Enormous traffic, people everywhere and avoiding locals trying to sell you anything possible to sell. That is our brief memories from Beijing. This was our small stop over on a way to Europe from Australia.
As you all know, flight from Australia is suuuuper long. My solution is to make a little stop on a way and use this long travel to explore some new places. We ended up booking the flight to Poland through Beijing. We’ve decided – why not? Let’s spend 2 days in this big city, visit the Great Wall of China and rest from a long Australian flight.
To enter China you usually need to get the visa. However, if you are entering the country just for 72h and fly from the same city, then you can enter China without any visa, and thats what we’ve decided to do! 😉
Get used to waiting in lines
Just landing in China and waiting to get in is an interesting experience. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a long wait. Even in USA was a bit easier. When you leave a plane, you have to choose a line for NON-Chinese residents, which ends up being one window opened with a not very friendly person… You have to fill up the form for the 72hour enter to the country. You better pack a pen with you cause they don’t provide any pens in the whole airport (asked around 10 staff members – no chance). Then after finally being sorted out…you have to stand in even longer line to be checked again. When we finally entered baggage area to pick up our suitcases….we saw no sign of our flight on the list of stands where you can get your baggage from. Asking “information desk” didn’t really help and we were sent to “lost and found” area. Where there was another long line of other travellers looking for their baggage that did not appear anywhere… that is something you don’t really need when you’ve just traveled for 16hours and you are ready to get to your hotel. Long story short – we managed to find our language and were ready to enter China.
Entering Bejing from airport is an another experience of standing in line…this time in line of cars… Traffic is just unreal…and don’t even try to drive there…they are changing lines every second… driving bumper to bumper. That’s the beginning of the Beijing experience!
Be ready to eat a lot for not a lot!
When we finally arrived to our hotel we were happy to finally relax! We arrived just before breakfast which was perfect since we were STARVING. And there is something which is great about Beijing… coming from Australia – everything seems to be not that expensive that’s why I booked 5 star hotel in a nice area. Room standard wasn’t Dubai 5 star but was good enough for us.
And now the breakfast! – OMG it costed us $15 a person and it was literally THE BEST HOTEL BREAKFAST we’ve ever had!!!!!! Among all the classics like bread, cereal and eggs – you could get “build your own” miso soup, noodles and rice and veggies – all the best from Asian cuisine and that’s all for breakfast!!! I was sooo sad I couldn’t eat more… that was a signal that the food will not disappoint us in Beijing!
Get ready for some walking – or take a crazy rickshaw ride!
Our hotel was close to one of the most popular attraction of Beijing – The Forbidden City. However, it was still a bit of walking. And we didn’t mind since it was so sunny and clear! We were the lucky onese. We’ve heard that Beijing has a problem with polution and the sky is not always as nice as when we’ve been there.
Forbidden City is a nice park with a lot of old Chinese buildings. If you stop thinking about the crouds around you (and we were in the quiet season)…it is pretty nice… however…lately all the biggest tourist attractions are unfortunately full of people which takes away the spirit of the place. Again, we were lucky…it wasn’t that busy.
If you are sure there won’t be many people…i’d definitely recommend Forbidden City…its a bit of walking though 🙂
When you are tired of walking, get a rishaw ride…there is penty of interesting looking rickshaws that are happy to take you anywhere you want…of course don’t even try to enter the vehicle without discussing the price…haggling is essential!
But once you are in…its SUPER FUN!!!
That’s us after the ride!!! We survived!
Check out the street food
Chinese love eating…and their cuisine is one of the most popular in the world. But here in Beijing you can try all different exotic street food. Scorpions, seafood and all kinds of insects – thats one of the specialuties we saw on the little street market.
Josh was really eager to try the scorpion but (un)fortunately we forgot the wallet… maybe its better cause the smell was not pleasant for me. 🙂
Prepare random people will talk to you on the street
December is not a touristy time for Bejing thats why it was pretty quiet and we felt like we were very “visible” for the locals. We had a lot of locals asking us if we want to practice their english for a cup of coffee…we didn’t accept the invitation so I’m not sure if it was a real english practicing or no…but I would rather not risk and just simply say “no thank you we have plans”.
The first day we did agree to talk to one gentleman who was nice and showed us the way however, 2 minutes later he invited us to show his art gallery. It ended up being a workshop of all Chinese souvenirs and after we said its very pretty but we don’t want to buy anything, they were still pushing to get at least one thing. It was very hard to run away from that…they do a good job trying to persuade you to buy. 🙂
2 days in Beijing was maybe not enough to experience the whole spirit but we definitely think it was enough for us 🙂 It’s a metropoly with a lot of cars, people and buildings 🙂 Great experience and a nice stop if you have a loooong journey between Australia and Europe.