Hi friends. I’ve been struggling lately with some crazy work hours and jetlag from a recent trip back to the USA. Lucky for us my bestie Zahra has stepped in to whip this blog back into shape. I miss posting, and hope to be back next week with updates from Germany, Latvia, and everything in between. Until then, over to Zahra.
Hello Jet-setters! It’s ZforMe, Lady Relocated’s Seattle based confidant and co-conspirator. I am not the greatest blogger but Jen is entrusting me to take the reigns- temporarily!
While Lady Relocated is off cruising her way through Europe, I have been spending some time in Asia. While in Shanghai for work, I finally took the weekend off to see the sights of Beijing. Beijing is China’s second largest city and home to 17 million people. The city’s history goes back centuries, and present-day Beijing is a fusion of the ancient and modern. I was lucky enough to be traveling with a great co-worker who was up for an adventure and has a great sense of direction. Two essentials for traveling in foreign country!
Bright and early Saturday morning we took the first flight out at 8:00 AM from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA) to Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) on China Eastern Airlines. Keep in mind that while there a ton of flights to choose from, a flight from Shanghai to Beijing will cost about $411USD and take about 2 hours. You can also travel by train but then you are looking at about $250 USD and 6-8 hours. One thing to keep in mind is that Inter-Asia flights are always delayed so watch those monitors for delays and gate changes. We arrived about 10:30 after a bumpy flight, olive juice which is really pineapple and in flight meal that was less than identifiable and desirable and were picked up at the terminal by Bella, our driver we had hired in advance from Beijing Driver Guide Service. This is definitely the way to go- easy and air-conditioned (a must!!) and about $120USD for the entire day to whisk you wherever you like.
We headed straight to the Great Wall from the airport, it took about 90 minutes by car which is pretty good. There are few common sections of the wall to explore but we chose to go to the MuTianYu section with it’s 22 watchtowers. We took a cable car up to the wall that not only gave us a chance to enjoy the view but saved our feet for the wall. We only made it through 4 of the watch towers but the views and historical influence were spectacular. This section of the wall was built in the mid 6th Century and has been maintained in good condition to walk along. We spent about 2 hours on the wall before taking a toboggan back down. The Great Wall experience costs about $30USD and totally is worth it.
After a great day experiencing the wall we took the car back to our hotel which took 4 hours due to Beijing’s famously horrible traffic. We arrived at our hotel the Renaissance Beijing Wangfujing Hotel around 6pm checked in and went straight to happy hour to revive us from our long car ride. After a nice glass of wine and a snack we headed out to explore Beijing’s Famous Wangfujing Snack Street. You may think chips and crisps and cookies and biscuits but at this snack street its all about exotic snacks. Frogs, snakes, spiders, you name it! Jess tried some silkworm and we had tiny bite of star fish. It is an acquired taste.
Sunday was spent at The Forbidden City and Summer Palace. Amazing works of architecture and beauty. The Forbidden City built in 1406 was the Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty. It served as the home of emperors and their households as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government for almost 500 years. The Summer Palace is the Largest Royal Park in China and provides spectacular views of the forbidden city. After exploring for a bit we took a Rickshaw tour of the Hutong City which are traditional Beijing neighborhoods of courtyard style homes. After a full day of culture we headed back to town to try the traditional Beijing Crispy Duck (delish!) and then headed to airport to get back to Shanghai and back to work!
Video Credit: Jessica Bosch
Thanks Z! I haven’t been to Asia yet, but this post makes me anxious to see Beijing for myself soon. Have you been? What was your favorite thing to do in China’s capital?