Visit Beijing to shop and sitesee
20.03.2011 - 22.03.2011
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We got up early today to go see some sites but mostly shopping. I remembered a place near the Temple of Heaven that was fantastic the last time Sunee and I visited China. I did not know for sure where it was but figured such a big place could be found. No problem. The place turned out to be even bigger than I remembered - Hongqiao Market! So . . . the morning was spent shopping with the idea of coming back later to visit the Temple of Heaven.
Shopping for everything one can imagine. But, there are sites to see so we took a taxi to Tiananmen Square to get serious about a Beijing visit.
Tourist photos all over the place. The whole area was crowded with people, too many, so we decided to forgo entering the Forbidden City. We just walked around the area shopping and taking pictures. We did meet, however, a tour guide (tout) who offered us a trip to the Great Wall and other places in a private van. We ended up calling him at the hotel and set up the tour. With six people, it is not easy to travel independently!
Yep, did the tour to the Great Wall with a private van. Nice way to get around if one can afford it.
Been there, done that but Sunee's family had not so while they climbed the wall, Sunee and I kicked back in warmer surroundings and did a little shopping. Things are expensive at the tourist sites so we did not buy anything except a cup of coffee. Aren't the above pictures so typical of pictures taken by tourists from around the world?
And, of course, no Chinese tour would be complete without visiting at least two "factories" or stores to present discounted wares to the tourists. This time we stopped at a tea place and a silk factory. The silk factory is always a favorite place for tours to stop. I did enjoy the tea shop, even though, their tea was way overpriced. Bought a tiny tea set on sale just so I could say I bought something.
We had the van driver drop us off at the Russian Market (I had read about it on the internet). Talk about a difference! Sales people here were nasty and rude. We spent about an hour and realized it was a really bad place to shop. Made plans to return to Hongqiao Market tomorrow.
Long day, so we returned to our hotel and explored the area around it, finding several good places to eat. Tomorrow we will return to Chengdu in the evening so we have some time in the morning to visit the Temple of Heaven.
Today we got up early and caught taxis to the Temple of Heaven. Most of the morning was spent on the Temple grounds. It was not warm but the Chinese tourists were out in force. Again tourist pictures all over the place.
We spent most of the morning on the Temple grounds and then walked over to the Hongqiao Market to finish out our trip to Beijing. I found some really inexpensive accessories for my Canon 7D, so I ended up being delighted with this trip to Beijing.
Got this picture on the way out of the Temple area. Kind of tells the story of the crowds.
We caught our flight from a secondary and small airport with no problems and were back in Chengdu that evening. We decided to stay close to the Chengdu airport, so we found a hotel just down the road. Not a nice place but adequate. No heat to speak of for the very cold Sichuan night. The next morning we saw Sunee's family off to Bangkok and caught us a taxi to Emei City to take a break from all the excitement of traveling in China.