2 days full of wonders in Beijing
Rather then spending time and money extending our approved tourist visa, we decided to cut our time in China short in order to leave within the 30 day limit. Unfortunately, that meant we only had 2 days to see the sights of Beijing.
Not so great 1st impressions….
In the afternoon of our arrival we dashed out to the Olympic pack in search of the worlds largest waterpark and a climbing place we had read about on the web. We thought this would be the perfect way to start our days in Beijing after a full day of sitting on the train getting here. As it turns out, the waterpark was closed and after an hour of wandering we still had not found the climbing place….taxi back to the area of the hotel and then we got lost walking the back streets back to the hotel.
So, after a really long and rubbish day we ended up having nuggets and chips in a local coffee shop so that we could get on the WIFI to find our way back to the hotel. Once safely back at the expensive but rubbish hotel we found that the AC was not working. To top it all off, the hotel manager asked us to pay him an additional fee to change rooms…This was the 1st time in China where we struggled to get around, were disappointed and found people quite unhelpful.
Expensive tour to the Great Wall of China
In normal circumstance, to visit the Great wall of China we would have spent some time researching the best place to go with children and made our own way there using local transport. Due to travel tiredness and lack of time, we went on an arranged tour booked through the hotel Ming Courtyard. In the back our minds we knew this organised trip was not a good idea and we were proved right just 1 hr into the trip. The trip cost 280Y per person but once we arrived at the Great Wall we had to cough up another 100Y per person the get a cable car up to the actual wall. The guide added no value and the lunch was rubbish. In summary, don’t do it the way we did…do it yourself!
Once up at the wall in Mutianyu, we walked from tower 15 to 20 and back in 2 hrs. It is a great part of the wall, not too crowded to enjoy and with some easy parts and some that are very steep and more interesting to walk. We found ourselves marvelling at the pure magnitude and beauty of this 21000 km long wall with some parts dating back to 7th century BCE.
Crispy duck worth waiting for
Our final night in Beijing and China was marked by an amazing feast! We enjoyed the most amazing Peking duck at an upmarket and yet traditional Chinese restaurant.
1 hr of waiting outside for a table did nothing to dampen our excitement of the prospect of eating this fine duck! We also tried fried duck tongues at the recommendation of a friendly Chinese couple we met while waiting for our table.
Beijing in the rain
It was a perfect morning activity in an amazing but otherwise deserted pool followed by a taxi ride to the centre where we walked across Tiannoman square to the forbidden city. Just our luck that the forbidden city turned out to be closed on a Monday. We strolled back to the hotel through the Hutons and were glad to leave Beijing and head for new adventures in Malaysia.
Amazing time in China
Looking back on our month in China, we all really enjoyed our time here, especially the rural parts where people are very friendly and helpful. Although most people do not speak english, and our Chinese was non existent, we had no problem getting round and soon found other ways of making ourselves understood. The size and efficiency of this huge country is spectacular and so is the scenery and the history. I highly recommend it to any travelling family.