Well another busy day in Beijing, up at the crack of dawn with a slight hangover from last nights band night in the pub but it was too lovely a day to waste it.
Off to Fayuan Temple, Niujie Mosque and Baoguosi Antiques Market. So I have been to a very random part of Beijing today, not a westerner in sight only little old me. I did however manage to find one chinese person that spoke English and could tell me that I was going the wrong way for the places that I wanted to visit which was a total result as usually everyone just looks at you with blank expressions or sends you the wrong way just to be funny.
Baoguosi Market - Full of old books, stamps, notes, coins, paintings and broken china. Nothing like the tourist trap at Panjiayuan or even as busy. It is set in an old temples grounds and there are stalls in the grounds and in the old buildings. Full of locals trying to locate a bargain here and there and just generally a really nice calm place to walk around.
Niujie Mosque - Not your traditional type of mosque is all I can say, its like a Buddhist Temple really but has Islamic writing all over the place. Special prayer rooms for men and women and if you are not Muslim then you are not permitted to go inside which is a shame really as there is a handwritten copy of the Koran in there that is 300 years old apparently. It seems strange to think that Chinese people are muslim but infact there are 6 million in Beijing that are. Niujie actually translates to Cow Street. Lots of small stalls surround the mosque selling flatbreads and kebabs, they smelt lush but the tummy wasn't ready to digest one of those so will have to return when I am 100%.
Fayuan Si - This is the oldest Buddhist Temple in Baijing and dates back to ad696. It is a lovely place and hasn't been restored that much so looks the way a temple of this age should look. Monks go here to train and there were loads of them there, brilliant. The park outside was full of them studying their scriptures. A very calm and peaceful place, sitting in the grounds was lovely just watching the wrold go by.
These places are quite far out from the centre of Beijing and are in a Hutong area that seems to have the original features. I get the feeling that not many westerners visit these places as everyone was looking at me with great curiosity. I am so glad that I visited and just got away from the hustle and bustle of it all in Beijing.
Well worth a visit for anyone that may like Temples.