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RUPTURED BRAIN ANEURYSM: Living with a Broken Brain

RUPTURED BRAIN ANEURYSM: Living with a Broken Brain. A unique insight into the fragility of the extraordinary human brain. A true st...

Friday, August 3, 2012

BEIJING: Red Lantern House


Way back in 2010, I went to China alone. I met two co-passengers at the airport who recommended The Red Lantern House in Beijing. The Red Lantern is a very nice place to stay in Beijing, China. This is not a paid post. I just like to share my experience to those people who are looking for a place to stay in China and doesn't know where to stay. This is based on my personal experience and I do not represent the hostel.

Red Lantern House in Beijing has a great location and I considered it as a great hostel to stay. It has a very clean rooms, with comfortable beds and wifi. I love the peace and quiet atmosphere of the place. You could relax at the sofas located near the reception. I stayed there for 5 days and 4 nights which comes with a free breakfast. 

At Red Lantern House you get the unique chance to get close to old living styles in Beijing because it is near the  Hutongs (typical little street of Beijing).  It is approximately 10 minutes to the subway. Subway makes it super easy and cheap to get around Beijing. It is in the middle of restaurants. I enjoyed eating shabu shabu for 14 yuan in Beijing. I went there in November of 2010, it was nearing winter, so a cup of soup feels like heaven to me.

The staff was fantastic and very helpful with everything. One particular staff I met is quite good in English.  She even lent her map to Temple of Heaven to me and even carried my suitcase and held a taxi for me on my way to the airport. Before I forget, please note that I availed of the one day tour to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China at Red Lantern House, I recommend this to everyone.

With super clean rooms, free breakfast and very friendly staff. I'll rate them 4 stars! Excellent Hostel! I would definitely stay at Red Lantern again.

Photo from Trip advisor. I still have to find the cd containing my Beijing pictures.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Beijing Forbidden City


Beijing Forbidden City
Address: No.4 Jingshan Front Street,Dongcheng District 65132255
Opening Hour: 8:30-17:00
Time for the last ticket to be sold: 3:00 pm
Travel Time: two hours
Entrance Fee: RMB 60

How to get there:
By Bus
No. 1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 20, 52, 57, 22, 54, 101, 103,109, 111, 120, 802, special No.1 bus and get off at Zhongshan Phongshan Park stop or Tian Am Men stop. 
By Subway
Subway line 1 & 2: get off at Tiananmen west station or Tiananmen east station.
The Forbidden City is the No. 1 of top 10 Beijing must-to-see attractions. It is the most visited and the most popular sight in Beijing.

The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, and is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.

Chinese name Zijin Cheng (Chinese: 紫禁城; pinyin: Zǐjinchéng; 
literally "Purple Forbidden City"). 


The Forbidden City is the world's largest palace complex, covering 720,000 square meters with 800 buildings and 9,000 rooms in total. It was the home to 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties, and is recognized as one of the most attractive five palaces in the world (the other four are: the palace of Versailles in France, Buckingham Palace in the UK, the White House in the US and the Kremlin in Russia).

We entered the Forbidden City from the Tian'anmen Gate. Through the gate, across an expansive brick - paved square, we reached the main entrance to the palace, the Meridian Gate (Wumen in Chinese). The Meridian gate was the place where the Emperor announced the new lunar calendar on the winter solstice. 

We then, entered the Meridian Gate, and went across the Golden Stream Bridge and we arrived at the outer court. The Forbidden City falls into two parts: the outer court and the inner palaces.

The outer court is made up of three main buildings:
  1. The Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihedian)
  2. The Hall of Central Harmony (Zhonghedian) 
  3. The Hall of Preserving Harmony (Baohedian). 
These halls were where the emperors attended the grand ceremonies and conducted state affairs. The first hall waiting for you is the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the most important and largest structure in the Forbidden City. The emperors' Dragon Throne (Longyi) is in this hall. Behind the Hall of Supreme Harmony is the Hall of Central Harmony (Zhonghedian), the resting place of the emperor before presiding over grand events held in the Hall of Supreme Harmony. Emperors would rehearse their speeches and presentations here before departing to the Temple of Heaven for the sacrifice rites. The last hall is the Hall of the Preserving Harmony used for banquets and later for imperial examinations.

Out from the Hall of the Preserving Harmony, you will notice a huge block of marble carved with cloud and dragon designs. Go straight, and you will see another gate, called Gate of Heavenly Peace(Qianqingmen). This is the main gateway to the inner living court.

The inner court is composed of the three main structures at the rear of the Forbidden City, namely the
  1. Palace of Heavenly Peace (Qianqinggong), 
  2. the Palace of Union and Peace (Jiaotaidian)  
  3. Palace of Terrestrial Tranquility (Kunninggong). 
Besides the three main buildings there are the six eastern palaces and six western palaces, where the emperor used to handle every day affairs and was the living quarters for the emperor, expresses and concubines. Those palaces have been converted into exhibition halls, where a spectacular set of imperial collections is displayed.

The first structure inside the inner court is the Palace of Heavenly Peace, the emperors' sleeping quarters. Behind it is the Palace of Union and Peace, where the imperial seals were stored. The third hall is the Hall of Terrestrial Tranquility, the emperors' wedding room. Exiting and going further north, travelers will find the Imperial Garden. The garden offers an aesthetic change from the crimson and gray building complex to a colorful and luxuriant atmosphere. On the left side of the inner court, travelers will find the Mental Cultivation Hall(Yangxindian), the most important building except for the Hall of Supreme Harmony. From the time of the third emperor, Yongzhen, all the Qing emperors, 8 in total resided in this hall. The palaces on the eastern and western sides, the former residences of the concubines have been converted into exhibition halls.

The main exit gate of the Forbidden City is the Gate of Divine Might, behind the Imperial Garden.

For security the Forbidden City is enclosed by a 10 meter high city wall, which has a circumference of 3, 430 meters. At each corner of the Forbidden City, there stands a magnificent watchtower, which was heavily guarded in the past. Around the city there is a moat as the first line of defense.



Weather/Best Time to Go
The autumn months between September and November have the best weather and fewer tourists. Summer (June to August) is considered peak season, when hotels typically raise their rates and the Great Wall nearly collapses under the weight of marching tourists. Spring is less pleasant not many tourists but lots of wind and dust. In winter, you'll have Beijing to yourself and many hotels offer substantial discounts, just remember it's an ice box outside. Everything is chock block during the Chinese New Year (usually in January or February).

The best tourist season to Forbidden City is from late March to early June and from late August to late November. During these periods, choose someday not on the weekdays and holidays to avoid the crowds of people.



TEMPLE OF HEAVEN


The Temple of Heaven, literally the Altar of Heaven (simplified Chinese: 天坛; traditional Chinese: 天壇; pinyin: Tiāntán; Manchu: Abkai mukdehun) is a complex of Taoist buildings situated in the southeastern part of central Beijing. The complex was visited by the Emperorsof the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest. It is regarded as a Taoist temple, although Chinese Heaven worship, especially by the reigning monarch of the day, pre-dates Taoism.

The temple complex was constructed from 1406 to 1420 during the reign of the Yong Le Emperor, who was also responsible for the construction of the Forbidden City in Beijing. The complex was extended and renamed Temple of Heaven during the reign of the Jiajing Emperorin the 16th century. The Jiajing Emperor also built three other prominent temples in Beijing, the Temple of Sun in the east (日坛), the Temple of Earth in the north (地坛), and the Temple of Moon in the west (月坛). The Temple of Heaven was renovated in the 18th century under the Qianlong Emperor.

In 1914, Yuan Shih-kai, then President of the Republic of China, performed a Ming prayer ceremony at the temple, as part of an effort to have himself declared Emperor of China.

The Temple of Heaven was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998 and was described as "a masterpiece of architecture and landscape design which simply and graphically illustrates a cosmogony of great importance for the evolution of one of the world’s great civilizations..." as the "symbolic layout and design of the Temple of Heaven had a profound influence on architecture and planning in the Far East over many centuries."

The surrounding of the Temple of Heaven is also a very popular park for exercising. If you go to the Temple of Heaven in the early morning, you can see groups of people practicing all types of kung fu and taiji. You can lso practice with them if you are so inclined. This is another good activity for the jetlagged.

The Temple grounds cover 2.73 km² of parkland and comprises three main groups of constructions, all built according to strict philosophical requirements:

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (祈年殿) is a magnificent triple-gabled circular building, 36 metres in diameter and 38 metres tall, built on three levels of marble stone base, where the Emperor prayed for good harvests. The building is completely wooden, with no nails.
The Imperial Vault of Heaven (皇穹宇) is a single-gabled circular building, built on a single level of marble stone base. It is located south of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests and resembles it, but is smaller. It is surrounded by a smooth circular wall, the Echo Wall, that can transmit sounds over large distances. The Imperial Vault is connected to the Hall of Prayer by the Vermilion Steps Bridge, a 360 meter long raised walkway that slowly ascends from the Vault to the Hall of Prayer.


The Circular Mound Altar (圜丘坛) is the altar proper, located south of the Imperial Vault of Heaven. It is an empty circular platform on three levels of marble stones, where the Emperor prayed for favorable weather. It was built in 1530 by the Jiajing Emperor and rebuilt in 1740.

Address: on the east of Tianqiao, Chongwen District 67018866

Opening Time: 6:00-21:00
Take 6, 20, 39 Buses
Travel Time: 1.5 hours
Entrance Fee: RMB 35


SUMMER PALACE BEIJING


BEIJING SUMMER PALACE is a must see site. It is included on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Summer Palace is 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. 

The North gate is easily accessible from Beigongmen Station on Line 4 of the Beijing Subway.

Located at the northwest suburb of Beijing, the Summer Palace was originally a royal garden and a temporary dwelling palace for emperors of Qing Dynasty. The Summer Palace in northwest suburban Beijing is the largest and most complete imperial garden existing in China.

Summer Palace mainly consists of Longevity Hill (Washoushan) and Kunming Lake. Covering an area of 290.8 hectares. Of which 3/4 is covered by water.

Hill-and water- surrounded palaces,temples and garden buildings are divided into three areas: 
  • the palace area, with the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity (Renshoudian) as the center, where Cixi held court from behind a screen in most time of her late years; 
  • the residence area, with Yulan Hall, Leshou Hall and Yiyun Hall as main bodies , where the emperor and empress lived before death; 
  • the tour area integrating landscape, buildings, flower and plants, a place of tour and rest for rulers of that time. As the building center in the whole Palaces, the Tower of Buddhist Incense (Foxiangge) stands highly relying on the Hill and facing to the water.
The water surface of Kunming Lake is spacious like sky, charming, gentle and appealing. In the vast mist- covered water stand the magic hills and wonder islands. 

The Seventeen-arch Bridge spans the green water like a rainbow. The West Dike of the lake runs from north to south. 

Forming a God-fiven scene together with six graceful bridges. Business on the palace market is flourishing. 

Towering palaces shine with the hill and water, Group peaks of West Hill (Xishan) and the Jade Spring (Yuquanshan) are even taken as the background.

With masterly design and artistic architecture and integration the essence of Chinese garden arts, the Summer Palace has a title of  "Imperial Garden Museum". It is an imperial garden most completely preserved with richest landscapes and concentrated buildings. 

It is a popular tourist destination but also serves as a recreational park.Add:

Yiheyuan (Summer Palace) Road, Haidian District 62881144-209Open Time: 6:30-20:30
Take busses No.726, 826, 718, 332, 331 or 737 and get of at Yiheyuan Dongmen
Entrance Fee: RMB 40 (low season) / RMB 50 (peak season)


THE CUBE IN BEIJING


The Beijing National Aquatics Center, also known as the National Aquatics Center, and nicknamed the Water Cube, (simplified Chinese: 北京国家游泳中心; traditional Chinese: 北京國家游泳中心) is an aquatics center that was built alongside Beijing National Stadium in the Olympic Green for the swimming competitions of the 2008 Summer Olympics. 

Despite its nickname, the building is not an actual cube, but a cuboid (a rectangular box). Ground was broken on December 24, 2003, and the Center was completed and handed over for use on January 28, 2008.  Swimmers at the Water Cube broke 25 world records during the 2008 Olympics.

The Water Cube's design was initiated by a team effort. The Chinese partners felt a square was more symbolic to Chinese culture and its relationship to the Bird's Nest stadium, while the Sydney based partners came up with the idea of covering the "cube" with bubbles, symbolising water. Contextually the cube symbolises earth whilst the circle (represented by the stadium) represents heaven. Hence symbolically the water cube references Chinese symbolic architecture.

Comprising a steel space frame, it is the largest ETFE clad structure in the world with over 100,000 m² of ETFE pillows that are only 0.2 mm (1/125 of an inch) in total thickness. The ETFE cladding allows more light and heat penetration than traditional glass, resulting in a 30% decrease in energy costs.

The outer wall is based on the Weaire–Phelan structure, a structure devised from the natural formation of bubbles in soap lather.

The structure had a capacity of 17,000 during the games that is being reduced to 6,000. It also has a total land surface of 65,000 square meters and will cover a total of 32,000 square metres (7.9 acres)

After the Olympics, the building underwent a 200 million Yuan revamp to turn half of its interior into a water park. The building officially re-opened on August 8, 2010


You might also like The Egg


THE NEST IN BEIJING


Beijing National Stadium, also known as the National Stadium (国家体育场), or colloquially as the Bird's Nest (鸟巢), is a stadium in Beijing, China. 

It is our last itinerary on our second day in Beijing, China. Gracie, Lasnoches and I went to the Nest located in the Olympic Green, the stadium which costs US $423 million to build. We were so excited to have our picture taken despite the sub zero freezing night temperature.

Pleasing to the eye, the "Bird's Nest" embodies traditional Chinese elements sprinkled with modernity. With a red glow, the venue symbolizes luck and optimism, and its structure mirrors the energetic and ardent spirit innately present in athletes. The letter "N" completes the National Stadium's look, reflecting the passionate and welcoming atmosphere warranted by the Olympic Games.

The design, which originated from the study of Chinese ceramics, implemented steel beams in order to hide supports for the retractable roof, giving the stadium the appearance of a "Bird's nest".

Leading Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was the artistic consultant on the project.

The stadium officially opened in 28 June 2008. Located at the southern part of the Olympic Green in Beijing, the National Stadium is the main stadium of the 29th Olympiad in 2008. Occupying an area of 21 hectares, it has a floor space of 258,000 square meters. Its seating capacity amounts to 91,000, including 11,000 temporary seats

The Bird's Nest boasted the largest ski resort in urban Beijing. The first winter amusement activity in the Bird's Nest was the Ice and Snow Festival, which was launched on Dec.19, 2009 and lasted for two months up to Feb.20, 2010.

Address: 18 Beichen Dong Lu, Olympic Area, Chaoyang district (8437 3008; www.n-s.cn/en).


Tip: Besides Beijing National Stadium, you may visit its neighboring attractions such as the National Aquatics Center (Water Cube) and the National Indoor Stadium.

Admission Fee:

CNY50 for a visit to the National Stadium

* CNY140 for Through Tickets of Beijing Landmark Tour, including the National Stadium, the National Aquatics Center, the National Centre for Performing Arts and the CCTV Tower; the ticket is valid for one month.

Opening Hours:

9:00 to 18:00 on weekdays

9:00 to 21:30 on weekends and public holidays.

Subway:

Take Subway Line 10 to Beitucheng then switch to Subway Line 8 (Olympic Special Line): get off at Olympic Sports Center Station, get out of the station from Exit B1 (northwest exit) or Exit B2 (northeast exit), and walk north to Bird's Nest.

Bus Route:

Take bus 82, 538 or 611 and get off at Guo Jia Ti Yu Chang Dong (National Stadium East) Station.

Take bus 18, 108, 124, 207, 328, 380, 387, 409, 426, 558, 653, 694, 758, 803, 849, 985 or 特2 and get off at Ao Ti Dong Men (Olympic Sports Center East Gate) Station.

Take bus 84 or 407 and get off at Ao Ti Xi Men (Olympic Sports Center West Gate) Station.


THE EGG IN BEIJING


The National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) (Chinese: 国家大剧院; pinyin: guó​jiā​ dà​ jù​yuàn​; literally: National Grand Theatre), and colloquially described as The Egg, is an opera house in Beijing, People's Republic of China. 

The Centre, an ellipsoid dome of titanium and glass surrounded by an artificial lake, seats 5,452 people in three halls and is almost 12,000 m² in size. It was designed by French architect Paul Andreu. Construction started in December 2001 and the inaugural concert was held in December 2007.

The exterior of the theater is a titanium accented glass dome that is completely surrounded by a man-made lake. It is said to look like an egg floating on water, or a water drop. It was designed as an iconic feature, something that would be immediately recognizable.

The dome measures 212 meters in east-west direction, 144 meters in north-south direction, and is 46 meters high. The main entrance is at the north side. Guests arrive in the building after walking through a hallway that goes underneath the lake. The titanium shell is broken by a glass curtain in north-south direction that gradually widens from top to bottom.

The location is immediately to the west of Tiananmen Square and the Great Hall of the People, and near the Forbidden City.


BEIJING TIANANMEN SQUARE







                                         Adik talon ng talon kahit may shopping bags at dslr, lol!

Presenting the Beijing Tiananmen Square. We went to Tiananmen Square from our hotel via subway. It was easy because all you have to do is to walk north towards exit A or B.

It is the must place to visit in Beijing City. Located at the center of Beijing City is Tiananmen Square, where you can visit Tiananmen Tower, Monument to the People's Heroes, Great Hall of the People, Mao Zedong Memorial Hall and see the national flag raising ceremony. Thousands of people come to the Square every day.

The present Tiananmen Square has an area of 440,000 square meters and has become a relaxing place for the common people to fly kites and walk. On a holiday, the whole square is covered with fresh flowers.

There is an admission Fee of CNY 15 for ascending the Tiananmen Tower.
Free for visiting the square only.

By Subway:

Subway Line 1: get off at Tiananmen Dong or Tiananmen Xi Station.
Subway Line 2: get off at Qianmen Station. Get out from Exit A or B and walk north.

By Bus:

Take bus 1, 5, 10, 22, 37, 52, 205, 728 or 802 and get off at Tiananmen Xi.
Take bus 1, 2, 10, 20, 37, 52, 59, 82, 120, 126, 203, 205, 210, 728 or 802 and get off at Tiananmen Dong.
Take bus 2, 5, 8, 20, 22, 120, 126, 203, or 210 and get off at Tiananmen Guangchang Dong (Tiananmen Square East).
Take bus 2, 5, 20, 120, 126 or 210 and get off at Tiananmen Guangchang Xi (Tiananmen Square West).


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Great Wall of China in Mutianyu


The Great Wall of China is referred to in Mandarin as Wanli Changcheng
  (10,000-Li Long Wall or simply very long wall)
BEIJING, CHINA- Since I was a child, I always wonder how it is to traverse The Great Wall of China. So many questions keep popping on my head, like would it collapse when I walked on the thousand years old flooring? Or would my stiletto heeled boots be caught in between the tiles that made up the Great wall? Would I be the Jill tumbling down the Great Wall? Ha ha ha!
My childhood dream became a reality when I joined a tour to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China last November 24, 2010, for 320 RMB including entrance fee, breakfast, lunch and transportation to and from Mutianyu. 

Mutianyu is a very ideal location to appreciate the grandness of the Great Wall as well as to avoid the crowds of the portion of the Great Wall at Badaling. 

Mutianyu is the most beautiful section of the Great Wall of China, filled with fragrant flowers in spring, abundantly verdant in summer, charming with red-leafed maple trees in autumn and enchanting covered in pure white snow in winter.
Cable cars are available to help visitors go up The Great Wall of China in Mutianyu easily. The cost is 45 RMB. It is better to get the package of Cable going up plus Toboggan going down for only 65 RMB. This is not included in the tour package. You have to shell out another 65 RMB on top of the 320 RMB tour package.  You could opt to have the cable car alone going up The Great Wall of China in Mutianyu for 45 RMB per person.
I was so afraid I did not enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding valley when I rode the open cable car at The Great Wall of China in Mutianyu. Who would not be terrified riding an open cable car? The attendant shoved me to the passing cable car seat because I froze when I saw that the open cable car has no safety belt.
At the Great Wall of China, there are many uneven surfaces, many steep stairs to climb and a lot of walking to do, add to that, the unmerciful Siberian wind blowing so strongly. I was catching my breath after only a few minutes of walking at The Great Wall of China in Mutianyu. But the view from the Great wall is simply amazing.
I learned that the Mutianyu (Chinese: 慕田峪; pinyin: Mùtiányù) is a section of the Great Wall of China located in Huairou County 70km northeast of Beijing. The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is connected with Jiankou in the west and Lianhuachi in the east. As one of the best-preserved parts of the Great Wall, the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall used to serve as the northern barrier defending the capital and the imperial tombs.
Built mainly with granite, the wall is 7-8 meters high and the top is 4-5 meters wide. Compared with other sections of Great Wall, Mutianyu Great Wall possesses unique characteristics in its construction. 

Mutianyu watchtowers are densely placed along this section of the Great Wall - 22 watchtowers on this 2,250-meter-long stretch. Both the outer and inner parapets are crenelated with merlons, so that shots could be fired at the enemy on both sides - a feature very rare on other parts of the Great Wall. 

The Mutianyu Pass consists of 3 watchtowers, one big in the center and two smaller on both sides. Standing on the same terrace, the three watchtowers are interconnected to each other inside and compose a rarely seen structure among all sections of Great Wall.
The view from one of the window of the tower is simply amazing.
Besides, this section of Great Wall is surrounded by woodland and streams. The forest-coverage rate is over 90 percent. The view is breathtaking and certainly an experience to remember.
Going down, I took advantage of Mutianyu's wheeled toboggan ride down from The Great Wall of China in Mutianyu on a winding metal track. 
Toboggan (luge) is definitely the way to go down from The Great Wall of Mutianyu. It's a great way to end a great day and this is suitable for everyone.
You'll be at the bottom before you know it. Definitely the fastest way down. I really really enjoyed this Toboggan ride down from The Great Wall of China in Mutianyu.
Please avail of the package ride of cable car going up and toboggan down for only 65 RMB or your toboggan ride down alone will cost you 50 RMB per person.
Weeee! I love the Toboggan ride, if only for it, I would be visiting the Great Wall again in the future!!! Two thumbs up for toboggan ride!!


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