Day 01: Hello Beijing (April 2019)

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April 18th 2019
Published: April 19th 2019
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Thursday, 18th April 2019

It has been five years since my last visit to China.

For this trip, I was fortunate to be able to redeem a complimentary ticket to Beijing using my existing air miles. Arrival at the city this afternoon was kind of a cultural shock for me as I soon realised that my Whatsapp and Google Apps were not supported in China. My mistake - I should have done my homework properly.

My Singapore Airlines flight was enjoyable as I managed to complete five episodes of the "Yanxi Palace" drama during the flight. I'm now down with the final twenty episodes of the epic drama.

Beijing Capital International Airport is connected to the city via the effficient Airport Express (RMB 25). In no time, my train terminated at the Dongzhimen Station where I continued the rest of my journey through the Beijing subway network.

Finding my hotel from the Temple of Heaven subway station proved a bit tricky. The Google map which I had printed out earlier pointed to a totally different location. I turned to a local young man for help and was extremely grateful that he managed to point me towards the correct direction. I was quite tired and the sky was starting to turn dark by then. I just wanted to reach the hotel as soon as I could.

My hotel is located at the far end of Temple of Heaven which was a good 15 minutes walk from the nearest subway station. By the following day, I had figured out the best bus routes that would bring me around quickly to the nearest station where there is a useful Carrefour store thrown in as well!

I was given a beautiful room at the Nostalgia Hotel. I liked that the room was well-stocked with essentials which made my stay a convenient one. However, the immediate vicinity is a typical working-class neighbourhood with no tourist-friendly amenities around.

Day one was kind of getting myself familar with the city. It was a little bit overwhelming for me given the urban sprawl. Dinner was settled at McDonalds next to the subway station at a price tag of RMB 26.

I'm not very adventurous when it comes to local street food even though I know that I would have my fair share of Peking Duck and Haidilao Hotpot during the course of my stay. That's the quinessential Peking food experience I supposed!

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