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My first stop was Beijing. I landed after 1 PM. First impression of Beijing airport is , its enormous. You scan your passport and detects nationality and switch language accordingly.From airport I took a shuttle bus to the city which costs 25¥ . I arrived my hotel at about 3 PM . Shuttle bus stop is very conveniently located near my hotel. Language was a big issue but with the help of google translate I managed somehow. Air China flight was nice and comfortable and was bang on time.
I stayed in Beijing Wang Fu Jing Jade Hotel . The hotel is very conveniently located near Wang Fu Jing. area. I mostly walked around Wangfujing street . This place is famous for food street, one can try out all exotic foods like , insects , beetle bugs, scorpion and what not. There are also famous Beijing duck restaurants and handicraft stores. Latter in the evening I visited Tiananmen Square and the front gate of palace museum .
Today I had plan to visit temple of heaven and latter Forbidden city. The complex of temple of heaven constructed in 14th century and visited by Ming and Qing dynasties for the prayer of good harvests. In ancient China, the Emperor of China was regarded as the Son of Heaven, who administered earthly matters on behalf of, and representing, heavenly authority. To be seen to be showing respect to the source of his authority, in the form of sacrifices to heaven, was extremely important. The temple was built for these ceremonies, mostly comprising prayers for good harvests. Twice a year the Emperor and all his retinue would move from the Forbidden City through Beijing to encamp within the complex, wearing special robes and abstaining from eating meat. No ordinary Chinese was allowed to view this procession or the following ceremony. In the temple complex the Emperor would personally pray to Heaven for good harvests. The highpoint of the ceremony at the winter solstice was performed by the Emperor on the Earthly Mount. The ceremony had to be perfectly completed; it was widely held that the smallest of mistakes would constitute a bad omen for the whole nation in the coming year.
There are 4 gates to the complex . I entered from the south gate, then walked along Danbiqiao raised way to visit Circular Mound Altar – The Imperial Vault of Heaven, The Hall of Prayer for Harvest – Long Corridor – East Gate .
After finishing temple of heaven , I left for forbidden city. Forbidden city is the collections imperial palaces from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty. It is also called palace museum . The name Forbidden city comes from the fact that locals were not allowed to visit this area during royal period. The whole city is surrounded by a 26 ft high city wall and 170 feet wide moat. This is now a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the major tourist attractions in Beijing.
I booked a tour in advance for a hike to Jinsangling section of China wall. My pick up time was at 7 am. I managed to grab a quick bite before getting on the bus. Our first stop was Gubei water town.
This is a nice place to stay for night from the hustle and bustle of Beijing . The town surrounds the beautiful Mandarin Duck Lake Reservoir. This is also very close to Simatai Great Wall, the most dangerous and majestic section of the entire Great Wall.
After reaching to Jinsangling we started hiking from hiking from Zhuanduokou Pass, via General Tower, Shalingkou Pass, Small and Big Jinshan Towers to Houchuankou Pass, Eastern Five-window Tower, bricks with characters, and Kylin Screen Wall. Finally, we went down the mountain and exit through the east gate. The route is about 8km , and it takes about 4 hours to complete.
Latter in the evening I visited Jingsen park. It was dark but it gives a good view of Bejing skyline.
Today is my last day in Beijing. I woke up early to visit near Jingsen park to watch morning sun shines over forbidden city. Latter after breakfast I left hotel to catch my flight to Xining. It was a local bus first, then Line 2 of subway and finally airport express.