Friday, August 15, 2014

Beijing, China: The Middle Kingdom

My mom told me that when I’m still young, she would always see me scanning Atlases and taking some notes whenever I saw countries that interest me. She didn’t have any clue that I will have the opportunity to visit some of those countries twenty years after.

One of those countries is China. Way back 2011, 3 of my friends from the office sent an email inviting me to join their 6 days exploration of the Middle Kingdom with a Shanghai – Beijing – Shanghai route. I was hesitant at first because of all the requirements needed just to have a Visa that will only allow you to single entry for 15 days. So much hassle right? But the idea of seeing the Great Wall during winter season was already enticing.

Looking back, doing China (sounds kinky) is one of the best decisions I made travel wise. Although that winter thing with the Great Wall didn’t even happened but seeing the whole stretch as far as my eyes can see is overwhelming (at least for the first five minutes). Temple of Heaven is a must see early in the morning if you ask me. It was peaceful, quiet and relaxing. No huge number of people around. Locals minding their own business like playing chess and doing Tai chi.  When visiting the Forbidden City, make sure to be as close as possible with your group as tons of people visits the place. I for one got lost in crowd at one point and just rejoined my friends when I saw them at one of the souvenir shops. Lastly, a trip at the Olympic Village is a nice way to end the tourist spot hopping. I like seeing the Nest and the Cube upfront after watching the opening of the 2008 Beijing Olympics across the South China Sea.

I’m thankful that one of my friends who joined us in this trip is known for being an obsessive-compulsive person when it comes to making itineraries. She had brought me to some awesome tourist attractions in Beijing because as far as I’m concern, I’m all about the Great Wall. 

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