Well, not a so good first impression.
|Neon lights of Hai Inn/Candy Inn from the main street|
|the main street from Candy Inn at daylight|
|the early morning scene in our Day 1 in Beijing|
Seemed like easy, right? But sharing with you the "hiccups" of our journey to Great Wall of China, I'm proud to share with you our adventure.
|Ready to conquer the road and streets of Beijing|
|our first good samaritan in Beijing|
|On our way to Mutianyu|
|one of the landmarks near Great Wall Mutianyu entrance|
|with our Chinese driver who was fatherly enough to take care of us|
Here some of the options as written in Anna's itinerary (if you're not lucky enough to meet these good souls in Beijing =))
Directions (from our detailed itinerary prepared by Anna)
Option 1 via Bus 916 (trip 7am / 8am)
Walk to Dongzhimen (东直门长途站) station
and take bus # 916 (16 CNY 1-way)
Tell the driver to drop you off Huairou District
and take a mini bus to Mutianyu Great Wall
Last trip back from Huairou to Dongzhimen (2pm/3pm)
We arrived Mutianyu at nine and agreed with the driver that we could finish the walk and hike for three hours so we were expected to go back by noon. We paid CYN45 for the entrance fee and CYN65 for the cable car lift and toboggan ride.
Why we chose Mutianyu Great Wall?
Tourists don't usually visit this area and not crowded like Badaling or Juyonggan sections of Great Wall. We hiked and climbed the approximately 2.5 kms stretch which allowed us to explore around 8 towers and looked at the valley on both sides. By noon, we went down via Toboggan and had our first taste of authentic Chinese lunch. We bought some souvenirs too like magnets and dolls. Make sure to haggle even up to 90%. Magnets were originally sold at CYN65 but we were able to buy it at CYN5 each for 6 pcs - the power of wholesale haggling! =)
In going back to Beijing, we just waited for Bus 980 and get off in the bus terminal.
|the happy faces who just conquered The Great Wall of China|
My Top Five Take-Aways from my Great Wall of China experience:
1. THE MAGNIFICIENT GREAT WALL OF CHINA
Wikipedia's information about Great Wall of China:
"The Great Wall of China is a series of stone and earthern fortifications in northern China, built originally to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire against intrusions by various nomadic groups. Several walls have been built since the 5th century BC that are referred to collectively as the Great Wall, which has been rebuilt and maintained from the 5th century BC through the 16th century. One of the most famous is the wall built between 220-206 BV by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. Little of that wall remains; the majority of the existing wall was built during the Ming Dynasty".
I felt the tears in my eyes as I looked at the panoramic view of the Great Wall of China from the cable car lift and at the last Tower 14 that we successfully conquered amidst the aching feet, thirst and short of breath. This is one of the original Seven Wonders of the World and recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site! I only read and studied about this in my History class back in high school but was able to see it and step on in person!! I finally chased my dream.
2. CABLE CAR LIFT AND TOBOGGAN RIDE
The chairlift moves 550 meters in total length where we enjoyed the panoramic and scenic beauty of Mutianyu Great Wall easily. The lift is enough for two persons and we were just surprised when the assistants where shouting of words that we didn't understand. I only figured out that they wanted us to be ready for the chairlift and you have to be quick. =) That guy even lifted me to the chairlift. I really enjoyed the view and couldn't get enough of the flowers and cherry blossoms everywhere. True enough, almost 96% of Mutianyu is covered by trees, orchards and chestnut blossoms in spring.
Going down, we took the Toboggan and it was so much fun - another adventure scribbled in my travel chronicles (can be compared to the Luge of Singapore's Sentosa) and the in-land version of the Giant Water Slide in Samal Island, Davao.
Toboggan is also called "Nanirrigated farmland sled"(verbatim from the brochure) and made by Weigang Company in Germany in stainless steel. It allows the tourists to do speed driving in a snake-like path down to the foot of Great Wall.
I prayed that I can see some cherry blossoms in Beijing since I was not able to see it in Seoul. Fortunately, our travel was scheduled exactly when spring started to bloom in Beijing. The scenery is very beautiful with many kinds of flowers everywhere. I saw apricot blossoms, cherry blossoms, magnolias, cloves, pear blossoms and peach blossoms. I am not sure though if I was able to find peonies as they all looked the same. =)
4. Captured moments and memories.
5. FIRST TASTE OF AUTHENTIC CHINESE FOOD
One thing I can say about Beijing - dumplings overload!
They served 12 doz of dumplings for a very cheap price (almost Php 70 only).