After 4 months of waiting, I’ve finally arrived in Beijing. We only had two whole days to explore the Chinese capital so we really had to maximize our time there. This entry will be about our first day in Beijing so here goes…
DAY 1 – 第一天
Since we arrived in the early morning of our first day in Beijing, we only had little time to sleep before going to our first destination – the Great Wall. I have already told Arman and Ate beforehand that we should go to the Mutianyu (慕田峪) section of the Great Wall rather than the more popular Badaling (八达岭) section. Why? Because according to my ‘research’, the Badaling section is overcrowded and over developed to the point that it loses its historical appeal. During peak seasons, it becomes the Great Wall of Tourists. Mutianyu, on the other hand, is also restored but not overly so. It also offers better views though it is a bit farther than Badaling.
I woke up at around 6 AM. I barely had 5 hours of sleep but I was full of energy because of the excitement brought about by the sheer thought of me being on the Great Wall in a few hours. I sprang up from my bed and took a shower while my sister and Arman were still asleep. They were sleeping oh-so-soundly and I have this thing against waking people up.
At around 7:30 AM, ate and Arman woke up already and they started preparing. Arman told us that there’s a buffet breakfast downstairs but it costs an extra 113 RMB which is roughly 700 PhP. Since we were in a hurry, we decided to eat there rather than go scavenger hunting for a nearby restaurant. Before going to the breakfast buffet, we booked a guided tour to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. The tour is handled by Gray Line Tours. It costs 420 RMB (~3000 PhP) inclusive of the English speaking tour guide as well as the tour bus ride to Mutianyu. It also includes a side trip to a Cloisonne Factory and a government-owned tea house. Oh, there goes my 445 RMB pocket money. I initially told my sister and Arman that we should go for a do-it-yourself tour but they were afraid that we might get lost. According to the people on PinoyExchange, it would only cost around 120 RMB to go to Mutianyu if we rode the public bus.
Power Breakfast! I needed to eat a lot since it was a long day ahead.
After our breakfast at Novotel’s Citrus Cafe, we waited for our tour bus to arrive. The tour desk at Novotel told us that the bus would arrive at around 9:20 AM but it was late by a few minutes because of the traffic in Beijing. Anyway, I thought we plus two other guests from Novotel were the only ones on the tour. Apparently, there are other people from other hotels as well.
Gray Line Tours corporation. Their tour was actually good although it was a bit pricey.
That's Liu, our super funny and well-articulated English-speaking Chinese tourguide. He knows quite a lot about China (and the rest of the world).
After picking us up, we went to another hotel to pick up two other tourists. If I remember correctly, they were Spanish tourists. Our bus headed for the expressway once we were complete. Continue reading