My first day in Beijing may be one of the longest days I have ever had in a country. 5:00am arrival with a 1:30am bed time that evening. Somehow, Kalindra and I managed to stay very busy!
We arrived to the Traders Hotel Beijing around 7:30am. Unfortunately, our room would not be ready until about 2:30pm so we took off on our first China adventure. We stumbled across one of the only places open for breakfast on our way to the Silk Market and had the choice of noodles, congee or some Chinese steamed buns. Nothing like jumping straight into a local breakfast on day 1! The Silk Market is absolute insanity and also referred to as the knock-off market. Louis, Gucci, Prada, Hermes, Goyard oh my! They were all there and ready to be negotiated for. Purses, scarves, shoes, clothes, jewelry and anything else you can imagine were displayed in all their glory. Had we not been so exhausted I am sure we would have done a bit more shopping damage but instead we only walked out with a few items. However, after a few hours of browsing we jumped on the subway to head to the Lama Temple.
The Yonghe Temple also known as the “Lama Temple”, is a temple and monastery of the Geluk School of Tibetan Buddhism located in the northeastern part of Beijing, China. The building and the artworks of the temple is a combination of Han Chinese and Tibetan styles. Inside the temple is a Guinness Book of World Records holder for a 26m tall White Sandalwood statue of the Maitreya Buddha.
It was getting to be check in time and we had to shower and get ready to meet my friend Ian from college who now lives in Beijing. There is something to be said about a local to show you around a foreign country. We went to the following places:
1) Atmosphere – This is the highest bar in Beijing and really offered us amazing views for sunset.
2) Masuka – One of Ian’s friends said we had to stop by this place as they had the best draft beer and then we could brainstorm about our dinner options.
3) Hong Lu – We wanted some peking duck and luckily we were with people who spoke Chinese because they ordered for us and the food just kept coming. We had a smoked duck which was not the traditional peking duck and an array of other dishes.
4) Migas – Continuing on our tour of local Beijing nightlife, we were taken to Migas which is a gorgeous rooftop restaurant and bar. It was a freezing cold and windy night and this place was super warm and a nice reprieve from the bone chilling wind.
5) Heaven – I don’t even know where to start in describing this place. This is a liquor store with tables that basically becomes a bar. Tons of expats go to this bar and they have sort of taken it over as their place to go.
6) Mix – Ian was determined to show us various aspects of Beijing and thus we ended up at Mix which is a Chinese nightclub. There were multiple rooms with different DJs in each room and music so loud that we could not hear each other think. We didn’t last long here.
7) Chocolate – This little Russian night club was quite the gem that even included a cabaret show. During World War II there was a large migration of Russians into China which led to a mix of Russian-Chinese relationships and children. The mix is absolutely beautiful! Ian’s girlfriend also met us at this club to wind down the night.
Finally, the day caught up with us and it was time for bed. All and all, I think we had an awesome first day adventure in Beijing!
Chinese lesson for the day. Hello – Ni Hao