Trip report: Beijing, Xian, Datong and Chengde(1) by walter_ba21
Last updated by amanda at 2008/11/20; Destinations:
Hallo! I wish tell you about my travel in China, It’s my way to repay the internet community, for all helpful information I have found in internet when I started to planning this travel.
Planning the travel
Why China? Travel to China has been from long time my dream and now I decided at last. My wife and my son (sixteen), obviously have been enthusiast. Having only 12 days, we limited the itinerary to Beijing and some short excursions: obviously Xian, for the Terracotta Army, Datong, for the Yungang Grottoes and Chengde for the Mountain Resort and the Outlying Temples. We would consider adding Guilin, Shanghai and the south of China to a future itinerary.
We were decided to visit Beijing independently, without haste, in order to enter also in contact with the people. More complicated seemed us visiting the other localities, without to waste time. Therefore we have decided to book in internet the international flights and the hotel in Beijing and to ask to a Chinese agency to organize us the excursions. After searching and reading lots of information in Internet, we have chosen the CITS (China International Travel Service) of Guilin www.chinahighlights.com. The organization of these excursions, has been perfect and precise: in Xian, Datong and Chengde we had a guide and a driver with a minibus only for us, so we could visit all without to lose time and the restaurants and the hotels were ok too. We have been very satisfied with their services and we can recommend it. Our hotel in Beijing has been Days Inn Forbidden City, a good 3 star hotel located at only few minute walking distance from Tienanmen square, Forbidden City and Wanfujing street.
For Beijing we did not have precise programs and timetables, therefore we could decide day by day what to do and how much time to spend for each visit, without haste.
Find the photogalleries of my travel.
9 Jun flight Ljubljana/Budapest/Beijing
10 Jun arrive in Beijing
11 Jun excursion to Xian (a/r flight)
12 Jun Beijing
13 Jun excursion to Datong (flight)
14 Jun back from Datong (flight) and excursion to Chengde
15 Jun back from Chengde to Beijing
16-19 Jun Beijing
20 Jun return flight Beijing/Budapest/Ljubljana
Day by day trip report
10 June – Temple of Heaven
Arrival in Beijing at 5,30 in the morning. Due to the different time zone, our physiological clock said to us it was time to sleep, but it was morning!. On the way to the hotel, we had a first impression of Beijing: the city seems immense, all around ultramodern skyscrapers, some roads have flowers on the guardrail and flower-beds on the sides. Lots of green spaces, but although smog. We rested some hours in hotel and than we went to visit the Temple of Heaven. Confused for the jet lag and without forget our map of the city, we went to the subway. Fortunately all the signs and information are written also in English. Once out of the subway, my son becomes an uncontrollable hunger and without asking, entered in a pizzeria, forcing us to follow him. He ordered “spaghetti alla carbonara”?! My son can eat spaghetti everywhere! After he eat, we could continue the search of the Temple of Heaven. We asked (in English) the way to some people and this has been the first example of all the linguistic difficulties we could have. We also understood immediately that they didn’t know to read our city map. Our map in English has been practically useless, we would need a bilingual map! Fortunately a woman decided to accompany us to the Temple of Heaven.
The Temple of Heaven is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Beijing. The Temple was built during the Ming Dynasty to offer sacrifice to Heaven. It is a ceremonial complex and consist of a park with many buildings. The most magnificent buildings are the Circular Mound Altar, the Imperial Vault of Heaven and the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest. All constructions are rich in symbolic elements.
We have spent some hours visiting the halls and scrolling around the beautiful park. The complex is very interesting and enchanting. We have lunched inside the park. After the visit we returned to the hotel by taxi. Taxis are the best way of transportation in Beijing: very cheap and fast. The problem is the language, nobody among the taxi-drivers, we have met, spoke English. It’s necessary show them the destination written in Chinese (We asked in advance in the hotel, to write us all the destinations we would like to visit in Beijing, and we went around with them). For dinner we have gone in a small restaurant in front of the hotel. The maids didn’t speak a word of English, so we ordered showing the photos on the menu and the result has been very bad. We have left nearly all, but we have amused the other guests of the restaurant with our clumsy use of the chopsticks.
To be continued …