Day 2 we were up super early due to the jet lag, by 3 am we were ready and waiting for day break. First on the list of sites was the Temple of Heaven, built in 1420. It’s great Chinese architecture symbolizes the relationship between heaven and earth.
The Renaissance Hotel has easy access to local buses, subway station and taxis. Since we had heard it was sometimes hard to find taxis to take us back to the hotel, we really got to know the local buses (1 RMB pp) and subway (2 RMB pp) quite well! It was easy enough to figure out and super cheap! There is a big bus stop right in front of the Temple of Heaven and the Pearl Market, they are across the street from each other.
There are 4 entrance gates to the Temple of Heaven, we used the south gate. The regular admission ticket was 15 RMB, but we went all out and got the all-inclusive ticket for 35 RMB (less than $6 pp). Child tickets are based on height – under 120 cm.
We weren’t the only ones who thought it was a great photo op
The grounds were very tranquil and there were many locals singing, practicing martial arts, and playing games.
Then we crossed over the main road to the Pearl Market. The Pearl Market has floors of stalls all selling similar merchandise. If we had felt any peace at the Temple of Heaven, it was now gone. The shop owners were relentless – If we made eye contact or even stopped for a second to look – they were all over us. “Lady, lady, I have best quality. Please, lady I give you best price.” We must have heard that 500 times. They start with some ridiculous price. Then we would walk away, they come running after us- with calculator in hand- begging for us to stay in their shop. By the time we were done, we were walking out with bags of items for nearly nothing and not even sure if we wanted it in the first place! Crazy.
When we had covered everything there was to see in the first building (the New Pearl Market), we went downstairs, crossed an alley, into the second building (the Old PearlMarket). The Old Pearl Market was much quieter, but you kinda had to know were you were going to find anything back here. Some shops were easy enough to see what they were selling, others had plastic flowers hanging over covered doors, hmmmmmmmm.
Now back to the alley between the two buildings – At one end was the Brown Door Restaurant and at the other end was a huge toy store.
We had heard that the Brown Door Restaurant was a good bet for lunch. If you can’t find it, just look for Westerners and you will know you are in the right place. We had beers, sodas, bottled waters and food for 4, all for under $20. We ended up going here a few times while in Beijing, it was quite good.
After lunch we walked to the other end of the alleyway to the multi-level toy store. Heavenly for the kids….