Friday (Jan 23) was the only full day I had in Beijing for sightseeing. So despite the bad weather forecast and warnings from my Beijing colleagues, my KL-based colleague (PC) and I decided to proceed with our earlier plan to visit the Great Wall. After all, I'm not sure when I'll get to visit Beijing again, and the Great Wall is certainly a "must-see" place.
We left the hotel around 6.45am. Boy was it cold and windy! Took the subway from Guoman station, changed at JingGuoMen and then arrived at JingShuiTan station. We were told that we could easily get bus 919 to the Badaling Section of the Great Wall. Took us quite a while though. There were a lot of 919s, but when we asked whether it will go to Badaling, the bus drivers kept saying no and asked us to walk further down. Was a good 15 minutes before we finally found the correct 919 in the bus depot. We were relieved when we boarded the bus - even though it smelt of fish! The one hour + journey was only 12 RMB (approx RM6)
We were totally unprepared when we reached our destination. The minus 15 degrees and the howling wind was really awful. I've never felt sooo cold before in my life. I bought additional woolen socks and leggings at a shop there. As we walked from the shop to the Great Wall entrance, both of us were literally blown off course a couple of times by the strong wind! I felt as if my feet were frozen stiff and were like 2 huge bricks. After paying the 40 RMB entrance fee, we had a cup of hot coffee (cut throat price of 30 RMB) before venturing out again.
The Great Wall was absolutely spectacular. I've seen it hundreds of times in pictures but seeing the real thing was totally marvelous.
Didn't stay too long as it was terribly cold. When I removed my gloves to takes some shots, I couldn't put the gloves back as my fingers were slightly curled and I couldn't straighten them!! Also, when I wanted to take a drink from my water bottle, I was surprised to see a huge chunk of ice inside!
Took the bus 919 again to return to the city. Despite the cold, we had absolutely no regrets going to the historic Great Wall. And despite the almost 2 hour journey back in an unheated bus and a panic attack when we saw the "Badaling" signboard after one hour (going in a circle!!!???) we were glad that we had the public transport experience rather than having a guide pick us up from the hotel.
When we reached the city, we made a quick detour to the hotel to pick up the camera battery (both our batteries died halfway!!) and then set off for our next destination which was the Temple of Heaven.
The Temple of Heaven was another fascinating place. It was the temple where the emperor prayed for a good harvest season for the year. Will get the photos from PC later.
Phew... tired of writing already. Just so that I don't forget, here's a quick overview of what I did during the Beijing trip.
Sunday - Checked into Traders Hotel around 5pm. Shopped at Yashow shopping area until night. Had an awful but expensive dinner in the hotel.
Monday - After work, we shopped at the nearby Silk Market. Had another awful but expensive dinner after that.
Tuesday - After work, I shopped alone at the Silk Market as PC had a work dinner.
Wednesday - Left the hotel at 8am for a quick visit to the Forbidden City and Tiannamen Square. Was back at work just before 11am. After work, I took the subway to the WanFuJing shopping area.
Thursday - After work, I had a team dinner at the famous Peking Duck restaurant called "Da Dong". Best Peking Duck I've ever had. The duck skin practically melted my mouth. Yummy !!!!!
Friday - Great Wall, Temple of Heaven, Toy Market, dinner at Da Dong (again!)
Overall, I enjoyed my Beijing trip and I was glad that I had the opportunity to be there. Work wise, I finally saw my London-based boss for the first time and I had the chance to interact with my Beijing counterparts. But of course, I missed Elyssa (erhm... yes, you too hubby) like crazy and I'm glad to be back home at last!
Some of the photos taken -