Beijing Travel Diary Pt. 4: Great Wall,Yuanmingyuan, Temple of Heaven, etc.

Here is the last post which covers all the remaining recommended Beijing tourist attractions! In addition to the Great Wall, Yuanmingyuan Park (Old Summer Palace), Tiantan (Temple of Heaven), and Qianmen, I also visited the Bell & Drum Tower, Hutongs, Ming tombs, and shopped at Wufujing, but I won’t be focusing on those activities.
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Yuanmingyuan Park is the old summer palace which was mostly destroyed during the Anglo-French allied forces attack in 1860. The park can be split into 3 different regions – Yuanmingyuan, Wanchunyuan, and Changchunyuan gardens. Sitting by the lake in Yuanmingyuan is so peaceful and highly recommended if you have ample time on your hands.
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You can see ruins here (not pictured) and lots of lotus flowers, which can be seen in the Changchunyuan garden.
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The Great Wall @ Badaling
Getting to the Great Wall is honestly a struggle but a must when visiting Beijing. The best way to get there is by joining a 1-day tour, because the Great Wall is located ~1.5-2 hours away from central Beijing. I heard tourists must be wary of taxis since they often unethically drop people off mid-drive to the location.
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We were dropped off near the Great Wall Museum (which is free btw), and rode a cable car to watchtower 8 ’North 8th Tower’, the highest point on the wall. Badaling is the most well-maintained region of the Great Wall, but is also very crowded. Still worth a visit, since this area contains thousands of years of history.
Tiantan (Temple of Heaven)
Tiantan is an imperial sacrificial altar where Chinese royalty worshipped their deities. Here is the ‘Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests.’ Chinese royal architecture was very intentional; 4 pillars symbolizing the four seasons, 12 pillars equating to 12 months, the other 12 pillars symbolizing 12 hours 2x a day for a total of 28 pillars. In addition to the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, there’s also the ‘Imperial Vault of Heaven’ and ‘Circular Mound Altar,’ which are other important structures located in Tiantan.
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Qianmen translates to front gate, and it is very centrally located near Tiananmen and famous shopping areas.
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Until next time,
Amanda

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