well i did Beijing!!! Not exactly the best weather to tour around this big big city but ah well!!! u gotta do everything whether its rain on shine ey!!! 5 full days of nonstop touring and shopping (of course!!).
With 10 of us hopping into an express train to Beijing, the 12 hour trip was alot more exciitng and well loud, considering we managed to take over the whole carriage, with a few chinese not happy with our presence!! With all of us sleeping in soft sleepers, everyone was content, especially me, because you get free slippers and a toothbrush. I love free stuff!! The soft sleeper is like a small hotel in a train!! Its great.
After a smooth train trip, we arrived to a cold, foggy morning in Beijing.
richshore in the hutongs
Fortunately, our hostel was just across the road from the long distance train station, so not much trouble at all finding it:) A group of us decided to get the ball rolling and begin our 5 day tour of beijing!! Not exactly the best day to start!! Its was pouring down raining when we got to Tiannamen Square. One of the central areas of Beijing. It got to a point where all of us just had buy a 5yuan plastic bag poncho thing. To be honest it wasnt nreally doing very much, and that would probably explain why i still have a cold!!
Anyways, we walked around the Square, passed through the Heavenly Gate and into one of the well known touristy sights, Forbidden City. Unfortunately, my experience of the Forbidden City was ruined, when the most important sections of it were under construction.
family's house at the hutongs
Actually, most parts of Beijing is under construction!!! Im guessing it's all for the Olympics next year!!! The parts we did get to see, where quite beautiful. Rooms were traditional furniture and Chinese architecture. Gardens filled with ancient trees and man made rock statues. The forbidden City was predominantly all red with yellow roof tiles everywhere. It was a beautiful place to visit, unfortunately, rain and construction ruined my experience. All is good though:)
That night, we headed to see a performance of Beijing Opera! Not exactly what I was expecting!! I was expecting more singing, instead it was more a theatrical performance with some acrobatics and acting. Still entertaining though:)
The following day was the Great Wall!!! I always intended to do the one full day trip of the Great Wall and not the tourist section of the Wall, boy did I make the right decision!!! If anyone wants to do the Great Wall do the Simatai/Jinshanling Section of the Wall.
Its about 10kms of steep hills, rocky paths, insano stairs, broken sections and mongolian farmers (explain later!!). It was the most amazing experience of my life. The view from wall is absolutely stunning. Beautiful green mountains everywhere.Perfect weather, blue skies, warm sun and cool breeze. Most of us cable car it up onto the wall!!! I was hoping that the money we paid for the tickets were going towards maintenance of the cable car, cos I swear, one malfunction and we'd b dead!!!lol:)
Ohhhhhh yeah, those MOngolian farmers. Well these guys were really friendly and followed us for about 2 hours along the wall, explaining the different parts of the wall and what number tower we were at. We did a total of 32 towers!!! Boy was I glad to get to the 32nd tower in the end!!! However, they were following us for the purpose of us buying something from them in the end!! I was quite amazed with about 5 ladies and 1 man following us for 5kms of the great wall to only get a couple of dollars worth of souvenirs.
yep its wet
The life in CHina is so difficult for some! It makes me realise how lucky and fortunate to be raised up in Australia!!!
5 hours later................we got to the end and took a flying fox down to the bottom and had a buffet of many chinese dishes and headed back to our hostel!!! After an exhausting but exhilarating experience, we all had the rest of the day off!!! we needed it cos the next day we were all very very very sore!!!
Very very early in the morning on Sunday, 5 of us decided we would watch the flag raising ceremony at Tiananamen Square. What a laugh it was!!! Number one, we had no idea when dawn was so we all woke up at about 5:30am.....then we went outside to see that it was quickly turning light so we got into a taxi and by the time we got there, we were running to the Square.
When we got there, we were surprised to see that everyone else had the same idea as us!! The lonely planet stated that there were less people in the morning then at night. They were wrong. All we could see was the backs of the guy in front of me and hear only the music as the flag was raised up. I was really looking forward to see the soldiers march a particular length per foot. I still cant believe I woke up that early to see a flag being raised up!!! Note to everyone else.............. get there early or dont go at all. It will be an experience ill never forget at least:)
Well, at least we could start the day off really early, so we headed to the popular antique market "fake antique market!!', the usual chinese stuff, paintings, glass, silk, vases, statues, jade, jewellery.
sea horse anyone!!
Personally, it wasnt my kind of market, but it was good to have to look around. Afterwards, I headed to my favourite shopping market yet, The Silk Market!!! It had everything, fake everything, fake tiffany's, bulgari, chanel, , any kind of fake jewellery, then came the fake polo shirts and fake bags, and shoes. I absolutely loved the place. i stayed there for 6 hours!!!! I didnt buy tooo much as of course, Im always on a budget, but I got everything I wanted:) hooray!!! The night ended with a Kung Fu Performance!! Bloody awesome!!!! I didnt take many photos as I was too amazed by them, sorry guys!!! just wow!!! soo fast and technical!!!
Monday, 5 of us, went on a tour of the Hutong's, Lama Temple and to see the panda's. The Lama Temple was different to other temples ive been to.
now what exactly is in this!!
It was a Tibetan temple and it has the largest buddha in the world. Its in the Guiness book of records and its made from one whole tree. I could not believe. Iwasnt able to take photos of it, but I can descirbe it, it wa gold and 18 metres high. Someone told me that, they built the Buddha first and then built a building which encloses it second!!! Definately worth a look:) The Hutong's are the old ancient alleyways of Beijing. It was a great place to explore. We travelled on richshores (dont think thats how u spell it!!) through the alleys and even had lunch with a family in the Hutongs. It was great:)!!! The Panda's were at the zoo!!! Not exactly the best inclosure for pandas but at least it was better than the Nanjing zoo!!! They looked so cuddly and cute!!! Our tour guide opted for us to end our trip either at our hostel or the Silk Market, u can probably guess where I ended up that night!!! hehe.
the great wall!!
.... dont worry i didnt spend too much!!!
While the others left that MOnday night, me and adele stayed one more night and hoped to get good weather to see the Summer Palace.............. luckily we did!!! Beautiful place:0 full of gardens and temples and a large lake. I cant descibe how beautiful it is. You guys just have to come here!!!!
We left the Tuesday night and hopped into our train, assuming we would be on the bottom of a hard sleeper. we werent. We were on the top again, but with less space then our hard sleeper in xian!!! I swear we had less than a metre from the top of the train!!! So i basically slept till the very last moment until we got to Nanjing!! So now im back and have found out a typhoon is coming!! ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ill keep ya updated guys:)