Thursday, July 5, 2012

Olympic Green : The Bird's Nest, Water Cube and everything about the 2008 Olympics

           Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest served as the venue of the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony as well as the closing ceremonies,athletic events and football finals.It has become one of the most famous landmarks in the world. Documentaries were shown about its construction and a lot has been written about it. People from different parts of the world raved about its unique design which is inspired by what else? a bird's nest. 
          When I was creating my itinerary for my Beijing trip I made sure there'd be enough time allotted for the stadium and the entire Olympic village also known as the Olympic Green. I'd seen a lot of photos of tourists taken in front of the stadium but I was intrigued about the inside. I wanted to feel even just a fraction of what those lucky spectators of the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games felt while watching the spectacle inside Beijing's newest architectural wonder.

                After relishing the panoramic view of the Forbidden City and other parts of Central Beijing from the Jingshan hill I went down to the street east of the hill and from there I took the looong bus (yes, they have those long buses in Beijing whose length is equivalent to the length of two regular buses) to the nearest subway station on my way to the Olympic Village. The bus passed by the Drum Tower but I thought I didn't have enough time to explore both attractions that afternoon so I decided to spend the rest of the afternoon for the Olympic Village alone.I got off near the Drum tower and I had a hard time finding the nearest subway and eventually I got lost.I regret asking directions from a young chinese couple because they pointed me to a regular train station which led to more confusions and charades.No way! we did this in Bangkok already.Finally, I found a subway station. I paid 2 RMB for the ride to the Olympic Village.The good thing about Beijing's subway is you only pay 2RMB regardless of where you are going,even if you make several transfers from one line to another.
          I arrived at the Olympic Sports Center Station around 2pm.Before coming out of the station I was looking forward to that "WOW! moment" that I experience every time I see a famous landmark for the first time.Same feeling I got when I saw Angkor Wat and Wat Arun. The Bird's Nest didn't fail me. From the subway station I had to walk quite a distance to the stadium.I paid 50 yuan to get inside. It's actually a lot bigger inside than how it appears from the outside.While inside, I could imagine what it must have felt like during the Olympics 2008 when you're just one of the 90000 or so people (which is the capacity of the stadium) watching the opening ceremony and other events during the games . I checked out the view from the top most bleacher and in that section I realized the enormity of the structure. I sat there for a while and all of a sudden I felt lonely. The emptiness of the stadium and the hazy Beijing afternoon I think rubbed off on me so I went down and explored other areas.

            Below the bleachers are shops selling olympic souvenirs and a room displaying wax figure of the Olympic officials.There was also an exhibit of the musical instruments used during the opening ceremony of the Olympics at the stadium like the famous drums that were lit up during the countdown at the beginning of the show. 
One of the drums used during the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics 
             After exploring the stadium, I waited for the structures in the Olympic Green to be lit up. While waiting I observed the different activities in the area. There were people flying kites and some were just sitting at the benches surrounding the different interesting scupltures on display at the Olympic Village. I also went to the other side to check out the Water Cube aka The National Aquatics Center which served as the venue of the water sports during the Olympics.I learned that it had been converted into a water theme park.The Water Cube is so beautiful when it's lit up and it's nice to see the color change every couple of minutes. 
              Almost four years have passed since the Beijing Olympics and still a lot of people are interested to see the Bird's Nest and other structures within the Olympic Green that were once witnesses to another milestone in China's colorful history. 
                  You have to visit it now before they convert it to a mall.That's what I've heard.
Park around the stadium


Water Cube
Admission Fee:    CNY50 for a visit to the National Stadium
Opening Hours:   9:00 to 18:00 on weekdays
                             9:00 to 21:30 on weekends and public holidays.

How to get to the Olympic Green : 

By Subway: 

Take Subway Line 10 to Beitucheng then switch to Subway Line 8 (Olympic Special Line): get off at Olympic Sports Center Station, get out of the station from Exit B1 (northwest exit) or Exit B2 (northeast exit), and walk north to Bird's Nest.

By Bus :

Take bus 82, 538 or 611 and get off at Guo Jia Ti Yu Chang Dong (National Stadium East) Station.
Take bus 18, 108, 124, 207, 328, 380, 387, 409, 426, 558, 653, 694, 758, 803, 849, 985 or 特2 and get off at Ao Ti Dong Men (Olympic Sports Center East Gate) Station.
Take bus 84 or 407 and get off at Ao Ti Xi Men (Olympic Sports Center West Gate) Station.


  1. pangarap ko din puntahan yan sa China.. mga Olympics site nila.. saka yung Great Wall na rin.. :P

  2. I've had many students from China before. Most of them still weren't able to visit these places but for those who've had visited, they say it's awesome! :)

    iSupport the Philippine National Team in London Olympics 2012 -

  3. I also made sure to include the Olympic site in my Beijing trip too... It was really an "wow moment" for me too as never in my life I imagine to see this architectural wonders face-to-face and historical place in the world sports event. Kaso naalala ko din sa post at pics mo kung gano kalamig nung pumunta kami dyan. Nag-soup kami ng sobrang anghang maibsan lang ang lamig sa lugar na yan hanggang magpa-gabi kami, haha...