Although the main reason for our Beijing escape four years ago was to experience the Olympics (as you’ve probably seen in my first travel blog post about the Beijing Olympics), the Hubby and I decided to hit two birds with one stone by taking our 2 boys along (a 5 year old and a 10 month old). We had never gone to mainland China before as a family and took this opportunity to do so. In between our packed Olympic events and our very limited time in the city, we were still able to see some of its most famous sights and destinations.
Our first stop was the Summer Palace. This site was included by UNESCO in its World Heritage List. It declared the Summer Palace “a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design. The natural landscape of hills and open water is combined with artificial features such as pavilions, halls, palaces, temples and bridges to form a harmonious ensemble of outstanding aesthetic value.”
My eldest, enjoying the sights and sounds of the palace…to him the Summer Palace was just one big outdoor playground!
As we were walking around the Palace, we spotted this street artist, who created calligraphy on the pavement using only water and a sponge!
A glimpse of one of the many Chinese temples within the Summer Palace. To the Chinese, the architecture and the landscape of their Summer Palace is an expression of their creative art.
Next, we headed to Tiananmen Square, a large city square in the center of Beijing. The square was the site of several important events in Chinese history.
At the the south of Tiananmen Square is the Zhengyangmen Gatehouse.
Up next on our tourist explorations was a visit to the Forbidden City.
The Forbidden City served as the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty.
The area is really vast! You definitely need more than a day to fully explore it. And may I also suggest you don a pair of good walking shoes to protect your feet 🙂
For almost 500 years, this gated city served as the home of emperors and their families.
Such beautiful, rich colors.
And amazing details abound! This tourist spot is my favorite amongst all of them 🙂
And of course, when you’re in China…I just couldn’t resist taking a snapshot of this funny signboard! (Let me know what it means when you have it figured out 🙂 )
Now, since the kids were getting restless already in the Chinese temples, we decided to change our itinerary a bit and bring them to a place that’s more child friendly! As promised, we took them to the Beijing Zoo to see some animals…and look what greeted us! Giant panda bears!
A languid little panda bear…looking so spoiled! 🙂
It was mealtime for this little one!
A panda in its natural habitat.
Here’s a closer look at this cute, furry little creature…the kids wanted to take them home! 🙂
Last but not the least, and definitely a highlight of our trip to Beijing was seeing the Great Wall of China!
As you may probably know, the Great Wall of China is one of the 7 Man-Made Wonders of the World…and for us to have seen this magnificent structure with our bare eyes was truly a mind-blowing experience.
The Great Wall of China is “a series of fortifications made of brick, stone, wood, earth and other materials, created to protect the Chinese emperor against intrusions”
It stretches from Shanhaiguan in the east to Lop Lake in the west and measures 21,196 km. in length. It is considered to be the LONGEST man made structure in the world!
Can you believe that because this structure is so massive, it can actually be seen from outer space?!!
It was definitely a climb we will never ever forget.
The Hubby helps our then 5-year old son up the steps. I tell you, the climb to the top of the Great Wall was no easy feat, especially for a little boy, who insisted on wearing his favorite Mr.Bean backpack all the way to the top! 🙂
It felt so surreal to finally make it up there.
So happy and proud of our little boy who made it with us!
On top, we were simply awestruck and left speechless by the beauty of its natural surroundings.
The view through one of the wall’s many windows. It made us feel like we were in a different time and place…
It surely seemed like the Great Wall of China can go on and on and on…
The trek up the Great Wall of China was definitely one big adventure for me, the Hubby and our little one…undoubtedly, it wasn’t just any other walk in the park! And as parents, we were so proud that our then-five-year-old son was probably one of the youngest to have climbed this amazing man-made wonder! 🙂 Such an incredible experience for a young boy; certainly something he can already cross off from his own bucket list! This is one of our incredible life moments that we will always remember, relive and retell for generations to come.
What’s on top of your own bucket list?