Our photography tour ended in Shanghai but we spent time in Beijing. From Shanghai we took a bullet train to Beijing and stayed near the center of the city. We got to see the Forbidden City, the Beijing Zoo and parts of the Great Wall.
I could have spent days at the Forbidden City. Supposedly, it has buildings whose rooms total 9,999. Even during the off-season (January), it was very crowded.
After the Forbidden City, we stopped at the Beijing Zoo to say hello to the pandas and the Bengal tigers. Although the animals were not mistreated, I was not entirely convinced they were happy in their surroundings.
By contrast to the Forbidden City, we went to a sparsely visited section of the Great Wall. Most of the pictures you see of the Great Wall are probably taken around Badaling. This section has been completely restored and is only a short hike (5 minutes) from taxi to wall. We went to Simitai which is much less traveled and also not restored. We had an hour hike to get to the wall but we were the only ones there.