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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Beijing, China - Day 2

We continued Day 2 with Catherine Lu Tours and it was again another big day for all of us. We are finally going to visit THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA for the first time!

Day 2

The Great Wall of China - Mutianyu
As everyone knows, the Great Wall of China is one of the seven wonders of the world. It stretches miles and miles protecting China from the invasion of their enemies. Some people claimed that we can even spot it from the moon. Not sure how true is this myth though.....

There are many sections of the wall that is open for the public. The famous ones that are usually visited  by tourists are Badaling and Juyongguan as they are nearest to the Beijing city.
We opted to visit Mutianyu instead as it is slightly further but are significantly less crowded based on reviews and feedback that we read online.

We started our journey very early in the morning as we stayed quite far. We were all dozing our way in the early morning By the time we managed to open our lazy eyes, we were greeted by a beautiful scenery.

Beautiful random lake with trees at the side
We thought we are almost reaching, only to found out that there is still a little uphill ride to go before reaching the entrance.
Mutianyu Entrance
We opted to take the cable-car up instead of the hiking! Took the lazy tourist option. Hahahaha...

The cable-car ride was a little scary as it is very open. Those with fear of height might opt to hike instead! And those traveling with young cheeky children should definitely hold tight to them at all times!
Cable-car ride to the Great Wall
After the cable-car ride, we hiked a few flight of steps and finally reached THE great wall.
First photo ON the Great Wall
We were in Tower No.5 and as advised from our guide, we will climb towards Tower No. 1 for a nice view. Notice that the guide used the word "climb" and not "walk"? Well, it's because the great wall are mostly steps!
Great Wall of China
I did not realize that before my trip here. I have always thought the great wall is a flat slope and maybe just a few steps, but no!! Most of them are steps!! Uphill or downhill are all steps!!!! It caught me thinking that the soldiers and armies back them must have very strong stamina and fit to patrol the wall.
The Wall of Great Wall
The climb might be a little tiring, but it was worth it. Look at the beautiful view of the Great Wall.
The view of the journey we've hiked
The highest tower at the top of this picture - the place we started
Some white flowers has even blossomed and they are so beautiful with the vintage wall behind as a background!
Beautiful flowers against the Great Wall
Peeping out the doorway
The un-restored area of The Great Wall
We also saw some abandoned broomsticks in one of the tower and decided to be cheeky by flying on them and be wizards for awhile.
Come on Firebolt, the Golden Snitch is there!
There is a famous quote about the wall - "He who never climbed The Great Wall cannot be deemed a man". It truly was an honour climbing and being at the Great Wall.
Finally, not so many steps
The cool weather on that day makes the climb not so tiring as well. It took us about 2 hours to climb from Tower 5 to Tower 1, and then back again to Tower 5. Of course, we stopped alot for photo-taking moments. 

Can you spot us?
Spot us!
Instead of taking the cable-car ride down to the hill, some of us decided to take toboggan ride down. The queue was quite long compared to the cable-car. I think we queued for almost 1.5 hours for the ride.
Toboggan ride + cable-car
It's a downhill ride on a simple sledge with small wheels. There is a stick at the front of the sledge when pressed down, the sledge will come to a break. It was quite a thrilling ride as the sledge go pretty fast and lots of time, we did not have enough time to break and hit the sledge in front of us! 
Toboggan ride was fun!
Here's a short video of me taking the ride from behind.
Overall, the Great Wall was not a disappointment to me at all! It was my favourite place in my Beijing trip!

The Summer Palace
When I first heard about the Summer Palace, I thought it would be just a palace with a nice garden in it. I was shocked to find that the summer palace is soooooo big.
Entrance of one of the building in Summer Palace
And what I love most about this place was it was built as a 60th birthday gift by the emperor to his mother. It took 15 years to complete! What a filial son!

The Kunming Lake is man-made in the shape of peach to represent longevity. The ground/sand that was dug from the lake was made into the Longevity Hill. The Tower of Buddhist Incense stood on the Longevity Hill, being the highest building in the Summer Palace.  
Kunming Lake with the Tower of Buddhist Incense on top of the Longevity Hill
Kunming Lake with the 17 Arch Bridge
The Pavillion
The place is filled with so many willow trees that they are so hauntingly beautiful. 
Willow Trees
 There are also rooms that featured the original furniture used by the olden emperor/empress inside one of the building. We can only see from the open window or door. No entering!
Ancient furnitures
This place also featured the longest corridor in the world, with painting of myths and legends from the Chinese. It is also situated right next to the Kunming Lake which gives us a beautiful view of the place (if there are not so many people visiting!).
The Long corridor is indeed very looooooooooooooong
Of course, not to forget the beautiful wooden roofs on the octagonal pavilions!
Love the roof
It was a very long walk to complete the Long Corridor. When we reached the end of it, we were all a little tired. So we opted to take a ride on the Dragon Boat for a little tour around the Summer Palace.
Dragon Boat

Us on the Dragon Boat

The view of The Tower of Buddhist Incense from Kunming Lake.
View across the lake
A closer look at the The Tower of Buddhist Incense
After the boat ride, we walked closer to the 17-Arch Bridge that connects to one of the island inside the Summer Palace. This bridge was carved with 544 lions in different postures.
17-Arch Bridge
beautiful marble

It was around sunset when we leave the place. It was lovely!
We were a little rushed in the Summer Palace as we arrived late afternoon and it is a big place to discover! If only we have a little more time, we would've been more relaxed and spend more time to enjoy the beauty of the place.

I love my Day 2 in Beijing!

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