Beijing Diary Part 3: The Summer Palace and Yuenmingyuen Park

Saturday, 17 January 2015

The Summer Palace was probably my second favourite place on the trip after the Great Wall. The place is huge, with a lake and gorgeous buildings.

This long corridor is literally named 'long corridor'. Chinese names are to the point.

The seventeen arches bridge.

Window details.

Yuenmingyuen was the old summer palace before it was destroyed in the opium wars.

Ruins of an original stone bridge.

The emperor had a western style palace built on the site.

I'd have thought this place was in Europe!

The park is also home to this family of black swans. There must've been around 20 photographers pointing their cameras on them.

So that's it from Beijing! I'll try to keep the next travel diaries shorter.

If you ever plan on going to Beijing (and I do recommend it!) here are some tips:

Most of the toilets are the hole in the ground kind where you have to squat. I know some people really aren't keen on them, so if you'd rather do your business sitting down then malls, hotel lobbies, and more expensive restaurants are your best bet. If you do have to use a public toilet, then look for the disabled stall.

More on toilet talk (sorry): some toilets are holes in the ground and have no doors. Yep. I was told this is more common in rural areas, but I did walk into one in Nanluoguxiang. I think I actually blurted out 'oh sorry!' and walked out. 

People will try to sell you tours to places like The Great Wall. While this might be easier, it is a lot cheaper just to take the train (or a bus) and go yourself. You can also buy tickets to the Wall whilst on board.

Keep in mind that a lot of sites are blocked in China (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram sometimes) so if you want to stay in contact with people outside your safest bet is using the Chinese messenger app WeChat. However, Whatsapp and Gmail did work on my phone, which surprised me because google is blocked.

Try the duck. Or three.

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