Friday, 30 May 2014

Travel Diaries: Beijing Day 4 - Lama Temple & Hutongs

Today I'm back with another Travel Diary from my trip to Beijing, China! You can read about Days 1 & 2 when we went to Forbidden City, and Day 3 when we went to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall & the Ming Tombs. On day 4, we went to the Lama Temple, explored some hutongs, and went to Silk Street!

We woke up bright and early, and took the subway to the Lama Temple. The temple is actually attached to the same building as the subway, making it incredibly easy to find. We arrived before the temple opened, and there was a crowd forming. When the doors opened, the crowd rushed in, and we lined up to get our tickets. Once inside, we were each given a bundle of incense, which you can burn at different stations, and give as offerings.

Lama Temple Entrance

Incense at Lama Temple

Prayer Wheel at Lama Temple

Dylan and I aren't Buddhist, but we were still able to appreciate the sacred grounds. It was great seeing people so excited about their religion! The Lama Temple is the home of the largest wooden Buddah in the world - it's really a sight to see. This Buddah is made from a single white sandalwood tree, measuring over 36 meters high. No photos were allowed, but it's definitely something that I'd recommend seeing if you're in Beijing. 

Lama Temple

After visiting the Lama Temple, we were starving and looking for somewhere to eat. Luckily, there were many vegetarian restaurants surrounding the temple. I chose vegan sweet and sour "pork" with pineapple, and Dylan tried vegan Kung Pow "chicken". Both dishes were incredibly delicious, I wish you could find vegan food like this in Ottawa! Trying to eat with chopsticks was a challenge, but I think we got the hang of it by the end of our trip.

Vegan sweet and sour "pork"
Vegan sweet and sour "pork" with pineapple

Vegan Kung Pow "chicken"
Vegan Kung Pow "chicken"

After lunch we went to explore some hutongs, which are alleys that people can live in, or can be modernized to house small shops and restaurants. 

Chinese hutong

Chinese hutong

We walked through a few different hutongs, and stopped into some stores along the way. We took a break in a park inside the hutong, were there were a few older men playing ping pong on a public table. It was a gorgeous day - very sunny, little smog, and no humidity. 

Couple in Chinese Hutong
selfie time!

Girl in Park

Next, we went back to our hotel to refresh, and then took the subway to Silk Street. The subway in Beijing is only 2 Yuan, which is equivalent to only 35 cents Canadian. Yes, 35 cents. If only public transportation was that affordable in Canada! They have recently made Silk Street an indoor market, and it's essentially just a giant building crammed with various vendors. Most are selling "Chinese authentic" goods - knockoff Nikes, etc. If you visit Silk Street, be prepared - it's a very high pressure environment! You can barter for some good deals, but I personally don't like that kind of sales environment. Dylan loved bartering though, he had a ton of fun interacting with the locals. 

Silk Street, Beijing
Silk Street

Another great day in Beijing! If you're planning a trip to China, I hope that these posts have given you a bit of inspiration as to what to do and see. There's so much to do, but I think that we were able to get a lot done in the short amount of time that we were there. Stay tuned for the rest of my Travel Diary posts! :)

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  1. Amazing pictures once again! Sounds like an incredible trip :)

  2. The weather is so nice and sunny.
    Yea transportation is so cheap in china, taking taxi from place to place is like the norm...
    I wish it was like that here... I took a taxi last summer, cost me 70$ (wasnt even that far)

    1. Ugh I know! It's so expensive in Ottawa too... not fun!

  3. Gorgeous selfies you two!

  4. Bartering makes me super nervous....but at the same time, I'm cheap! I definitely left the bartering to my parents when we were in Asia, L O L.
    Just looked up photos of Lama Temple--INSANELY GORGEOUS.

    1. Haha! it's actually kind of fun, and you can get some really great deals :)
      I know, the Lama Temple is insanely beautiful!

  5. The vegan food looks SO good! Beijing looks amazing.

    1. The food was incredible! Beijing was truly amazing, I miss it so much!


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