I started the journey in Beijing. As with each visit to the Chinese capital, I first must re-orientate myself with a city that’s ever changing. This time, I discovered the real estate boom had pushed all the way out of the city center. The road that used to run through villages on the outskirt of the city is now a highway zipping through high-rise condominiums.
As I’ve come to Beijing for several years now, I am much more selective about the places I visit when I’m in town. But forever on my list is the Great Wall. I always go in the early morning, usually leaving the city before 7am so I can finish my climb before high noon when the sun is blistering and tourists arrive by the bus load. My favorite stretch of the Wall is at Mu Tian Yue. It’s a bit further from the city than other parts of the wall, and a bit smaller, but the view here is the most scenic. In the June heat, the Great Wall looked as majestic as ever. I make a mental note to research options for overnight camping on the Great Wall for my next visit.
Next up on the list is the Temple of Heaven. I’d only been here once before, as a child when my grandpa took me and my cousins here. Safe for some old photographs, I have no memory of the historical site. The Temple of Heaven looked like something out of Travel & Leisure magazine. Though it has been reconstructed throughout history due to fire and damages, today, the perfect historical structure stands steady and serene in the city.
It’s sights like the Great Wall and the Temple of Heaven that just makes me absolutely in awe of this country. The rest of my time in Beijing went by quickly and was filled by lots of family dinners, usually before getting midnight dessert from street stalls and after walking the shopping districts in town. Somehow I also managed to visit the Art of Museum, Bird’s Nest, and go to the top of the TV tower. Stay tuned for more photos from my 1 month trip in China.