Category Archives: China

China Trip – Beijing (Day 8: Qianmen Street, Houhai)

Today marks our last day in China. After a long Day 7, we still ended up heading to a  club later that night. We had a few drinks and partied for a couple of hours.

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We started our last day a bit later than the usual. Our first stop was Qianmen Street which is just a walking distance away from Tinananmen Square.

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The place has an old-style to it due to it’s design. However, the shops along the main street are all modern. We went to the side streets to grab some lunch in one of the restaurants. Food was just okay.

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After lunch, some of us tried some yak meat (I think it was!) while the others tried some candied desserts. I wasn’t that fond of the yak meat. It was tough and very intense in taste.

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Late in the afternoon, we moved to Houhai. We hanged out for the rest of the day here until sundown. The place was packed just like Qianmen Street. Lots of street food and other things to try out.

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Our flight was late at night so we headed back to our hotel afterwards. Had some burgers nearby before heading to the airport. Alas, this wraps up our China trip! There’s still so much to see here…

– The Tourist Pao

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China Trip – Beijing (Day 7: Great Wall of China, Beijing Olympic Park)

Today is probably the highlight of the trip for most of us. We woke up early in the morning to head to the Great Wall of China. I’ve been here almost a decade ago during a different season so it was a delight to revisit this site. The Great Wall is both a UNESCO and New 7 Wonders of the World site.

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There are several parts of the wall to choose from when visiting. For this trip, we entered the Mutianyu section. We decided to walk up to reach the Great Wall. You can also ride the cable car if you want.

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It’s just a delight to see how vast the wall is. I would also like to visit the Great Wall during autumn or winter. For the autumn season, we were probably ahead by several weeks before the leaves turned red and gold.

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The walk inside the great wall is often convenient. Though there are certain areas that are quite steep and slanted. We decided to go down by taking the toboggan ride. If you have the budget to spare, I recommend everyone to try it out!

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After our trip to the Great Wall, we decided to return to our hotel. In one of the nearby malls, guess who we saw?

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At night, our group decided to visit the Beijing Olympic Park. The stadiums within the park was used during the 2008 Olympics. Some of the popular structures include the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube. We also enjoyed looking through the names of the past winners which include familiar names like Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt to name a few.

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For dinner, our friends brought us to this noodle place where you pick all of the ingredients you want in your bowl. The dipping sauce mainly composed of a peanut paste is a must! This is probably the most comforting meal I’ve eaten during our trip.

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Tomorrow marks our last day in China… So far so good! 很好!

China Trip – Beijing (Day 8: Qianmen Street, Houhai)

– The Tourist Pao

China Trip – Beijing (Day 6: Summer Palace, Li Qun, Tiananmen Square)

Our first day in Beijing started as a gloomy one. This was probably the busiest leg of our trip in China as they were celebrating the start of their National Holiday. I really think that there was some cloud seeding involved with today’s sudden downpour.

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First line of business was to head to the Summer Palace. The place was packed even if the weather was such a hindrance.

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I was surprised to see the infamous giant rubber duck along the lake. Just shows how massive the grounds are. Due to the bad weather and all, we weren’t able to go around that much.

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As soon as we left for lunch, the weather quickly became dry and sunny. I told you there was cloud seeding involved before the start of their National Holiday.

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It took us an hour or so wandering around and asking how to get to Li Qun. This place was highly recommended for us to try out. They are known for their peking duck. Just follow the duck symbols and you will find it.

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Food did not disappoint! We actually ordered two ducks to satisfy our craving!

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In the afternoon, we headed to Tiananmen Square. The place was packed and there were barricades everywhere. There were specific entry and exit points for the National Holiday.

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Despite the crowd, it was a great time to just lounge around the square – cool weather and all. Too bad I didn’t notice that my camera lens fogged up until we headed back to our hotel.

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Tomorrow is another big day for us. There’s just so much to see in Beijing.

China Trip – Beijing (Day 7: Great Wall of China, Beijing Olympic Park)

– The Tourist Pao

China Trip – Huanglong (Day 5: Huanglong Scenic Valley)

On our 5th day, we woke up early to travel from Jiuzhaigou to Huanglong. Just like Jiuzhaigou, Huanglong is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Our travel took us 3000+ meters above sea level. Some suggest to purchase a pocket oxygen tank (or oxygen drops) to help with possible altitude sickness. We actually considered buying some but the price was quite expensive.

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Once we reached the foot of the valley, the weather became really cold. We drank some baijiu (Chinese white liquor) to keep us warm. This liquor which tasted like pure alcohol saved me from hypothermia! Now I know what to bring if I head into high altitude next time.

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Huanglong Valley is known for it’s natural pools formed by calcite deposits. Something I am quite amazed as I’ve never seen anything like this before.

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As you go higher, the oxygen gets thinner every moment.

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We wanted to go higher as fast as we could but we only reached up until the Washing Cave and a few meters above that. Our flight to Beijing was on the same day so we did not have time to pace our ascend. This wraps up our Huanglong leg!

China Trip – Beijing (Day 6: Summer Palace, Li Qun, Tiananmen Square)

– The Tourist Pao

China Trip – Jiuzhaigou (Day 4: Jiuzhaigou Valley National Park)

After a much deserved rest, we woke up early the next morning to visit Jiuzhaigou Valley National Park. Just like our trip to Xi’an, we were fortunate to visit another UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Our lodging was just a few minutes away from the foot of the national park. It took us arouund 15-20 minutes to get there.

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From the moment you reach the entrance, you will see hundreds of tourists. Unlike Xi’an, the tourists here are predominantly Chinese. This is something I admire greatly about China. They are proud of their own culture and heritage.

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Access around the park is very convenient as there are hop-on hop-off buses in every attraction. Lines get long though at certain stops. Walking around is very convenient as the roads are well-paved. Access to the attractions have wooden pathways. It blends very well with the natural scenery.

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There’s really no need for me to explain how magnificent this place is…

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Waterfalls… Lakes… Forests… All spectacular views!

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As much as we wanted to visit each stop, it wasn’t doable during our trip due to the hundreds (or even thousands) of visitors during this time.

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I am definitely impressed with how beautiful Jiuzhaigou is. Some even suggests to visit Jiuzhaigou in every season as each has it’s own unique charm. It was between spring and fall when we visited.

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Our whole day was dedicated to the National Park. We just grabbed some beer and street food along the way to cap off our night.

China Trip – Huanglong (Day 5: Huanglong Scenic Valley)

– The Tourist Pao

China Trip – Xian/Jiuzhaigou (Day 3: Terracotta Army)

The 3rd day marks our last day in Xi’an. Today, we will be visiting a must-see attraction in this region – the Terracotta Army. From the city’s capital, we went to the main station where several buses can take you there.

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The complex is comprised of a park and several excavation pits. You can also visit the nearby Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor. Unfortunately, we did not get the chance to visit his tomb.

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We first visited pit one which is the most popular. It contains the Terracotta warriors. Visiting Xi’an and seeing these sculptures in person is one of the things in my travel bucket list. Behold…

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In terms of size, pit one is really huge. The enclosure contains Emperor Chin’s army all lined-up together. I was really impressed!

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On the downside, the amount of tourists was a deterrent for me to fully enjoy the grandeur of this place. I had a difficult time taking a decent shot with the huge number of tourists flocking pit one.

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We also visited another pit which also contained other sculptures.

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For some reason, I ended up with mixed emotions after visiting this place. It was impressive but the emotional attachment was not there for me. I did not have the same awesome feeling when I first saw the Eiffel Tower or Angkor Wat. Maybe I’m just tired or maybe I just wanted this whole place for my own. Who knows…

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From our Terracotta Army visit, we headed back to our hotel to pick-up our luggage. We then rode a hired van to bring us to our next stop – Jiuzhaigou. Travel time took several hours. We reached the foot of Jiuzhaigou around night time. Time to rest!

China Trip – Jiuzhaigou (Day 4: Jiuzhaigou Valley National Park)

– The Tourist Pao

China Trip – Xian (Day 1 & 2: Ancient City Wall and Muslim Quarter)

Before I share my week long trip to China, I would like to thank my friends who made it possible for this trip to work! For all it’s worth, I would not be able to go here without them because my mandarin could only get me so far. Not saying that you cannot go here but the hassle just made think twice about traveling to China.

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Our trip officially starts in Xi’an. We took a red-eye flight from Manila to Beijing and stayed in the airport until our flight at 8:30am. Unlike other international airports like Hong Kong or Singapore, there was barely anyone in the airport past midnight. To our relief, they had a coffee shop that was open until our morning departure. I spent most of my time in the cafe and outside the airport. I guess it was a good time for me to adjust to the cold weather in China during this time of the year.

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From Beijing, we took an hour long flight to Xi’an. We took two cabs to our hotel right when we landed. Our travel took longer than expected. We were weary that the driver might have been circling around the same area to charge us more. English wasn’t an option so I had to use my weak mandarin skills to talk to driver since no one else knew how to speak Chinese in our cab. He politely said that we were already near. Phew!

(As I’m writing this post, I discovered that there’s a strong IT industry in Xi’an. So maybe what looked the same was either their Industrial Zone or housing units)

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Our first stop was to get to the Ancient City Wall. We passed by a park with lots of exercising equipment.

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After a few minutes of walking, we finally reached one of the gates. Xi’an’s ancient city wall is currently in the UNESCO tentative list. Given how beautifully maintained and restored this place is, there’s a pretty good chance that it will be included.

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I was surprised with how massive and long it is when you reach the top. As a tip, I’d recommend that you rent a bike to go around the city walls. Once you start walking, you can only exit through certain areas so you have to finish a whole stretch.

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From the city wall, we went to see the Bell Tower. It is situated in the middle of a busy street. I also went to the nearby post office to send some postcards. This is a routine of mine (with my girlfriend) when we travel. Something to look forward to when we return.

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Our next stop is the Muslim Quarter. This is one of the better street markets I have been in Asia.

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Our last stop for the day is to view the nearby Drum Tower that’s beautifully lit at night. Just like the Bell Tower, we did not enter the inside of the structures anymore.

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We just had dinner at a nearby mall afterwards. Some supermarket beer afterwards for a well-deserved sleep.

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That’s it for our first day in Xi’an!

China Trip – Xian/Jiuzhaigou (Day 3: Terracotta Army)

– The Tourist Pao