Beijing’s Temples and Hutongs

The slight hangover from last night and tiredness from the past few days of constant walking meant I had quite a late start. I slowly ambled to the Lama Temple after stopping off for a much needed coffee. There was surprisingly no queue for tickets or entrance and I very happily sauntered through to the temple thinking it seemed very quiet for a main attraction.

The Buddhist temple was decorated with magnificent roofs and archways that boasted exquisite detail. Hundreds of Buddhas of various sizes sat throughout the temple with the main attraction being an 18 meter high Muitreya Buddha clothed in yellow satin. Proudly placed next to the Buddha was a Guinness world record due to it being the largest statue to be carved out of one peice of wood.

Upon entry to the temple visitors are given a box of incense which people burnt before entering every section of the temple and praying. The burning incense and almost silence of the praying visitors gave the place an immensely peaceful and spiritual feel.

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I then went to the Hutongs, the historic alleyway type roads that Beijing used to be built around. The main Hutong was a busy pedestrianised street with plenty of bars, street food vendors and shops. The place was buzzing and had a very lively atmosphere. I mostly walked down the main hutong, occasionally turning off to explore the quieter ones. After taking a look at the grand Bell Tower and Drum Tower a bit further down I returned to the hutongs for dinner at a bar with a young local lad playing acoustic guitar and singing in Chinese.

After returning to the hostel to find the new guy in my room went to uni in Newcastle we headed to a few different bars around Qianhai Lake which all had live music, cheep beer and rooftops overlooking the lake and surrounding nightlife. Another great day of exploring Beijing.

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