Song of the Travelling Penguin
stools for kneeling at fayuan temple/法源寺.
i was told, even as we were wandering around, that this was a daoist temple, but it was very clearly a buddhist temple. 

stools for kneeling at fayuan temple/法源寺.

i was told, even as we were wandering around, that this was a daoist temple, but it was very clearly a buddhist temple. 

As you may have guessed, I went to Chengde this weekend! I went on a tour with China Culture Centre, because I was originally going to do it on my own and I am a very terrible on my own traveller. In the end housemate L also came along. I had a fantastic time on the tour! We visited the Imperial Summer Resort, where the Emperor stayed from the early 1700s through until Cixi died in 1908. I learnt that the concubines were never allowed to sleep with the Emperor, and could only come hang in two hour blocks. There was an eunuch waiting by the door, whose job it was to time the visit. The concubines came and went through a special door out the back. 
The Summer Resort was pretty cool, it was designed to be a mini China, with a grand palace, mountains to the north, a lake (for the sea), and grasslands to the west, complete with yurts and temples and pagodas, and surrounded by a mini great wall. Around the outside are arrayed eight Tibetan Buddhist temples, known as 外八庙, which were also super interesting. We visited three; there were lots of stairs, and I learnt that Tibetan monasteries often have closed windows to both keep the monks from being distracted and also to keep out the Tibetan storms.
As we wandered around Chengde, we also kept seeing the same school group on a tour over and over again. I suspect there’s a 办法 to doing Chengde, and we were doing it.
I really recommend Chengde! Full photoset if you click through (including a photo of the concubines’ door!).
I also totally recommend CCC, though their ability to get me vego food was a bit of a disappointment. 
Click through on the flags for full set of photos

As you may have guessed, I went to Chengde this weekend! I went on a tour with China Culture Centre, because I was originally going to do it on my own and I am a very terrible on my own traveller. In the end housemate L also came along. I had a fantastic time on the tour! We visited the Imperial Summer Resort, where the Emperor stayed from the early 1700s through until Cixi died in 1908. I learnt that the concubines were never allowed to sleep with the Emperor, and could only come hang in two hour blocks. There was an eunuch waiting by the door, whose job it was to time the visit. The concubines came and went through a special door out the back. 

The Summer Resort was pretty cool, it was designed to be a mini China, with a grand palace, mountains to the north, a lake (for the sea), and grasslands to the west, complete with yurts and temples and pagodas, and surrounded by a mini great wall. Around the outside are arrayed eight Tibetan Buddhist temples, known as 外八庙, which were also super interesting. We visited three; there were lots of stairs, and I learnt that Tibetan monasteries often have closed windows to both keep the monks from being distracted and also to keep out the Tibetan storms.

As we wandered around Chengde, we also kept seeing the same school group on a tour over and over again. I suspect there’s a 办法 to doing Chengde, and we were doing it.

I really recommend Chengde! Full photoset if you click through (including a photo of the concubines’ door!).

I also totally recommend CCC, though their ability to get me vego food was a bit of a disappointment. 

Click through on the flags for full set of photos

I have a funny relationship with buddhist temples. I love dropping in to say hi, especially if kwan yin is in residence, but i feel uncomfortable gawking and touristing and taking photos, even if you’re allowed to and that’s ostensibly what i’m there to do. but even in those situations, there’s a calmness that i find.
i got to spend some time with kwan yin today, and despite the heat and the crowds it calmed me down, when i’ve been feeling so anxious, and it was a nice moment.
but today we visited three buddhist temples in total, and i felt both comfortable and uncomfortable at every one. 

I have a funny relationship with buddhist temples. I love dropping in to say hi, especially if kwan yin is in residence, but i feel uncomfortable gawking and touristing and taking photos, even if you’re allowed to and that’s ostensibly what i’m there to do. but even in those situations, there’s a calmness that i find.

i got to spend some time with kwan yin today, and despite the heat and the crowds it calmed me down, when i’ve been feeling so anxious, and it was a nice moment.

but today we visited three buddhist temples in total, and i felt both comfortable and uncomfortable at every one. 

bus hanging out inside the baita temple
阜成门

bus hanging out inside the baita temple

阜成门

snow day at the temple of earth / 地坛. the weirdest thing is how unseasonable the snow is, on wednesday it was 12C and i went out without a coat; today, thick snow on the ground! a lot of it melted away in the sun but it was all pretty fun. 
ditan is just north of my house and includes the square moated terrace (方泽坛), which is where ming and qing emperors came to offer sacrifices to the goddess of the earth. interestingly the four temples (earth, heaven, sun and moon) are all located outside the original city’s walls. 
ditan has a 2元 entry fee, and is located 300m north of yonghegong temple. get there on the subway, line 2 or 5. 

snow day at the temple of earth / 地坛. the weirdest thing is how unseasonable the snow is, on wednesday it was 12C and i went out without a coat; today, thick snow on the ground! a lot of it melted away in the sun but it was all pretty fun. 

ditan is just north of my house and includes the square moated terrace (方泽坛), which is where ming and qing emperors came to offer sacrifices to the goddess of the earth. interestingly the four temples (earth, heaven, sun and moon) are all located outside the original city’s walls. 

ditan has a 2元 entry fee, and is located 300m north of yonghegong temple. get there on the subway, line 2 or 5. 

hanging out in the courtyard of tiaomiao, the rear hall of the imperial ancestral temple. taking a break from work on a friday afternoon. visibility today was poor and murky.  

hanging out in the courtyard of tiaomiao, the rear hall of the imperial ancestral temple. taking a break from work on a friday afternoon. visibility today was poor and murky.  

I visited a few 庙会 (temple fairs) over the first half of Spring Festival. My favourite by far was the Dongyue Temple Fair, held at the Dongyue Daoist Temple in Chaoyang. It’s unfortunate it came at the end of my day, so I was tired and cold, but it was absolutely worth the visit. Unlike the other fairs I went to, although still very fair-ish, it was more fun (for me, anyway), and when I got tired of the fair (or cold from being outside) I could check out the attached exhibition of traditional boxes (part of the Folk Customs Museum), or wander around the temple. The Folk Customs Museum was very interesting, though mostly in Chinese, and I always enjoy a bit of Daoism in my day, reminds me of my childhood spent in Malaysia (and of Haw Par Villa, the GREATEST THEMEPARK IN THE WORLD). 
If you’re picking temple fairs to visit during CNY, go to the one at Dongyue. Totally worth it (and a fun temple to visit). This was my mum’s favourite temple fair also. 
Get there on subway line two, Chaoyang Station. 

I visited a few 庙会 (temple fairs) over the first half of Spring Festival. My favourite by far was the Dongyue Temple Fair, held at the Dongyue Daoist Temple in Chaoyang. It’s unfortunate it came at the end of my day, so I was tired and cold, but it was absolutely worth the visit. Unlike the other fairs I went to, although still very fair-ish, it was more fun (for me, anyway), and when I got tired of the fair (or cold from being outside) I could check out the attached exhibition of traditional boxes (part of the Folk Customs Museum), or wander around the temple. The Folk Customs Museum was very interesting, though mostly in Chinese, and I always enjoy a bit of Daoism in my day, reminds me of my childhood spent in Malaysia (and of Haw Par Villa, the GREATEST THEMEPARK IN THE WORLD). 

If you’re picking temple fairs to visit during CNY, go to the one at Dongyue. Totally worth it (and a fun temple to visit). This was my mum’s favourite temple fair also. 

Get there on subway line two, Chaoyang Station. 

my first day of snow in beijing! went for a walk at lunch time around the office grounds. 

my first day of snow in beijing! went for a walk at lunch time around the office grounds. 

I went for a bit of a wander today around 劳动人民文化宫, the Beijing Worker’s Cultural Palace, where my office is located. The day (and this photo) didn’t really do the place justice, it is massive and breath-taking and beautiful, and is frequently the location for photoshoots (as it was today, I walked in and there were three wedding photoshoots and some sort of anime shoot). I love that this is where I work, that this temple, where the Emperor’s ancestral family tablets used to sit, is 100 metres away from me. It’s adjacent to the Forbidden City, but every time I walk inside I am struck by how quiet it is compared to everything else in the area. I cannot wait to see it as the seasons change, and to go for a wander on a clear day. 

I went for a bit of a wander today around 劳动人民文化宫, the Beijing Worker’s Cultural Palace, where my office is located. The day (and this photo) didn’t really do the place justice, it is massive and breath-taking and beautiful, and is frequently the location for photoshoots (as it was today, I walked in and there were three wedding photoshoots and some sort of anime shoot). I love that this is where I work, that this temple, where the Emperor’s ancestral family tablets used to sit, is 100 metres away from me. It’s adjacent to the Forbidden City, but every time I walk inside I am struck by how quiet it is compared to everything else in the area. I cannot wait to see it as the seasons change, and to go for a wander on a clear day. 

a sun-dappled guardian at the yonghegong temple. yonghegong has a beautiful tree-lined boulevard, and a buddha carved out of a tree 28 metres high. 

a sun-dappled guardian at the yonghegong temple. yonghegong has a beautiful tree-lined boulevard, and a buddha carved out of a tree 28 metres high.