My first impression of Beijing was of vastness. Arriving on the Bullet Train from Xi’an, my first task was to navigate the Metro from Beijing West Train Station across the city to my hotel in the North-East. Coming from Xi’an, the crowds felt oddly intimidating to begin with; but soon enough I hit my groove and began to enjoy Beijing for everything it has to offer.
The Great Wall really is Great
It goes without saying that The Great Wall is something you won’t forget in a hurry. With so many spots to choose from to go and see it, it’s worth doing some research to decide which would be best. For me, I chose the spot with the greatest ease of public transport – Badaling. Taking the tourist bus straight from Central Beijing, it was an easy and inexpensive journey direct to the wall. Whilst very impressive, the ease of transport also makes Badaling one of the busiest sections of the wall to visit, so don’t be surprised if you’re surrounded by a large number of tourists. If you’re a morning person, I’d highly recommend making the trip early in the morning to beat the crowds.
Hutong Breakfast Tour
My food tour in Shanghai with UnTour Food Tours was definitely a highlight, and so I decided to repeat the experience with a Breakfast tour in Beijing. With a hungry appetite forming, I met my guide early morning and set off into the Hutongs to sample the delights. Not only are the tours a great way of navigating your palette around a new culture, but they are also a great way of orientating yourself in a new city. New smells, tastes, sights and experiences, all culminated in an incredible introduction to Beijing.
Forbidden City and Jingshan Park
As much as The Great Wall is a staple of Beijing, so is the Forbidden City. Starting with Tiannanmen Square and moving north, one can’t help but feel a little bit in awe at actually being in such a historic place.