We had a 24-hour layover in Beijing between our journey from Singapore to Vancouver. Just within the first night we had Peking duck, experienced their subway trains, and visited Tiananmen Square!
Read/watch here to see how we spent our one night in Beijing. This is just the first post of the many that will come as I get more time to work through my videos!
We landed in Beijing after about 6 hours in flight at 3pm. We were absolute rookies and didn’t expect there to be such a long ass queue at the customs. I was too deflated in spirit to take a photo of the crowd, but we did spend about 1.5 hours in the queue just to get through customs. I reckon it was also a very busy day at the airport.
Beijing’s famous food street
Our first stop of the day was to go to Gui Jie (簋街), or known as the locals as Ghost Street. It’s a really famous eating street in Beijing! We took the train to Dongzhimen (东直门), which got us just a 3-5 mins walk from the street. It’s also right opposite Raffles City (yep, it’s owned by CapitaLand, but not an exact replica haha).
If you’re easily pressured into making decisions, then you REALLY got to have back up when you’re walking through this street. It’s flooded with touters outside every restaurant, who are bent on showing you their latest menu and their *amazing* prices. Stand firm, and tell them you are just taking a look! Look out for that smug face when they manage to lure in you though haha.
peking duck is a must!
How can you leave Beijing without ordering the Peking duck? That was our one and only criteria for choosing a restaurant. They prepared the ducks fresh from the kitchen, which also meant we waited for close to an hour before the dish got to us. It was worth it though! Pretty good for our first meal.
Quite shocked that the portions were so ginormous. Do we Singaporeans eat too little??? Not sure why we always seem to have such small appetites when we go to these places. We ordered 2 zhajiangmian (炸酱面) and pretty much were so stuffed we were worried we won’t be able to eat the duck. We also ordered this huge dumpling, which really wasn’t nice at all.
taking a night walk
It was already past 8pm at night, but the night was still young. We wanted to go to Tiananmen Square before the day ended because we wouldn’t have any time left the next day. We took the subway to Qianmen station(前门) and made a short walk to Tiananmen Tower. The weather was perfect, about 13 degrees and we could take a leisurely walk through the streets.
Visiting tiananmen square
Tiananmen Square was…spectacular. You don’t realise how much impact a man can make in history until you see how big a portrait is hanging in front of the building. Simply, wow.
I was quite pleased with the time lapse video I took of our walk past the tower (watch my video above to see). There were many locals and tourists all around, I guess because it was a Friday night. I would’ve wanted to visit the Forbidden City – all those younger years watching so many historical dramas with my mum… Unfortunately we only had the time to visit one attraction in the day, and we were going to the Great Wall (next post)!
We finally made our way to the hotel at around 10pm, a really dark and dodgy area if you’d ask me. Haha the neighbourhood did look way better in the day though, but that’s for my next post!
Read also: iPhone snapshots from Beijing + Canada