On our final weekend in Beijing, we took a trip to the Summer Palace and Beijing Zoo.
The first stop was Beijing Zoo. A short metro ride away, the Zoo is a popular attraction which boasts several rare animals such as Giant Pandas (the biggest attraction), Snow Leopards and Snub-nosed Monkeys.
As with all attractions in Beijing, there was a queue to buy tickets. Despite this, the mere price of 10 RMB (£1) made up for the wait.
Once we were in, we headed straight for the Giant Pandas.
Giant Pandas are very rare. They’re native to China; and the only place to see them in the UK is in Edinburgh.
There’s a stereotype that they like eating bamboo — it’s true. It was tough to get a good photo through the glass. So many tourist had clearly left marks on it after intently peering into the enclosure.
Someone told me that Pandas were vicious — to me this looked like a very docile, bamboo loving, fur-ball.
It was so hot in Beijing, most of the enclosures had to be cooled rather than heated. We were unable to see some of the animals as they were only allowed out in certain temperatures.
Other animals we saw were similar to your standard UK Zoo. I liked the Lemurs — they were entertaining to watch; constantly moving.
We didn’t spend long at the Zoo as apart from the Pandas, a Zoo is generally a Zoo where ever it is.
After lunch we headed to the Summer Palace. This is a metropolis of lakes, Chinese buildings, gardens and — of course — tourists.
There were countless traditional Chinese buildings to explore on the journey through the Palace. There was countless opportunities to purchase souvenirs in many of buildings. I manged to pick up a “100% genuine, all real, no fake” Rolex here. A street vendor pursued me to splash the cash (30 RMB ~ £3) — he was very persistent. I choose the watch with the most ‘diamonds’ on it as I wanted to get my money’s worth.
We didn’t fully appreciate the full scale of the Palace. The myriad of traditional buildings and gardens meant it was easy to get lost. We seemed to be aimless walking around passing buildings which we could have swore we had seen before. The massive size of the park was definitely helping our step count. There was many buildings and rocks to climb so naturally we did.
Eventually we found the central lake and understood why they were selling maps at the entrance. The lake was massive and was surrounding by even more buildings
We didn’t fancy the trek around the outside of the lake so instead to a trip in some traditional-looking transport.
The boat was a great way to take a look back where we had walked and the main Palace building as well.
After a few more hours of absorbing the culture, we found a exit and headed home. It was a busy day.