Explore Beijing: Jingshan Park, Forbidden City & Tiananmen Square

Tiananmen Square

My first impression on Beijing was, “Wow pollution in Beijing are real!” because I could see all the pollution fog even at 5 am in the morning. But then as I explore the city, I had my second impression which I don’t even expected, that Beijing is seriously neat. My expectation of Beijing is that the city is crowded and messy with traffic everywhere, just like Jakarta (well, I have to say this). The reality is, Beijing is unlike Jakarta!

I am impressed with the transportation system which are so integrated. Beijingers mostly use metro and bus as their main transportation. Metro station and bus stop are everywhere in Beijing. It is also connected with most of the main road and building. If you often use this two kinds of transportation when you are in Beijing, then I suggest you to buy Beijing Transportation Smart Card (Yikatong). With the card, you don’t have to buy single ticket everywhere you go on a trip and also it offers 50% fare discount!

Bus in Beijing

Beijing Transportation Smart Card (Yikatong)

From what I saw, Beijingers also use electric motorcycle and bicycle. You could find bicycle for rent in the side of the street! All you have to do is scan the barcode in the back of the bicycle and pay the rent with e-wallet (WeChat pay). After using it, you could put it in the side of the street in your destination.

Then if transportation in Beijing is so neat and integrated, where all the pollution came from? I supposed it was from industrial and manufacturing work.

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Even tough I arrived in the morning, I immediately explored the city because I was so curios and excited. I was accompanied by Shippo, my high school friend who are currently taking her Chinese language program in the city. She helped us a lot with Chinese, which we didn’t understand even for a bit. For efficiency’s sake, she suggested to visit Jingshan Park first as it is located near Forbidden City.

Jingshan Park is basically a garden with a beautiful landscape, overlooking the Forbidden City. In the past, the park served as an imperial garden and also a place built for the emperor to make sacrifices to his ancestors. Now, the park is one of the must visit place in Beijing because of its beautiful scenery.

Jingshan Park

To reach the park’s summit, I have to climb steep stairs. I was pretty exhausted and took some breaks while climbing it. But I swear, the effort were worth the view. There are five pavilions in each summit of the park and each one of them has Buddha statue. The Wanchun Pavilion on the middle summit is the most famous pavilions as it served central point of the city. From this pavilion, I could see the magnificent view (I was having a bad luck because that day, Beijing’s sky were so hazy) of Forbidden City, Bell and Drums Tower, Beihai Park, and White Dagoba Temple. Trust me, every corner in Jingshan Park are pictures worthy!

Forbidden City View from Jingshan Park

View from Jingshan Park

Next, I moved to the Forbidden City. That day, Forbidden City was really crowded. I entered from the Northern Gate which is just opposite the Jingshan Park. Forbidden City was an imperial palace for the Ming and Qing Dynasties (if I’m not mistaken). It named Forbidden City because nobody was permitted to enter without special permission from the emperor. But now, the palace is open for everybody.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City Northern Gate

Too bad, because of the crowd I decided not to enter Forbidden City. I just took some pictures in front of the iconic Northern Gate. But if you want too visit Forbidden City, I suggest you to come earlier in the morning to avoid the crowd. Also prepare yourself to walk as it took sometime to explore the Forbidden City.

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I visited Tiananmen Square on my last day in Beijing. I get off at the Qianmen Station and exit to the gate B, after that I just walk straight to north following the crowd. At first, I don’t really know where was the entrance gate, but then I saw this queue. But since the queue filled with all Chinese (seems like there’s no tourist), I still have my doubt whether it was the entrance or not. Then I asked the security guard and apparently that was the entrance gate.

When in queue, I saw all the Chinese show their identification card to the security guard. Then the security guard scanned their ID with some machine and let them enter the security gate. I also show my passport to the security guard, because I taught it was necessary. But I asked my brother who went there the another day and he said that tourist didn’t have to show their ID. So I taught the ID checking and tight security procedure was only applied to the Chinese. Maybe because of the Tiananmen Square tragedy in 1989?

Tiananmen Square

Finally after queueing for some time, I entered the square. It was filled with people and they took photos everywhere. I just spent 15 mins here to took photo in front of the Tiananmen Tower with the iconic portrait of Maozedong and The Monument to People’s Hero. The famous attraction on this place is the flag raising ceremony and flag-lowering ceremony. So please refer to the timetable if you want to witness it. But for me, saw the red building and the iconic portrait of Maozedong was enough to completely mark my visit in Beijing.

Tiananmen Square 2

Monument to People's Heroes

National Museum

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