Visiting China — Beijing

A recap of my trip to some of the most beautiful parts of China with my friends Lucy, Hira, Emily, Roberto and Henry.

Beijing

Hira and I flew into Beijing from Toronto via Shanghai. After doing some research online, we planned a three day Beijing tour with a certified tour guide. If you are a foreigner visiting China for the first time and do not speak Chinese, I would highly recommend getting a private tour guide. Our tour guide had arranged for our pick up from the Beijing airport. We arrived at our lovely hotel - Michael’s Place, picked out by Hira. It’s a beautiful courtyard in Hutong. After getting some shut eye, Hira and I were up and about early to explore Beijing. After our breakfast, we were greeted by our tour guide Linda. She spoke great English and was quite excited to show us around Beijing. She helped us obtain a SIM card at China Mobile store. (It’s a long wait process, would recommend grabbing them at the airport as soon as you land.)

Day 1 — Visited the Beijing Zoo to catch sightings of our furry Panda friends. They were quite tired, perhaps from a night of partying? After spending a few hours at the zoo, we grabbed lunch at a local Chinese restaurant. After lunch, we headed to Summer Palace. The palace is centered around Longevity hill and Kunming Lake. The highlight of Summer Palace is the beautiful long corridor. After our long hike across various corridors of Summer Palace, our jet lag started hitting us. We grabbed a quick dinner shortly afterwards and headed to bed.

Beijing Zoo
Relaxing boat ride on Kunming lake
Beautiful long corridors of Summer Palace

Day 2 — Started our day with a wonderful breakfast at Michael’s place. Linda met us at the lobby and we were on the road for our day trip to The Great Wall of China! We visited the Mutianyu Great Wall which is considered to be the best-preserved and best-known sections. It was a beautiful sunny clear sky day. Mutianyu section has a total length of 3.4 miles, so we decided to take the cable car up to gate 14 and hike up to gate 18. We enjoyed breathtaking views on our cable car ride up. Since, we visited the wall in fall season we were lucky to witness green and red leaves. It’s surreal to imagine how far the Great Wall extends…it just goes on forever! Linda mentioned that the locals call the Great Wall as the longest crematory ground as the manual labor of building the wall resulted in loss of several lives. I felt grateful to experience such a magnificent human creation.

Hike to gate 18

Day 3 - We kicked off Day 3 with a shopping trip to Pearl Market aka bargain central. ;) Hira and I bought some fresh water pearl earrings and of course some iPhone cases. Haggling is an art and it something I am not too good at, thanks to Linda we managed to get good deals. After Pearl Market, we headed straight to Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square and spent most of the afternoon exploring the Forbidden City.

Temple of Heaven: Inner entrance to the temple was closed on the day we visited, something that happens often. Check the schedule before you arrive.
Beautiful gates of Forbidden City
Tourist 101 at Pearl Market

Up next…Kunming, Dali and Lijiang.