1. September 2018. There’s some fantastic architecture scattered around Beijing’s Olympic Green and one of the most distinctive buildings is the blue, bubble-adorned National Aquatics Center, better known to visitors as The Water Cube. This was the venue for the swimming and diving events of the 2008 Olympics and today it’s well worth a wander inside to catch a handful of cool attractions. This shot was taken atop The Bird’s Nest (National Stadium) as I made my way down the Air Corridor Top Wonder skywalk.
2. September 2018. It’s even more impressive close up at ground level. Designed by the Australian firm PTW Architects alongside the British Arup Group, The Water Cube was inspired by the natural formation of soap bubbles and cost $140 million to complete. 25 Olympic records were broken here back in 2008 in a swimming pool many claim to be the fastest in the world.
3. September 2018. The Water Cube’s main attraction these days is Happy Magic Water Park. There’s a wave pool, water slides, a lazy river and a hair-raising aqua loop ride. Entrance doesn’t come cheaply though with tickets priced at 200RMB (£22/€25/$30). If you only want to swim lengths in the main pool it’s 60RMB (£4.80/€7.60/$8.80), or like me you can just people watch for free from the ground floor viewing balcony.
4. September 2018. There are big plans underway to transform The Water Cube into a curling venue for the 2022 Winter Olympics. There was plenty of promotion about this as I wandered through the interior, with posters, videos and a few ice curling sheets on display.
5. September 2018. This art gallery can be found on the top floor. Bizarrely, there was absolutely no information at all about any of the work on display, nor indeed did the exhibition itself have any discernible name other than the perfunctory Art Gallery sign by the elevators. The Water Cube is open daily from 09:00-19:00, with standard entry tickets priced at 30RMB (£3.40/€3.80/$4.40). Time your visit for 19:00-22:00 after closing and you can see the entire structure lit up in alternating colors.
For me the most impressive part of The Water Cube was the excellent Museum of the Moon exhibition set around the main Olympic pool.
Want to delve further afield? Have a leaf through my stacks of travel reports from all over China.