It was actually an unplanned trip, to be honest with you. For me, at least. The others in the group have been saving money since last year when the “big chicken mother”, Pakcik Shak, came up with the idea to travel a bit further than the usual trips to Indonesia and Thailand. At that time, I was not that keen to join. Which was why I did not participate in the installment program to pay for the trip.
But then, one month before the travel date, that “big chicken mother” implored me to join the group. His exact words were:
Aku tak paksa tau… tapi aku merayu.
Fortunately, I got some extra money to spend, so Beijing here I come. Hehehehe…
The flight to Beijing took about 6 hours and, as usual, I spent my time sleeping rather than watching the in-flight movies
This was my second time to China. The first time was to Shanghai in 2009. But that was for work. This was for leisure. I was really looking forward to visiting some of those places like the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the olympic stadiums.
We touched down at the Beijing International Airport around 7 am. KLIA could probably fit into it 3 times with rooms to spare. It was huge! Immigration was a breeze and by the time we got our bags, the guide was already waiting for us outside. His name was David and he speaks good English.
Apparently the weather was perfect for a spring day. It was bright and sunny, with refreshing wind to cool you down. “You are very lucky. It was very very cold the past few days,” said David.
We hopped onto the bus and went straight away to our first destination: the Tiananmen Square.
It was really packed with people. Well, hardly surprising since it’s one of the must-visit places when you are in China. Interestingly, though, the majority of them were Chinese.
We walked through the Gate of Heavenly Peace (the Tiananmen Gate) to enter the Forbidden City. And I finally set foot at the famous place which I only saw on tv or in movies before. The place was huge! Unfortunately, we didn’t get to enter the buildings since our guide seemed intent to get us to the other end in the shortest time possible.
It was then lunch time at this one Muslim restaurant God knows where. The food was totally tasteless and unappetising but, since everybody was famished, the plates were left clean in no time.
After the uninspired lunch, we checked in at the hotel: Majesty Hotel or locally known as the Long Ding Hua Hotel in the Chaoyang District in Beijing. It was a nice hotel. 3 star rating, I think, but comfortable enough. Very near to public transports like bus and train. Apparently the fare for the train is very cheap in Beijing. Only 2 yuan per entry, which is approximately RM1. There was also a supermarket behind the hotel, which sells fresh vegetables, fresh and dried fruits, clothings and all sorts of other things. There was also some halal food outlets nearby. So quite a convenient place, this hotel.
After we have checked in, we went to another restaurant, still God knows where, for dinner. The food was only slightly better than lunch. I was hoping that we would get the same Chinese food I sometime eat here in Malaysia but I might as well dream of having a bbq chicken for dinner.
After that, back to the hotel and it was free and easy, so we decided to explore the area a bit. We went to the supermarket (called Ding) and I bought some strawberries there. Man, they were just divine. Very sweet and delicious, not like the ones grown in Cameron Highlands. Very sour and small.
We then lepak-lepak at the Muslim food outlet next to the hotel for a while, ate some strange food, before turning in for the day. All in all, it was a good first day in Beijing, although personally, I would prefer to spend more time at the Forbidden Palace to see more of the place.
You can view the photos for day 1 here: Beijing Trip 2013 – Day 1