In August 2015, I flew to China to visit my girlfriend who did an internship in Beijing. After spending a few days in the country’s capital, we took the train to Xining. Our plan was to travel through the mountains bordering the Tibet Autonomous Region. While individual tourism is largely impossible in Tibet, its neighbouring areas can be visited using public transport. We had a great time travelling across the Tibetan Plateau with its magnificent landscapes and rich culture. After spending around two weeks in the towns of Yushu, Ganzi, Litang, Tagong, and Kangding, we arrived in Chengdu, thereby returning to Mainland China. In the coming weeks, I will show you what we experienced throughout this journey – but let’s start at the beginning!
When I arrived in Beijing, the weather was sunny, very hot, and humid – a drastic change from the comparatively cool summer of northern Germany. On the first day, we wanted to take it slow and just spent our time strolling through the beautiful Beihai Park in the city centre. The park is dominated by a white pagoda standing atop an islet in the middle of a lake. The small temples surrounding it as well as the great views across Beijing, make the visit definitely worth the time (and the small extra admission fee). After our time in Beihai Park, we went north towards Houhai Lake where many restaurants can be found. We eventually finished the day in a bar atop the roofs of the local hutong neighbourhood.
My second day in Beijing already included some “serious” sightseeing with a visit to the Temple of Heaven – former journeys (e.g., in 2007) had made this my favourite place in the city! However, in contrast to previous years the complex was so full of tourists that walking through the most important buildings was no fun anymore… instead, we discovered some beautiful spots in the surrounding park (e.g., the Double Ring Pavilion) where we could enjoy some tranquility and relax after the bustle of the city.
Unfortunately, similar masses of sightseers were also present in the subsequent days, when we visited the New Summer Palace, the Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City. But you have to click here for the next post to read about these adventures. 🙂