Archive for the ‘Beijing Attractions’ Category

How to Visit Lama Temple

Friday, February 16th, 2018
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Plan your Beijing Tour? If you are interested in Chinese Lamaism or Chinese Buddhism, Beijing Lama Temple is not to be missed.

Beijing Lamasery Temple is called “Yonghegong” (雍和宫) in Chinese which literally mesans” Harmony and Peace”. “Yonghegong” is a romanization form (pinyin) of Chinese charactors – 雍和宫 (Lama Temple).

Pinyin is quite useful in China, especially on people’s names, shop fronts, street names and place names etc. When Chinese people write their own names in Englsih, they use Pinyin. All the bus stops and subway stops for Lama Temple are named “Yonghegong” in English instead of Lama Temple.

For many foreign travelers coming to Beijing, Yonghegong (Lama Temple) is a very important attraction just after Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven in the city center. Yonghegong Lama Temple was originally built as the residence of Emperor Yongzheng when he was still a prince. After he came to the throne (Emperor Yongzheng), he changed his old residence into a temporary palace called “Yonghegong” in 1725. In 1744, his successor, Emperor Qianlong turned the palace into a lama temple. This Tietan Buddhist Lama Temple is still popularly called Yonghegong.

Built along a central axis from north to south, the Lama Temple’s compound is mainly comprised of six major halls, which make seven courtyards. The six halls include Yonghe Gate Hall, Yonghegong Hall, Yongyou Hall, Falun Hall, Wanfuge Pavilion and Suicheng Hall. There are also many side buildings built on the both sides of the central axis. Before you visit the six halls and seven courtyards, you will first see the Memorial archway.

How to get there?
Well, taking the subway is highly recommended. You either take subway line 2 or Line 5 and get off at the stop of “Yonghegong”, exit from the Exit C. Turn left and walk along the sideway for about 450meters. then you will get to the entrane to Lama Temple.

Entrance Fee: CNY25 per person
Opening Hours: 09:00 – 16:30 ( April – October)
09:00 – 16:00 (November – March)
Follow me into Lama Temple (Yonghegong).

Take subway line 2 and get off at the stop of Yonghegong (雍和宫) ann remember to exit from Exit C leading to Yonghegong St. Out and turn left walking alongside the red wall of Yonghegong for about 400 meters, you will reach the entrance gate to Yonghegong. 

From the EXIT C of Yonghegong Subway Station, you turn left and walk along the red wall, inside which Lama Temple is located. The 400 meters sideway is teemed with front stores selling incense, fortune-tellers and so on. 

On your left side, you will see the entrance to the compound of Lama Temple.

the entrance to the compound of Lama Temple

In the middle of the compound is the archway leading to the six halls and seven courtyards to the north of the archway.

In the middle of the compound are the three conneced Memorial archways

On the right side of the archway is the ticket office.

On the right side of the archways is the ticket office.

Have your ticket collcted at the side gate of the archway, you walk north along the imperial carriage pathway where in Qing Dynasty the straight path was used for the carriages of the emperors and their empresses during the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911). 

You walk north along the imperial way

At the northen end of the imperial carriage pathway is the Zhaotai Gate only used for emperors.

At the northen end of the imperial carriage pathway is the Zhaotai Gate only used for emperors.

Entering Zhaotai Gate, you will be in the second courtyard which has a Drum Tower on the right side and Bell Tower on the right side and more side buidlings in the courtyard.

To the north of the courtyard is Yonghe Gate. Built in 1694, originally the main gate to the Lama Temple. Now Yonghe Gate is enshrined with the four heavenly kings and the statue of the big belly Meitraya Buddha.

Now Yonghe Gate is enshrined with the four heavenly kings and the statue of the big belly Meitraya Buddha

North of the Yonghe Gate is Yonghe Hall. Yonghe Hall ( Hall of Harmony and Peace ) is the main palace in the temple.

Inside the hall, there are three bronze Buddhas – Sakyamuni (Present Buddha) in the middle, The Past Buddha on the right and Maitreya ( Future Buddha ) on the left. 18 Arhats are placed on both sides of the Hall.

Yonghe Hall ( Hall of Harmony and Peace ) is the main palace in the temple

 North of Yonghe Palace is Yongyou Hall. The Yongyou Hall was originally the living place of Emperor Yongzheng before he was throned. When he died, his coffin was placed here in the hall.

Now inside the hall, a statue of Amitayus (Longevity Buddha), with Bhaisajyaguru ( Medicine Buddha) to the right and Simhanada (Meaning Wisdom) to the left.

North of Yonghe Palace is Yongyou Hall.

North of Yongyou Hall is Falun Hall. The hall was named Falun Hall in 1744 when Yonghegong was transformed into a lamasery. The Hall was originally the living place for the Emperor’s wives. Its architecture features both Chinese and Tibetans styles.

A large statue of Tsong Kha-pa, the founder of Lamaism is positioned on the altar of the Hall with sacrificial offerings. Behind this statue is an Arhat Hill which has 500 Arhats. Falun Hall is the places lamas chant, read scriptures and hold Buddhist ceremonies.

North of Falun Hall is Wanfu Pavilion (The Pavilion of Pavilion of Ten Thousand Happinesses). Wanfu Pavilion is the highest building in the temple.

It was built built between 1748 and 1750. Now it enshrines the Meitreya Buddha. The statue is 18 meters above ground and 8 meters under ground and carved from a single trunk of white sandal wood. In August 1999, it was in Guinness book of records.

The last hall is called Sui Cheng Building. Originally built in 1744, the hall now enshrines the White Tara, the Green Tara and the founders of Gelugpa sect of lamaism in different periods,

The last hall is called Sui Cheng Building

 Kids are happy to turn around the prayer wheels.

Kids are happy to turn around the prayer wheels

A foreign buddhist

A foreign buddhist

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 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
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

Any questions, just drop a line.

Catholic Mass Times Beijing

Saturday, February 3rd, 2018
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Want to attend a catholic church service in Beijing? There four major catholic churches in Beijing, namely Nantang Cathedral (South Cathedral), Beitang Cathedral (North Cathedral), Dongtang Cathedral (East Cathedral) and Xitang Cathedral (West Cathedral). Each catholic church has its own unique Mass Times.

We highly recommend you go to Dongtang Cathedral (East Cathedral), which is also known as St. Joseph’s Church or Wangfujing Church. It is located on the most commercial street in Beijing – Wangfujing Street ( No.74 Wangfujing Street).

The St. Joseph Church was constructed in a Romanesque Revival style, well known for its fusion of European and Chinese styles in its design, featuring pilasters and three bell towers.

A large square outside the church is a public city park with 1.2 hectares, a good spot for wedding photos and Roller board skating. The square’s north end is adjacent to Wangfujing Street.

After attending church service, have a stroll along Wangfujing Street, rubbing with the locals and delved into the shopping and dining world.  The part of the wangfujing Street (810m) has been transformed into a pedestrian street since 1999.

St. Joseph’s Church
Address: 74 Wangfujing St, Dongcheng, Beijing
Phone: +86 10 65240634 (English), or 65212162 (English)

Mass on Christmas Day (To be reconfirmed)
11:30 am ( English Mass )
04:00 pm ( English Mass )

Mass on Easter Day
04:00 pm ( English Mass )

Below is the routine Mass Schedule at St. Joseph’s Parish:

English Mass Time
4:00pm on each Sunday afternoon

Chinese Mass Times: 
Weekday Mass
6:30am
7:00am
Saturday Mass
6:30am
7:00am
Sunday Mass
6:15am
7:00am
8:00am

Opening Hours
8:30am – 10:30 pm
Monday – Friday 2:00pm – 5:00pm

So, 4:00pm on Sunday is the only time for English catholic church Mass service at St. Joseph’s Church. It is mainly set for expatriates and, of course, all are welcome.

For the mass times are just for your reference. The mass schedule is subject to change without notice. Contact the church to confirm the Mass Times.

Any questions, just drop a line.

St. Joseph’s Church with its fusion of European and Chinese styles in its design, featuring pilasters and three bell towers.

The north exterior of St. Joseph's Church

The north exterior of St. Joseph’s Church

The west side wall of St. Joseph’s Church

The west side wall of St. Joseph's Church

The west side wall of St. Joseph’s Church

The corridor in the north of the church with three entrance gates

The corridor in the north of the church with three entrance

The corridor in the north of the church with three entrance

The ornately decorated hall of St. Joseph’s Church

The ornately decorated hall of St. Joseph's Church

The ornately decorated hall of St. Joseph’s Church

A large square outside the church is a public city park with 1.2 hectare

Escorted Beijing tour in Winter
Don’t want to go the do-it-yourself tour? No worries, here are some options for guided tours to Beijing for your winter trip.

Beijing Winter Tour .

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 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


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

Any questions, just drop a line.

How to Visit Ming Tombs in Beijing

Saturday, January 27th, 2018
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

 

Ming Tombs Tourist Map from www.maps-of-china.net

Before we talk about how to visit Ming Tombs, people are more interested in knowing whether Ming Tombs are worth visiting. Well, as far as I know, people are quite divided on this. Some dislike; some feel they are ok and others say they are a must see. So different people with different cultural and social backgrounds have their own different opinions on the question.

For many visitors, the visiting of Ming Tombs is not as important as that of Forbidden City, Summer Palace and the Great Wall of China. It is not worth a separate trip.

But in my opinion, generally it is quite worth having a glimpse on a combined journey to or back from the Great Wall since the location of Ming Tombs is quite accessible on the way to the bits of the Great Wall of China – Juyongguan, Badaling and Mutianyu.

Of course, their accessibility is not the only reason for being worth visiting. Listed as UNESCO world cultural heritage, Ming Tombs provide people a kind of real experience. That tells why this place is a popular place for native Chinese, especially those who are attracted by history.

If you are going to visit the Tombs, then how to visit them? What homework you should do before you come close to them? Maybe the following Ming Tombs travel tips will be useful for you:

Tip # 01: Grab some basic knowledge of the 13 Tombs in Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644)
Ming Tombs are about 13 tombs in Ming Dynasty where 13 out of 16 emperors in Ming Dynasty were buried successively there. There were totally 16 emperors in Ming Dynasty.

Why 13 emperors were buried there?  Zhu Yuanzhang, the founder of the Ming Dynasty was buried in the Xiaoling Mausoleum in Nanjing; Zhu Yunwen, the Emperor Jianwen disappeared and Zhu Qiyu, the Emperor Jingtai was buried at Jinshan Hill in the western suburbs of Beijing. All other 13 Ming Emperors were buried in this tomb area, hence the area popularly being called the 13 Ming Tombs.

Of all the 13 Ming Tombs, at present only 3 Ming Tombs are open to the public, namely Dingling, Changling and Zhaoling ( “ling” literally means “Tomb” in Chinese). So before you are going to visit Ming Tombs, you’d better know which of the 3 tombs you should visit, which are located separately quite a distance. The three tombs are also a little different in terms of ticket prices and value.

Of the 3 Ming Tombs opened to the public, only Dingling ( often called Underground Palace) has been excavated. There is down a long staircase into a chamber with some stone thrones and a few large plain red boxes which are the burial caskets in the so called underground palace.

Tip # 02: Of the 3 tombs, which one you should visit?
Because all the 3 tombs are located separately quite a distance, usually you only have time to visit one of the three tombs. So which one? If you have no problem with your knees and feet, and are fairly good at walking, you are advised to visit Dingling – the underground Palace.

You have a long walk from the Dingling Entrance before you get to the Tomb itself, where you walk 8 flights of stairs down. The walk to the tomb can be hard and long during high season, but normally takes about 15 minutes.

If you are wheelchair users or have some difficulty in walking, just forget Dingling, and choose Changling instead. Changling is the largest tomb of all the 13 Ming Tombs.

Changling is the tomb where buried the Third Emperor Zhu Di with his queen Nee Xu. Changling is not excavated. But its grand hall on the ground is worth visiting. The construction of the hall started in 1409 and finished in 1427. As for Zhaoling, you can simply skip it since it is almost  renovated.

The Dingling Tomb

The Dingling Tomb

Tip # 03: Sacred Way is highly recommended

For me, the best part of Ming Tombs tour is the walk down Sacred Way which is lined with large statues that are several hundred years old. These are huge statues of lions, camels, elephants, etc, and they are located on both sides of the walkway.

The Sacred Way is part of the Ming Tombs complex. Sacred Way means the road leading to heaven. The Emperor, known as the Son of the Heaven, who descended from Heaven to his country through the Sacred Road, also would return to Heaven through this way.

Sacred Way

Sacred Way

 

Tip # 04: How to get there and admission fees
Sacred and Ming Tombs are located in Changping District, about 50km north of Beijing.

Entrance Fees:
Changling Tomb: RMB 30 (November.01 – March. 31); RMB 45 (April. 01 – October. 31)  Dingling Tomb:  RMB 40 (November.01 – March. 31); RMB 60 (April. 01 – October. 31)  Zhaoling Tombe: RMB 20 (November.01 – Machr. 31); RMB 30 (April. 01 – Oct. 31)

Sacred Way: RMB 20/30)
Opening Hours:
Changling Tomb: 08:30 – 17:30  Dingling Tomb: 08:30 – 18:00  Zhaoling Tomb  8:30 – 17:30
Sacred Way: 8:30 – 18:00
Tickets stop selling about half a hours before the tombs are closed.

Tip # 05  Bus 872  Deshengmen Bus Terminal scheduled for Ming Tombs
The Bus 872 starts from Deshengmen Bus Station which is located on the north square of Deshengmen Arrow Tower (德胜们箭楼) lying on the mid-way of the northern second ring road. It is worth getting up earlier to catch an early morning Bus 872 for Ming Tombs.

How to  go to Deshengmen Bus Terminal
Several buses can bring you to the Deshengmen Bus Station. But the bus system in Beijing could be daunting even for the local Beijingers. It is advisable to take the Subway Line 2 to reach Deshengmen Bus Station. The the closest subway station to Deshengmen Bus Station is Jishuitan (积水潭) of the loop-type Subway Line 2.

You get off at the station of Jishuitan (积水潭), exit from the Exit A. Then walk along the sideway in the east direction for about 450 meters, soon you will see a high tower – the Deshengmen Arrow Tower. Deshengmen Bus Station is just below the northern side of the tower.

The compound of Deshengmen Arrow Tower is within a roundabout. So you have to cross a road to reach the bus station. You have to be careful crossing the road since the road has no traffic light at the time of my writing.

By the way, on your 450-meter walk from the subway station of Jishuitan to the Deshengmen Arrow Tower, you will pass alongside the Deshengmenxi Bus Station (different from Deshengmen Bus Station) and you just ignore it!

You will be also distracted by some privately owned buses or mini-buses operated in the name of official Badaling-bound buses. We strongly suggest you take the official buses within the Deshengmen Bus Station for safety and reasonable price.

Don’t be surprised if you find the queue in front of the bus 872, especially on the weekends or national public holidays.

Bus 872 is below the west side of Deshengmen Tower

Bus 872 going between Deshengmen  and  Ming Tombs ( Dingling Tomb and Changling Tomb) : 
First Bus and last bus from Deshengmen to Ming Tombs: 09:15-16:15
First Bus and last bus from  Ming Tombs to Deshengmen: 08:00-15:00
Bus Fare: 8 yuan
The Bus 872 leaves every 10  minutes
The Bus 872 has 15 bus stops,  Dingling (last but two stop) and Changling ( last stop), taking about one hour.

Bus 772 for Ming Tombs

Bus 872 for Ming Tombs

Tip # 06 How to plan your Ming Tombs Tour?
It is better to incorporate your Ming Tombs into a journey covering other tourist attractions also. How to incorporate? Usually Summer Palace can be combined with Ming Tombs trip on a one day tour in Beijing.

The most common is blended with the trip to one of the sections of Great Wall of China – Juyongguan Great Wall, Badaling Great Wall or Mutuanyu Great Wall on an a day trip in Beijiong.

Tip # 06: Avoid Public Holiday and Weekend
For local Chinese, Ming Tombs are just as important as Forbidden City and Summer Palace, never missed on their trip to Beijing. On weekend, especially during the public holidays, Ming Tombs can be very crowded! Take greater precaution when you go down the 8 staircases to the underground palace at Dingling Tomb.

Tip # 07:  Bus 879 Between Dingling (Ming Tombs) and Badaling Great Wall
If you’d like to go from Ming Tombs ( Dingling ) and Badaling or vice versa, you can take the Bus 879 listed below:

1) Dingling Tomb ( Ming Tombs) to Badaling Great Wall

Fist Bus:8:00 am
Last Bus: 4:00 pm
Bus Fare: 9 yuan
The Bus 879 leaves every half an hour
The Bus 879 has 25 bus stops from Dingling (Ming Tombs) to Badaling Great Wall ( the last but the third ) taking about one and half hours, about 40km.

1) Badaling to Dingling ( 定陵):
Fist Bus:9:30 am
Last Bus: 5:30 pm
Bus Fare: 9 yuan
The Bus 879 leaves every half an hour
The Bus 879 has 25 bus stops from Badaling to Dingling ( Ming Tombs ), taking about one and half hours from Badaling to Dingling (定陵), the last bus stop ( about 40 km ).

If you’d like to go to directly from Deshengmen to Badaling Great Wall,  take the Bus 877 ( see the link: Badaling Bus 877).
Tip # 8:  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 Beijing guided tours:

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

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

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

Any questions, just drop line.