Sunday, August 3, 2014

Beijing Day 1 - Learning about Chinese history and heritage at the Capital Museum

We woke up a bit late to get some sleep as we took the midnight flight into China’s capital.  Luckily for us, we still got to avail of the breakfast buffet at the hotel which served a really nice combination of both Asian and Western flavors. However, as it was bird flu season during this time, we avoided all poultry dishes just to be sure.

We decided to take it easy on our first day. Right after breakfast, we explored the vicinity of the hotel to see where we can buy some necessities like drinking water. We didn’t go far to get to the nearest 24 hour local convenience store. There were lots of products to choose from so it was like a mini supermarket of sorts. Great find!

facade of Beijing's Capital Museum

Then, we headed on to the nearest subway station to get to the Capital Museum. Thinking it was just a few blocks away – judging from the map – we decided to walk. Apparently, blocks here in Beijing are really wide so after 30 minutes, we were dead tired. Giving up on the idea, we just took a cab to get to the station as it was just too much effort on foot.

One funny experience about hailing a cab here in Beijing is that if you don’t look local, you probably won’t get any. A friend of mine was actually the one who volunteered to get us a taxi; but, unfortunately, not a single one stopped for him. So, eventually, I was the one who got us two taxis to get to the station.

From the subway, it was an easy ride all the way up to Muxidi Station. The fare is cheap too with only 2 CNY to any destination. Just a few minutes away from this station is the Capital Museum.

obligatory photo at the front

When we got to the museum, I got our entrance tickets by showing the reservation form I made prior to the trip. Making a reservation is a prerequisite because they only allow a certain number of guests each day. Given that, please ensure you make a reservation at their website ( for your chosen day of visit.

at the entrance, here we go!

Upon entry, you will immediately see that the place is huge. From the brochure, there are 5,622 pieces of historical artifacts contained within this museum. Quite a lot to see for one day I believe.

such a large atrium

The strategy we used to explore the whole museum was to head towards the top floor and work our way down. At the 5th floor is the “Old Stories of Beijing” which showcases life sized dioramas of old Beijing folk customs. It was really interesting to experience the past lifestyle of people in the Chinese capital by looking at these incredible works of art. Another notable item here is the collection of “Ancient Jade Ware” where you can marvel at the beautifully crafted jade pieces from different eras of Chinese history.

old Beijing displays

a very intricate piece of jade artwork

life in the capital

At the 4th level, we found a fine collection of “Ancient Buddha Statues”. There were so many that you can’t really take more time to look at each one. Though, one quality seems to be present in all of them – each statue was well sculpted to the smallest details. The craftsmanship placed into making these statues is truly excellent! This is also the floor where the “Ancient Chinaware” exhibit is located. I loved how the pieces that form part of this collection are very diverse. Looking at these items brings you to explore art in different periods of Chinese history.

stone statues of Buddha

a whole lot more in there

these red ceramic pieces were really wonderful

yellow or gold = the color of royalty

On the 3rd floor, one can see the exhibitions on the construction of the Ancient Capital of Beijing. Likewise, there was a collection of “Ancient Paintings” on display here as well for visitors to contemplate on. Going down to the 2nd floor, we get to learn more about the capital’s ancient history and culture as well as get to explore ancient calligraphy pieces.

artifacts of old Beijing

calligraphy done in ancient times

a model showing how the old capital used to be

We ended our tour of Beijing’s Capital Museum at the ground floor checking out the temporary exhibit of photographs relating to nature and the environment.

exhibit at the lobby

It took approximately 3 hours to tour the whole place. Yes, it was that huge. We actually hurried a little bit in some exhibits since we might not see everything before the place closes for the day. I enjoyed the experience here at the Capital Museum because you get to really learn more about the history and culture – not to mention see some cool artifacts which you would have never seen anywhere else. Also, the place was well maintained and very friendly for tourists like us. The best thing about this place is that it’s free! Just register at the website and you immediately got a ticket.

regal pieces of furniture

I really recommend people visit this place when in Beijing just to experience how the capital turned out the way it is at the present.

How to get here:
Take Line 1 of the subway network and alight at Muxidi Station.
Alternative ways are by Bus No. 1, No. 4, No. 52 and No. 37 to the stop “Gonghuidalou” (Labor Union Building) and by Bus No. 937, No. 727, No. 717, No. 650, No. 708, No. 26, No. 319 to the stop Baiyun Rd.

What are your thoughts on Beijing's Capital Museum? Did this post make you want to go and visit it too? Tell me about it by commenting below or using the Contact button on the right.

If you have some questions, feel free to ask. I’ll try my best to help you out.

No comments:

Post a Comment