Saturday, 7 May 2016

China Travels - Part 1 Beijing and The Great Wall

Going to China has always been on my bucket list and in particular climbing the Great Wall.

Tall People beware! Watch your head - I bumped my head and I'm a short girl
I booked myself into a Northern China Get away with Intrepid. It would be a great opportunity to explore the highlights of China in a tour group that focuses on having a local experience. So many things are blocked such as google, facebook and gmail so I also had a digital break as well.

Intrepid has groups of 16 or less so you get to meet some new people. This group size is perfect and I got to meet some really nice people from Australia, U.S, Germany and Canada. Our tour leader Jane was awesome. 

The trip started in Beijing where I explored a lot of the historical sites such as the forbidden city, heaven temple and the Mao memorial.  The forbidden city was massive and would take hours to explore. There are so many security points including entrance into the train station as well as certain points in the city. This is common across China including Shanghai as well.

Heaven Temple 

In my spare time, I also decided to check out Din Tai Fung. It was quite nice and the quality and taste was identical to what I get in Sydney. I love it!

The xiao long bao was right on point along with the noodles and chilli/sweet dumplings. Amazing and i'm so impressed that the food was so consistent with the food in Sydney.

Beijing is also known for their Pekking duck (below) so make sure you check it out. Our tour leader took us to a restaurant a short stroll from our hotel. I shared a portion of pekking duck pancakes with a whole host of other side dishes. I went to a casual eatery and it costs about 40 yuan per person for dinner. 

Next on the tour is a long 3 hour bus ride to climb the original part of the Great Wall as well as another restored part. The views are absolutely amazing. You have to have a level of fitness but the views will absolutely push you on.

The above photo is part of the original wall
I feel like i'm on an absolute high when I reach the higher parts of the Great Wall. I imagine how hard it would have been to build the wall without all of today's technology. It's insane to think that the Great Wall is roughly 8,000kms long.

This is one of the more spectacular views from a tower on the original part of the wall.

Another hour long bus ride and our group also checks out a restored area of the Great Wall of China. The restored part of the Great Wall's floor is a lot more stable and flat where as the original wall is dirt, gravel and feels less safe. The steps are still steep in the restored part of the Great Wall and my legs are feeling it but the views are amazing! The great part is that Intrepid takes the group on two parts of the wall where it's not busy! I did not encounter many people. Love it.

Part of the view of the restored Great Wall in China

The steps are uneven and plentiful

The views are breath-taking. WOW! I think seeing both the original part of the Great Wall made the restored part of the Great Wall more rewarding as you could appreciate how much effort was put into this majestic heritage listed icon. 

I hope you enjoyed part 1 of my china travels. Stay tuned for part 2.

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