Even though hiking the Great Wall was physically exhausting, being in the countryside of Beijing felt very relaxing to us for the two days that we were there. Once we arrived into the bustling city center of Beijing, it was a completely different vibe with tall skyscrapers, busy streets, and polluted air.
We tend to splurge on our girls’ trip, so we booked The St. Regis Beijing, and were treated to a luxurious room with a splendid view and exceptional service for the next few days!
After checking into our room, we ventured out right away to our first stop–lunch at 1949 The Hidden City for….PEKING ROAST DUCK ofcourse! Previously when I visited Beijing, I went to the famous Da Dong not 1, not 2, but THREE times. It was that good! So naturally, I wanted to go back to Da Dong on this trip too, but my sis convinced me that we should try something new, and 1949 came highly recommended, so I complied. 🙂
1949 was an interesting place. It felt like a city within a city, nestled in between skyscrapers. It was built in the old Beijing Machinery Factory from 1949 and is now inclusive of restaurants, bars, gardens, events spaces, art gallery, and private member’s club.
Service there was excellent, but more importantly, the roast duck lived up to its reputation. It was definitely one of the very best that I’ve had!
With very full bellies, we headed to our next stop…The Forbidden City! Prior to the trip, Bridge and I did a lot of research on both the Great Wall of China and The Forbidden City. It’s completely fascinating to read about the history of these places, and then actually getting to step foot there!! This is definitely my favorite aspect of worldschooling…the ability to learn history in context is amazing.
The vastness of the Forbidden City is mind blowing, and while we got a self-guided audio tour, we probably walked just a fraction of it in the few hours that we were there. There were times when we just paused to absorb the amazing richness of history that stood before us. If I could, I would want to spend an entire day there!
Our next stop was Tiananmen Square, and we arrived just in time to see a gorgeous sunset amidst the chaos of people that were there.
We didn’t stay very long as it was just so crowded, with everyone trying to take a picture in every corner. We then took the subway to Nanluoguxiang Street, one of the popular hutongs in Beijing. Subways in Beijing are clean and very easy to navigate, and often easier than trying to flag down a taxi, but security checks are present at each subway station so you just have to make sure you allocate a little extra time for that.
Nanluoguxiang Street was so much fun to peruse through, with cute little shops, food stalls, and restaurants. The girls discovered this shop with an entire wall filled with washi tapes, along with journals and stationaries. I think we spent over an hour in there and bought more washi tapes than we could ever use in a lifetime! For dinner, we had dumplings and noodles, two of our favorite eats in Beijing besides the roast duck.
On our last day in Beijing, we took it easy and spent a leisurely morning at the hip 798 Art Zone. This district houses an artistic community and has a range of galleries, restaurants, bars, and shops. It’s a fun place to spend an afternoon, and you’ll stumble upon some amazing sculptures and art work while you stroll around.
We went back to the hotel for some chill time, and then enjoyed a scrumptious high tea in the lobby lounge of The St. Regis. High tea is one of our indulgences whenever we visit Asia, and this one definitely did not disappoint!
For our last dinner in Beijing, we found a local dumpling place and ordered the wildest dumpling fillings we’ve ever had….such as UNI (sea urchin) dumpling! I think we prefer the more traditional dumplings in the end, but we’re glad to have been adventurous with our food choices on this trip. 🙂 Oh, and for dessert, one has got to try the bingtanghulu (middle picture below), which is a traditional Chinese snack of candied Crataegus pinnatifida, also known as mountain hawthorn, Chinese haw, Chinese hawthorn or Chinese hawberry. The girls prefer the more modern version of the candied strawberries, but I think everyone should at least try the classic version!
This was definitely one of our favorite girls’ trip and we did not want to leave so soon, but alas, a little toddler eagerly awaits our return in Hong Kong by the name of Brady. 🙂