My Summer in Beijing (On My Own)

(Text & Photos by Aidan Diaz) Last Summer, I went to Beijing for a month and saw many beautiful places and ate delicious food. I did further Chinese studies in Beijing on my own in the company of schoolmates. Here’s the story of my summer in Beijing … April 1 Arrival in Beijing We landed from a roughly 4-hour and 35-minute flight from Manila to Beijing via Philippines Airlines. It was a big airport and it took us about 10-20 minutes to get to our gate. After that, we rode the bus to get to the dorms where we will stay in for almost a month. At first glance, the Beijing Language and Culture University looked deserted but if you looked carefully, there were hundreds of people there. It took us about 3 days (I think) to get settled, and know where everything was, what the rules were and where our rooms were.   April 4 Summer Palace We had our first field trip or outing at the Summer Palace or Yiheyuan and The Temple of Heaven or Tiantan. In the Summer Palace, there is a lake, a hill, a palace, temples, houses, boats, bridges and towers. This is Lake Kunming. This is the Summer Palace. This is a gateway. This is the Seventeen-Arch Bridge going to Nanhu Island. This is a boat that you can ride across the lake. After that, we had lunch then went to the Temple of Heaven. There you can’t see as much as in the Summer Palace but there are still places to look at. This is some temple or room near the Temple of Heaven. This is the Temple of Heaven. It is a beautiful tower-like temple. After that, it started to snow. Most of us were excited because it was a first time experience. For some, simply because it was snowing. Then we went back to the dorms. Before sleeping, we checked out how cold it was and how much it snowed.   April 5 When I woke up, I also checked out the morning’s snow situation. Afterward, I changed, ate breakfast, rode the bus and went to the Forbidden City or Gugong Bowuyuan. Forbidden City When we arrived, we saw this big palace-like structure and I thought it was the Forbidden City already but it was just the entrance. We saw many palace-like structures, walls and the Emperor’s bedroom. That is the Meridian Gate. That is the Gate of Supreme Harmony. That is the Dragon Throne located at the Hall of Supreme Harmony. These are the Hall of Middle Harmony and the Hall of Preserving Harmony.   Olympic Park It was very cold in the Forbidden City and we wanted to leave as soon as possible. So we left to get lunch then went to the Olympic Park afterward. We saw many buildings like the Beijing National Stadium or Bird’s Nest. That is the Olympic Tower. That is the National Indoor Stadium. That is the Water Cube. This is an elongated park with structures, shops, and benches. After that, we went back to school where our dorms were. We also had relaxation days in school.   April 9 After our time in school, we went to The Great Wall. The Great Wall This is the Great Wall. It looks tiring at first glance. This is a part of the Great Wall from bottom to top. This is the other side of the Great Wall. This is one of the fortresses. It was very tiring to walk the Great Wall because it was very high up. Some steps need more effort than the other steps because not all of them are equal in height. You can buy a medal souvenir but I recommend that you get it only after finishing the hike. After that, it was again studying time in class.   April 11 On the next free time, we went to the Matteo Ricci shrine in Zhalan Cemetery, where he was buried together with other Italians and Europeans. Matteo Ricci Shrine This is the pathway to Matteo Ricci’s Tombstone. Matteo Ricci was a  Catholic Missionary to China. This is the Entrance to the Tomb. This is another tombstone beside Matteo Ricci’s   Aeon Mall After that, we went to this nearby mall (Aeon Mall) for our first shopping day. When we arrived, me and some of my friends ate at Yoshinoya. We didn’t do a lot of shopping but pretty much rested most of the time. All I got was a charger form Xiaomi and a jacket from UNIQLO. That was all I bought because it was a small mall.   April 14 Joy City Mall A few days after, we went to an even bigger shopping mall. There were a total of 12 floors, all with plenty of shops. There is also a long elevator going from, if I remember correctly, from 1st to 8th floor. This is a top view. These are the stores found in the mall. We spent most of our day in the mall so we also had to eat lunch there. We ate in this small Japanese restaurant Ebisu. Our next outing was somewhere most of us wanted to go, the Beijing Zoo.   April 15 Beijing Zoo There weren’t many animals. There were no lions in the lion area which was sad. But still, there were different animals I haven’t seen in person. We saw pandas. They were nice but they bored me out. This is a panda eating bamboo. There were bears too. There were even llamas.   April 22 After that, we stayed home for 7 days then went to Tiananmen Square which was a square near another entrance of the Forbidden City. This is the Monument to the People’s Heroes. After that, we went to the National Museum of China. There we saw many artifacts, paintings, and gifts from other countries. This is a Steel Sabre from the Ming Dynasty. The museum is very big. It has 5 floors above ground and 2 floors below. This is a porcelain sculpture of a leopard. This is a wood-carved hand-shaped chair presented to Comrade Deng Xiaoping by Imelda Marcos. This is a painting that shows different famous personalities. Can you spot Einstein? This is the Mao Zedong art exhibit. For more info go to After that, we went to the Science and Technology Museum. This is a MRI machine found at the science museum.   April 23 Chengde The next day we went to Chengde. It was far but there were temples and other beautiful places to see. When we arrived, we went to the Mountain Resort, a World Heritage site. This is the signage explaining about the Mountain Resort. Check this for more information. This is a drawing of the Mountain Resort. This is a chair found in the Mountain Resort. This is like the throne room of the Emperor This is the best place to take a photo according to our tour guide. After that, we checked in at the Fumanjia Hotel. This was my room. It was nice.   April 24 Temple of Potalaka The next day, we went to the Temple of Potalaka. This explains about the Temple of Potalaka. This is the main temple. This is the gate. When you enter one of the gates, you get a fortune. This is the view from the top of the temple. This is the Sledgehammer Peak.   Big Buddha After that, we went to the Big Buddha Temple. This the temple where the Big Buddha Statue is located. Its roof is very colorful. This is the Big Buddha Statue. After that, we went back to school to study for our final exams.   April 28 Wangfujing But before the finals, we had our last shopping day. It was in this big shopping street called Wangfujing. There were edible scorpions and delicious tea. This is a good milk tea there from Wuyutai. These are the scorpions at Wangfujing. After that we had our finals. I passed! The next day we went back home to the Philippines. It was a fun experience.   Life is a game,   AIDAN P.S. This was my pasalubong to my family.        

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