Temple of Heaven

A quick stopover in Beijing

by Simon Wentzel

Traveling around in Asia? Here is another perfect city for a short stopover – Beijing. It is perfect for one or two days, especially if you have never been to China before. A lot of things to see and to do and in addition to the many highlights of Beijing you can also make an excursion to the Great Wall right outside this 22 mio. megacity. I had one full day here before flying back home the early next morning. Getting a transit visa for Beijing was also not a problem at all but required some extra time at the airport to do the paperwork at the visa counter.


Where to stay?

Beijing is full of hotels. And most of them can be reached by the excellent metro system. So before booking you may check your connection from the hotel to the main highlights and airport as well. So you wouldn’t have to change the metro line too often to get around, because this can become really bothering in the metro as most of the stations have no escalators and long ways to walk from one platform to another one.

I decided to look for a more romantic place with some Chinese flavor and booked two nights at the Red Wall Garden Hotel near Dengshikou station which is between the Forbidden City and the Temple of the Sun. It turned out to be  good choice. The room ways spacious, very clean and comfortable. They also had a restaurant with modern Chinese cuisine. The staff was very helpful getting some tickets for me for the Forbidden City.


How to spend your day in Beijing

An absolute must see is the Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. I also added the Temple of Heaven to my program. For a longer tour there are also nice parks and other temples like the Temple of the Sun.

With my ticket reservation I could easily pick um my ticket at a special ticket counter next to the entrance of the Forbidden City. You just have to show your ID card or passport for identification. 

The Forbidden City is really huge. You can spend a whole day in it. There are a lot of smaller alleys, a museum, souvenir shops and a restaurant. The restaurant can be full around lunch time but it is offering really good food for a fair price. So there is no real need to go outside and search for a place to get a lunch. 



After a couple of hours I left it through the north gate. There is also a viewing platform on top of a hill. I decided against it and took the metro to Tiantan East Gate to visit the Temple of Heaven. It is located in a very nice park so a good opportunity to take a break and get some rest after the Forbidden City visit. 

It was already late afternoon and a wonderful evening light in the park and at the ancient Temple of Heaven. Lots of people were in the park just hanging around or playing cards or doing some exercise.



And that was the day for me. I had to get up early the next day to go back to the airport and home. I really liked the atmosphere of Beijing. It was not as full and crowded as I expected. Nobody trying to sell you Tuktuk rides and also the pollution was not a problem at all. So it was overall a good day in Beijing. Next time I will bring some more time and see some more of China. 

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