This morning we started out at the Temple of Heaven. I did see it from a distance during my last visit, but this was my first opportunity to see it up close. It was very nice and our tour guide explained that it was built in 1420 (same year as the forbidden city) and that it was only used 2 or 3 times a year to pray (and offer a sacrifice) for rain.
Temple of Heaven:
After the Temple of Heaven we visited a tea house where we tasted different versions of tea. The tea was good even without sugar (I like my sugar with tea and cream). The tea room is a government run tourist trap – yes they try to sell you tea. This is similar to the rug demonstration in Turkey and the perfume and papyrus demonstrations in Egypt. It wasn’t high pressure, but obviously I would have preferred more sightseeing at the Temple of Heaven, rather than the tea demonstration.
From the tea demonstration we went to lunch (Chinese food) which was very good and filling.
After lunch we visited Tienanmen square and the Forbidden City. We saw the building which was Mao’s Mausoleum, but did not go in. I’ll make sure I do next time I stop in Beijing. We spent a couple of hours inside the Forbidden City, however we only visited a few of the buildings in the center (you can’t actually go in any of them). I feel like I saw a lot more the last time I visited on my own a few years ago.
Entrance of Forbidden City from Tienanmen square:
View of the Entrance from the opposite side:
After the Forbidden City we took the tour bus back to the hotel. The traffic in Beijing is very poor and it took a significant amount of time to get back. Once we got back we had dinner at the buffet in the hotel restaurant. The highlight of the dinner was roasted duck.