CHINA – Going back to Chinese roots at Pekingman site & Ming tombs during Chinese National Day

China - Beijing - Ming Tombs
China - Beijing - Ming Tombs

If you have been to Beijing quite some times it gets more harder to look for new interesting sightseeing places. Due to an unsuspected stopover of two full days during National Holiday period early October 2014 in China I had to come up with some new things to go see. I decided to go back to the roots of the Chinese at the Pekingman one day and the other back to the Ming dynasty at the Ming tombs. Both sites are classified AAAAA status in China and world heritage UNESCO site. To be honest, I do not advise to go to these sites if you are first or second timer or you must be special interested in these sites. Beijing has better things to so and to do.

Pekingman Site

On one of the two days I had in Beijing I decided to go to the Pekingman site at Zhoukoudian. This is a one hour drive from Beijing to I opted to get a car and driver to take me there and wait when I checked out the site. The taxi was about 300 RMB which was probably not the cheapest method of getting there but probably the fastest as it was also Chinese National week beginning of October.

China - Beijing - Pekingman Site
China – Beijing – Pekingman Site

First discoveries were made at the end of the first quarter of the twentieth century. Various human remains were found dating back up to half a million years ago. About 500 meters from the actual are there is a newly build museum where you can find the excavated tools and human remains. The actual remains of the very first discovery however disappeared in the second world war period. At the Pekingman site one can walk the pathways along the various pits where remains were found. To be honest there is not that much to see but the idea of walking in the area where our ancesters already lived is quite interesting. All in a great trip and lots of new information on early Chinese history at the Pekingman site, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Ming Tombs in Beijing

China - Beijing - Ming Tombs Map
China – Beijing – Ming Tombs Map

The other day I decided to go to the last UNESCO World Heritage site close to Beijing: Ming Tombs. Forgetting that 3rd October was falling on the national holidays and that it would be VERY busy. To get there I decided to take a taxi which normally would take just under an hour from the hotel but do to the constant traffic it took us almost three hours to arrive. As I arrived a bit after lunch time the crowd was not that huge anymore. There are many various tombs but not all are direct open to the public. The three tombs I visited are Changling, Dingling and Zaoling. Each tomb in the area is the burial-place of one of the Ming dynasty emperors in China. As you can see in the image on the right the tombs all look like each other. There is an entrance gate, one or two halls for ceremonies. At the end a large hill where the actually tomb is located beneath. The interesting things about the Dingling tomb is that you can visit this underground palace. Do not expect to much but it’s a great way to see how actually the things below the hill look like.  If you do not have all the time of the world then go for the Dingling tomb as it’s the most interesting off all three. It’s a nice half day or full day trip depending on what you will do on site or on the route there.

Background information on this trip

Beside the above this trip might have been to more places. In the table below the full facts & statistics about this trip with links to related posts.

Dates of travel 2014.09.30 – 2014.10.12
Visited places China: Beijing / North Korea: Pyongyang, Kaesong, DMZ, Nampo
Related posts DPR (NORTH) KOREA – To bow or not to bow; Pyongyang explored [part 1]
DPR (NORTH) KOREA – To bow or not to bow; Pyongyang explored [part 2] [subscribe to the newsletter to know when this goes live!]
DPR (NORTH) KOREA – Spying on the Southern neighbours and the old Koryo dynasty [subscribe to the newsletter to know when this goes live!]
DPR (NORTH) KOREA – Spa, hot springs and other waterworks in Nampo [subscribe to the newsletter to know when this goes live!]
DPR (NORTH) KOREA – National day in the DPR Korea – happy faces! [subscribe to the newsletter to know when this goes live!]
Hotel Reviews Quarter 4 – 2014
Facts & Statistics Visited a new country and capital: North Korea / Pyongyang. Four new UNESCO sites visited. First time flew a Tupolev 204 airplane and first time flew with Air Koryo. Gathered 25.000 bonus points in IHG program by changing hotels daily.
Tour Operator, Hotels and Airlines used China part and flight: KLM direct flight to Beijing (in Business 😉 and stayed at various IHG hotels to collect additional bonus points.
DPR Korea part: arranged through Your Planet Travel, based in the Netherlands but they will arrange tours for everyone. A very good tour operator with direct personal contact and everything arranged in detail.
UNESCO Sites Visited DPR Korea:
Koguryo Tombs (Kaesong Area)
Historic Monuments and Sites in Kaesong (Kaesong)
China:
Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian (1h from Beijing)
Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1h from Beijing, Ming Tombs location)