Friday, 10 October 2014

China: Beijing

Here we goooo!

After a 2 hour drive to London Heathrow, 11 hour flight to Hong Kong and a 3 hour flight to Beijing...

We arrivedddd!

Disclaimer: Sarah is not actually upset, she was temporarily a snail.
P.s. she has since recovered fully

After all the travelling, the only thing we wanted to do was to jump into bed and sleep. However we all suffered with moderate jet lag for the first few nights which resulted in us staying up till 3am and sleeping till mid morning... woopsie! Nonetheless we still managed to explore Beijing and see lots of amazing sights. 

First on the list was The Forbidden City. For almost 500 years it served as the home of emperors as well as being the ceremonial and political centre of the Chinese government. Entrance fee for adults is ¥60 or ¥20 for students. It took us around 3 hours to walk around listening to our audio guide (¥20). We felt the extra price for this was worth it as it helped us learn more about the history of the Dynasties as most the sign posts were in Chinese. 

Next we visited the Great Wall of China. It was started in the 7th Century but what remains today was mostly built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and was created in order to protect China's northern border and to prevent invasions from the Huns. As the wall is massive (5,500 miles) it is split into many different sections. This meant that we had to choose which section we wanted to pay our visit. We read that most people go to the Badaling section of the Wall (8.75 million visitors on the 3rd October 2014!!!), so we decided to give that a miss and try our luck somewhere else in the hope it would be less busy. We decided on the Mutianyu section of the wall as this was accessible by public bus and then private taxi. We paid ¥12 for the bus and ¥10 for the taxi (per person each way) then ¥158 (per person) for entrance and a cable car to the Great Wall, a total cost of ¥202. This was an absolute bargain as tours from the hostel were ¥280 - got to look after those pennies! 

We also visited the area of Nan Luo Gu Xiang which is one of Beijing's oldest Hutongs (old alley). We particularly enjoyed the real mix of old and new, exploring until well into the evening as we couldn't get enough of the cute cafes, clothing and handicraft shops. There was plenty of street food on offer suitable for even the fussiest of eaters (Sarah *couughh*). Wandering through Nan Luo Gu Xiang lead us to Hou Hai Lake which was lined with bars and restaurants. The entire place had a very chilled out vibe with live music and plenty of sofas to relax on. Each bar was covered with bright neon signs which really made the lake glisten. 

Here are a few of our favourite pictures from our time in Beijing:

Night Market
Hou Hai Lake
Cute Postcard Shop
Forbidden City
Forbidden City
Princess of China
Getting the Cable Car up to the Great Wall
Arriving at the Mutianyu Section of the Great Wall

The Happy Wanderers 

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