Since we missed our flight to Lanzhou so we had to spend half a day in Beijing. We visited Beijing Olympic Park also known as Bird Nest due to the circular shape of the stadium which represent heaven. There are two interesting architecture in the Beijing Olympic Park, the Bird’s Nest -the National Stadium and the Water Cube – Beijing National Aquatics Center.
Largest Steel Structure in the World
The Bird’s Nest was built for the Beijing Olympic 2008, ten years have passed and now this place is more for the tourist to visit. Like the Eiffel Tower in Paris – an architectural wonder; Beijing Bird’s Nest was a metal mega-project. An iconic image of city of Beijing, this architecture is a symbol of technological progress, which took 5 years to complete and was constructed using 42,000 tons of steel, making it the largest steel structure in the world.
Fuwa mascots still can be seen in the Olympic Park!
Fuwa is the Beijing Olympic 2008 mascots which represent four of China’s living animal treasures, the Panda, the Tibetan Antelope, the Swallow, the Fish and the Olympic Flame. In total there are 5 mascots named Beibei (Blue), Jingjing (Black), Huanhuan (Red), Yinggying (Yellow), and Nini (Green). Tourists are still very keen to take pictures with the Fuwa mascots before going into the stadium.
The stadium is currently used mostly for football matches and some big concerts. In 2022 Winter Olympic, it will be used again. Hence Bird’s Nest Stadium will be the only stadium to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics and Paralympics opening ceremonies.
Best to visit at Night
Water Cube 水立方 is another iconic site worth visiting in the Beijing Olympic Park, it is about 10 mins walk from the Bird]’s Nest. Try to visit both sites in Olympic Park in the evening, that way the sun is not that hot as there is little coverage for this big complex. Another plus point to visit in the evening is you are able to catch the night lit up for both buildings.
Must-Try Beijing Yogurt 老北京酸奶
There are a few stores selling souvenirs, snacks, and drinks. I bought a bottle of Beijing yogurt drink which is one of the specialties of old Beijing. When you visit Beijing, this is one of the must-try. The packaging seems retro and old fashion (the yogurt is placed in small ceramic jars) but local tourists seem to love it and you can see almost everyone is holding one on their hand. Finally, I couldn’t resist and to solve my curiosity, I have to get one to drink. The texture is thick with milky aroma, light honey-sweet.
What is the difference between the Western version of yogurt? Well, for western yogurt you eat it with a spoon but for Beijing yogurt, you drink it with a straw. While American yogurt is usually fermented, stirred, and then packaged, Beijing yogurt is not stirred and is allowed to ferment in the bottle.
The outside of the Bird’s Nest looks stunning even in the day time. If you have extra time to spend, you may want to visit the interior but you need to pay to get it.
In addition, you can also take your swimsuit with you to swim in the Water Cube swimming pool or play in the water park.
Opening time and Entrance fee for Bird’s Nest:
09:00 – 18:0
Water Cube: RMB30
Water Park: RM 200
Swimming only: RMB 50