Winterly Temple of Heaven in Beijing

It’s our first week back after the Christmas holidays and I have to say the weather treated us very nicely. Over newyears our friends who didn’t return home as well as the German media repeatedly reported the devastating smog situation in Beijing, and I already expected the worst. Fortunately, we brought the clean air back with us and the last few days have seen brighter and brighter skies. Exploiting the opportunity to be outside without wearing a mask, we paid a visit to the Temple of Heaven, one of the few sights that I haven’t been to in the 16 month that we have been living here. It’s quite an amazing monument and is conveniently located at it’s own subway station (Tiantan Dongmen, Exit A). As it so happens the Pearl Market is directly across the street, so you could also get some (souvenir) shopping done since you’re already in the far south of the city. Tiantan one of the less expensive tourist attractions of Beijing and a regular “through ticket”, which grants you access to the main temple and some other importants parts of the area, costs 28 RMB (student price is 14 Kuai less). I recommend to buy the through ticket immediately and pay the extra 18 Kuai on top of a regular ticket, otherwise you can only get access to the front plaza and won’t be let through to the main temple. You’d have to buy a seperate ticket for 20 RMB if you haven’t gotten the through ticket right at the entrance.


Walking towards the main temple, you will see groups of elderly people playing cards and mahjongg. I’m always inspired by this routine, prefering to spend the sunny hours of the afternoon with old friends outside, rather than sitting isolated in your living room and counting the hours.

Many parents also took advantage of the clear and sunny day and visited the temple grounds today. A mother with her two kids positioned themselves in front of the main structure and captured the trip with their cell phone camera. She tried to convince her daughter to let her sister give her a smooch on the cheek, but as you can imagine she wasn’t too fond of the idea.

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Burgers @kAtchup’s & Cocktails @MaoMaoChong’s

We try to try something new every week, and yesterday we sampled Katchup’s Burgers and MMC’s cocktails.

We each had a massive ‘Manhattan Monster’ (7oz of fresh ground beef, fried egg, chili beef, bacon, cheddar cheese, and a handfull of fried onion rings) in a menu with a spinach salad w/ tofu feta, baby artichokes & olives and a side of four gigantic fries. For 88 RMB, including a soft drink. It was delicious! The onion rings were crispy and abundant, the meat grilled on point. The chili sauce added a nice fruity touch to the whole affair and the fries reminded me a little of the Belgium once we have at home. The dressing of the spinach salad lacked a little imagination, although it came with a generous portion of olives and artichokes.

Address: 东城区交道口南大街53-1号 [Jiaodaokou Nandajie 53-1]


Not too far away from kAtchup, there is an award-winning cocktail bar called Mao Mao Chong [毛毛虫].

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Here is what we ordered:

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Bangkok Hilton [Thai tea-infused scotch, pandan rum, crème de cassis and bitter].

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Shit Hot Whiskey Sour [Bourbon, lemon juice, brown sugar, and grape bitters]. And no, I didn’t invent the name.

Both cocktails were very good, expertly made, but too strong for my taste. We will definitly go there again, but I think I will go for something different next time.

Address: 东城区交道口南大街板厂胡同12号 [12 Banchang Hutong].

3DPRK by Matjaž Tančič x Koryo Studio

3D picture exhibition shot by Matjaž Tančič in North Korea. You get 3D glasses at the entrance (the blue & red glassed kind) to get the full three-dimensional effect.