Friday, October 26, 2012

Three Full Spring Days in Beijing

Athough I live in a tropical country, Philippines, I heart Spring so much that I chased it in South Korea in May 2010 but was a little bit late to experience the cherry blossom season.  Finally, I realized that dream in Beijing in Spring of 2011. 
the beautiful cherry blossoms and the magnificent Great Wall of China

Why do I heart Spring so much? 
Because this is when the flowers bloom, when everything around is vibrant, colorful and full of hope after the white winter season and this is where it seems love is everywhere. Just by reading books with a plot on Spring and watching movies with the season of Spring, I am always fascinated.

My trip to Beijing is quite different from the other travels that I had - it was full of surprises and expect the unexpected for me.  Anna was "unofficially" our assigned itinerary planner and did most of the research of the places that we visited. Here she shared the comprehensive itinerary including the pre-departure preparations and expenses of our whole trip. Without any idea of the whole thing, I found it more fun discovering the new experiences as we explored Beijing in three full days. 

Here, I will share my own personal experience of our Beijing trip. 

Day 1: Arrival and Checked-In at Candy Inn

19:00   Departure NAIA 3
00:30   Arrival Beijing Capital International Airport Terminal 2
02:00   Check-In at Candy Inn

Day 1
Here's my travel friend, Anna's blog and my blog about Candy Inn.

Day 2: Great Wall of China and Summer Palace

05:00           Wake Up Call
07:00           Leave Candy Inn to Great Wall of China
07:00 -  13:00  Great Wall of China Mutianyu (including lunch)
13:00 -  18:00  Summer Palace
20:00           Dinner
22:00           Lights Off

Great Wall of China 万里长城

We kicked-off our own tour of Beijing in its famous landmark, Great Wall of China.  Check my post about my personal experience in conquering Great Wall of China here.

Summer Palace 颐和园 Yi Je Huan

the charming Summer Palace

Summer Palace is such a charming place, a good place to relax and just get the day passes by.  I liked the long stretch of the road that connects to the other gate with the horizon of the river and surrounding trees that complement the architectural structures of temples and pagodas that depict the era of dynasties. Here's my post about Summer Palace experience.

Day 3: Beijing Zoo, Shopping and Peking Duck Dinner at Quanjude Restaurant

06:00           Wake Up Call
08:00 - 13:00   Beijing Zoo
13:00 - 14:00   Beijing Zoo Clothing Whole Sale Market
14:00 - 15:00   Zhongguanun Electronics
15:00 - 18:00   Tianyi Market

19:00 - 21:00   Dinner at Quanjude Restaurant
21:00 - 22:00   Quick Photo-op at The Egg, Bird's Nest and Watercube
23:00           Lights Off

Beijing Zoo 北京动物园

Not only the kids love the zoo, us too!
I've never been to a zoo as vast, spacious and green like Beijing Zoo. There I saw so many pandas, leopard, white tiger and other animals.  Check how I enjoyed being a kid again at the zoo here.

Quanjude Restaurant

Peking Duck experience
Quanjude Restaurant is famous for its Peking Duck so we splurge to our delights - our best dinner ever. Watch more of my culinary adventures in Beijing here.

NCPA (National Centre for the Performing Arts)or The Egg 国家大剧院

Bird's Nest 国家体育场 Natl Aquatics / Water Cube 国家游泳中心 Natl Stadium

the night view of Beijing's major landmarks
We wrapped up our day with more endless walking for a glimpse of Beijing's major landmarks at night. More of these soon.

Day 4: Wangfujing Street, Temple of Heaven and Forbidden City

07:00           Wake Up Call
09:00           Palm Sunday Mass at St. John Cathedral
10:30 - 12:00   Wangfujing Street Market
12:00 - 13:00   Bird's Nest and National Stadium
14:00 -         Check-Out Candy Inn (but left our luggages in the storage area)
15:00 - 17:00   Temple of Heaven
17:00 - 18:00   The Forbidden Temple
18:00 - 19:00   Wangfujing Street Market
19:00 - 20:00   Back to Candy Inn to get the luggages          
22:00           Check In Beijing International Airport

The Temple of Heaven

Temple of Heaven is a discovery for me.  I don't know about this place but I had enjoyed there even though the sand storm started to strike in Beijing during our last day. Watch out for my Temple of Heaven experience here.

The Forbidden City

We're not able to go inside The Forbidden City as it was closed already but worth the visit still.  But I'd love to know more its history too.

Wangjujing Street

The different faces of Wangfujing Street
Wangfujing Street can be considered as the best of both worlds - flea market at the other side of the street and premium outlets of signature brands at the other side.  It has different faces  as well from the materialistic facade of shopping sprees to the holiness of the Catholic Church.  Check more of my Wangfujing experience here.

Day 5: Departure from Beijing at 1AM

01:00           Departure Beijing Capital International Airport
05:30           Arrival NAIA 3

A Must Prep!

  • I shared how to apply for a Tourist/Family Visit visa for Beijing here.
  • Do-It-Your Own Itinerary (refer to Anna's blog, it's very informative). She shared the following points:
    • Print the name of the places and useful phrases written in Chinese characters for the locals to look at when you ask them for help
    • Exchange your PHP to CNY here to avoid the CNY50 charge when you have it exchanged at Beijing Capital International Airport
    • Bring a set of spoon and fork if you're not used to dining with chopsticks. Most restaurants don't have spoon and fork.
    • Print out Beijing Subway Map with Chinese characters. It's a great help for D-I-Y travellers.
My Beijing Take Aways:
  • Great Wall of China is a valid proof for me that dreams do come true. You should not wait for it to happen but chase for it to come true! It left me in awe and I nearly had my tears fall when I saw the greatest work of mankind.  I just learned it in school and I got the chance to finally set my foot on this historical and partly political construction in the world.
  • Cherry Blossom Overload - I only wanted to see even one cherry blossom but I saw other flowers that only bloom in Spring.  It will always be a beautiful scene for me.
  • My first Peking Duck experience - Dining at the famous and fancy Quanjude Restaurant was a wonderful experience. Other than that, I enjoyed my gastronomic adventures in Beijing. Check my post about that here.
  • An unexpected cheap tour - Never did I think that I won't spending much in Beijing. Not that I stopped myself from splurging but it was just that the food are not that expensive even the entrance fees of the famous places that we'd gone to.
  • I won a chic luggage! - My entry to Travel and Leisure Magazine won me a chic luggage. It was so unexpected that I felt winning is like an icing to my cake of travels.

my winning photo

The Beijing Tour Wanderers
Credits: Anna for our detailed itinerary.

Travel Dates: April 14-18,2011
Joiners: Anna Bano (Itinerary Maker)
             Claire Dote (On-Tour Navigator) with Anna
             Vivian Siccuan
             Joan Guanlao
             Jen Zamora
             Lea Javier

No comments: