing - Blog about Life in Beijing China - Alex Filicevas - Rooftop
Rooftop

Alex and Beijing - Blog about Life in Beijing China - Alex Filicevas - Beijing Museum

Alex and Beijing - Blog about Life in Beijing China - Alex Filicevas - Hutong restaurant
Hutong restaurant
Alex and Beijing - Blog about Life in Beijing China - Alex Filicevas - Hutong
Hutong
Alex and Beijing - Blog about Life in Beijing China - Alex Filicevas - Houhai Lakes
Houhai Lakes

Here’s a little video I’ve made to capture the spirit of the area. If a picture speaks a thousand words, how many can a video spell out.. see for yourself!

xoxo

Alex

Advertisements

One thought on “Beijing Tourist: First time out.Tian’an Men & Houhai Lakes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s