Beijing, China. We finally made it, which surprisingly was no mean feat. Put aside the 2 stop overs and 16 hours flying time to get here, that’s the easy part. To get a VISA to be allowed into the country you have to visit the Chinese embassy no earlier than 4 weeks but no later than 2 weeks before your intended arrival… you need an appointment to do this which are not easy to get at the times and dates convenient to you, then you must queue up for hours even though you’ve been given a specific time slot. They need to know everything and I mean everything, full itinerary from top to bottom, flight numbers, hotels, what you’re doing every second of every day. Then they take your passport and you have to go back a week later to collect it with hopefully your new visa if you made it through! There’s also a 30% chance you’ll be called back again within this period to supply fingerprints!! Oh and did i mention it costs £150 each. But with all that behind us we finally touched down and made it through the checks and into Beijing! (Normal passport control checks with the addition of a temperature sensor to check you haven’t got a fever… Only in China!)
Being the first stop on our trip, jet lag definitely slowed us down for the first couple of days until we got fully adjusted. Feeling absolutely shattered from lunchtime onwards and then finding yourself wide awake at 3am plays its part and getting around everywhere you planned can be difficult. I think our plan A was on Plan E by the end of it but never the less we managed to see everything we wanted to and it helped that we had another day in Beijing at the end of our holiday before flying home, so anything we missed in the first stint could be loaded on for then. We enjoyed our first sunset at the Summer Palace.
The next day we had a driver booked (surprisingly cheap) to take us to The Great Wall, we opted on travelling a bit further out than the closest visited sections to avoid the bulk of the crowds and I’m glad we did seen as our section got pretty busy too! It was called Mutianyu and has a cable car to take you right up. You’re able to walk quite a long way along the wall with some parts getting incredibly steep, the further you walk the quieter it gets! This was our highlight of Beijing by far with the autumn colours enhancing the spectacular views.
Back to the city centre again for a day packed full of temples, parks and finishing off at the Olympic stadium (Bird’s Nest). I particularly liked the Yonghe Temple (Lama Temple) with it’s beautifully decorated buildings that link together.
The forbidden city is on our list for the return leg of our journey when we come back to Beijing for one day.
See below all of my photos from the first part in Beijing [2nd part coming soon]