Blogs from Beijing, China, Asia - page 12

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Asia » China » Beijing » Mutianyu July 18th 2013

Part of the tour involves visiting the Great Wall, but this time Mutianyu, a completely different part of the Wall from the part I went to the first time. Mutianyu is much more touristy. On the plus side, this meant it was a much easier day - there is a cable car up to the wall and even a toboggan down for the more daring (just like the Great Orme!). The stretch of wall at Mutianyu also lends itself to a half-day visit: it is fairly easy-going for most of the walk, then at the end there is a massive climb up with a huge sense of achievement when you reach the summit (and a couple of enterprising salespeople, selling medals and bottles of Champagne, to help everyone celebrate making it up there, plus a photo ... read more
Mutianyu
The new, rebuilt wall
Mutianyu

Asia » China » Beijing July 18th 2013

We had a bit of a sleep in, so went down to breakfast about 0930. Beautiful clear blue sky today. Hot chocolates and pastries for breakfast. Set off to walk to Tianamenn square. We walked down the little alleys to the main shopping street and window shopped along the way. It was very hot so we bought some icy cold orange juices and an apple fanta. Lots of hawkers along the road to the square. We stopped and bought some umbrella hats for the girls before crossing under the road, going through security, and coming up into the square. Emily, Erin and Jemima were the stars of the day with multiple requests from Chinese people to have their photos taken, it was cute, they were so excited! The square is huge but it's history is quite ... read more
Scholar tree in garden of the workers
Hotel 161 our hotel in Beijing
Fried cucumber - delicious

Asia » China » Beijing July 18th 2013

I have traveled on the Beijing Subway every day since I arrived in the city. From a technical point of view, it's brilliant: 20p per journey wherever you go, air conditioning, clear English signage, smooth travel and no delays. Most of the network was built in the last 15 years and, as one Beijinger put it to me, "We learned from other cities' mistakes". The people element, though, is harder for a Westerner to contend with. There is little concept of queuing in China and this is very evident when getting on a Subway train: no one waits for anyone to get off or for the people waiting in front of them to move, so boarding a train is like being in a scrum. Everyone gets stuck in the middle, pushing against those moving in the ... read more

Asia » China » Beijing July 16th 2013

We had decided to do the walk from Jinshaling to Simitai, a walk of around 6km, which sounded manageable but turned out to be very gruelling in the heat. The distance walked along the wall can be measured in numbers of towers as well as kilometres - this was how we were supposed to find the end of our walk, at tower 22. Once fatigue set in we began using the towers as targets - just get to the next tower, and then we can rest (the towers being shaded and cool). Some of the paths between towers are fairly flat, but as most were logically built on the peaks of hills, between many there was a steep drop and a climb up again, usually up seemingly-endless steps. As we got further along the route the ... read more
Great Wall views
Great Wall views
Sample uphill climb

Asia » China » Beijing July 16th 2013

We woke up just before seven,when the attendant bought us the tea and coffee we had ordered the night before. We got ready, used the shared amenities and arrived right on time at 8 am. We were met by Dingyi who escorted us to our car and driver and we planned our day. First we went to Badong museum. This is a 6000 year old village that has been discovered and excavated. It was very interesting but very hot and humid. There were also a lot of Chinese tourists and the heat in the hall with the excavations was almost overwhelming. We then headed to the Terracottoa Warriors. The drive out was interesting but the views were disappointing because it was very hazy again. When we got to the Terracotta site our driver took us to ... read more
Excavations of Badong hut
Lunch - delicious
Terracotta warriors

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Asia » China » Beijing » Great Wall of China July 15th 2013

The adventure has begun! Boarded our flight with no problems. China Air was fine, usual slightly cramped economy seats, but it was all Ok. The flight was 11 and half hours and we got a little bit of sleep (I watched three movies). Our driver met us as we exited the customs area, even though we had told him to meet us about an hour later. He was a little confused when we tried to leave our big suitcases at the airport but after a quick phone all to his boss it was all sorted. The trip to the Great Wall took about an hour. Weather was warm but very hazy. When we arrived at the car park we couldn't see the wall because of the haze. We bought tickets for the cable car up and ... read more
Road trip!
A toast to farewell Australia
A hazy arrival in China

Asia » China » Beijing » Great Wall of China July 14th 2013

After my short visit to Mongolia in June 2012 en route to Singapore, I decided to stay a night in Beijing. I have been to Beijing many times before for business trip and regretted that I never took the time off to visit the city as a tourist. I am lucky to have a colleague who is able to help me arranging a transportation picking me up from the airport and sent me to the Commune by the Great Wall (www.communebythegreatwall.com/en). I had read about this uniquely designed hotel situated next to the Great Wall. Its website describes: it is a collection of a private collection of contemporary architecture designed by 12 Asian architects. Some of the unique designs were Bamboo Wall, Suitcase House and Cantilever House. Upon checked in, I got a wow feeling just ... read more
The Commune
Pathways to the villas
One of the villas

Asia » China » Beijing July 4th 2013

Apparently the Summer Palace expects 60,000 visitors per day, in contrast to the Forbidden City' 100,000, and it felt much more relaxed, covering a much larger area so everyone is more spread out around the park. My favourite part was Dowager Empress Cixi's Opera House, a tiered open-air theatre reminiscent of The Globe, where I could well imagine her in her private throne watching the operas (they had a few short traditional performances going on whilst we were there). We also hired a pedalo to explore the lake, giving us a bit of respite from the airless heat on land. The Summer Palace as a whole is another of those places where you can understand why there was eventually a revolution - it is ludicrously extravagant, especially considering it was supposedly built with the country's naval ... read more
Typical painted decoration on ceiling
View over the lake
Buddhist temple from the lake

Asia » China » Beijing July 4th 2013

Well, I've now passed the four month mark here in Beijing, and have just about got acquainted with the basics of this vast city - at least the 10% of it I've explored. Time has flown by, and while I feel I've adapted to the Chinese lifestyle quite well, I've also started missing many aspects of England. So, in no particular order, here are 8 things I miss about my home country: 1. Football. I'll be frank - this has come as a huge surprise to me. I've never been much of a football fan - I don't even have a team. But of late, I've started to crave the beautiful game like never before. If I happen to see a match on the TV in my local restaurant, I'm glued; if I hear one of ... read more

Asia » China » Beijing July 1st 2013

Most tourists in Beijing are Chinese, and they swarmed all over the Forbidden City, a reminder of how huge the country is. According to a sign at the entrance, they were anticipating 100000 visitors on the days I was there (I went twice in the 2 weeks I was in Beijing, with two different friends) and I would estimate only 1-2% were Western. Some of the tourists from other, more provincial parts of China have apparently not seen Westerners before, so we had a number of polite requests for photos, something I had not experienced since I was in Egypt. As is often the case with major tourist attractions, the Forbidden City is hard work - it is so busy it is almost a crush to get through the opening gates, crowds everywhere, and quiet or ... read more




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