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Beijing, Beyond the Grey

[ 7 ] June 29, 2010 |

Beijing is a city that on first impressions is a cold, grey, sterile and heartless place. In the winter, Beijing can be a particularly depressing sight, frightfully cold, brown snow lining the ground and dirty brown smog blanketing what otherwise could be a beautiful blue sky. As depressing as the winter weather, is the communist architecture standing as a reminder of China’s suppressive past contrasting with the massive concrete skyscrapers as a warning of a shallow globalised future.

Tiananmen Square

When I touched town in Beijing, China in the dead of winter nothing could prepare me for those two weeks of freezing cold and smog.  I hated the city, I hated that I could feel the smog filling my lungs, I hated that the smog blinded me from the view, I hated that the snow was brown and most of all I hated that I had just left the warm summer for the freezing cold of winter.  In those two weeks I went from on first impressions hating the city, to then anger at the city, blaming it for my flu which was just making me miserable. Once I let myself get past the misery of being cold and sick my eyes were opened to a whole new Beijing. Beyond the grey of Beijing’s winter sure enough there was something truly beautiful, colourul and inspiring.

You can check out photos of the beautiful, colourful Beijing in winter on Pg 24 of Issue #2 of On UR Way MagazineCheck out the pics below that didn’t quite make it into the mag.

Beijing Shop Front

Classic Chinese shopfront with the Drum Tower in the background.

Beijing Hutongs Rickshaws

Even the coverings used to protect the rickshaws from the weather are colourful.

Beijing Hutongs Fruit Shop

Fruit shop in the Hutongs.

Beijing Birds nest Stadium

Birds Nest Stadium, hosted the 2008 Olympics.

Beijing Hutongs Rickshaw

Rickshaw outside of the Drum Tower.



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Category: China

About onurwaytravel: Colin has been travelling the world with his young family for the past 2 and half years. He runs a couple of websites all revolve around travel, family travel and digital nomadism. His websites include,, and now View author profile.

Comments (7)

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  1. Amanda says:

    Glad that you were eventually able to look past the cold and the smog and appreciate Beijing. I remember feeling similarly when I visited in fall of 2007; I could not get over the smog! But Beijing is really a pretty cool city, once you can look past that.
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..I’m back- Here’s a sneak peek of my adventures =-.

  2. Sasha says:

    Yes the smog was horrendous! I had heard it was bad but didn’t expect that! But yeah it really is a great city and the nightlife is great!

  3. Matt

    Wow, really great photo – even with the grey! I really hope to get to Beijing in the next six months. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Sasha says:

    Thanks Matt! You should definitely head to Beijing it is a great place! I’m here again now second time around and loving it even though it’s been raining!!! :)

  5. [...] 500 years the Forbidden City in Beijing was the political and power centre of China.  It is the largest palace complex in the world and [...]

  6. Jade says:

    We were in Beijing in June and the smog was still pretty powerful. The buildings were all very colorful and I very much enjoyed visiting the temples and palaces. overall though, I think Beijing is a one time visit for me. (However, if I ever go back- I will be making a pit stop at “Mexican Wave”- the food was delicious!)
    .-= Jade´s last blog ..Mexican Food Tour- Tokyo =-.

  7. Sasha says:

    Hi Jade, I was just back in Beijing at the beginning of July, it certainly was a nice change from the Beijing of the winter though the smog in Beijing never really disappears that’s for sure! I didn’t have high expectations re-visiting but this time my whole experience was turned around but I think it came down more to the moments I had with the locals than with the city itself. I’m sure living in China i’ll be back in Beijing again and infact there is a lot more there I never even got to see and in total i’ve spent 3 weeks there! and I’ll totally have to check out ‘Mexican Wave’!

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