Beijing: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and Jingshan Park

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In front of The Tiananmen, or the Gate of Heavenly Peace, a monumental gate in the center of Beijing, widely used as a national symbol of China

Of course no trip to Beijing is complete without a visit to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City! So for our first trek out, we headed to Tiananmen Square which is opposite the Forbidden City.

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Beijing: Hot Pot

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Our hot pot

After we checked into our hotel we first ventured out for lunch because we were starving. But what to eat first? You should know that Beijing is in Northern China, so the most famous dishes are with wheat rather than rice. So that means lots of buns, noodles, and dumplings! We decided to just venture out and stop somewhere that looked good. That brought us to a delicious hot pot restaurant!

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Beijing: Our Hotel

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Because I was so happy with our hotel in Beijing, I decided to make an entire post about the Beijing Double Happiness Courtyard Hotel! Our hotel is located in the hutongs: centuries-old, tree-lined alleyways that are the true heartbeat of this unique city and a real-life link to its fascinating past. We had so much fun exploring/accidentally exploring because we got very lost amonst all of the hutongs (there’s not Google Maps in China).

The location is perfect, the hotel is beautiful, and the staff is so nice and friendly.

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Trans-Mongolian Express: Ulaanbaatar to Beijing

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Traveling through the Gobi Desert

Our last journey by train – Ulaanbaatar to Beijing! This time we traveled through the beautiful Gobi Desert. We had great timing because it was cold and rainy when we woke up in our ger. And after spending almost a week in nature, we were ready to be back in a big city!

The downside to this part of the trip was border control. I really think we were busy almost 6 hours. First our train was checked by Mongolian border control and then again by the Chinese. That means checking passports and visas, as well as checking our room and luggage to make sure nothing was leaving or entering another border illegally. And to top it all off, the wheels had to be changed before we could enter China (our train car was literally lifted with us inside to take the wheels off and put new ones on). All of this in the middle of the night…

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