Thursday, August 24, 2017

Emerging China - I. BEIJING MUST SEE


We took the flight from Milan at 4am so, taking into account the time difference and the scale, we arrived in Beijing at 2am in the night. After waiting for a long queue at the Passports Check, we got to our hotel by taxi -> closing the deal of the ride in advance is recommended, an acceptable fee is 100Y to get to the city center.

We arrived at the hotel Traveler Inn Huaqiao Beijing, I have to admit that the way there at that hour (3am) was a little bit scary, the hotel is in the beginning of a Hutong (old neighbourhoods of citizens with poor resources with tiny streets and strong smells that can be found in different areas of the city) and there was no light except of the front lights of the taxi. At the front desk of the hotel we noticed the poor level of English of the staff, but we did the check-in normally. 
About the hotel: Even if it was a 4* I would say that in Spain it would be catalogued as a 2*, so the service was acceptable but don't expect immaculate bathrooms ;)
It is well located if you don't mind walking. Obviously, the distances on the map of Beijing may seem short, but they aren't; from our hotel to the nearest metro Lamas Temple or Dongzhimen there are almost 15min walking distance. We considered renting a bike to explore more parts of the city in less time than walking, but after seeing an accident between a car and a bike on our first day...we discarded the idea, they drive like crazy!

Day 2 Beijing MUST SEE

As we had read on all the articles and all the reports, the first day plan comprehends always the 2 main touristic points of Beijing: Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.
We took it easy and, against all the advices of going there early in the morning, we slept to charge batteries and we got to the Forbidden City by 12. The crowd had already visited the place and we entered with no queue at all. However, I have to say that on an August 7th, the temperature was hotter at that hour.
The path to follow is easy, when you enter the first pavilion you just have to keep walking through the buildings straight to the north, and finally you'll find the exit to Jingshan Park, there you have to pay again to access the garden with the hill, which has beautiful views from above the Forbidden City and the rest of Beijing.
Afterwards, we surrounded the Forbidden City descending through the streets on the right side (Hutong) till Tiananmen square.
Tiananmen square is the biggest public square of the world and represents the "Mecca" of all the Chinese people. The Chinese flag in the center is removed at sunset and raised at sunrise by some soldiers that walk at the exact same rhythm, I could not see the performance but it's said to be nice. Also, you can recognise the square by the big Mao's portrait on the building at the top.

Walking down the huge square you'll find Qianmen and below there is Dashilar, a nice pedestrian street with shops and restaurants side by side. If you are not so hungry you can wait your turn (like 1h waiting time) to eat the famous Duck of Beijing at the famous Qianmen Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant. Unluckily we were too hungry to wait and we tried the tasty dumplings of Duyichu (FYI: some restaurants will ask you to pay just after doing your order before serving you the food). Then, we easily took the metro back home without changing line (Line 2 from Qianmen to Dongzhimen).

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