Mama always talk about her friends been to China. And i always want to see the greatwall of china, and the beijing olympic venue, the cube and bird nest. I’m lucky i manage to buy for cheap flight ticket during the Airasia promotion, for 3 person, me, mama and addy. This trip is my present for mama and daddy’s birthday and for mama’s retirement. At first, i thought of using travel package because i was worried its difficult to find muslim food and language barrier as none of us can speak chinese. However, after surveying through the net, i changed my mind and decided to travel on our own. And i make the right choice..
It was a 5days and 4night trip in September 2010. We stayed 3 night in Beijing and spend the last night in Tianjin. I was lucky that SVC had hotel in beijing and i’ve used my SVC to stay for 3 night at Beijing Lu Song Yuan Hotel at old Hutong area. As for Tianjin, we stay at the Holiday Inn Riverside Tianjin which i booked online from the agoda.com. I also hired a car with guide for 2 days to bring us to the sigthseeing. Unfortunately, when we travel to beijing, it’s national day of China and almost all sightseeing is full with people as all chinese people from the outskirt come into the town to celebrate their 1 week holiday..
Our flight from Kuala Lumpur departed at 8.30am and arrived Tianjin Airport at 2.50pm. I glad i’ve pre-booked meal online because 6 hours of flight really makes us hungry. Touch down Tianjin Airport, we decided to take the bullet train to beijing. We took shuttle bus which park just outside the departure hall to the Tianjin Railway Station with fare rmb10 per pax. Unfortunately, it take more than 1 hour to reached the railway station because of traffic jam. The shuttle bus drop us by the roadside, and we need to walk about 100m to reach the station. It’s cold outside and the temperature was about 19 degree, luckily i was wearing my jean jacket. The bullet train ticket cost us rmb58 per pax. The journey only takes 30minutes. The bullet train was very comfortable, we did not feel anything although we are moving 330km/h.
It is almost 7pm when we reach Beijing South Station, or ‘beijing nan-zhan’. We quickly get taxi to sent us to our hotel, the Beijing Lu Song Yuan. We have difficulties to communicate with the taxi driver as he could not speak in english and he don’t know the location of the hotel although i did show him the hotel map and the hotel name in chinese. I had to call the hotel reception to give the direction to the taxi driver. The hotel located in the middle of banchang lane, small lane full of old chinese style houses. However, it’s true, don’t judge a book by it’s cover. the internal area of the hotel was really cool, with tradisional chinese style outlook. Although the room quite small, but it is enough for 3 of us as we will only use the room at night. After refreshing, we decided to find place to eat as we were very hungry. We were surprised to find a muslim restaurant just within 5 minutes walk from our hotel. All of them cannot speaks english, so we just ordered the food from the picture in the menu. The food was very nice, although a bit spicy, and surprisingly very cheap. 1 plate of bbq fried rice only cost rmb8 or rm 4 and it was enough for 3pax. But the food that i like most was the spicy satay. After dinner mama and daddy when straight to the bed but i spend my time doing some office work. It’s already 1am when i went to bed.
We wake up at 6am as the guide i hired will pick us up at 8am. For breakfast, we just ate the leftover food from the day before. Jack, the guide arrived at 8.15am. It’s quite cold morning, and we planned to go to the greatwall today. We stop at a Jade factory on our journey there. There factory was very big and we learn the process of making jade accesories. Although the jade sold was beautiful and high quality, we did not buy anything because it was not part of our budget.
We reached the greatwall at 10.30am. Surrounded by mountains, the views of the greatwall still captured in my mind until today. We snap some photos and started to climb the greatwall. The steps were irregular sizes and at some areas, was very steep. We stop at a rest area selling some souveni0urs. We bought the greatwall plates that written with our names, as souvenir that shown we had climb the greatwall. After few minutes rest, we went down. It is quite tiring because we climb 3x higher than the batu caves, but i don’t even sweat because of the cold weather. I’m lucky to have quite good stamina with my outdoor activity, mama and daddy did have to rest for few times. We spend 2 hours exploring the greatwall area, and take a lots of picture. Its already 12.30pm when we start our journey back to the town.
I was amazed with beijing road system which is very sistematic. The road was very wide and they had few ring road system with spine road linking each ring road. The next destination, the Water Cube and the Bird Nest. The olympic venues is closed for public, however, we just snap some pictures there. We stop at a muslim restaurant for lunch. We had a set lunch meal with 6 dishes that almost full on the table. But the foods was very good, even nothing left from all the food served. After that, we went to a silk shop and factory. We were shown the process of making silk cloth. Mama want to buy a silk comforter but daddy think it will be wasted of money, although it is quite cheap compared to malaysia.
We have difficulties to find a place to pray, so Jack suggested for us to pray at the roof top of Pearl market. It is already 4.30pm when we reached the pearl market. We quickly when to the roof top, and found a perfect place to pray. It’s actually an open rooftop garden which can view some part of Beijing area. After praying, we went down to the market place below to shop. The pearl market is actually a shopping mall with different kind of goods sold at different level, they sell everything from imitation goods to souvenior. It was just within few minutes i found out how terrible the sellers at this market. They put very unreasonable price for the goods, and we want to bargain, they will get angry. It was very annoying when they started to grab our hand, pulling us into their stall. And when we tried to walk away, they will shouted and scold us. Even if we only asked for the goods price, they will scold us if we did not buy the item. Personally, i did not enjoy myself shopping at the pearl market. Mama did bought few silk table cover after few rounds of arguement with the seller. I only buy nike pants and shirt for my diving. We also bought some souveniours at the groundfloor area. At 7.00pm we return back to our hotel. After refreshing, we went out for dinner at the same muslim restaurant. We order more spicy sate and also lamb barbecue that was very delicious and cheap. Since the night is still early, we decided to have a walk at the nightstreet that we noticed on our way to the hotel the night before. It’s actually just 5 minutes walk from our hotel. The street was full with small shops and old style bars that full with tourist and foreingers. it was a very nice place to have a walk at night, and it reminded me of the nightstreet in Ubud, Bali. The shops also quite nice, although it is fix price, it is quite reasonable and cheap. It is already 11pm when we reach the hotel.
At 9am, Jack arrived and pick us up to visit the Summer Palace. It was 1 hour journey, however when we arrived there, the entrance was already full with people. After Jack bought us the entrance ticket, we went straight into the Summer Palace area. The summer palace is very huge and beautiful. We walked around the area, and crossed the kunming lake by boat. We spend 3 hours exploring the place. Before we leave the Summer Palace area, we went to a pearl factory that sells fresh water pearl from the Kunming Lake. Mama bought 2 bracelet and 1 locket from the pearl shop. On our way back, we stop at a tea house, Dr Tea. They show us few types of tea and we bought high quality oolong tea and pureh tea from the shop. We also stop at a sport massage centre to have a foot massage for our tired feet. After having lunch at a muslim restaurant, we went to pray at a mosque at the embassy area. It’s already 4pm when we reached Silk Market. The Silk Market is bigger and more organize than the pearl market, however the way of seller here is similar with the Pearl market, rude and unreasonable. We went back to hotel at 7pm. After refreshing, mama and I decided to go to the Yandai Alley to buy some clothes, and spent 2 hours walking along the festive alley. Finished shopping, we went back for dinner and spent the rest of the night packing our things.
Early in the morning we catched a taxi cab to bring us to the Forbidden City and Tianmen Square. I did asked the hotel receptionist to write the place that we want to go in chinese and just show it to the taxi driver. Actually, the forbidden city is located nearby our hotel, and we could just walk, but due to contraints of time as we need to check out by 12am, we decided to take the taxi. Once we reached there, I saw the Tianmen Square and the Tianmen Gate was already full with millions of people. We squeeze into the crowd to cross the bridge and walk through the Tianmen Gate. We stopped at the souveniour shop to buy some souveniours and continue our way to go to the Forbidden City. The place is really huge. It consist of few layers of fortress gate before we reached the entrance gate to the Forbidden City. However, we did not manage to go into the Forbidden City because of the huge crowd and we do not have enough time. We just take few photos at the external area before we walk to the exit of the complex. I saw a muslim restaurant just outside the exit gate of the Forbidden City complex. We take a taxi to went back to the hotel. It is already 12noon when we reached hotel. I manage to extend our check-out time until 1pm. After pray and packed all our stuff, we checked out and put all our bags at the hotel luggage room. We walk to the festive street for last minutes shopping. I am quite surprise to see the street is also full with people, and the scenery during the daytime is as beautiful as during the night time. Finished shopping, we went to our favaourite muslim restaurant for lunch. I take away their spicy sate to eat during our journey to Tianjin. We take taxi to sent us to the Beijing South Station. When we reached there, I just realized that the station is really big and modern building, which I didn’t noticed when we arrived few days before. We take the 30minutes bullet train to Tianjin. One arrived at the Tianjin Railway Station. We just follow the signboard to the taxi stand to get the taxi to send us to the Holiday Inn Riverside Tianjin. It only takes 5minutes taxi ride to the hotel. The check-in process was really smooth and we straight away when to our room to have a rest. Our room is facing the river and the room was very big and modern. After refreshing, I and mama went to the riverfront for a walk however daddy decided to have a nap in the room. The riverfront was beautiful especially at night, when all the colourfull lights turned on. A big ferris wheel which reminded me of ‘eye on malaysia’ located just within 100m of our hotel. There is also rivercruise, but mama afraid to ride it. We just snap pictures and walk along the river until night. We went back to hotel about 9pm to have a rest.
We woke up early because we planned to go to the ancient cultural street. After breakfast at the hotel, we take a taxi to the ancient cultural street. Its only 5 minutes ride, actually very close to our hotel and we can even walk ourselves. The shops just begin to open when we arrived. It is a long shopping street with a lots of chinese style shopshouses design. I enjoyed myself shopping for sourveniours here. This place was much better that the shopping market in Beijing, even much cheaper. I even surprised when some of the seller can speaks in malay. During noon time, the street was already full with people. We did not manage to explore the whole street because we need to rush back to catch our flight back. We just walk back to the hotel, which is just 10minutes walks. It is already 12noon when we reached the hotel, I manage to extend our check-out time until 1pm. From the hotel, we take taxi to send us straight to the airport, which take only 30minutes ride. Ar 3pm, we already ready for departure. We arrived Kuala Lumpur at 10.30pm.
I feel a bit dissappointed because unable to go into the Forbidden City and more sightseeing places because of limited time. Maybe next time, I will arranged for longer stay, so that I can explore more places around Beijing and Tianjin
- Airasia return ticket KL – Tianjin = rm400/pax
- 1 night stay at Holiday Inn Tianjin = rm280
- shuttle bus from Tianjin airport to Tianjin Railway station = rmb10 x 3
- bullet train from Tianjin to Beijing = rmb116 return x 3
- taxi from beijing railway station to hotel = rmb86 return
- taxi to forbidden citiy = rmb25 return
- taxi from tianjin railway station to Holiday Inn Tianjin = rmb20
- taxi to tianjin airport = rmb70
- Entrance ticket
- Greatwall entrance ticket = rmb40 x 3
- Summer Palace = rmb12 x 3
- Meal = rmb475