Song of the Travelling Penguin
things i didn’t do this time around (a list)
  • visit tiantan
  • night time at beihai
  • pangjiayuan
  • buy a new mahjong set
  • learn how to make jianbing or something
  • eat enough hotpot
  • museums: watermelon; national; art; eunuch
  • out of town excursions: beidaihe; datong; pingyao

but there’s always next time. 

I’m struggling here to convey the enormity of this queue. I thought, going in, that arriving at 0910 at the National Museum would be early enough (it opens at 9). I was wrong. Here, you can see nearly the end and nearly the beginning of the queue. It twisted and turned, and all on my own I couldn’t bring myself to wait in a queue that had several hundred people in front of me.
The national museum will just have to wait until my next visit to Beijing. Which is a shame cause I really wanted to see the pottery exhibit. 
National Museum of China
16 East Chang’an Avenue
East side of Tian’anmen Square
No cost for entry (hence the giant queue)
Get there on the subway: Line 2 to Qianmen; Line 1 to Tian’anmen Dong. 

I’m struggling here to convey the enormity of this queue. I thought, going in, that arriving at 0910 at the National Museum would be early enough (it opens at 9). I was wrong. Here, you can see nearly the end and nearly the beginning of the queue. It twisted and turned, and all on my own I couldn’t bring myself to wait in a queue that had several hundred people in front of me.

The national museum will just have to wait until my next visit to Beijing. Which is a shame cause I really wanted to see the pottery exhibit. 

National Museum of China

16 East Chang’an Avenue

East side of Tian’anmen Square

No cost for entry (hence the giant queue)

Get there on the subway: Line 2 to Qianmen; Line 1 to Tian’anmen Dong. 

today alaine, chris and i visited the military museum! it was free entry, and the queue to enter was massive. we stood in the sun for twenty minutes as the line slowly moved forward. i made friends with some twelve year olds who were very excited to speak to me in mandarin, and who later followed us around the museum. they told me that it was not their first visit to the museum, they just love coming. 
the inside is currently not accessible, a visit only gets you as far as the decommissioned vehicles and things arrayed outside the massive building, including boats, cannons, planes and tanks. TANKS. there is a lot of them. the text is all in chinese but it’s pretty easy to work out. 
there is also a worryingly large amount of memorabilia for sale, and we have a lot of theories about why this museum, of all the museums in beijing, is free. 
when the inside is open again, i’d be interested in visiting, but i’d take a brolly to shield me from the sun. 

[ i took some photos: click through for more! ]

military museum
open tuesday to sunday, 08:30-17:00
free, id copy required for entry
get there on the subway, military museum station

today alaine, chris and i visited the military museum! it was free entry, and the queue to enter was massive. we stood in the sun for twenty minutes as the line slowly moved forward. i made friends with some twelve year olds who were very excited to speak to me in mandarin, and who later followed us around the museum. they told me that it was not their first visit to the museum, they just love coming. 

the inside is currently not accessible, a visit only gets you as far as the decommissioned vehicles and things arrayed outside the massive building, including boats, cannons, planes and tanks. TANKS. there is a lot of them. the text is all in chinese but it’s pretty easy to work out. 

there is also a worryingly large amount of memorabilia for sale, and we have a lot of theories about why this museum, of all the museums in beijing, is free. 

when the inside is open again, i’d be interested in visiting, but i’d take a brolly to shield me from the sun. 

[ i took some photos: click through for more! ]

military museum

open tuesday to sunday, 08:30-17:00

free, id copy required for entry

get there on the subway, military museum station

[pictured: danni, next to some wheels for comparison. click through for more photos!]
today we visited the china railway museum! it was in the middle of nowhere - we caught a bus and then walked 3km, which i don’t recommend in the middle of summer.  
however, despite a lack of models i had some fun. lots of engines, lots of carriages, several that you could wander inside and through, lots of interesting things to look at - but maybe only if you’re already into trains (like penguins are). and it was interesting to see just how many trains were made outside china before a certain point - and how many were made in china after that.
no one can ever question my devotion to trains after i trekked this far to see these ones. 
中国铁道博物馆 / china railway museum
north of no.1 jiuxianqiao north road, chaoyang 
take a bus to 798 or 酒仙桥北路 and then catch a taxi
20Y
don’t confuse it with the beijing railway museum located at qianmen which is rumoured to be closed (but which i’m still going to check out)

[pictured: danni, next to some wheels for comparison. click through for more photos!]

today we visited the china railway museum! it was in the middle of nowhere - we caught a bus and then walked 3km, which i don’t recommend in the middle of summer.  

however, despite a lack of models i had some fun. lots of engines, lots of carriages, several that you could wander inside and through, lots of interesting things to look at - but maybe only if you’re already into trains (like penguins are). and it was interesting to see just how many trains were made outside china before a certain point - and how many were made in china after that.

no one can ever question my devotion to trains after i trekked this far to see these ones. 

中国铁道博物馆 / china railway museum

north of no.1 jiuxianqiao north road, chaoyang 

take a bus to 798 or 酒仙桥北路 and then catch a taxi

20Y

don’t confuse it with the beijing railway museum located at qianmen which is rumoured to be closed (but which i’m still going to check out)

L and I visited the Qingdao Navy Museum (海军博物馆) and it was all in Chinese so I was explaining all the exhibits to her and we were making fun of things, and then we went out the back and it was a giant deserted vehicle yard with planes and creepy vans and guns on wheels and ships and submarines. Although we climbed aboard one ship we didn’t go into this sub, because I can’t imagine descending into a submarine with a queue of Chinese tourists being a fun things. 
In the end we left, a bit earlier than I thought we would, because we were standing there beside a gun turret on this ship and we realised that probably people had died and our work here saves the government money and it just all got a bit creepy.
海军博物馆
Laiyang Rd (Luxun Park), Shinan District
青岛海军博物馆, 莱阳路8号, 中国山东省青岛市市南区
Admission: 80元. EIGHTY! 八十元!太贵了!

L and I visited the Qingdao Navy Museum (海军博物馆) and it was all in Chinese so I was explaining all the exhibits to her and we were making fun of things, and then we went out the back and it was a giant deserted vehicle yard with planes and creepy vans and guns on wheels and ships and submarines. Although we climbed aboard one ship we didn’t go into this sub, because I can’t imagine descending into a submarine with a queue of Chinese tourists being a fun things. 

In the end we left, a bit earlier than I thought we would, because we were standing there beside a gun turret on this ship and we realised that probably people had died and our work here saves the government money and it just all got a bit creepy.

海军博物馆

Laiyang Rd (Luxun Park), Shinan District

青岛海军博物馆, 莱阳路8号, 中国山东省青岛市市南区

Admission: 80元. EIGHTY! 八十元!太贵了!

Random visit as we walked past the Phone and Postage Museum (邮电博物馆) in Qingdao. Free entry, cute museum shop where I bought things, lots of old phones, and it explains all the old phones in my hostel just up the road, but the actual museum itself was closed. 

Anhui Rd
Qingdao

Random visit as we walked past the Phone and Postage Museum (邮电博物馆) in Qingdao. Free entry, cute museum shop where I bought things, lots of old phones, and it explains all the old phones in my hostel just up the road, but the actual museum itself was closed.

Anhui Rd
Qingdao

Considerably more awesome than I thought it would be, the China Geological Museum is four floors of rocks, gems, games and history. There’s explanations of tectonic plates and Chinese astronomy, games with rocks and buildings (can you build to withstand an earthquake?), there’s mineral vs vegetable and a room kind of built to mimic a cave, with rocks and minerals inset. There’s dinosaur bones set in the ground, and a futuristic gemstone chamber, and finally a jewellery store, just in case. 
30Y entry, lots of English explanations. 
Xisi station on line four, take the South-West exit and it’s right there, towering over the exit. Definitely recommended. Click the photo for more photos! 

Considerably more awesome than I thought it would be, the China Geological Museum is four floors of rocks, gems, games and history. There’s explanations of tectonic plates and Chinese astronomy, games with rocks and buildings (can you build to withstand an earthquake?), there’s mineral vs vegetable and a room kind of built to mimic a cave, with rocks and minerals inset. There’s dinosaur bones set in the ground, and a futuristic gemstone chamber, and finally a jewellery store, just in case. 

30Y entry, lots of English explanations. 

Xisi station on line four, take the South-West exit and it’s right there, towering over the exit. Definitely recommended. Click the photo for more photos! 

taking photos in the forbidden city! i do not recommend visiting on a public holiday in spring, it is exhausting.

taking photos in the forbidden city! i do not recommend visiting on a public holiday in spring, it is exhausting.

tried to visit mao at the memorial hall yesterday, but the hall was closed in advance of qing ming today, when visitors are expected to increase and his visiting hours are extended. so we waved and went on our way across to the tiananmen gate and into the forbidden city.
it’s probably for the best. you have to check all your stuff and sometimes the queues can weave around the building. 
if you do want to go, definitely take exit A out of qianmen station. it’s a bit of an epic adventure to get into the square if you don’t. 

tried to visit mao at the memorial hall yesterday, but the hall was closed in advance of qing ming today, when visitors are expected to increase and his visiting hours are extended. so we waved and went on our way across to the tiananmen gate and into the forbidden city.

it’s probably for the best. you have to check all your stuff and sometimes the queues can weave around the building. 

if you do want to go, definitely take exit A out of qianmen station. it’s a bit of an epic adventure to get into the square if you don’t. 

postage stamp museum, three floors of stamps, postal technology and communications history. one floor is entirely dedicated to displays of stamps, and it felt like every stamp issued by china post was there. stamps on display included goldfish (1969), pilgrimage to the west (1979), xinanjiang hydro-electric power station (1964) and intellectual youths in the countryside (1964). it was super nerdy but kind of fun (though i think i would have enjoyed it more if i’d been with someone else). 
6 gongyuan xijie, dongcheng district
jianguomen (lines 2 + 1) exit a
no cost! closed on mondays 

postage stamp museum, three floors of stamps, postal technology and communications history. one floor is entirely dedicated to displays of stamps, and it felt like every stamp issued by china post was there. stamps on display included goldfish (1969), pilgrimage to the west (1979), xinanjiang hydro-electric power station (1964) and intellectual youths in the countryside (1964). it was super nerdy but kind of fun (though i think i would have enjoyed it more if i’d been with someone else). 

6 gongyuan xijie, dongcheng district

jianguomen (lines 2 + 1) exit a

no cost! closed on mondays