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August 2, 2010 /

Beijing Day 4: Tiananmen Square & Forbidden City

Day 4 – our final day in Beijing – meant seeing what EVERYONE has to see when they visit: Tian An Men Square and the Forbidden City. Did we save the best for last? I’ll leave that up to you as you r...

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Stone mountain in Forbidden City, 故宫, Beijing, China
Stone mountain in Forbidden City, 故宫, Beijing, China

Day 4 – our final day in Beijing – meant seeing what EVERYONE has to see when they visit: Tian An Men Square and the Forbidden City. Did we save the best for last? I’ll leave that up to you as you review these photos and the ones in our previous Beijing travel photography posts: Day 1 & 2 – Temple of Heaven & Great Wall or Day 3 – Summer Palace & Winter Palace.

Tian An Men Square, Beijing, China
Tian An Men Square, Beijing, China

Tian An Men Square, the People’s Square, is just that: full of people!! Now I though we saw a lot of domestic Chinese tourists at the other historic sites we visited, that was nothing compared to Tinanmen Square and the Mao Zedong mausoleum.

Chinese solider in front of Mao Zedong's portrait
Chinese solider in front of Mao Zedong's portrait

We saw the typical historic sites around the Square but didn’t want to wait in the hour long line to see Mao Zedong with the hundreds upon hundreds of tourists in line. We snapped a few pictures and then headed across the street to the Forbidden City.

Forbidden City, 故宫, Beijing, China
Forbidden City, 故宫, Beijing, China

I knew the Forbidden City was big, but once you get there it really is a sight to behold. The rooms and squares inside the walls of the Forbidden City seem to go on forever. Walking to one side opens to a giant square and tons of chambers; heading to the other side finds even more!

A lovely Chinese girl in Forbidden City, Beijing, China
A lovely Chinese girl in Forbidden City, Beijing, China

After some daydreaming that I was living inside my favorite Chinese action movies that show off the Forbidden City, we wandered around some more and ran into this amazing artist that really impressed me. I loved the work so much that I simply had to have a painting to bring back as a real souvenier from Beijing.

Oil Painting artist Hong Yi holding the work we bought in Forbidden City, 故宫, Beijing, China
Oil Painting artist Hong Yi holding the work we bought in Forbidden City, 故宫, Beijing, China

Of course being the photographer I asked Betty to take a picture of me and Hong Yi after I snapped a photo of him with his painting.

Chinese girl posing for pictures at the Forbidden City, Beijing, China
Chinese girl posing for pictures at the Forbidden City, Beijing, China

After another day full of walking we wrapped things up by taking a stroll through the Hutongs of Beijing: the traditional old streets that have not yet fallen prey to urbanization. Seeing how people used to live (and still live actually) was another neat slice of life and adds to the overall experience of the city of Beijing.

Sharing the Moment in Beijing
Sharing the Moment in Beijing

From here it was off via taxi to one of the Beijing Railway stations so we could take the overnight commuter train from Beijing to Shanghai. Saving a night’s hotel room and the 8 hour travel time by sleeping though it? Sign me up! This was easily the best deal during our trip and another must-do for the budget- or time-conscious traveler looking to maximize their time in China.

Chinese man riding the train
Chinese man riding the train

So ends the story of our time in Beijing. I already wrote briefly about the farmers we encountered on our next leg of the adventure, where we traveled to rural Shanghai. After a week in rural Shanghai we spent our last three days in Hong Kong, look forward to our next travel photography posts!

Chinese man and daughter
Chinese man and daughter
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