Undis­cov­ered Beijing

There’s more to China’s cap­i­tal than mod­ern ar­chi­tec­ture, sky­scrapers and com­plex fly­overs

New Straits Times - - Jom! -

Longqing Gorge in China.

THE 3,000-year-old city of Beijing is home to at least 21 mil­lion peo­ple. Stand­ing as the cap­i­tal city of China for over eight cen­turies, the third most pop­u­lous city in the world is rich in his­tory with the in­flu­ences of mod­ern ar­chi­tec­ture, civil­i­sa­tion, tech­nol­ogy and cen­turies worth of cul­ture.

Beijing is the fastest-chang­ing city in the world with huge con­struc­tion sites, sky­scrapers and com­plex fly­overs. Yet, the city hosts one of the old­est cul­tures and his­tory that tourists should visit at least once in their life­time. This means Beijing is more than just world-fa­mous land­marks, such as For­bid­den City or Tianan­men Square.

If you’re plan­ning a visit, check out AirAsi­aGo.com for af­ford­able travel pack­ages. In the mean­time, let’s tickle your travel cu­rios­ity with these at­trac­tions worth vis­it­ing.

LONGQING GORGE

Lo­cated 85km to the north of Beijing, Longqing Gorge is of­ten likened to the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River. How­ever, its moun­tains are much steeper and the wa­ter is clearer and cleaner than that of the Li River in Guilin.

Pic­turesque scenery aside, Longqing Gorge is also home to the world’s long­est dragon-shaped out­door es­ca­la­tor that spans to 258m to reach China’s largest dam, Longqing Dam. There, you can ei­ther choose to hop on a ca­ble car or take a leisurely boat trip. If you are look­ing for some­thing to pump up your adren­a­line, try bungee jump­ing into the gorge!

Oh, and whilst you are there, check out the breath­tak­ing at­trac­tions like the Comb Hill, Im­mor­tal Taoist Tem­ple, Flow­ers Cave and Jin­gang Tem­ple.

798 ART DISTRICT

Cov­er­ing 60 hectares north­east of Beijing, 798 Art District is home to Chi­nese cul­ture and art with a sig­nif­i­cant in­flu­ence of mod­ern art.

The place was named af­ter the 798 fac­tory built in the 1950s dur­ing the Cul­tural Rev­o­lu­tion era. Some of the gallery

Qian­hai lake in Shicha­hai area of Beijing . Artis­tic spray paint graf­fiti char­ac­ter Beijing 798 district.

spa­ces are bom­barded with Maoist slo­gans in­scribed in big red let­ters plead­ing the bour­geoisie to work hard for Mother China, giv­ing vis­i­tors a true de­pic­tion of what dwellers in this area went through.

The best times to visit 798 Art District are dur­ing the two month-long an­nual art fes­ti­vals — the 798 Art Fes­ti­val (from end of April) and 798 Cre­ative Art Fes­ti­val (from the end of Septem­ber) where artists from all over the world gather to dis­play their works.

AN­CIENT OB­SER­VA­TORY

One of the pioneers in as­tron­omy is defi-

The An­cient Ob­ser­va­tory, Beijing.

nitely mighty China. As­tron­omy in China was first in­tended for time­keep­ing as the cy­cles of the sun and moon are dis­tinct and cal­en­dars are of­ten re­leased by the as­tronomers. As it got more ad­vanced, Chi­nese as­tronomers were even able to ac­cu­rately pre­dict eclipses back then!

Built in 1442, the Beijing An­cient Ob­ser­va­tory is one of the world’s ear­li­est royal ob­ser­va­to­ries and an evo­lu­tion of an older and smaller ob­ser­va­tory dated back in 1227. You can find the orig­i­nal eight an­cient in­stru­ments for star-gaz­ing in the ob­ser­va­tory.

How­ever, the in­stru­ments have had a

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