Archive for the ‘Beijing Attractions’ Category

The Best Place to Watch Sunrise in Beijing

Friday, August 17th, 2018
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Looking for a romantic place to capture the sunrise in the downtown Beijing area on your Beijing tour? There is no better place in than Jingshan Park sitting on the centre of the north-south axis of Beijing.

The hill in Jingshan Park is 45.7 meters at relative height and 94.2 at sea level, the highest sea-level viewpoint in Beijing where you are able to have a panoramic view of the city of Beijing – East: Beijing Central Business District; South: Forbidden City; West: the Beihai Park and the North: Drum Tower and Bell Tower on the north-south axis of Beijing.

Tips for watching the sunrise from the hilltop of Jingshan Park
1. It is important to know when the sun will rise and set. Different day and season has its unique sunrise or sunset time. Check Beijing Real Time Photos for the general ideal of the sunrise time.

2. It is better to get up early to be on the hilltop of Jingshan Park and have ample time to check the surroundings and understand where would be a good spot to take pictures. The shortcoming is that the official opening hour of Jingshan Park is set at 6:30am, which makes some seasons, especially summer time impossible to capture the first rays of the sunrise. The sunrise time from March to October is after 6:30am in Beijing. That means people cannot watch the first rays of sunrise from the hill top of Jingshan Park.

3. So the best time for watching the sunrise from Jingshan Park falls on later autumn (November) to the early spring (February) when the sunrise time is after 6:30am, the opening hour for Jingshan Park.

4. Though the time between March and October is not the good time for watching the sunrise from Jingshan Park, basically it won’t deter you to go there for a splendid sunrise experience! Before you clamber up the hilltop of Jingshan waiting for the sunrise, you are advised to go to the northwest corner outside the moat of Forbidden City, a perfect spot capturing the first rays of sunrise over Forbidden City and the moat, an amazing supplement for the shame caused by the improper opening hour of Jingshan Park.

After watching the sunrise over the moat and Forbidden City, continue to walk to the Jingshan Park to watch the sunrise already a bit higher over skyline in the east of Beijing.

How to get to Jingshan Park
Jingshan Park is located just across the north gate to Forbidden City. Jingshan Park has three gates with south gate facing the north exit of Forbidden City. At such early hour in the morning, you’d better take a taxi from your hotel, and ask your taxi driver to drop you off at any of the three gates – east, west and south.

Opening hours: 6:30 am – 9:00pm. Entrance fee: RMB 2 (RMB10 per person during Peony Festival April and May). Basically it takes 3-5 minutes to walk up to the hilltop of the a park. On the hill, there are five pavilions with Wanchun Pavilion perched in the middle along Beijing’s North-south axis and two couple of pavilions on both side the Wanchun Pavilion. The Wanchun Pavilion is the best spot to watch the sunrise.

If the sunrise time is before the opening time of the Jingshan Park, you may go to the northwest corner outside the moat of Forbidden City, a perfect spot capturing the first rays of sunrise over Forbidden City and the moat, a amazing supplement for the shame caused by the improper opening hour of Jingshan Park.

For information on Jingshan Park, please read my earlier post of Jingshan Park not to be missed  and Sunset View at Jingshan Park.

Now, follow me to experience the sunrise from Jingshan Park.

Leaving my home around 5:50am and drive directly to the west gate to Jingshang Park. After parking my car at the parking lot west of the west gate,  I have to walk fast to the northwest corner of Forbidden City to catch the rising sun since it has been already 6:00am, a sunrise time today!

It is a 3-5 minute walk from the parking lot to the northwest corner of Forbidden City. To my pleasant surprise, there have been already a few crazy people there chatting, and taking pictures. This is a perfect spot to shoot the magnificent turret of Forbidden City and its reflection on the moat.

there have been already a few crazy people there chatting and taking pictures 1

there have been already a few crazy people there chatting and taking pictures 1

It is a cloudy today and the sunrise is blurred and shreds dotted rays, adding much colors to the skyline decorating the Turret ornately.
adding much colors to the skyline decorating the Turrent ornately.

adding much colors to the skyline decorating the Turret ornately.

The sun defies the blocking of the clouds and gives out radiant rays.
The sun defies the blocking of the clouds and gives out radiant rays.1

The sun defies the blocking of the clouds and gives out radiant rays.1

The red sunrise rays cut through the thick clouds with pretty reflections on the moat.
The red sunrise rays cut through the thick clouds with pretty reflections on the moat.

The red sunrise rays cut through the thick clouds with pretty reflections on the moat.

Mesmerized by the stunning view, I’ve almost forgotten the time. It is past 6:30am, so I walk quickly to the west gate to Jingshan Park and walk up to the hilltop – Wanchun Pavilion and enjoy myself with the whole city below me.

The sun has been higher over the skyline

The sun has been higher over the skyline

The sun has been higher over the skyline

Below the east sunrise is the skyline of the new CCTV office building, World Trade Center Phase 3 Building (at 330M Beijing’s Tallest)…

The rising sun finds a hole in the clouds and appears triumphantly

The rising sun finds a hole in the clouds and appears triumphantly

The rising sun finds a hole in the clouds and appears triumphantly

Wanchun Pavilion is the best place in the park to watch the sunrise.
Wanchun Pavilion is the best place in the park to watch the sunrise.1

Wanchun Pavilion is the best place in the park to watch the sunrise.1

In the north below my feet is the massive Forbidden City looking brilliantly under a radiant rising sun.
the massive Forbidden City looking brilliantly under a radiant rising sun.

the massive Forbidden City looking brilliantly under a radiant rising sun.

In the north below my feet is the massive Forbidden City looking brilliantly under a radiant rising sun.
the massive Forbidden City looking brilliantly under a radiant rising sun.1

the massive Forbidden City looking brilliantly under a radiant rising sun.1

On the west is the famous Beihai Park with its beauty – White Stupa and the lake.
On the west is the famous Beihai Park with its beauty - White Stupa and the lake.

On the west is the famous Beihai Park with its beauty – White Stupa and the lake.

To the north is the Drum Tower and Bell Tower on the north-south axis of Beijing.
To the north is the Drum Tower and Bell Tower on the north-south axis of Beijing.

To the north is the Drum Tower and Bell Tower on the north-south axis of Beijing.

Watching the sunrise at Jingshan Park is a non-ending process for me!
Watching the sunrise at Jingshan Park is a non-ending process for me

Watching the sunrise at Jingshan Park is a non-ending process for me

 Surely, I will come back!
Surely, I will come back!

Surely, I will come back!

Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Beijing:

Beijing Dinner & Night Boat Tour. from US$ 59P/P

Beijing by Night Illuminations Tour  from US$33 p/p

Beijing Hutong Highlight One Day Tour  from US$59 p/p

Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)
Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)
Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)
Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Further Readings


How to Visit Grand Canal in Hangzhou.
Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

For any questions, just drop a line.

Astronomical Instruments at Beijing Ancient Observatory

Thursday, August 16th, 2018
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

In 1900, Field Marshal von Waldersee, as Allied Supreme Commander in China in 1900-1901, was amazed by the ornately made astronomical instruments of Chinese-Western style placed on the top of the castle-like platform of Beijing Ancient Observtory. He ordered to have 5 of the most spectacular astronomical instruments taken to Germany.

In 1907, all the 5 astronomical instruments were shipped to Berlin and placed on the lawn of the royal garden in Bustan Palace including 1) A New Armilla, built in 1744  2) A Celestial Globe, built in 1673  3) Altazimuth, made in 1672 4) Sexant, made in 1673 5) Azimuth Theodolite, made in 1715. It wasn’t until in 1921 did all the five pieces were returned to Beijing Ancient Observatory under the Item 131 of the Treaty of Versailles.

Plan your Beijing tour? If you have a passion for Chinese history and ancient astronomy in particular, surely you cannot afford to miss a glimpse of these magnificent astronomical instruments.

Clamber the 90 stone steps up to the 14m high castle-like square tower to view these instruments with a backdrop of modern buildings nearby, definitely giving you a strong feeling of timeline and better understanding China’s past, present and future.

The 14m high castle-like square tower that holds these 8 most magnificent astronomical instruments. Take subway line 1 and get off at the station of Jianguomen, exit from Exit C and you will see the massive tower.
Clamber the 90 stone steps up to the top of the 14m high castle-like square tower

Clamber the 90 stone steps up to the top of the 14m high castle-like square tower

Clamber the 90 stone steps up to the top of the 14m high castle-like square tower


View these instruments with a backdrop of modern buildings nearby
view these instruments with a backdrop of modern buildings nearby

view these instruments with a backdrop of modern buildings nearby

New Armilla: Made in 1744 for the purpose of determining true solar time as well as the right ascension difference and declination of celestial bodies.
New Armilla

New Armilla

Celestial Globe: Made in 1673 for the purpose of determining the rising and setting time and azimuth of celestial bodies as well as their altitude and azimuth at any other time.
Celestial Globe

Celestial Globe

Ecliptic Armilla: Made in 1673 for the purpose of determining ecliptic longitude difference and latitude of celestial bodies as well the 24 Solar Terms.
Altazimuth: Made in 1672 for the purpose of determining the azimuth of celestial bodies.
Altazimuth

Altazimuth

Azimuth Theodolite: Made in 1715 for the purpose of determining the azimuth and altitude of celestial bodies.
Azimuth Theodolite

Azimuth Theodolite

Sexant: Made in 1673 for the purpose of measuring the angular distance between two stars less than 60 apart as well as angular diameters of the sun and the moon.
Sexant

Sexant

Equatorial Armilla: Made in 1673 for the purpose of dtermining the true solar time as well as the right ascension difference and declination of celestial bodies.
Equatorial Armilla

Equatorial Armilla

Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Beijing:

Beijing Dinner & Night Boat Tour. from US$ 59P/P

Beijing by Night Illuminations Tour  from US$33 p/p

Beijing Hutong Highlight One Day Tour  from US$59 p/p

Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)
Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)
Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)
Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Further Readings


How to Visit Grand Canal in Hangzhou.
Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

For any questions, just drop a line.

Rideau Canal in Ottawa and the Grand Canal in Beijing

Sunday, August 12th, 2018
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Walking on the pathways of Colonel By Drive along the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, Canada,I’m really amazed by the peaceful and harmonious scene between man and nature: with clear water, Rideau Canal is sided by the shared cycle and pedestrian pathways and green belts, which is enlivened by people jogging, biking, skating, canoeing, rowing,  sightseeing cruise and fishing.

In winter, Rideau Canal will be turned into a skateway, the longest skate rink in the world.The skateway and the network of the recreational pathways of Rideau Canal traverse the capital city of Canada roughly from north to south uniquely linking the green spaces, the urban core, which was created thanks to the vision of Douglas H.Fullerton (Chairman at National Capital Commission 1969-1973).

The initial purpose of the Rideau Canal was totally military, aimed at providing a secure supply and communications route between Montreal and the British naval base in Kingston to deter any American invasions of Canadian territory after the War of 1812, a 32-month military conflict between the United States and Great Britain.

Later the canal once also served a commercial purpose. The Rideau Canal was easier to navigate than the St. Lawrence River because of the series of rapids between Montreal and Kingston before the construction of a system of locks on Saint Lawrence Seaway. As a result, the Rideau Canal became a busy commercial artery from Montreal to the Great Lakes. Now Rideau Canal has long been lost its transportation function, perfectly switched to the recreational purpose.

The original construction of Rideau Canal was mainly supervised by Lieutenant-Colonel John By of the Royal Engineers. Much of the construction work was done by thousands of Irish and French-Canadian labourers.

The building of canal started in 1826, and it took a total of 6 years to complete by 1832. The 202 kilometres of the Rideau Canal incorporate sections of the Rideau and Cataraqui rivers, as well as several lakes, including the Lower, Upper and Big Rideau lakes. It is the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America, and it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.

Rideau Canal alway reminds me of the Grand Canal (also known as the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal), starting from Hangzhou of Zhejiang Province in the Yangtze Delta area of China and ends in Beijing, the capital city of China. The Grand Canal is regarded as one of the two greatest projects in ancient China and the other being the Great Wall of China. It is the longest and oldest canal in the world with a total length of 1794km, 1442k,still navigable and 877km navigable all year round.

Like Rideau Canal, the initial construction of the Grand Canal was also for the military purpose. It dates back to the the 5th century BC when King Fuchai of Wu, ruler of the State of Wu (today’s Suzhou), wanted to conquer the neighboring State of Qi in the north. He ordered a canal be built for shipping ample supplies north. The construction started in 486 BC and completed in three years.

The Grand Canal was completed in Sui Dynasty (581 – 618); prospered in Tang Dynasty (618–906) and Song Dynasty (960–1279); the actual straight canal from Hangzhou to Beijing was completed in Yuan Dynasdty (1206–1368), different from the canal in Sui Dynasty which had linked Luoyang (Capital of Sui Dynasty) to Beijing and Hangzhou in a triangle; cleared and reconstructed in Ming and Qing dynasties ( 1368-1911). The Grand Canal’s construction started in 486 BC and navigated from Hangzhou to Beijing in the year 1293.

The present day’s Grand Canal traverses 4 provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shandong and Hebei as well as two municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin. The Grand Canal links 5 great water systems of Qiantang River, Yangtze River, Hui River, Yellow River and Hai River. It is the longest and oldest canal in the world with a total length of 1794km, 1442k,still navigable and 877km navigable all year round.

The purposes for the construction of the Grand Canal is multi-fold. 1.Strengthening the central control over the whole country by enhancing the north and south transportation and communications. 2. Further developing the economy in Yangtze Delta Area ( Jiangnan) 3. Culture cultural immersion between the central China and Jiangnan Area. 4. Convenience for carrying the grain from the south to the north.

The Grand Canal is now generally composed of 7 sections including 1) Tonghui Canal 2) North Canal 3) South Canal 4) Lu Canal 5) Mid-Canal 6) Inner Canal and 7) Jiangnan Canal. Except for the north two sections of Tonghui and North canals, all the other 5 sections still play an important role in waterway transportation and culture exchange.

Unfortunately, most part of the Grand Canal in Beijing, or popularly known as Tonghui River ( Tonghui Canal) is not navigable, only serving as sewage works. The recreational network of Rideau Canal sets us a perfect example of how to transfer a “dying canal” into a live and clean waterway to enliven and upgrade the urban life in Beijing.

Today we are happy to see people are getting more aware of the environment protection, pushing Beijing local governments to use all kinds of resources to clear and renovate the waterways from the city center – Shichahai area, the northern tip of the ancient Grand Canal to the Canal in Tongzhou District.

The Grand Canal in Tongzhou has been opened to sightseeing boating and the Shichahai ( Back Lake) has become a mecca and night hangout in the heart of Beijing. But more efforts should be made to transfer the Beijing Grand Canal into a human-nature harmonious waterway, providing the urban residents with spaces for walking, cycling, rowing, cruising.

Now, it is encouraging to learn that with the the great efforts done by experts and enthusiasts along the Grand Canal, the Grand Canal has been crowned both World Culture Heritage and World Natural Heritage in 2016. Rideau Canal got the World Cultural Heritage in 2007.

Sightseeing cruise on Rideau Canal

Sightseeing Cruise on Rideau Canal

Sightseeing Cruise on Rideau Canal

Rideau Canal at Sunset

Rideau Canal at Sunset

Rideau Canal at Sunset

Love padlocks on the bridge over Rideau Canal

Love padlocks on the bridge over Rideau Canal

Love padlocks on the bridge over Rideau Canal

The heritage bridge was built in 1882

The heritage bridge was built in 1882

The heritage bridge was built in 1882

Jogging along the shared cycle and pedestrian pathways

Jogging along the shared cycle and pedestrian pathways

Jogging along the shared cycle and pedestrian pathways

Cycling along the shared cycle and pedestrian pathways

Cycling along the shared cycle and pedestrian pathways

Cycling along the shared cycle and pedestrian pathways

Skating with her dog along the shared cycle and pedestrian pathways

Skating with her dog along the shared cycle and pedestrian pathways

Skating with her dog along the shared cycle and pedestrian pathways

Sunrise over Houhai Lake, one of the three lakes in Shichahai in Beijing, the northern tip water system of the Grand Canal.

Sunrise over Houhai Lake, one of the three lakes in Shichahai

Sunrise over Houhai Lake, one of the three lakes in Shichahai, Beijing

Qianhai Lake, one of the three lakes in Shichahai in Beijing, the northern tip water system of the Grand Canal

Qianhai Lake, Sunrise over Houhai Lake, one of the three lakes in Shichahai

Qianhai Lake, Sunrise over Houhai Lake, one of the three lakes in Shichahai, Beijing

Fishing at Qianhai Lake

Fishing at Qianhai Lake

Fishing at Qianhai Lake, Beijing

Boating on Tongzhi Grand Canal in Beijing.

Boating on Tongzhou Grand Canal in Beijing

Boating on Tongzhou Grand Canal in Beijing

The Grand Canal ends at Gongchen Bridge over the Grand Canal in Hangzhou.

Gongchen Bridge over Grand Canal, Hangzhou

 

Taking a picture of the bridge and the canal, Hangzhou

Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Beijing:

Beijing Dinner & Night Boat Tour. from US$ 59P/P

Beijing by Night Illuminations Tour  from US$33 p/p

Beijing Hutong Highlight One Day Tour  from US$59 p/p

Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)
Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)
Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)
Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Further Readings


How to Visit Grand Canal in Hangzhou.
Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

For any questions, just drop a line.