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Unforgettable trip to China

Visiting China was one of my dreams. During the April holidays, my dream came true because my parents took me to Beijing and Xi’an. As soon as the holidays began we left on our trip. Our flight was via Singapore and Hong Kong so we reached Beijing on the 9th of April. The very next day we went to see three of the most important sights in Beijing. They are the Forbidden City, Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven.


Forbidden City

The Forbidden City is also called the Imperial Palace. For 500 years the Forbidden City in Beijing had been home to Chinese emperors.

It is called the Forbidden City because ordinary people were forbidden to enter the palace complex. It is referred to as “the palace with 9,999 and half rooms”, as only heaven has 10,000. (In fact it has 8,706 rooms and halls.) The Hall of Supreme Harmony is the largest of the three halls and during the time of the Ming and Qing dynasties, it was the tallest building in Beijing.

The spectacular Temple of Heaven complex is in the middle of one of the city’s most popular parks. This was built in 1420. The Temple of Heaven served as a place for rituals for Ming and Qing emperors. A brick wall surrounding the hall of heaven has become famous as the Echo Wall.

The Summer Palace which is situated at the foot of the Xishan Mountain in Beijing was built in 1750. There is a beautiful and huge lake called the Kumming Lake in which one can ride a boat. A long corridor runs along the foot of the hill parallel to the Lake. The corridor walls are beautifully decorated and have paintings depicting scenes from all over China.


Temple of Heaven

To go to the other side of the palace you can take the dragon boat which is a big boat that looks like a dragon. The view from the center of the lake is very beautiful as you can see many bridges and islands.

I couldn’t wait until I went and saw the Great Wall which is one of the greatest wonders in the world.

We were scheduled to see the Wall the next day. It is a popular belief that if you haven’t been to the Great Wall you haven’t been to China. We went to see the Great Wall at a place called Badaling which is about 60 km away from the Beijing City. Badaling is extremely popular with visitors and there were hundreds of tourists who had come that day.

The Great Wall is an unbelievable structure. Wherever you look you see parts of the Great Wall. The Great Wall was built by the emperor Qin Shihuan. This Wall stretches for more than 5600 km. The American astronaut Neil Armstrong who manned the spacecraft “Apollo” said “the Great Wall is one of the two construction projects on earth that can be seen clearly from space”.

We were scheduled to go and see the Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an the next day. Xi’an is about 1200km away from Beijing. We took an overnight express train which left Beijing at 8.00 p.m. and reached Xi’an at 7.30 a.m. the following morning.


Terracotta Warriors

The train journey itself was a wonderful experience for me as our ‘soft-sleeper’ compartment was very comfortable. Each bed had a small television for watching movies. Our tour guide was waiting for us at the station when we reached Xi’an. We first went and saw the Terracotta Warriors which I was impatiently waiting to see.

The Terracotta Warriors were also made by the emperor Qin Shihuan. Each statute is different from each other and their weapons are made in bronze. There are more than 7000 Warriors at three different sites called ‘pits’. There are statues of soldiers, archers, charioteers, cavalrymen with horses, and armoured and unarmoured officers of different ranks. Originally, these statues had been painted in different colors but now much of the paint is completely gone.

Then we went to another museum where visitors can see how the great wall and the terracotta warriors were made. This museum also has an artificially done underground burial chamber for the emperor for the visitors to get an idea about how the real burial chambers looked like. Finally, we went to see a temple in X’ian called the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.

It is a beautiful temple with a beautiful sprawling garden. At the end of our tour of X’ian, we boarded the overnight train again to return to Beijing.


The Great Wall of China stretches across top of mountains

Beijing is one of the biggest cities in the world and I was thrilled to see huge buildings and sky scrapers all over. The roads are wide with spacious pavements. Beijing has an extensive subway network with trains going in every direction every two minutes. The under ground stations are very clean and modern. The Olympic stadium was next on our agenda and we got there by subway.

The main stadium or the ‘Birds Nest’ is an architectural wonder. Visitors can visit the stadium after buying a ticket. Next to the Birds Nest is a building called the ‘Water Cube’ where all the water sport competitions were held.

One evening, we spent some extra time at the Tiananmen Square which is the biggest city square in the world.

Lots of people gather there at dusk to see the national flag of China being brought down with military honors. This is a daily event which is popular with local and foreign visitors to Beijing.

We also saw a special a night food market where there were strange kinds of food for sale. There were steamed sea horses, live scorpions and star fish on sticks. I realized that some people that came to the food market seem to like the food.

Finally the day arrived when we had to get back home and I was feeling sad that we had to leave for the airport. The Beijing airport is one of the most modern airports in the world and has more than 80 gates similar to the Hong Kong airport.

It was a thrilling experience to have visited a modern and fast developing country. I learned so much about Chinese history and about the lovely people in that country. My trip to China was truly memorable.

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