Following on from my last Blog click here i’ll go on to tell you a little more about our time in Beijing.
On our arrival at Beijing Airport we were met by the Buffalo guides and taken to our Hotel. The guides were very easy to spot they made themselves known. Beijing Airport was easy enough to navigate, immigration took a little while.
There can be quite a lot of traffic around Beijing especially during rush hour. We had the same driver Mr Hao during our time in Beijing. A bottle of water was included everyday and we could purchase another three bottles from the driver for about a £1 if we needed it. There was a fridge on the coach.
Our Tour Group were staying at the Inner Mongolia Grand Hotel Wangfujing. Lovely hotel. Very clean. Lovely views across the park. Very close to a shopping center across the road about 10 minute walk. We had a standard room and this was very spacious. Lots of storage space and a safe. Rain shower. King size bed i would say and it was very comfy. The Chinese tend to sleep on hard beds but these beds were really comfy. The breakfast was very good and unusual. The Chinese tend to have big breakfasts and will eat what they would normally have for lunch like rice, noodles and meats etc. However they cater well for Westerners at this hotel so no trouble with cereals, pastries, bread rolls, toast, bacon, beans etc. Some mornings we had very early starts and they catered very well for this as one morning opened up half an hour earlier for us. Manage to catch a few Z’s the first day of arrival.
Day 2 – This was our visit to Tiananmen Square, Imperial City, Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. I though the weather here would be overcast and a little colder. It was slightly overcast but really warm. The locals dressed in jumpers and coats but we had shorts on it was lovely. Once we arrived at Tiananmen Square it got really busy. I’m so glad we were on a tour as would have struggled on our own. You have no idea who is queuing where. Here we had lot’s of opportunity for pictures of the main entrance (The Gate of Heavenly Peace) before walking through.
The next area was The Taihe Gate. The Highest Gate in the Forbidden City. We are given a little free time to roam around before moving onto the next gate. The Palace of Supreme Harmony (Emperor’s audience hall). This is the largest wood palace existing in China. We finished up near the Palace of Heavenly Purity. This used to be the bedroom of the Emperor during the Ming Dynasty but ended up where The Emperor would handle his political affairs during the Qing Dynasty.
We spent most of the morning in this fascinating part of Beijing. Before visiting the Temple of Heaven we were taken to a hotel not far away to have some lunch.
We passed through a lovely walkway into the Temple of Heaven. The locals would gather around here to gamble or do their daily exercises. The Temple of Heaven was the royal temple used by the Emperors of the Qing Dynasty to ‘worship the heaven’ and ‘pray the harvest’.
We had a little time to get changed back at the hotel before heading out for our evening meal. This was at a local restaurant. The meals in Beijing were a little repetitive but always plenty to eat.
Day 3 – Had an early start this morning for The Great Wall as it was the Beijing Half Marathon. Our guides managed to find out what time they planned to close the road. We still got stuck in it for probably around 30-40 mins but we didn’t do too bad. And the guides always have interesting stories to tell you so you don’t notice the time as much. This was a very clear day, Mark our guide mentioned about me taking a jacket as the Wall is usually breezy. Safe to say i left it on the coach as it was a hot one. We were given a fair bit of time to climb the steps of the wall. Our Beijing guide, also called Mark, stressed to not push ourselves and just take our time. I wish i had listened to him. The steps are very uneven and some are really big. We got quite far before we had to give up as i was sick. I managed to do it over the side of the Wall so no one noticed. We took a stroll back down and had a drink until our time was up. The scenery was very spectacular.
After we had about an hours drive onto the Jade Factory. I managed to pick up a ring and some earnings from here. The lighter and more translucent shade of green the Jade then the better, and of course more expensive. We had a very nice meal here.
Next we were taken onto the Summer Palace. First constructed in 1750. The lake here is man made. This place was stunning but very busy. As it was a Sunday there was a lot of Chinese and Chinese Tourists visiting. Again thank goodness for the guides as we would have got lost. I don’t know to this day how they didn’t lose one of us. Once you’ve passed through and got towards the back it got much easier. We were given some free time to explore.
Before heading onto our Peking Duck Dinner we had some time to visit the Olympic Stadium which many of us were really chuffed to do. Often referred to as ‘Bird’s Nest’ it is the principal national Olympic stadium of Beijing occupying an area of 250,800 square meters.
After these busy few days exploring and taking it all in it was time to say goodbye to Beijing, our guide Mark number 2 and Mr Hao the driver. We were taken to the train station to catch the bullet train to Pingyao.
If you have any questions about Beijing please do let me know on firstname.lastname@example.org or you can message me on my Facebook.
See you in a fortnight for Pingyao. You don’t want to miss that one.