My Visit to Beijing, China, Summer 2010
Subsequent to my trips to Datong and Wu Tai Shan, I had a short yet delightful stay in Beijing and visited several key landmarks of this metropolis. Beijing is the capital city of China and is the country’s political, cultural, and educational center.
Beijing is situated at the northern tip of the roughly triangular North China Plain, which opens to the south and east of the city. Mountains to the north, northwest and west shield the city and northern China’s agricultural heartland from the encroaching desert steppes. The city has a humid continental monsoon climate, whereby summers are relatively rainy, hot, and humid, while winters are cold, windy, and dry. Autumns and springs (tourist high seasons) are generally pleasant, with the occasional annual dust storms occurring during the spring.
During my brief visit to Beijing in late June, the sky was very gray and cloudy, with light drizzle in the morning. It seems that the city and it’s environs were covered by a dense layer of “fog”, which obscured the sun even during noontime.
Photos of lush green hillsides to the west of Beijing during the wet summer season, and a fort which forms part of the Great Wall to the west of the city:
In 2008 Beijing hosted the Olympic Games, and the Beijing National Stadium (国家体育场), commonly known as the Bird’s Nest Stadium (鸟巢), was the primary site used throughout the 2008 Summer Olympics. The stadium is located in the Olympic Green, and is surrounded by a vast panoramic plaza with a series of ponds and gardens.
Here is my photo at the Beijing National Stadium (Bird’s Nest Stadium), which is located in the Olympic Green:
Myself amidst a refreshing rose garden in the Olympic Green, near the National Olympic Stadium:
Another landmark of the city which I visited was the Temple of Confucius (Beijing), which is located adjacent to the famous Lama Temple (Yonghegong Temple). Along the street leading to the two temples are numerous shops selling incense and other items for worship reminiscent of the the old days. These shops seem to have proliferated since my last visit back in the early fall of 2004.
The Temple of Confucius in Beijing was initially built in approximately 1302 A.D., with additions being made during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The temple has a total area of 22,000 square meters (5.4 acres) and consists of 4 courtyards. This is the second largest temple constructed for Confucius, the greatest thinker and educationalist in ancient China, ranking only behind the Temple of Confucius in Qufu, Shandong Province.
During our stay in Beijing we enjoyed a lavish meal consisting of a variety of tasty local seafood dishes – pen clams stir-fried with black bean sauce, round striped clams stir-fried with dried peppers and scallions, steamed scallops on shell with thin Asian vermicelli noodles and onion greens, crispy sweet and sour whole fish baked, steamed crabs, and spicy stir-fried tofu.
The meal also included the ubiquitous Peking Duck (great meal!):
On another occasion, we also enjoyed a Thai meal in Beijing at a local restaurant in a shopping mall – consisting of such famous Thai dishes as the papaya salad (somtam), chicken with green curry, crispy fried chicken in spicy chilli sauce, and the Thai omelette (quite nice!):
In addition to the above, we visited a herbal medical center, and shopped for handicrafts at one of the prominent local malls. I bought hand-drawn portraits of the Great Wall during wintertime, and a hand-drawn portrait of a Tiger – since this year (2010) is the Year of the Tiger in the Chinese and Thai zodiacs. Moreover, I bought several replicas of old commercial portraits of “Fashionable Shanghai Ladies” whose originals dated back to the 1920s and 1930s.
Lastly, it is noteworthy to mention that Beijing’s new airport is huge, spacious, modern, and clean.
I spent about 2 hours there before boarding an Air China flight from Beijing back to Bangkok, whereby the flight time was only approximately 4 hours and 10 minutes. This was quite fast, and I seem to notice that the Bangkok-Beijing flight times are getting shorter and shorter! Overall a great trip and I can’t wait to return!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this blog, and please feel free to drop any comments. Better still, hope you have a chance to visit this great cosmopolitan and historical city soon.
Happy Traveling, Wherever You Are, and Wherever You May Be!
Lat (Ratasit C.)