Great Wall and Ming Tombs

Badaling Travel Blog

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People i met here, who contributed to and improved my trip: Juliana (Russia), Ed (England), Harry (England)

We awoke early on Wednesday  and had a quick look at Tiannamen Square, which looked more impressive than the previous day, as the smog had mostly lifted. After this, we caught a Chinese tour bus to go and see the Great Wall of China and Ming Tombs. Our first stop was Badaling, a part of the Wall we were told was overrun with tourists and therefore not that nice. This couldn't have been further from the truth. The scenery was breathtaking and when we reached the top of the wall, there was only Julia, myself and 4 Chinese guys up there. Not only was the scenery inspiring, but the wall was thought provoking, in the sense it made you wonder how it was possible to build something so grand, on the scale it was and at the time that it was.

Certainly it lived up to my expectations and can be classed as one of the coolest things to see on this planet in my opinion.

Next stop was what we originally believed to be a museum of Ming valuables... we soon realised it was a jewel factory, as the guy finished showing us all the stones, before throwing open 2 huge doors that were the entrance to their shop! Most people get annoyed with these detours, but i found it quite amusing. Not so amusing was the next stop been some form of supermarket however! Still, it was enlightening to be guided through a maze of aisles, where around every corner a Chinese woman would shove some overpriced produce in your face. Luckily at the end of this maze was our free buffet lunch and my first go at using chopsticks! After some careful tutorial from Julia i gradually began to get the hang of it, much the amusement of the other Chinese people at our table!

Ready for something a little more cultural, we headed on to the Ming Tombs, which in my opinion, proved to be a little disappointing.

The complex was quite impressive, but after seeing the Forbidden City, a lot of the architecture and buildings appeared quite similar, or less impressive. It also didn't help that we were been rushed around by our guide, who only spoke Chinese, thus not giving us a proper opportunity to read the descriptions at each site.

Back on the tour bus and the last stop to our horror was another warehouse. We contemplated staying on the bus but decided to see what they would try and flog us this time. To our surprise and delight, they had actually taken us to a Ming waxwork museum, chronicleing the Ming reign of China. It was a really impressive museum with excellent, informative signs in English. We arrived back in Beijing around 20.

00 and took a stroll around Tiannamen Square to see it all lit up, which was really beautiful. No pedestrians are also allowed on the Square at night, which gives it a slightly eerie, mystical look.

The tour on the whole was a success and we celebrated by meeting Ed, Harry and a Danish guy and Swiss girl to go out for a  slap up meal. Amongst several dishes, Peking Duck was ordered along with sweet and sour pork, 2 things i had been itching to sample since arriving. Both were fantastic and left us struggling to walk the 100m back to the hostel ;)

Deats says:
It was pretty cold on top of the wall, but saying it was late November it wasnt too bad, maybe 0
Posted on: May 04, 2008
mfmcp1982 says:
How cold was it then? :D
Posted on: May 03, 2008
Deats says:
I was told we were at the main ones and by the description in our guide book, it sounded accurate. We had seen the pics of the animals, but the driver never stopped at them. When i download my pics, maybe you can help me out as to just where i was :) We did see the animals protecting Ming Tombs in Nanjing today, it was very impressive
Posted on: Dec 03, 2006
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Badaling
photo by: cotton_foam