07.05.2016 – 12.05.2016
At the completion of the walking tour the night before, our guide mentioned his company (Beijing Walkers) also do tours of the Great Wall. We were obviously interested because the walking tour was so good. The tour would be approximately $120AUD, which included transport, lunch and visits to two sections of the wall (one original, one reconstructed, but both not popular with tourists). Other than visiting two sections of the wall, being on a group tour with a maximum size of 8 was what made us choose this. Choosing the tour bus option with up to 50 other backpackers and heading to the most popular sections of the wall did not appeal to us (See our Monday Moment for more information). The day was impeccable. We were picked up from our accommodation at 11am and driven to lunch before our first stop on the wall. Gubeikou is an original section of the wall with a beautiful combination of the wall and landscapes making for some good photos. Our final stop before home was Jingshanling, a reconstructed section of the wall. We arrived and were taken to the perfect viewing area for “Golden Hour” – watching the sunset at the wall.
Every day in Beijing we were able to do and see something of significance; this is impossible to do in any other city. On our final day, we chose to go to the National Museum of China. IT IS HUGE. Did I mention how big it is? There are 32 sections that are designated for different exhibitions from coin collections to architectural history. This doesn’t include the Chinese history on the bottom floor and the grand rooms with pieces dedicated to the time when the Communist Party started controlling China in 1949. However, we did accidently miss the whole section on Chinese history, which apparently is really good, oh well, you can’t see everything! If we did, it would take years to travel Beijing alone.
On our final night, we treated ourselves to Peking Duck. We waited in line for over an hour at “Siji Minfu” to secure a table. The wait was worth it. We ordered a whole duck, which was carved in front of us. It was incredible to see how the chef deconstructed the duck, but it was also a massive tease, as we just wanted to eat it! The skin was rendered and roasted to perfection, and the meat was tender, it was delicious. The duck was served with pancakes and condiments. All up it cost us about $60AUD, which did include an entrée of some honeyed king prawns – also delish! It is worth splurging the money, and also worth investigating which restaurant to go to, as there are many, and some that are much better than others! Make Siji Minfu a must.
Our hostel (365 Hostel) was excellent. They washed our clothes for a great price, had a restaurant on the bottom floor that served food all day and had great facilities. After 5 full days in Beijing, we felt like we only scratched the surface and would have loved to stay longer and keep exploring. Oh well, I guess we will just have to come back. WE LOVE CHINA!
OUR FAVOURITE BITS
- The Great Wall of China.
- National Museum of China. Made the mistake of not going to the basement where they have a History of China exhibit. Whoops!
- Eating Peking Duck.
- Spending the extra cash and go to the Great Wall with a private company and in small group. We did, and it was worth every cent.
- NOT going to the highly spoken about Donguamen Markets. They are a tourist gimmick to sell weird food. This is not indicative of Chinese cuisine.