Thursday, February 05, 2009

hello Beijing!

Melchor and I spent our Chinese New Year in Beijing.
I guess to be here in China, one has to at least visit outside it's assigned place, and there's no more perfect place for our holiday than to finally visit the China's Capital. We got our tickets from Ctrip, reserved 4 nights stay at Motel 268 chain.. Asked for tips and must see places, itinerary from good friend Debstone, we're off to Beijing!

It was my first time being in the Hong Qiao Airport, which is quite near in our place now. I learned that there are specific special lanes solely for travelers going to Beijing! Melchor and I got concern with the allowable weight for hand-carry. So we have to repack our luggage there, in order to have a 5kgs only for hand-carry.

One thing I realized upon arriving in Beijing is that, THE PLACE IS REALLY HUGE!!!!
I guess comparing it to Shanghai, Beijing's pretty huge place!! The roads I think are 4-lane/5-lane wide... It was really so spacious!!!
For our arrival, we just had some pictures taken along here and there.. and visited the Wangfujing Pedestrian Walk, which we saw the 1st Peking Duck restaurant we tried - Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant. We were hungry and cold at that time, and we decided and ate at Quanjude. We ordered the following: Half Peking Duck, Duck wings with Vegetables, and 1 Pot of Pigeon Soup! hehe :) We noticed there were a lot of people coming in to Quanjude. I guess this Peking Duck resto is one of the popular and visible one in Beijing, having 8 branches all over there. It was 25 January that night, so I guess, some people also ate out with their families, and most of the shops in Wangfujing were closed at that time.. including the Food alley there.

For our 2nd day in Beijing, Melchor and I decided on to visit the Great Wall. As per Debstone's suggestion, it is better that we visit Mutianyu part of the Great Wall, rather than the more touristy Badaling. We joined a tour, booking at ground floor of Motel 268. We left the hotel at around 745AM, and joined with 3 other tourists. Part of the package was to visit the Sacred Way which is actually part of the Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. It was actually just a long walkway, with some statues along the road, facing each other. There were a lot of stories behind these statues, it will be better to look for some documentaries regarding this. Then we also visited the Jadeite factory and Traditional Chinese Medicine place, had lunch and off we go to the Great Wall.

The wall is really long... hahaha! And it's not easy to walk ah!! I wonder how did the soldiers of those times could actually run, and walk, and stay in these great walls, with all their armor, weapons, etc.! We took the Cable car all the way up to the Great wall (Pt. 14), then we have to walk down towards the Pt. 6 - wherein we also bought tickets for the Toboggan slide all the way down from the top! Hahaha! Melchor was actually a bit skeptical for the slide, but of course, we took it, and it was actually a fun way to go down! I can't imagine myself really walking all the way...? hahaha! We got back to the city around 430PM already.. Then Melchor and I wanted to eat some snacks.. but we ended up going for the our dinner! hahaha! We had dinner at 婆婆! hahaha! We were enticed by the yummy aroma of the Peppers! Sichuan food! Just what we need at that time because of the cold weather! We ordered: Spicy crab, Roast platter, String beans. hahaha! After that, I was itching to go the Scitech plaza, (for Armani makeup!), but alas it was closed that 6PM! So we went back to Wangfujing to spend the rest of the night with the Street food near that area.

For our 3rd day, our itinerary for the day was purely Beijing city - the most visit places of Beijing.
So we started off with the Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Scitech Plaza, and LiQun Roast Duck Restaurant. hahahah!

Tiananmen Square is a really huge plaza!!! It links directly to the Forbidden City. There were a lot of people that morning. I guess aside from tourist, I can see that there were also local tourist, like the people in Beijing also were taking this time to visit and explore their city. Then the Forbidden City... We got the tickets at Rmb 40.00 I think... then, also rented the virtual map, with earphone to hear the history and some explanation of the city. The place was really huge ah!! A lot of gates, halls, palace, rooms, etc.! hahaha! We didn't really visited all of the rooms here, but just looked into the important and historical rooms. :) hahaha! There were a lot of people e! So I don't think I like to continue on with the pushing and lining up just to take a glimpse of the other rooms... :)

We continue the afternoon by visiting the Temple of Heaven.. I actually read that there are a lot of temples of the Emperors within Beijing... But the Temple of Heaven is the most popular one. There were a lot of people also when we visited that time... and bought tickets that we can visit and enter the significant places inside this big compound. With our ticket, we can enter the following:
Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (祈年殿), the Echo Wall & The Circular Mound Altar (圜丘坛). After that, I was excited already.. hahaha! We're going to Scitech Plaza!! hahahahah! Finally, I can personally look into Giorgio Armani Makeup! :) The prices of Armani makeup in China is way higher than it costs in Hong Kong. But then, I bought some, just something to bring back to Shanghai.. hihihi ;) Then, it was dinner time! We went to LiQun Roast Duck Restaurant. This resto was not easy to find... hahaha! It's not located in anywhere you can remember because of landmark or what... It was actually inside a not so well-known Hutong... Because we were a bit rushing already, we took a taxi, which the driver personally called LiQun to know its exact location. We were a bit lost near LiQun, this is because the road to LiQun is not even wide enough to assume its the place of the restaurant!! This time, we just ordered one whole Peking Duck, and its assortments. :) Yummy... hahahaha!

For the 4th day, we researched and visited Summer Palace in the morning. Since Summer palace was a bit far from the city proper, we had to take a bus that will bring us to almost near the place.. We have to transfer another bus and walk a bit! Then, there it is.. The Summer Palace. The place is also packed with people! The popular lake there is the Kunming Lake, was frozen, completely frozen!! You can see afar there were some people ice skating! hahaha! This time, we didn't bought the tickets that can lead us to the buildings inside. We just took pictures of the place, views :)

After that, we moved forward and visited the Olympic Area - Bird's Nest and Water Cube! heheh :) The place was also packed with people! hahaha! We just took pictures outside both buildings! hahaha! I heard that the ticket to enter the Water Cube is Rmb 30.00, and you can't stay long inside. Melchor heard I think you can only walkby for 5mins....? After that, we went again to Scitech Plaza, hahaha! Then, we went to Hou Hai area, to have our romantic dinner (as per Debstone! hahaha!) We had our dinner at the S'Silk Road - a Yunnan food resto.. I actually didn't enjoyed too much with the dinner, that brought us back again to the street food of Wangfujing, for a bowl of Meat balls soup! hahaha! :)

Our last day, we were packing the morning, so that we can surrender our rooms for check-out. We booked our lunch at Da Dong Roast Duck Restaurant. We discovered Da Dong, thru the Agenda booklet we got from the hotel. Agenda booklet is like a small Cityweekend magazine, wherein they feature restaurants, foods, events, etc. So we reserved for a 12:30PM lunch, but we actually arrived the place around 1:00PM already! Because!!!!!!! The place is not easy to find, AGAIN!!! With the tall skyscrapers around the city proper, it's really not easy to find e!!! Grrrr.... hahahaha!
But when we got in to Da Dong Restaurant, and found the place with the perfect ambiance, it made the long walks and all worthwhile! hahahaha! The menu was inch-thich, and full of wonderful pictures! We ordered one whole Peking Duck (again!! hahaha!), and steamed fish.

We were so happy to find this resto... It was really refreshing! I mean, the ducks are pretty lean and yummyyyy!! hahahaa! Overall, this resto is definitely a must-try in my Beijing list! hahaha! It will be nice to bring families and friends there.. hahaha! It was a very very nice restaurant! I think I blogged about Da Dong Peking Duck here. After that, we were off off to visiting the Monument to the People's Heroes. We just took pictures outside.. then rode the subway back to Wangfujing! hehe! Took our last pictures... Walked around.. Then it's bye bye Beijing time.

Overall, Melchor and I had a great time with our Beijing tour. Not only that we're together, but we proved to ourselves that we can have fun by doing tours on our own! hahaha! I wonder where will we be bound next.. hahaha! But I'm sure it will no doubt be as fun and exciting as our Beijing holiday.

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